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    1. #201
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      Some still shots from yesterday

      Doug, our Co-Chair is also our photographer...so he didn't get to take any pics this weekend. My wife and Mom got some from the sidelines though...

      Here's one where SSLance was giving Monte Carlo all it had in the hard 180 after the back straight...



      Bit out of focus, but diving into the same corner a few runs later...



      Accelerating hard out of the first corner after the start



      Pretty hard on the binders here into the sweeper before the back straight.



      The car turned so well in that corner that I hit a cone on the INSIDE of the corner on my first run. I usually really struggle in that corner as the pavement is giving up there, not yesterday though, was able to just power through and build up speed for the back stretch.

      Hard on the gas heading into the walloms on the back stretch



      Coming out of the last wallom on the back straight setting up for the hard 180 to the right.



      Setting up for the third straight on my fastest run of the day



      Same run, last turn before the finish...



      Last run of the day, last corner at the end of a straight...





      Over drove it for the first time of the day, wheel hopped, slid, then muscled it on through. Cost me a half second.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car


    2. #202
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      So, after a couple of days rehashing the day at the track and the way the car handled after all of the changes, I found myself thinking about the places I left time on the track. In a couple of the pictures I posted above, you can see that I was sliding the front tires at different times in the 180 right hander at the end of the back straight. Knowing that I had video of this happening, I decided to slow the video down to half speed to make it easier to see exactly what was happening and try to figure out how to keep from repeating it.

      Here is the slo-mo of what I'm talking about.

      http://youtu.be/zFRhfKQVyZw

      At about 10 seconds in, you can see the front plant pretty hard under braking, then during turn in all seems good.

      At about 14 seconds...the fender starts to raise back up off of the tire right at about the middle of the turn. This is when the right front tire looses grip and slides...

      Thinking back the front probably came up as I let off of the brake pressure as I had slowed enough for the corner. The car was also rolling over at the same time.

      I'm certain there are mechanical things I could do to the car to keep this from happening (stiffer sway bars, better shocks with slower rebound to hold the front down longer) I'm wondering though if there are driving tips that could help me get through a corner like this without sliding the inside front tire? Timing wise, is there something I could have done differently to still carry maximum speed through the corner but keep the inside front tire from loosing grip when the front becomes unplanted?
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    3. #203
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      I doubt you've got enough aero effects to where front ride height is sensitive enough to matter at maybe 40 mph, so I think that trying to tie the front down with shock damping might be counterproductive (more rebound damping will lift more load off the inside tire faster during that upward motion than the upward position suggests). More rebound in the rear shocks might be something to try if the car is understeering when you are not sliding a tire like that.

      What I think was happening is that you carried a little too much braking a little too deeply into the turn. Eventually the combination of braking traction plus lateral acceleration and the accompanying roll and upward force from shock rebound was more than that tire could handle. So it locked at least partially and made the front slide. The smoke begins to be visible just before 0:14.


      Norm
      '08 GT coupe, 5M, suspension unstockish (the occasional track toy)
      '19 WRX, Turbo-H4/6M (the family sedan . . . seriously)
      Gone but not forgotten dep't:
      '01 Maxima 20AE 5M, '10 LGT 6M, '95 626, V6/5M; '79 Malibu, V8/4M-5M; '87 Maxima, V6/5M; '72 Pinto, I4/4M; '64 Dodge V8/3A

    4. #204
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      Thanks Norm, was wondering if you had seen the results and videos from my last event yet.

      Not sure that it makes any difference but I was up into the mid 60 mph range at the end of all 3 straight stretches on that course. It was really giving the low horsepower cars fits...most of them were shifting 6 times or more during a run.

      You should have seen the grin on my face get bigger and bigger as I walked the course for the first time...and then after each run.

      I'm wondering now if I shouldn't have braked harder while keeping the car in a straight line and then entered the corner much later (late apex)? This way I would have been completely off the brakes mid corner and if set up properly could have gotten back to the gas faster. The pinch point in that corner was the cone on the outside entering the next straight. If I had used a later apex line, I might not have needed to use as much steering input at that point where I slid the inside front tire.

