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  1. #1
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    May 2018
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    Lateral Dynamics "Next Gen" 3-Link Suspension Systems

    Greetings Pro Touring enthusiasts!



    Lateral Dynamics have been working hard, quietly, to develop the “Next Gen” 3-Link Rear Suspension Systems, and we are now ready to release the product for sales. We have had a very long standing relationship with Pro-touring.com dating back to when the whole P-T movement was in its infancy, and as such, we wanted to use this platform – even before updating the company website – to introduce the new configuration.

    For those familiar with the legacy 3-Link systems, you know that the original setup was competition proven; with class wins in the One Lap of America with James Shipka’s epic “One Lap Camaro,” our customer from the Montreal area, winning his class in the extremely challenging Targa Newfoundland, and perhaps the most notable overall win of the Inaugural optima Ultimate Street Car with Steven Rupp’s iconic “Bad Penny.” Beyond the competitive events, our customers have also taken country-wide, multi thousand-mile road trips while reporting back comfort and exceptional wet weather handling – the systems were proven to be capable everywhere.

    So of course, what do engineers do? Make things even better, and that’s what we have done. Virtually every aspect of the system was scrutinized, data from our own testing as well as our customer’s feedback was critically assessed, and improvements in other areas of the hobby were also considered – namely tire technology.

    We had three main goals for the Next Gen Systems:

    • Broaden the overall geometry adjustment “window”: We enabled customers to focus the main performance parameters to not only augment driving styles and overall vehicle setup, but to further maximize the performance of today’s extremely capable tires – with focus not only on racing slicks/”R” compound selections, but today’s incredibly popular and capable “200 Tread wear” tires required in a multitude of competitive driving series (works amazingly with any other performance street tires too!).
    • Dramatically simplified the installation process: While the systems still require welding to complete the installation, the amount of cutting and sheet metal work has been significantly reduced. Further, we incorporated changes to minimize frustration due to the very loose OEM tolerances in these 50+ year old cars, as well as frame and sheet metal repairs commonly found on restored cars. The result is an installation process that can easily be managed by a capable enthusiast in a typical home garage.
    • Maximize the Performance to Cost Value: We arrived at a price point, along with the simplified installation updates that we feel is the very best in the industry, and not just the initial cost, but through the lifetime of the product. All serviceable/routine maintenance items are readily available from multiple sources. We use the best quality components throughout, the vast majority of which are sourced within 100 miles of our So Cal location.

    Displayed in the photographs is the 67-69 Camaro and Firebird system, which will begin shipping within the next two weeks. The system comes standard with “Late, Big Ford” housing ends (not shown here), in two standard widths (optional with virtually any type of housing ends/full float options/width, per quotation). Early Mustang, and Second Generation Camaro/Firebird will be available in approximately 4 – 6 weeks.
    Attached Images Attached Images        
    Mark Magers

    Founder and Principal, Lateral Dynamics LLC
    [email protected]
    lateral-dynamics.com

    One tenth of a second on the race track is often the difference between first place, and fourth.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Colton Ca.
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    What is the starting price point? What coilovers/ springs? Installation photos?
    Ahmad B.

  3. #3
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    May 2018
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    San Diego County
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    What is the starting price point? What coilovers/ springs? Installation photos?
    Thanks Ahmad, the retail price on the kit is $3965, for all of the pieces you see in the previous photos.

    As for shock selection, we elected to be shock "agnostic," in our travels there is a LOT of brand loyalty and so many amazing options out there these days. The best "budget" value out there that we have seen is Viking, they have an excellent offering, very high quality and their shocks have a very broad adjustment range, which is important when initially setting up a car with no previous baseline. Many of the higher end shock have far narrower adjustment range, and require re-valving in order to dial in, but there are some incredible options out there - JRI, Penske, Ohlins, etc. Unless you are an expert and will need the help of a shock tuner, we recommend that you run what your fast local folks are running and lean on a local tuner. We can help your selection based on the type of tires you are running, front suspension, intended usage, etc.

    Install information is on the way!
    Mark Magers

    Founder and Principal, Lateral Dynamics LLC
    [email protected]
    lateral-dynamics.com

    One tenth of a second on the race track is often the difference between first place, and fourth.

  4. #4
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    May 2018
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    San Diego County
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    As noted previously, many of the early muscle cars suffer from poor initial tolerances, and many of them have been reworked. The result is dealing with slight, but important differences that can be very frustrating, and sometimes costly rework in order to accurately install. We engineered the front cross-member on our system to be modular. Unless your car is WAY off, this approach will eliminate the issues noted above.

