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Old 04-14-2019, 08:28 PM
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Front suspension options

Just bought a '39 Chevy coupe, and weighing options for front suspension setups. Nothing ruled out yet, or in. But I'm looking to go lower than stock, but not down in the dirt. Want it driveable, without worrying about having to scrape on every speed bump in the parking lot
So far the Mustang II looks great, but unless there's a cheaper way to set one up on my frame, I'd rather not spend $1500 to buy a crossmember and suspension kit. The 3rd Gen Nova subframe seems very reasonable, but they sure are huge!! Seems way to bulky looking, but might go that route to save the budget.
Of course I'm also looking at dropped tube axles, as they have the right combination of lightweight, good looks, and half the cost of a MII. Presently it's a Deluxe coupe, so it has control arm suspension, vs. the lower grade models that had factory I beam axles.

Hope someone has gone through the various choices, and has some affordable alternatives, or suggestions?

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Old 04-14-2019, 09:44 PM
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You might consider the front half of an 2wd S-10 frame, cut off just under the front edge of the cab to mimic a Nova subframe. It'll be narrower by about 6" than the 3rd Gen Nova/2nd Gen Camaro/Firebird, it's front steer, and performance A arms, drop spindles, springs, brake kits, and high ratio steering box for a Metric A/G-body's is a direct swap. Gen 1 V8 headers, oil pans, and mount swap kits are available too, along with the same for LS engines.
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:29 PM
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On my '39 Chevy I went with the Paul Horton Welder Series which is a build it yourself type MII. Of course when installing the cross member you can put it at any ride height you please.



What are you going to do for rear suspension? Frame boxing? Engine/trans and rear?
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:04 PM
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Most affordable and simple solution is to use what you have. No fulfillment issues or unknown handling characteristics.

Replace the rubber refurbishing (cleaning and painting) the metal before inserting the new rubber.
If the arm is rusted through replace it with a quality piece perferably used not new.

New is often thinner or less accurate stampings. I would take the old piece and have it professionally repaired so it was stronger then stock before running some of the questionable new stuff out.

If your suspension is simply in need of new rubber with little flaking rust then there is a good chance you can refurbish it and run it for years without concern.


As far as changing height goes that is a spring thing which you can easily do with your current suspension.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerial View Post
Most affordable and simple solution is to use what you have. No fulfillment issues or unknown handling characteristics.

Replace the rubber refurbishing (cleaning and painting) the metal before inserting the new rubber.
If the arm is rusted through replace it with a quality piece perferably used not new.

New is often thinner or less accurate stampings. I would take the old piece and have it professionally repaired so it was stronger then stock before running some of the questionable new stuff out.

If your suspension is simply in need of new rubber with little flaking rust then there is a good chance you can refurbish it and run it for years without concern.


As far as changing height goes that is a spring thing which you can easily do with your current suspension.
You might not be familiar with late 30's Chevrolet control arm suspension. But the control arms are cast and the upper arms are a knee action shock assembly that isn't a very good setup, even when it was new. No way to remove the shock body, and keep the upper arm. And no way to convert the control arms to a outside modern type shock. The only conversions I've seen require finding early 50's Chevy suspension components and swapping them into the old frame. So not an option with the lack of those parts being readily available.
And springs diameters overall are smaller than most modern springs, so not many spring options other than removing coils to drop the front. I'd rather go modern, and have an abundance of factory parts available.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 39 master View Post
On my '39 Chevy I went with the Paul Horton Welder Series which is a build it yourself type MII. Of course when installing the cross member you can put it at any ride height you please.



What are you going to do for rear suspension? Frame boxing? Engine/trans and rear?
I looked at his, plus other similar setups. The crossmembers aren't bad at around $250, but when you begin to piece together all the other parts you end up around $1500 when it's done. That's pretty much where all the complete kits are, so if I go that route I'll probably purchase a complete kit, and save the hassle of putting together pieces with a crossmember.