      It was hard to stay out as long as I did though, carrying that much speed and knowing how tight of a 180 turn it was...it was like it sucked me into the turn early on just about every run.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    5. #205
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      Oh, I should add, the only time the car understeered all day long was in that particular corner a couple of times...when I was locking up the inside tire. The rest of the time the front was stuck.

      So much so that in the first run, on the first big right hand sweeper...I hit a cone on the inside because the car turned so much better than I thought it might and it surprised me. I just keep adding speed and adding speed each run after that and it just kept on sticking.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    6. #206
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      Quote Originally Posted by SSLance View Post
      Oh, I should add, the only time the car understeered all day long was in that particular corner a couple of times...when I was locking up the inside tire. The rest of the time the front was stuck.
      How did the rear feel relative to the front? Docile, like it'd never step out on you unless you did something really stupid or more like it was balanced on a knife-edge where it felt like it could get away from you if you only got a little sloppy?


      Norm
      '08 GT coupe, 5M, suspension unstockish (the occasional track toy)
      '19 WRX, Turbo-H4/6M (the family sedan . . . seriously)
      Gone but not forgotten dep't:
      '01 Maxima 20AE 5M, '10 LGT 6M, '95 626, V6/5M; '79 Malibu, V8/4M-5M; '87 Maxima, V6/5M; '72 Pinto, I4/4M; '64 Dodge V8/3A

    7. #207
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      With equal tire traction\grip front to rear, the back feels great. It stepped out a few times on my runs Sunday a little bit, but mainly due to other factors like bumps or too abrupt throttle application at the wrong time. If you are smooth between braking and throttle application the back feels great. Even if it steps out a little bit, it is still very much in control. Depending on the traction at the time you can get it back in line either by giving it a bit more gas transferring weight to the back or letting up just a bit to let the grip catch back up.

      When I have unequal traction like with my current street tire setup, the back is way loose but still very controllable. Not knife edgy at all, very controllable with the amount of throttle applied. It is REALLY fun to drive, just not necessarily as fast in the corners as it is with equal grip front to rear.

      With my old setup, when running the slicks...coming out of a sharp right hander hard on the gas the car would lift up the right rear tire and overpower the trac-loc and spin just the inside tire. With the new setup, it will still do this under the most extreme circumstances, but it is MUCH better than before. I think it only spun the right rear once or twice coming out of the last righthander before the finish of the course and never enough to really slow the car down...just that it was a bit noticeable.

      When I was working the course in heat 3, I noticed a LOT of cars were spinning their tires coming out of that turn hustling towards the finish.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    8. #208
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      Need a little help figuring something out

      Lance, after this turn, how long was the next straight? I always sacrifice speed in the apex if I can EXIT the turn on the gas sooner (early apex) IF there is a decent straightaway after the turn. Your speed at the end of the next straight will be higher if you get on the throttle earlier, plain and simple. In a Miata, those milliseconds you are NOT on the throttle dont matter much. With your V8 every millisecond off throttle is a wasted opportunity....

      1973 Corvette Factory Primer Car
      1969 Barracuda Convertible
      1967 Plymouth Valiant

    9. #209
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      It was a short chute with another 180 to the left at the end, not sure how long 100-150' maybe.

      You can see it here on this in car video.

      http://youtu.be/jZQiX6p-ELE
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    10. #210
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      I guess there is also the possibility that I was getting the car through that corner as fast as it was going to go with it's current setup?

      That run that I posted the slo-mo video of the front tire locking up was my 2nd try at that corner (and the whole course)...and I ran a 52.438.

      The run I showed from inside the car was my 7th try at the course, and I also slid the front tires in that same turn...and ran my fastest time of the day at 49.553.

      With that long course with 3 very fast straight sections, there were lots of places to make up time and also to loose time. On my 8th run I over drove the entry to the left hander at the end of the third straight, wheel hopped the car and had to dirttrack the whole corner...and I lost a half second. The rest of the run was clean and very fast.

      I guess I should just accept what I ran, learn from my mistakes, and try to keep getting better on my next runs. I'm not sure of a way to tell which is faster on each individual corner in a course with usually only 4 attempts at it during an event. I know this though, every time I lose the back on entry, I lose a LOT of time, but my 7th run shows that I can slide the inside front a bit and as long as it catches without upsetting the rest of the car, I can still put down a pretty good time. My times also show that I can carry less speed through the corners and not slide the fronts, but my times represent that as well.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    11. #211
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      Hi Lance,

      It is cool to see how much progress you have made with your car at the track. I remember when you posted this in April ...


