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Camaro Rear Suspension Project

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TomS

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#1
Yesterday I replied to the POTD thread with a few pictures and explanation of a pinion angle gauge I made. I built the gauge so I could check the pinion angle on my wife's 1968 Camaro before I begin installing a canted four bar rear suspension I'm building. Below are a few pictures of the suspension parts I've made. Been working on this for about two years but some work still needs to be done. I'm now at the trial and fit stage. As I move through the project I'll post more pictures.

The first two pictures are of the side and lower stiffener plates. The lower plates will be welded to the side plates once they are positioned on the frame side rails. The holes in the lower plates are for square U-bolts. Still need to drill six holes in each side plate for plug welding.
Side plates (01).jpg
Side plates (02).jpg

These next three pictures are of the lower links, spring plates and lower coil over shock mounts. The holes in each end of the links will be bored to fit high misalignment spherical bearings. The link attaches at the front leaf spring mounting location using the original bracket.
The lower shock brackets will be welded to the spring plates once the rear end is located correctly under the car. U-bolts over the axle tubes and through holes in the spring plates attaches this assembly to the rear end. Didn't take a picture of the upper shock mount but it's a 1-1/2" x 3/16" wall square tube that will span between the two frame rails and weld to the side stiffener plates.
Lower links, spring plates and lower shock brackets (01).jpg
Lower links, spring plates and lower shock brackets (03).jpg
Lower links, spring plates and lower shock brackets (02).jpg

These last two pictures show the upper links and attachment brackets. The links are made of heat treated 4340 steel about 40 - 45 Rc. Probably overkill but I got a good deal on three feet of TGP that I couldn't pass up. As of now they are machined for poly bushings but I may change to the same high misalignment spherical bearings I'm using on the lower links. The front brackets weld to the side stiffener plates and the two tabs with the large internal radius get welded to the rear end. The links have adjustment so the pinion angle can be adjusted.
Upper links and brackets (01).jpg
Upper links and brackets (02).jpg

As you can see these are the major components of the project. Still have several gussets and brackets to make and some machining to do. Should be a fun project.

Tom S

Lower links, spring plates and lower shock brackets (01).jpg Side plates (02).jpg Lower links, spring plates and lower shock brackets (03).jpg Lower links, spring plates and lower shock brackets (02).jpg Upper links and brackets (01).jpg Upper links and brackets (02).jpg Side plates (01).jpg
 

xalky

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#2
What an awesome project. Keep em coming. This is a project that I always wanted to do to my 70 Nova SS when I had it. It's looking really good. :))
 

Charley Davidson

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#3
Don't be such a tease let's see the car. Nice work, very clean.
 

TomS

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Well it's been about two months since I last posted any info about this thread. A lot has been going on not withstanding the holidays and the birth of a granddaughter. My wife and I are now blessed with four granddaughters. No grandsons but I'm not complaining.

Now back to the thread. The pictures below show what I've built and how I installed it. Feedback from the welding forum had me change direction in how the brackets mounted to the frame. Being that the frame material is very thin and the brackets are 3/16" thick someone (sorry but I can't remember who made the suggestion so I can't acknowledge them for the idea) suggested I make "U" shape brackets and bolt them to the frame rails. Did that and they worked great.

Keep in mind that everything is tack welded in place. Final welding, grinding and contouring will take place once I install the coil over shocks and test the suspension for freedom of movement and clearance. I did test it for freedom of movement without shocks and it appears the suspension is working just fine. Once final welding is done I'll reassemble everything and test drive it for a couple of months before painting.

So far this has been a very challenging yet satisfying project.

Here's the pics:

Rear shot showing the general layout
photo 3 (4).JPG

Upper link axle bracket and shock lower mount (heavy wall square tube used to set ride height)
photo 2 (6).JPG

Picture of the lower shock and lower link mount
photo 1 (8).JPG

Upper link axle bracket and frame bracket
photo 5 (1).JPG

Another view of the upper link and axle bracket
photo 5 (2).JPG

And another view of the upper link
photo 4 (3).JPG

Lower link
photo 1 (6).JPG

Lower link side view
photo 2 (4).JPG

Lower link mounting bracket and lower shock mount
photo 3 (3).JPG

Upper shock mount (Three holes for ride height adjustment. Moving shock to others holes progressively softens the ride)
photo 2 (3).JPG