The frame is already a boxed top hat frame, so not sure how it would get "boxed"? My plans are to bend up tubing to build a triangulated system under the car that will tie the frame rails together.

The car came with a 9" Ford under it, but unknown yet what the ratio is, or if it's a open differential, or limited slip. It might stay if it's a good one, but if it needs a different differential I'll sell it and put an 8.8" Ford under the rear. I have an 8.8 with 3.73 gears and limited slip sitting here already, so not cost to use it.

Probably go with a SBC, but haven't made that decision yet. I have a fresh 700R4 here, so that tends to make me want to go SBC since it would allow me to use the 700R4.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericnova72 View Post
You might consider the front half of an 2wd S-10 frame, cut off just under the front edge of the cab to mimic a Nova subframe. It'll be narrower by about 6" than the 3rd Gen Nova/2nd Gen Camaro/Firebird, it's front steer, and performance A arms, drop spindles, springs, brake kits, and high ratio steering box for a Metric A/G-body's is a direct swap. Gen 1 V8 headers, oil pans, and mount swap kits are available too, along with the same for LS engines.
I like the sound of a narrower "subframe" or stubbed frame! And having factory parts available to do maintenance, or repairs later is nice too. I hate using custom pieces that require me to be stuck with one supplier, so using the S10 sounds like a good option. Just need to find a decent donor that I can chop the front stub off of.

Thanks!
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:37 PM
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To clarify the frame boxing some add a 3/16" plate to the outside of the frame to stiffen it up a bit. For a K member I like to use 1" x 2" tubing and add them top and bottom of the frame to help prevent frame twist. I also used a Ford 8.8, triangle 4 bar and air bags on the back only (because I have a back seat). I also ended up making a whole new frame.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:42 PM
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Beautiful chassis on your '39 build! Thanks for the clarification on the boxing.
I also contemplated using a late model 8.8" Ford IRS as I looked at them at the local wrecking yard and the 4 bolt mounting system appears it could easily be adapted to many frames. Saw one installed on a '40 Chev and it looked really clean!
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:45 PM
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Recently I've been looking into an I.R.S. unit for the '39. Lincoln Mk 8 89-98 track width 60.2", 2005 Explorer track 61.2" and 68-79 'Vette. Some are easy to narrow and others just can't be narrowed. One problem with the '39 is the gas tank is in the way. I also have a problem with eating space in the rear seat area. To get the back low it's necessary to make the frame arch taller and nobody want to set with one cheek on the frame. Takes lots of planning and most likely lift the body off. Good luck and pictures as you go please.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:14 PM
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I got a brand new repro gas tank with the coupe, but don't like where it sits in coupes. I'll probably sell it and buy a fuel cell to mount in the trunk floor. Try to keep it low enough to still use the trunk, but not so low as to look ugly from the back.
Got a pair of Chevs of the 40's fiberglass running boards also, but I want to build it without running boards as the kids always climb on them anyway. So I'll sell those also. Got two frontends. One an original steel hood, with glass fenders. The other a one piece tilt glass frontend. Haven't decided which way to go on that, but will sell whatever I don't use.
I have lots of rust repair to do on the lowest 3" of the car. Both rockers rotted out, plus lower door skins. Also needs a complete floor replacement. This will be a very long project I think!
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:33 PM
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Front suspension

Forgot to mention the 'Vette front suspension. Might want to look into that too.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:06 AM
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Here's my version of putting an S10 front clip in The Judge. ..along with a Jag XJS IRS ..drives like a Porche. .

https://49fordcoupe.smugmug.com/Building-the-Frame/
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
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Forgot to mention the 'Vette front suspension. Might want to look into that too.
Any particular years?
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:06 AM
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Here's my version of putting an S10 front clip in The Judge. ..along with a Jag XJS IRS ..drives like a Porche. .

https://49fordcoupe.smugmug.com/Building-the-Frame/
Wow! That was a very interesting read on your '49 build! An amazing amount of fabrication, and ingenious use of tools on hand to flip, and move things around too!
Thanks for the link!
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