      Quote Originally Posted by SSLance View Post
      Car drove a LOT better today, part I'm certain was due to straightening everything with rear suspension out..the rest was the tires. I usually finish about 60-70th out of 100 cars or so in raw time...38th out of 97 cars today!!
      Now, with a little work & very little budget, you have improved your car from a pushing mess ... rear tires bouncing ... to a flatter running, neutral handling, smoother "AutoX racer" that is faster, fun to drive & impressing people at the track.

      Quote Originally Posted by SSLance View Post
      Well, yesterday's event was a whole different story with the new setup.

      Here were my times for the day:

      Heat 1
      #1 53.123 (hit a cone on the inside of first sweeper, was surprised how well it turned)
      #2 52.438
      #3 52.307
      #4 50.260 (last one that was going to count, so I stepped it up)

      Heat 2
      #1 50.232
      #2 49.820
      #3 49.553
      #4 50.123 (over drove the corner after the last straight, wheel hopped under braking and dirttracked the corner)

      Here are the posted raw time results

      http://www.kcrscca.org/results/solo/...vent11_raw.htm

      Officially I finished 25th out of 100 drivers. Had my 49.553 counted I would have finished 18th.

      Check out the list of cars I finished ahead of! A LOT of those cars are considered "autocross" type cars and a bunch of them were running on some sort of racing compound tire as well. This was done with my 3700 pound 1985 Sport Luxury Monte Carlo with a full interior including AC! Nothing better in my book than beating them at their own game.

      I'll let Ron talk about the changes we've made and how they've affected the car from his perspective...I LOVE them and think it can only get better. It's unbelievable the grip this car has now, even with the problems it still has which we will continue to correct upon.
      Quote Originally Posted by SSLance View Post
      Not sure that it makes any difference but I was up into the mid 60 mph range at the end of all 3 straight stretches on that course. It was really giving the low horsepower cars fits...most of them were shifting 6 times or more during a run.

      You should have seen the grin on my face get bigger and bigger as I walked the course for the first time...and then after each run.

      Let's recap what you did for anyone following along:
      1. Mapped the roll center & corrected a RC migration problem
      2. Raised car 1" to increase front travel with spring adjusters
      3. Installed larger front sway bar ... kept same 575# springs
      4. Installed stiffer rear springs from 125# to 225# ... kept same rear sway bar
      5. Installed DSE LCA's to add caster
      6. Modified LCA holes to get a little more caster
      7. Increased caster from 5.5 to 7.5 (Better but still about 1.0 -1.5 less than optimum)


      Now ... with the higher travel front end & bigger sway bar ... the car is working the front tires much better. The caster is helping keep the contact patch much better. This is one of the keys to taking the bad push out of the car that you had ... and why the corner speeds are up. You can not make a car go faster the front tires have grip. The videos show you still need that extra 1.0 -1.5 of caster. Winter project maybe ?

      The stiffer rear springs are keeping the rear tires planted better ... no hop ... plus helping to keep the rear roll angle in line with what the front is doing ... while helping to keep the inside front tire planted better. As you know, I worked out the spring & sway bar combo for the correct FLLD & RLLD. Anyone following along ... the calcs showed the rear spring rate needed to be 207#. I asked Lance if wanted to err on the tight/pushy side or the free/loose side ... and he choose the free/loose side ... which is why we went with 225# rear springs.

      Lance, if after you dial in the new shocks ... you find the car is still a bit on the free side ... you can always go to 200# rears to tighten it up. You may find in the early Spring & Fall when the weather is cooler ... and the track has less grip ... the 200# rear springs may be the hot ticket. Then put the 225#s back in for warmer weather.

      The one LCA hole that was off ... causing the RC to migrate to the side made the car handle much differently left & right. Correcting that made the car handle more consistently & predictably. One cool thing is you learned how all that stuff worked .. and learned that you can correct & affect your geometry.

