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-   -   stay with springs or go ladder bar? (

Odium 08-02-2004 08:53 AM

stay with springs or go ladder bar?
I have a '79 T/A that I've been working on for a while and I can't decide to stick with the leaf springs or go and put a full ladder rear in. Right now I'm running a sbc 400 with a B&M 250 blower pushing 500+HP to the ground. I've rebuilt the front end, put Comp. Engineering boxed SFCs and rear rails in, DS loop, ford 9" rear, and drag shocks in. I'm thinking about replacing the tank with a fuel cell, mildly tubbing the rear and converting over to a ladder bar rear with coil-overs but I'm not sure how streetable it will be. I use the car mainly at the track but I still love driving it around town and on the highway. It won't be a dificult or costly chage over as I already have the frame rails in. Any thoughts? 08-02-2004 02:05 PM

Why not just put ladder bars on the leaf spring suspension? It can easily be done w/o spring binding and works great.

astroracer 08-03-2004 04:05 AM

A set of Cal-Tracs will probably work better then ladder bars... Check 'em out...

Odium 08-03-2004 06:41 AM

Thanks for the info on the Cal-Tracs. I'm going to look into that.

Here is what I was thinking of getting. What I want to do is narrow the rear by 3" a side and with leaf springs, that's not so easy, plus I'd like some added traction. I'm just not sure how streetable a full ladder rear is. 08-03-2004 07:36 AM

Ladders if installed properly are very streetable. Key with them on leaf springs is to allow the front of the bar to move fore and aft but restrict up and down movement.

WICKEDFAB 08-04-2004 12:52 AM

yup caltracs..........better geometry than ladder bars

Tony@AirRideTech 08-04-2004 09:56 AM

heck dont get off the train here........ back half that car with a good four link and have the best of both worlds

Odium 08-04-2004 10:38 AM


Originally posted by Tony@AirRideTech
heck dont get off the train here........ back half that car with a good four link and have the best of both worlds
Thanks for the reply. So you think a 4-link is better than a ladder?

goose 08-04-2004 11:21 AM

this is Oddrodders setup that he has in his Rumbler. he should be able to give some insight about the pros and cons about this. i know this car sees a lot of street driving.

Tony@AirRideTech 08-04-2004 12:23 PM

A traditional ladder bar set up really limits your articulation. On a street driven car, this is not a good characteristic. A good four link will allow for all of the articulation that you will ever need plus it will keep a much better pinion angle throught the full suspension travel.


goose 08-04-2004 12:40 PM

i agree about the articulation aspect completely. a good example of this is where you see 4X4's where they are lifted to the sky with huge tires and incorporate ladder bars. and for some strange reason when they drive over a small log, they systems bind or one of the front wheels lifts in the air. i dont know if it has been mentioned or not, (running around here doing dishes and laundry) but a four link lends itself to adjustablity and fine tuning. i hope i didnt repeat anyone. i like the ladder bar system for its simplicity but with the roads and distances around here, im going with the 4-link in my project putt putt.

WICKEDFAB 08-04-2004 04:20 PM

the street ride will come from th ecoilovers and the spring rate.
the launch and handling will come from the suspension.

only a parellel sp?? 4 link will not bind..

if the links are not they will bind a little...with rod ends it might be noticable.....but with bushing ends you would never know.

if your going for simple just inboard the leafs....

if your ganna hack it all and build a suspension do a 4 link...totally adjustble and will launch better than a ladder.

if your just ganna cruz it and dont care about launches or accelaration...any will work..

just my opinions...:)

BillyShope 08-04-2004 04:42 PM


Originally posted by WICKEDFAB

only a parellel sp?? 4 link will not bind..

CORRECTAROONI!! And this is the way I'd go (i.e., parallel link pairs). When the link pair is parallel, it's equivalent to what's called a "4BAR" arrangement. I think Morrison sells them this way in a package which is somewhat cheaper (and, perhaps, a bit weaker???) than the 4link. I really can't say that the 4bar's are any wimpier than the 4link's. That's just what I've heard. You'd have to talk to Morrison. Anyway, it sounds like you're capable of fabbing your own, in which case you can make them as strong as you like.

Angle both link pairs up at an angle with a tangent equal to the CG height divided by the wheelbase and you'll have no squat or rise. Angle the right side an extra 5 degrees and the left 5 degrees less and you'll have pretty near equal rear tire loading on launch. Both setups will give you no binding during street driving.

WICKEDFAB 08-04-2004 04:52 PM

when i build links i use 2" ..375 wall heavy ish mang... but thats for rockcrawlers :)

billy thats a good tip ..........making the right a tad differant from the left...

dirtracer21inc 08-12-2004 05:02 AM

You want streetablity? Why not just put some fiberglass leafs on it and be done with it. Weld a bar from inside of the top of the frame rail side to side and move your shocks in. That will give you a little more tire clearance without cutting up the car for a tub system. We still run a leaf spring system on our circle track cars and the old steel leafs can still be made to work with a little monkeying. Take a "NEW" set of steel leafs and slide the second leaf forward until the front of it is in line with the main leaf's eye. Re-drill the centerpin and take the third leaf and fourth leafs and turn them around. Paint all of the leafs with a graphite empregnated paint and clamp up the front of the leaf springs. You can use a square U-bolt shaped clamp for the rear but do not close it shut. This only helps hold the leafs in place. You will be shocked at how much traction this deal will make and still give you a nice ride.

We build this type of leaf spring for the street stock oval track racers all the time. I've got these all over the USA and it's a winner!!! It's cheap and fast. Or just bolt on some fiberglass leafs and be done with it.:thumbup:

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