    The LCA brackets shown are the starting point for the installation. They are designed with slots/holes that mate to the OEM frame rails, simply remove the OEM leaf spring buckets, locate the brackets to the factory (or replacement) frame rails, mark the sheet metal and cut the small section of floor pan beneath the rear seat area. The LCA brackets install from below, clamped in place and then the Cross-member is centered on the flat sections of the LCA brackets. Once all is verified from a full trial fit, they are simply (securely!!!) welded in place creating an extremely stout support. Before final welding we recommend a quick coat of paint for the crossmember, after all is final welded a small amount of sheet metal work, seam sealing, and paint finishes the job.

    The car shown in the pictures is a great example of our design approach here. This car is a convertible that had leaks that took a big toll on the floor pans, rear seat sheet metal, and the trunk! Previous repairs were good, but less than perfect, but the kit went in with no drama whatsoever. It is very rare to find a car without needing these types of repairs, but fortunately for all of us, the replacement sheet metal parts are getting better and better. None of these cars should be sent to the scrap heap, pretty much anything can be replaced to save the cars.
    Attached Images Attached Images            
    Mark Magers

    Founder and Principal, Lateral Dynamics LLC
    [email protected]
    lateral-dynamics.com

    One tenth of a second on the race track is often the difference between first place, and fourth.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Napier, New Zealand
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    Country Flag: New Zealand
    Hey, looks interesting. Does having the UCA offset from the centre have any adverse effect on articulation and load transfer?
    Damien
    Napier, New Zealand
    Project Page: https://www.pro-touring.com/showthread.php?99096-Project-Camaro-68-P-T-Muscle
    Next Project: 1956 Chevy Truck, Full C3 Suspension, Nascar Inspired

  6. #6
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    May 2018
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    San Diego County
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    Hey, looks interesting. Does having the UCA offset from the centre have any adverse effect on articulation and load transfer?
    Hey Tweak! I have been following the progress on your car and feel you did a great job.

    Offsetting the UCA to passenger was done for a few reasons. One, it helps (slightly) offset the left to right corner exit torque bias generated by the engine and drivetrain, which isn't an obvious thing. You will sometimes see cars in autocross lift the inside left front tire during hard throttle, hard left turn - this is due to the drivetrain torque creating a lift. This offset helps reduce that a bit. Second, in our legacy system we had the adjustment for the UCA inclination on top of the rear housing, which was centered on the axle. The issue was that once the car was all together it was very difficult to access the adjustment, which defeated the purpose. With the UCA adjustment offset, it's simple to access from the interior of the car. Third, and the main reason, is that we wanted a much tighter packaging at the housing side, which will allow us to use one common housing for a far larger variety of vehicle specific applications where the old approach wouldn't work. Pickup trucks, our shop El Camino and a lot of other applications we'll be exploring in the future will package FAR easier with this approach.

    As far as articulation and load handling, both of these are a non issue. Under very hard acceleration, the LCA's take up the Lion's share of the loading (in compression), and the UCA has a far easier job to do from a load standpoint (in tension). It is still a completely zero bind setup. The only mechanical difference is a very slight difference in pinion angle change from left to right corners, but our links are so long that it is a complete non-issue in practical terms.

    Great questions!
    Mark Magers

    Founder and Principal, Lateral Dynamics LLC
    [email protected]
    lateral-dynamics.com

    One tenth of a second on the race track is often the difference between first place, and fourth.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Lost Wages, Nevada
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    Good lord man... you finally said something. I have been tapping my foot for a year now and its cramped up. I need to drink some more water or eat a banana.

    Can't wait to stuff this into the '67. And... I can't wait for all the other news to come from Lateral-D.

    Pro-Touring is interesting, once again !! (finally)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    Los Angeles
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    Like like like like like..........
    VaporWorx. We Give You Gas http://www.vaporworx.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    San Diego County
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    Good lord man... you finally said something.
    I continue to be impressed with your ability to keep secrets!!!

    Can't wait to stuff this into the '67. And... I can't wait for all the other news to come from Lateral-D
    You don't have to! Ready to go now!!! Well the rear setup is, other side soon.

    Thanks for the nod, Carl, very much appreciated!

    The only tricky part about the installation of the system is the precision needed to locate the rear crossmember. Because the Watt's pivot defines THE center of the axle assembly, it needs to be located accurately. Beating on the dead horse, tolerances and rework to the frames pushed us to use a system of shims to bring the crossmember exactly where it needs to be. Covered in the installation instructions (will be posted to our website soon for download), we show you how to simply and accurately establish the axle centerline. We intentionally left the width of the crossmember frame mounts approximately 3/8" narrower than the nominal dimensions from our decades of experience working these cars. A set of shims are included to locate the crossmember fore/aft, and left/right. Trial fit, measure, adjust, trial fit, measure, adjust... until it is on.