Upper shock mount and frame bracket (two nuts facing down attach to a u-bolt that when tightened suck the frame bracket to the frame)
photo 4 (1).JPG

Outside view of the upper shock mount frame bracket (three 3/8" through bolts sandwich the frame)
photo 5.JPG

Outside view of the upper link frame bracket (same set up with 3/8" through bolts and u-bolt)
photo 1 (7).JPG

photo 5 (2).JPG photo 4 (3).JPG photo 3 (5).JPG photo 2 (6).JPG photo 1 (8).JPG photo 2 (5).JPG photo 1 (7).JPG photo 5 (1).JPG photo 3 (4).JPG photo 2 (4).JPG photo 1 (6).JPG photo 5.JPG photo 4 (1).JPG photo 3 (3).JPG photo 2 (3).JPG photo 1 (5).JPG
 

xalky

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#6
That came out great. I'm the one that suggested you wrap the frame on 3 sides with the bracket. Because I had a 70 Nova SS that I spent a lot of time on restoring. I remembered that the frame rails were pretty thin material. I'm glad to see that you were able to complete the project. How does she handle now?

Marcel
 

TomS

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#7
Marcel,

Thanks for the suggestion about wrapping the frame rails. This should be a rock solid installation. Haven't had a chance to drive it yet. Waiting on the coils overs to be delivered then I need to run brake lines and install the gas tank. And finish welding and grinding. Still lots of small detail items to take care of before it hits the street. As I move forward I'll post more pictures.

Tom S.
 

Wdnich

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#8
Nice set up overall. One thing to consider though. In the early eighties when we were installing four-links from alston and chassis engineering on street cars, we were getting a lot of overall issues with streetability. The lower brackets were dragging and hanging in certain situations.

We got to where he had to load cars run a straight line to the front then start checking deflection angles while jacking the car to certain degrees. Usually around about 20 degrees like entering parking lots it was enough to catch the leading edge on the raised gutters going into drives. Being a new thing on the road we had to play around some with. Some cars we actually had to make a rolled shield/ skid plate to deflect the bracket up and over the obstruction.

I would put the wheels on, and with a newer laser level see where the lower edges project in relation to the front of the car. Also radius the leading edges to deflect up and over any hazards you might encounter. Great design, I like it.

Any reason you decided not to go with dual heim joints on both ends of the upper links? The single design works great and is proven and reliable. Less working parts to malfunction. Dual offers greater adjustability overall. Just wonderin, not criticizing .
 

Rbeckett

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#9
Looks Great!! Only Question I have is at full rear extension is the link in the 4th picture going to bind or hit the axle tube? Is the plan to lower the ride height similar to a "low rider" or to allow for larger tires to clear the fender wells when the car squats upon hard acceleration or launch at the drag strip. I had a 69 which I did a 4 link rear set up on and found that I needed traction bars still to control wheel hop at the strip. If you are not drag racing every Saturday nite then the traction bars would be unnecessary or just a cool looking add on. If your trying to keep it looking like a "sleeper" that would be a dead give away to look before they leaped and enter any bets or races with a lot more caution. It would take away your opportunity to take advantage of pigeons... Just a few thought from the peanut gallery, bu the work so far looks well thought out and well designed and should improve the tail swapping the Camaro is notorious for.

Bob
 

TomS

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#10
Wdnich and RBeckett - sorry I missed your posts but thanks for your comments and interest in my project. The project has been on hold for a few months due to a kitchen remodel and other household projects. I ordered spherical bearings for the upper and lower links because the poly bushings didn't give enough range of movement. Didn't want to break welds or bend anything. They should be here in a few days.

I'll look into the road hazard clearance issues mentioned. My thought in building the suspension is the lower bar replicates the position and length of the leaf spring. I'll check it out and see. I went with the single Heim design only because I wanted to minimize any potential points for flex. I figured that a threaded joint could conceivably move under stress. Could be off-base here though.

I have no interest in drag racing this thing or putting big tires on it. My intent was to build something a little out of the ordinary for the sake of discussion at the local car shows. I've run the suspension through full travel. No interference issues found but putting it on the street will be the true test.

Thanks again,


Tom S
 
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