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11-28-2004 06:11 PM Rat - Mounting the coil overs
The first photo on the left shows the completed driver's side mounts. Note the angle brace now welded in place to help support the shock tower. This brace is cut from 3/16" plate.

The final two photos show the completed front suspension. It feels good to finally see the car standing on its own two front feet - instead of being held up by jacks or blocks.

In the center shot you can really see the negative chamber in the right front wheel. This chamber will hopefully be reduced to zero when the engine, trans, and body are installed. If not, final adjustment will be made on the coil overs themselves or by moving the dog legs up or down the tower as required. I can now also adjust camber as well as the fore/aft position of each axle by making simple adjustments to the 4-bars. Much easier than trying to do it on a stock F-150 setup.

Front suspension completed 11/27/04.

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  [Entry #45]

11-28-2004 05:54 PM Rat - Mounting coil overs
Making adjustable towers

I am going to the extra work of making my shock towers adjustable out of necessity. I simply can not determine with any accuracy how far the coils will compress (and where the ride height will end up) once the engine, trans, and body weight are added. The coil overs have a total of about 2" of adjustment - 1" up or 1" down from your starting point. But I am really shooting in the dark here so I felt I needed more room for error. Once the car is complete and I have the chamber and ride comfort adjusted I may weld the dog legs on permanent and cut off the tops of the towers.

Building adjustable towers required that multiple holes be drilled very carefully since each set of holes has to match up perfectly with the holes in the dog legs. The photo on the left, below, shows the method I used to keep the hole spacing uniform (there may be better ways - but this one worked). The 2 x 3 back brace keeps the workpiece centered below the drill bit. The steel rule is clamped to the table and the end of the workpiece is moved exactly 1" to the right for each new hole. This picture shows the final 1/2" holes being drilled but 1/8" pilot holes were first drilled using the same method.

Tack welding

All the pieces are then reassembled and clamped into place making sure the coil is as perpendicular as possible and that it does not interfere with any other components. The photo on the right, below, shows the lower and upper coil over mounts tacked in place. Note also in the photo that the floor jack (just visible in front of the frame) is holding the car 2" above the estimated ride height. This is my best guess as to how far the spring will compress at finished weight.

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  [Entry #44]

11-28-2004 05:20 PM Rat - Mounting the coil overs
Lower Mount - continued

The first shot below shows the bolt, sleeve, and tabs as they are being tacked to the lower end of the 4-bar bracket. It is not real clear from the picture but the holes in the tabs must be staggered fore and aft to position the lower mounting bolt in the correct position. This is done by sliding the inside tab to the rear and the outside tab to the front. This is also the reason the holes in the tabs are drilled to 3/4" even though the sleeves are 5/8" outside diameter. This allows for the necessary play to get everything in the right position before clamping in place and tack welding. Note, however, that only the tabs are tacked at this time and the bolt/sleeve is left loose. The purpose for the 5/8" steel sleeve is just to provide a little more strength to the 1/2" bolt. That's going to be a lot of weight hanging out there on the end of that bolt.

Upper Mount

Next the parts for the upper mount (frame mount) are cut and drilled. The shock "tower" (shown on right in the second photo below) is 1 x 1 1/8" wall steel tube cut to length. I temporarily clamped that in position on the frame and then holding the coil over in proper position I was able to draw up the cardboard template (shown at top left of the second photo) for the dog legs. The dog legs are cut from 3/16" steel plate and are shown below the cardboard template. It is a bit difficult to see in this photo but note the multiple holes in the shock tower which provide for raising and lowering the dog legs - and thus the ride height.

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  [Entry #43]

11-28-2004 04:59 PM Rat - Mounting the coil overs
With the 4-bars in place the next step is to mount the new Carrera coil overs from Speedway. The first shot below gives you and idea of how things will look. This is the driver's side components being tack welded in place. Note the lower mount (affixed to the 4-bar bracket which is affixed to the axle) and the upper mount (which attaches to the frame).

Lower Mount:

We begin the lower mount by cutting two "tabs" (shown in the center photo) 1 1/2" x 3" from some 3/16 plate. A 3/4" hole is drilled in each tab. These tabs can be seen attached to the lower end of the 4-bar bracket in the first photo on left.

The photo on the right below shows the 4 1/2 x 1/2" grade 8 bolt which attaches to the lower eye of the coil over and the 5/8" steel "sleeve" which is used to mount this bolt to the "tabs" we just cut. The inside diameter of the sleeve must be slightly enlarged to 1/2" to accommodate the bolt. I was able to bore this with my drill press using a drill press vice.

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  [Entry #42]

11-24-2004 09:37 PM Rat on a shoestring - front suspension
Two more shots detailing the fabrication of the rear brackets for the 4-bars.

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  [Entry #41]

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