      What's next:
      Replace those 5 year old Edelbrock street shocks with adjustable ridetech shocks with special valving. I worked with Britt & Herb at ridetech to develop some AutoX valving. They utilize digressive valving on the rebound side of the front shocks ... with much stiffer low speed rebound valving to better hold the front end down through the roll through zone of the corner ... then release and extend as normal on corner exit. After you get them on your hot rod ... test & tune is next ... then another AutoX event.

      It has been a lot of fun working with you ... and it has been very rewarding to see your car's handling & track performance improve so much. Of course there can always be more. That just depends on how hardcore you get in search of performance.



    12. #212
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      Quote Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
      I doubt you've got enough aero effects to where front ride height is sensitive enough to matter at maybe 40 mph, so I think that trying to tie the front down with shock damping might be counterproductive (more rebound damping will lift more load off the inside tire faster during that upward motion than the upward position suggests). More rebound in the rear shocks might be something to try if the car is understeering when you are not sliding a tire like that.

      What I think was happening is that you carried a little too much braking a little too deeply into the turn. Eventually the combination of braking traction plus lateral acceleration and the accompanying roll and upward force from shock rebound was more than that tire could handle. So it locked at least partially and made the front slide. The smoke begins to be visible just before 0:14.

      Norm
      Hi Norm!

      I think you'll find it interesting what the car does with stiffer low speed rebound valving in the front shocks. That is a key element to high travel/low roll suspension setups. Lance's car is not a "full" high travel/low roll set-up. It's more of a "Tweener set-up" ... but the same tools apply.

      We'll get to see the results in a few weeks when he runs with the new shocks.

      Take care !


    13. #213
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ron Sutton View Post

      Now ... with the higher travel front end & bigger sway bar ... the car is working the front tires much better. The caster is helping keep the contact patch much better. This is one of the keys to taking the bad push out of the car that you had ... and why the corner speeds are up. You can not make a car go faster the front tires have grip. The videos show you still need that extra 1.0 -1.5 of caster. Winter project maybe ?

      Thanks Ron, The amount of knowledge I've learned over the summer with your help has been invaluable. Thank you for being patient with me, talking me back away from the ledge at times and getting the whip out on me when I needed it as well.

      I have several projects planned for the winter, adding longer UCA bolts to get the additional caster is on the list...along with replacing the body mounts to stiffen the car up and correct some other issues.


      Quote Originally Posted by Ron Sutton View Post


      One cool thing is you learned how all that stuff worked .. and learned that you can correct & affect your geometry.

      You have created more of a monster than you probably know.



      Quote Originally Posted by Ron Sutton View Post


      What's next:
      Replace those 5 year old Edelbrock street shocks with adjustable ridetech shocks with special valving. I worked with Britt & Herb at ridetech to develop some AutoX valving. They utilize digressive valving on the rebound side of the front shocks ... with much stiffer low speed rebound valving to better hold the front end down through the roll through zone of the corner ... then release and extend as normal on corner exit. After you get them on your hot rod ... test & tune is next ... then another AutoX event.

      It has been a lot of fun working with you ... and it has been very rewarding to see your car's handling & track performance improve so much. Of course there can always be more. That just depends on how hardcore you get in search of performance.



      Can't wait to get to working on getting the Ridetech shocks installed. It's gonna take a little bit of work on my part while you sit back, drink beer and watch...

      Then you are going to have to walk me through tuning them, which I am sure you are up for.

      Hopefully that all goes as smooth as the rest of this has and the BMWs, Minis, and Miatas will really have something to look out for at next year's autocross events.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    14. #214
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      Well my next project is under way...so I figure I'll start with the nuts and bolts of it here.

      An upgrade in shocks was the obvious next choice, as I was competing on 5 year old Edlebrock IAS shocks at all four corners. I guess I left this til last as it is a pretty difficult yet pretty important choice to make in order to get the most out of your suspension.

      Ron Sutton worked with the guys at ridetech and they came up with a shock that they felt would work the best on my car. With my DSE front arms on the car, here were the measurements I made to determine which shock to use.

      Fully extended length 12"
      Fully compressed length 8.75"
      Ride height length 10.375"

      That was about a 3.25" stroke. ridetech had a 2.9" stroke shock body and a 3.6" stroke shock body to chose from. Ron wanted the travel, so we chose the 3.6" body (Comp: 9.73” Ext: 13.33”) and said we'll just figure out a way to get them mounted to the car so they'd travel.