    It's easiest at this point to put a coat of paint on the crossmember prior to the final fit. None of this is hard, but it is important because once it is welded in, it has to be correct. Patience is your friend, and a second set of eyes often helps.
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Mark Magers

    Founder and Principal, Lateral Dynamics LLC
    [email protected]
    lateral-dynamics.com

    One tenth of a second on the race track is often the difference between first place, and fourth.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    San Diego County
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    Once the rough fitting is done, it's time to tack the rear crossmember into place, and prior to welding completely, validate the final location, perform a final fit check, run the system through motion and insure there are no issues.

    One of the primary motivations about using a 3-Link is that there is no bind in the system, whatsoever. In the picture with the housing in full bump on the left side, the right side is a full 8 inches lower - WAY beyond the useful range of the suspension in the real world, but it shows the amount of precise articulation with the setup.

    Now that the final location of the rear crossmember has been validated, the setup will be disassembled for the last time, components painted, and the rear crossmember will get a full final weld to the car's frame rails.
    Attached Images Attached Images          
    Mark Magers

    Founder and Principal, Lateral Dynamics LLC
    [email protected]
    lateral-dynamics.com

    One tenth of a second on the race track is often the difference between first place, and fourth.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Central CA USA
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    6,092
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    Looks great! I'm really happy to see this improved version come to market. It' looks much easier to install and adjust. I think this one will have better exhaust clearance and easier shock mounting.
    67 Camaro RS that will be faster than anything Mary owns.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    41
    How do you expect the NVH to be compared to traditional TA and 4-link options?

    Will you offer a closeout panel with an access hatch, or how will the interior be sealed with the hole in the floorboard?

    Thanks!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Austin, Tx
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    465
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    A couple of questions for you Mark...

    First, why the 'X' designs instead of something more solid? Was that purely for weight reasons? Structurally I imagine they will be just fine, but it seems like an off approach that I see used in a few spots in this setup.

    Second, am I seeing correctly that to adjust the Watt's pivot up or down you have to remove 2 screws and reposition? Would it be possible to replace that mechanism with a screw adjuster to have finer-level (and easier also) control of the pivot location?

    I too am curious about what you will provide for close-out panels, or is that exercise left up to the reader. ;)

    Have you routed exhaust on any cars you have completed installs on? Any comments on how that was done and fitment? This setup looks like it will be similar to what I had on TOW with the Watt's. The 3rd link instead of a torque arm would make the front to back pipes much easier as well as running an X or H pipe. That over-the-axle work is a challenge though!

    Oh, one more question... Have you looked at installing a sway bar with this setup yet also? ;)
    Bryan (a.k.a. Carbuff)

    70 Camaro RS Hunk'o'Metal - Previous Project
    71 Firebird Project T.O.W. - New Project

  14. #14
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    May 2018
    Location
    San Diego County
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    Hey all, and thanks for the interest and questions!

    @David, thanks sir, and yes this one is far easier to install than the one(s) you worked on. We did increase the room for tailpipes, and yes, the shock mounts are relocated to the better as well. We pushed the upper mounts out as far as we could to improve the motion ratio, and this also created even more space for the exhaust. I know you will appreciate the increase in geometry adjustments also, this was based in large part to your feedback as well - mainly in the area of Anti-squat - which now has the adjustment to decrease A/S.

    @Carbuff: The "skelotonized" x features are mainly aesthetic, it's a design style that we incorporate into all of our new designs. For the Watt's adjustment, pictured is the hardware stack for it. To adjust, all you need to do is loosen the 3/4" bolt, the retaining nut is semi-captive from the back tubular structure for the crossmember. The two small screws are just used for indexing the assembly, they don't need to be touched. We resisted the idea of using a lead screw for the adjustment, we had a customer insist on using one in the past from a competitor and I hated it (but it was a really poor design). Added complexity would just add more cost with little benefit. Secondly, using the approach we have allows us to know exactly what position it's in, we could do this on a lead screw version with an encoder but again, not worth it. I will say though, it is possible that we will put electrically controlled lead screws on both the Watt's pivot, and the forward UCA mount on our next in-house build! For certain the setup has provisions for a sway bar, we elected to go with an underslung/axle mounted approach so you can use pretty much any of the commercial ones already out there (most of them are made by Hellwig by the way, regardless of the brand). Also shown here is Steven Rupp's EPIC Bad Penny, showing the tailpipe approach. There is a ton of room for very large tailpipes.

