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Old 05-18-2005, 11:11 AM
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Suspension choices, opinions wanted, lets talk

I'm soon to embark on a complete redo of a 54 Chev PU and for the 1st time in my carreer I'm totally undecided about the front suspension. I know it's my chioce, my truck, etc., but to the more knowledgable builders here lets talk about choices. My instinct is to not dial 1-800 MUSTANG II and go that route although it may be a smart choice in the grand sceme of things. The truck will be loaded with tradition in the form of chop, channel, and section, as well as appointments like whitewalls and white tuck n roll. The driveline however is a toss up between an old nailhead Buick or a complete LT-1 and OD. In spite of driveline the front suspension has me wanting to do something trick, traditional, practical, and useable, all at the same time. I'm pretty dead set against the front sub deal. Yes it's easy, available, and wallet-friendly, just not too pretty without a ginormous amount of re-engineering.

Maybe just a dropped front axle? Maybe work a newer truck front suspension in with eyes to what woulda been OEM if in 54... Anyone ever seen a strut front end under a 50's car/truck? While cost is a bit of a factor (fully polished KUGEL stuff is a no way), it's not the prime directive. As a fabricator and restorer by trade I don't scare easy so what do some of you more practiced builders think? I look forward to hearing from some of you.

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Old 05-18-2005, 11:27 AM
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thats a tough one

Lemmee do some thinking and get back to you..



And sometimes that is hard..but what i woudl do is to go to Steve Smith autosports and get the software for chassis design and roll my own..I think you coudl use something like Caprice big car spindles which have the 11" rotors..Would wind up looking like something we would use in Imca just to give an Idea of what it would look like when done..

Actually I do not think it woudl be all that much more work or expense for an experienced fabricator to do than to try and use one from the junkyard and make it look good..And of course a fellow could use some heavier wall thickness and make A-arms and such that are adequately strong..

I think I would go with either a 2x5 or 2x6 tube on the main rails (something consistnet with the original frame rail material)..

Rear maybe just stick with the leaf springs..have to make a kickup to accomodate that but Oh well..

Enough ideas for now..
OMT
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Last edited by OneMoreTime; 05-18-2005 at 01:31 PM. Reason: Had to do some thinking!!
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Old 05-18-2005, 04:49 PM
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If you want to do something trick, how about a stock (but dropped) straight axle utilizing an air ride suspension mod. That would be different, probably pretty comfortable and most likely easy for an experienced fabricator to do.
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Old 05-19-2005, 06:31 PM
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Impala spindles...interesting. The ideal I rekon would be IFS since I wanna drive the tread off the tires when done. But yet that doesn't eliminate the dropped axle gig niether. Bags are a given in place of springs for the front. The rear will no doubt be a single leaf/bag deal. I just expect to see leafs of some kind under a truck. Horsepower is a non event for this truck. I'm kinda done with ultra fast powerplants. Any stock injected 350 (TPI or LT1) will have more power than I really give a s#it about.


I have mulled over the "roll your own" theory one more', The big brakes is appealing. I really thought about a strut front end but can't seem to get "out of the box" of unitized construction being the best application for a true front strut deal. I most definately don't want a drag car type front end with lotta tubing and cage type support so... Air is needed as I live in a rural community and a ground scraping permanent stance won't get me down my road. A couple miles away and all is well. And bags are trick. Me and another craftsman have a way of building our own "Shockwave" style bags.


Back in the day the Spence Murray Rod n Custom Dream Truck was dropped on a late model Olds chassis. I do lean toward using as many OEM style parts as possible to emulate the look of early customs and yet mix new thinking and tech in a non-invasive way. Am I making sense or rambling here? Thanx for the inputs. Any more?
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Old 05-19-2005, 07:43 PM
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Kicking the can..so to speak

Quote:
Originally Posted by theHIGHLANDER
(TPI or LT1)

Back in the day the Spence Murray Rod n Custom Dream Truck was dropped on a late model Olds chassis. I do lean toward using as many OEM style parts as possible to emulate the look of early customs and yet mix new thinking and tech in a non-invasive way. Am I making sense or rambling here? Thanx for the inputs. Any more?
As long as we are kicking ideas when I was planning my project I did give some seerious thought to just using and entire Caprice late model chassis with a pickup cab on it..I thought about just making some running boards to cover the frame rails and just plopping the cab on top of the frame so to speak..I do think that would work for someone..Would take a bit of noodling but nothing that is beyond someone who has been there done that so to speak..

As I decided...I really want a roadster..and I came up on a deal for most of my parts I am going another direction..

Keep grinning

OMT
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Old 05-20-2005, 07:06 AM
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Highlander,

If you want something a bit different and unique, you might look into an F-150 twin I beam, independent front suspension with air bags. I have that setup on my '32 pickup and there are pics in my journal (go to the first couple pages). I also have an F-150 setup with coil overs and 4 bars in my roadster (details of the install are later in my journal). If you use the 78-79 model year, most people will swear you have a dropped straight axle in there - but in reality you have the comfort of an IFS working for you. There will be some who bad mouth the inability to adjust the twin I beam but if you substitute 4-bar's for the stock radius rods and then use air bags or adjustable coil overs, you can adjust camber, caster, toe, etc to your heart's content.

The install is not for the faint of heart, however. This is definitely NOT a bolt in deal. But it CAN be done in the home shop with some careful measuring and planning.

Dewey
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Old 05-20-2005, 09:15 AM
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If you are going to use Caprice stuff (B-body) I don't see any reason to not use the bigger 12" rotors/spindles. Some regular sedans had the 12" brakes but the easiest way to find them is to look for waggons. Using the 12" brakes you will also get the 5 on 5" lug pattern that is the chevy standard for trucks insted of the smaller 5 on 4.75" pattern that is on the 11" rotors and other GM cars.
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Old 05-20-2005, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneMoreTime

As I decided...I really want a roadster..and I came up on a deal for most of my parts I am going another direction..

Keep grinning

OMT

Congratulations on finding what you really want BEFORE you get halfway into a big project.....

Keep us posted on the roadster project........as you may guess.......I really like roadsters......

.
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