      The rear shocks were easier:

      Fully extended length 22" (the Edelbrock shocks on it now only extend to 20" and haven't been a problem)
      Fully compressed length 13.5"
      Ride height length 15.5"

      That's a 8.5" stroke, The shocks for the rear are a 6.9” stroke shock with the following dims:

      Comp: 13.125”
      Ext: 20.025”

      Those should fit fine on the car.

      Ridetech sent me a mockup front shock body to try to figure out how to modify my brand new DSE arms to drop the shock mount an inch below their shock mount. Once my last autocross event was in the books I pulled the old shock and set out to try to figure it out.

      Here's what I was looking at...





      There was going to have to be significant trimming to get the shock body through the bottom of the arm and we were planning on building brackets to bolt onto the old shock mount holes, drop down and mount the new Ridetech shock to.

      The more and more I looked at this, the more I didn't like it. Especially if we eventually went to a coil over spring where 100% of the weight would have been on that mount. The most obvious choice was to use Ridetech's Lower Control Arm in place of the DSE arm. A few checks were made to make sure there weren't any significant design differences between the two that would mess up everything else we had worked on so far and that was a non-issue, so front LCAs were put on the list.

      For the rears, Ridetech ships an adapter to convert the Trunion style upper mount to a double shear mount as well as an adapter to do a sideways double shear mount on the bottom side. Looks like this.





      Knowing in advance that the shock\lower control arm mount on my QP 9" axle housing is much different than stock, I knew this would take some work. It does... The top mount will work fine or I can convert it to a Trunion style mount that Ridetech also sent. The bottom mount won't work at all







      I bought some 3/16s plate steel today, cut it up into some pieces based off of the cardboard templates I made up last night and tonight I will attempt to recreate Ridetech's bottom shock mount, only built to fit my rear axle housing. I made them a bit long to add in some adjustability just in case.

      And that's where we stand now. I've got one side of the front off and tonight I'll mock the Ridetech LCA in place with just the shock and measure travel to make sure everything moves freely and plays nice together. I'll also at least get one of the rear bottom shock mounts tacked up and if I'm feeling froggy, may even weld it up on my own instead of farming that part out. We'll just have to see how it goes.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    15. #215
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      Things are progressing nicely in the shop with the ridetech install. Here are some pictures of my "Made by Lance" Lower shock mount brackets for my Quick Performance 9" rear axle housing.

      These were taken with the shocks at full compression, no springs installed yet.





      Probably about ride height







      With springs on sitting at ride height.







      Fully extended with springs





      The shock travel with the mounts in this manner basically mimic the shock travel I had with my stock style shocks. Full compression is about 13" center to center, ride height is about 15.5" and fully extended is 20". The bump stop on the shock contacts the shock body just before the bump stop on my axle contacts the frame.

      For the front install I had to finesse the front control arm mounts on my frame a bit to fit the ridetech LCAs in place, but that wasn't a big deal once I figured out what to do. I've learned over the years that the frames on these G-Bodys are loosey goosey and if something isn't fitting properly it isn't that difficult to get the frame part moved to make everything line up. I then pressed the Howe Tall lower ball joints out of my DSE arms and pressed them into the Ridetech arms and bolted them in place without issue. The travel of the front shocks is good, with ride height set at 26" at the fender, they will compress down to 23" at the fender before the bump stop on the shock stops the travel. They will extend up to at least 29" at fender as well, I haven't measured exactly how high they'll go before lifting the tire off of the ground.

      One other thing I had to do to fit the front shocks in place was open up the shock tower hole on the frame from .600 to .750 so that the mono ball stem on the shock mount would fit through the frame. other than that it was pretty much plug n play just like the rears.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

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      So with everything shock related mocked up and in place except for the shock reservoirs, this is what I've been working on this week

      I've ordered a pair of these



      http://www.sealsit.com/grommet_split.asp

      And once they get here I'll prepare myself mentally to cut two 3" diameter holes in my trunk floor up near the center of the shelf above the rear axle. The reservoir lines will leave the top of the shock mounts, wrap around the old coil spring spuds on the frame and head to the center where they'll go up through the floor of the trunk and the reservoirs will be mounted pointed back out to the outside of each respective side. Their placement will allow me to open the trunk and reach the adjustment knobs on each reservoir very easily plus give a secure and safe place to mount them out of the way. Hopefully the grommets provide a good clean safe way to seal the holes back up again.

