I know I have probbly asked this question before, but I am asking again. What is a safe ground clearance with my project that I am running a sbc 350 and 700R4transmission. What is the bare minimum that would be safe?
My daily is a 99 Beetle. Its pretty low. Maybe 4 inches of clearance underneath. I really have to be careful and drive around roadkill and stuff. I installed an aluminum skid plate about 6 years ago, after knocking out the oil pan for the second time. I tried to straddle a softball sized rock, and Bam! Big mess...
But it really is up to you, and how/where you drive.
I think last time someone suggested being able to go over a certain object, but I forget what it was. LOL!
I do alot of country roads, and highway driving. But I learned to drive in a 67 Beetle on dirt trails, so going off road is possible for me too. You would be surprised where my little car can go!
Valid question with real answers. First, NSRA has a safety item call scrub line. In case of a flat will any part of the underpinning drag the ground? Draw a line from the inflated tire to the flat tire and see if anything hangs below that line that will stick into the pavement and cause a spin out. This is a safety item and should be adhered to. Second, will the vehicle clear a speed bump? This is my opinion only. If you fear a parking lot because of speed bumps then the vehicle is not fully functional. To put a number on the height I would say between 5" and 7" at the center of the wheelbase. Finding a balance between form and function, I'll pick function every time.
The rule about nothing hanging lower than the wheel rims was (is...? IDK) regular law too but with the very-low-profile tires around now it's a less practical reference. It's been discussed here in the last couple months but I doubt I'll find it.
Anyhow my favorite number is 5.5", with that nothing seems to scrape the ground in normal or spirited driving.
I have ran with 3.5 and 4 before and you do hit stuff especially speed bumps or driveway rises.
I had a 80 firebird and the front ground effect was 1.5 off the ground. I hit so much (mostly bunnies) with that thing and it just sprung back.
I had a dock bumper fall off a truck and instead of hitting it for whatever reason I swerved and swerved back stuffing it under the frame against the road. It slowed the car down. But I was able to get off the road and with the help of a stranger rocking the side of the car got it out.
Watch that 99 beetle. They got the great idea to run the parking brake cable along the bottom of the unibody. Slam against a speed bump and it crushes the cable which then won't release.
I have plowed roads with deep snow with lower rides. Just dont stop kind of deal and have the radiator protected. Fun. But not as much fun as not plowing.
Or if you want to run lower then 6 just run bags. Increase the ride height as needed lower when parked.
Or if you want to look lower channel your body over the frame.
For me, scrub line for safety is the absolute lowest I would go. On my Model A, I have 3" from the ground to the front suspension rear 4 bar mount, headers, and fuel tanks. I have 4" from the ground to the engine oil pan. Since the car is raked the ground clearance just increases to the rear of the car. On very rare occasions I have scraped the drivers side header. Hope this helps.
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