    @Payne: NVH is going to be similar to any other ultra performance suspension out there. We insist on using top quality rod ends from FK, made is USA and used extensively in the off-road community. This setup is performance first - but we also recognize that our potential customer base will also use their cars as daily drivers. As such, we will offer a "touring" version of 3-Link control arms using a very novel bushing that will knock down some of the harshness.

    The opening in the floor will be closed off with a fire-resistant shifter boot style cover. Currently narrowing the source but it will likely be from Simpson Racing.
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Mark Magers

    Founder and Principal, Lateral Dynamics LLC
    [email protected]
    lateral-dynamics.com

    One tenth of a second on the race track is often the difference between first place, and fourth.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Austin, Tx
    Posts
    465
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    Mark,

    One more clarification on the pivot... You say the 2 small screws are for indexing. If I'm understanding correctly, the pivot can only be located vertically in one of the positions where the 2 small screws are located, it's not infinitely adjustable. Is that correct?

    Not that it matters that much, I'm just trying to see if I understand.

    I love the electrically adjustable ideas.

    Now, what are you building for the front to match up with this?
    Bryan (a.k.a. Carbuff)

    70 Camaro RS Hunk'o'Metal - Previous Project
    71 Firebird Project T.O.W. - New Project

  16. #16
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    May 2018
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    San Diego County
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    Bryan, you are correct. The system is not infinitely adjustable.

    Front stuff will be just as effective as the rear, but not sharing any details about it until the setup is complete!
    Mark Magers

    Founder and Principal, Lateral Dynamics LLC
    [email protected]
    lateral-dynamics.com

    One tenth of a second on the race track is often the difference between first place, and fourth.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    San Diego County
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    Suspension travel is obviously important, here are a few mockup shots of the new system. In order to have a fully competent system, meaning street, aggressive street, and competition ride heights the system was designed to have full suspension travel without mechanical interference. The hobby has trended towards very low ride heights, and especially in competition events, this is beneficial because it reduces the amount of lateral load transfer (resulting in roll). But you never want to be riding on the bump stops, that locks the suspension up solid and typically results in dramatic spinouts. On the other end of the spectrum, not everyone can go to the track as often as they would like but still want to enjoy driving the car. Even in our So Cal location, the roads keep getting worse and worse, and it seems like parking lots can't get enough speed bumps to boot, which means higher ride heights.

    This is where the adjustment of the suspension geometry we engineered into the system really shines. Whereas most "performance" aftermarket suspension systems (i.e. using coil over shock/springs) have provisions for ride height, spring rate, shock tuning, there are very few that even offer roll center height adjustment, and none even close to the range of the Next Gen system. Or ability to adjust gives the user a significant set of tuning "tools" that practically no other system offers - short of a custom built race specific setup - independent of the ride height selected.

    This also allows a significant head start for tuning cars that have already established that choose to upgrade their existing systems. Have a four link system with a 12" roll center height? No sweat, adjust the 3-Link to aggressive Anti-squat (resulting in poor anti-lift under braking) as a baseline, then make one adjustment at a time to suit the balance of the car, and driving style. Bumpy corner exit tracks? Adjust for less anti-squat to allow the suspension to work under heavy throttle. Seriously aggressive braking corner entry? Eliminate wheel hop by adjusting for improved anti-lift. And so on. We are not aware of any system on the market that allows the extremely broad range of setup options we do, not even close.

    Sound daunting? Don't worry. Let us know what tires you are running, and the intended usage of the car and we will recommend the baseline setup for you. And if something doesn't feel right, we'll guide you to options to improve, and also know that we intentionally limited the range of options so that nothing really "stupid" will result.

    During our last mockup for this car, we took some shots of what we feel is a good but aggressive street ride height, typical competition ride height, and one showing nearly full bump - of course with no springs or anti-roll bar installed.
    Attached Images Attached Images        
    Mark Magers

    Founder and Principal, Lateral Dynamics LLC
    [email protected]
    lateral-dynamics.com

    One tenth of a second on the race track is often the difference between first place, and fourth.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    Mark-

    Glad to see this make a comeback. Hope you're well.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    Nicely done Mark! Good luck with sales, and glad to see your company up and running again.
    John Parsons



    II Much Fabrication's Blog -- New products, Fabrication sequences, etc.

    II Much Fabrication's Current Build -- LS9-powered 69 Camaro

  20. #20
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    May 2018
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    San Diego County
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    Tyler! John! O.G. PT.com'ers, thanks for the kind words. It is truly fantastic to be back, cannot wait to share the next stuff to compliment the rear suspension.

    Cheers, guys, nice to "see" you again.
    Mark Magers

    Founder and Principal, Lateral Dynamics LLC
    [email protected]
    lateral-dynamics.com

    One tenth of a second on the race track is often the difference between first place, and fourth.

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