      The front shock reservoirs will just be mounted somewhere near the top of the front shocks on the inner fenderwell so all three adjustment knobs up there will be easy to access as well.

      I've been working on the alignment settings with the new front lower control arms. I ordered the Joes Racing caster camber gauge and started checking it out Tuesday night. I had to remove my dust caps, the cotter pin and wheel bearing nuts, take the bearing washer out and put the nut back on the spindle to have enough thread to thread the tool onto the spindle. Once there I checked all of the settings.

      I knew my steering wheel was centered before so I centered it again and put several pieces of masking tape on the top of my steering column and also on the steering wheel itself then made a mark going across both to give me a reference mark showing when the steering wheel is centered.

      To check caster, you have to know when your front wheels are turned 20 degrees left or right. If you notice on the gauge...



      On the outside of it there are two edges that are pointed 20 degrees toward the inside. With the gauge on the drivers side front wheel, I turned the steering wheel to the left until the level I put on that end of the gauge was parallel with the body of the car, representing a 20 degree turn to the left. Once I was sure it was parallel, I put a mark on the steering wheel masking tape even with the mark on the column, noting a 20 degree turn to the left. Then I repeated that procedure for the passenger side.

      To check Caster, what you do is turn the driver's side wheel 20 degrees to the left, level the bubble on the end of the gauge, then adjust the thumbscrew on the center part of the gauge to set the caster bubble to zero. Then turn the steering wheel all the way to 20 degrees to the right (line up the other mark on the masking tape) and boom...read your caster number on the bubble level. Easy Peasy...

      To do the passenger side just reverse the above procedure.

      Reading Camber settings is even easier. Level the gauge on the respective spindle and read the bubble on the level.

      Now...and this is the part where I can't seem to get it through my thick head how to do this stuff right the first time.

      It is CRUCIAL to have the car sitting at ride height, on a square and level floor before starting to read or mess with these adjustments.

      When I first put the gauge on a spindle, I was so excited about how easy it was to use, I just started measuring, making notes and then went right into making adjustments pulling out shims, measuring, and repeating all while checking for tie rod clearance at the frame at full compression (my main interference point). I had my two post lift arms set under the frame, 10.5" of wood stacked under the rear tires and my car ramps and two double laminated pieces of plywood under the front tires at 10.5" tall as well. Coilover springs on the rear were set to ride height, driver side front shock was installed with no spring, no passenger side shock was installed. After messing with it quite a bit tweaking the driver side caster and camber getting it just so where I thought it was best, I went to the passenger side and it was all out of whack.

      I then realized what was going on. My lift arms are not exactly level with one another, so as I was raising and lowering the frame of the car with the lift with no springs in the front, essentially the passenger side of the frame was about a 1/2-3/4" lower than the driver side. This WILL mess your readings up!! Not only that, the weight of the engine forces the front of the frame to flex down 1/2-3/4" when the frame is lifted behind the front tires...also detrimental to getting accurate measurements of front geometry.

      So, I punted for the night and came up with a new plan of attack.

      Last night I first I installed the passenger side shock (no springs) to match the driver side. I then set the rear tires on the floor sitting on one flat 2x6 raising them 1.5" up off of the floor. I set the front tires on the two pieces of 3/4" laminate plywood on the floor, basically setting all tires 1.5" up off of the floor. I then put my floor jack under the front crossmember and lowered the car off of the lift arms and got them out of the way. I discovered that my jack would not go low enough to drop the front of the car to full compression (necessary for setting bump steer) so I put another 2x6 under all four tires raising them all to 3" off the floor and that gave my jack the clearance it needed. Basically this let me set the rear coilovers to exactly the desired ride height and to use the floor jack to raise or lower the front suspension with the complete weight of the car, engine, frame body etc on the jack\frame just like it would be if there were springs on the shocks.

      I then only used the jack to move the front of the car up and down as needed and remeasured all of my current alignment settings on both front wheels. Of course, the adjustments I made the night before completely screwed the Drivers side up due to readings being off because the body of the car was canted to the passenger side and the frame was drooping 1/2-3/4s" under the weight of the engine.

      What I also found was with the weight on the frame in this correct state, I could get another 1/2" of compression travel before the bump stops settled and the tie rod hit the frame.

      #startover

      I then quit for the night knowing that the next time in the shop the car is all jigged up ready to go and all I have to do is start taking readings again, making adjustments and taking readings once again. It should go pretty fast now, it really doesn't take that long to loosen the UCA nuts, slip a few shims in or out tighten back down and check again and I have a pretty good idea now of what needs to be changed to get things where we want them for maximum front tire contact in all scenarios.

      Lesson here, car HAS to be in static ride height condition in order for the tools and procedures to work properly...live it, learn it...

      And that's where I'm at right now. Hopefully tonight I'll get a real good set of adjustments made to the camber, caster, bump steer and toe and get the front end locked down. Then it'll just be a matter of installing the front springs, mounting the reservoirs, nut and bolting everything and a test drive to start tuning the shocks.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    17. #217
      Join Date
      Aug 2012
      Location
      Peoria, AZ
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      1,729
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      Alignment is done, as are bump steer adjustments.

      Got -0.50 static camber on both sides and +9.25 caster driver, +9.125 caster passenger side. Close enough for now, I'll fine tune that on the alignment rack once I get some longer UCA bolts in the passenger side.

      At 2" of fender compression from ride height, the camber gains to -2.50. Toe stays steady until about the same height, then it toes out just a bit as the fender goes to 23" or full compression...exactly as Ron prescribed.

      With a fender ride height of 26", the front will compress to 23" where it sits on the shock bump stops. At this point the tie rod is just kissing the frame, it will still move easily for about a half turn of the steering wheel each way before binding up. Lifting the car 1/4" freed it up completely. I still need to extend the stock style sway bar end links a bit to keep the sway bar off the tie rods, I'll measure for that before putting the front springs on, shouldn't be a big deal though. The bolt will be long enough, just need to add some spacers to it.

      Fender will rise to 29" without lifting the tire off the ground giving a front wheel travel of at least 6", 3" compression, 3" extension.

      I have 700# 8" long springs and 600# 10" springs on hand for the front.

      I have 200# and 185# 12" long springs for the back. Ron has calculated the 185# rear & 600# front for the correct Tweener high travel/low roll setup.

      I'll have to compress the 600# springs approx. 1/2" to pre-load them on the shocks.

      Tonight we start bolting on parts for the final time and nut n bolting everything to make sure it's all tight. Biggest part of this will be cutting the 3" diameter holes in the trunk floor for the reservoirs...

      The build continues...
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    18. #218
      Join Date
      Aug 2012
      Location
      Peoria, AZ
      Posts
      1,729
      Country Flag: United States
      Quote Originally Posted by SSLance View Post

      I'll have to compress the 600# springs approx. 1/2" to pre-load them on the shocks.

      So this was interesting, and I wonder if the exercise I went though yesterday is why people to use a shorter shock and a stiffer shorter spring when putting a coil over setup on a G-body or similar frame rather than the 3.6" travel shock and 10" spring.

      The good news is though, I figured out a way to make it a pretty easy install.

      After trying 3 different spring compressors with no luck in getting the spring on the shock, I took the whole assembly back apart and started from the beginning. I knew I was going to have to use either my press or the weight of the car to compress the spring enough to get the spring on the shock. With the shock's top mount apart and in my hand, it hit me...

      I put the lower plastic ball part of the mount into the hole in the frame from the bottom. I then put the lower spring adjuster all the way down on the shock body (mistake, will explain later) then the 10" spring, then the upper spring retainer and the aluminum top mount with the clip in place. The length of the spring made the top mount not go all the way down on the shock, but that was okay.

      The lower ball joint was loose, so I slid the shock into place in the A-arm and put the bottom bolt in place, then lifted the A-arm while directing the shock assembly into the hole in the frame. Once it touched, I put my screw jack under the A-Arm and used the jack to lift the A-arm and shock up, compressing the spring at the same time. As it got there, I guided the lower ball joint into the bottom of the spindle and lifted it up until it was tight in place. I inspected the top shock mount and everything was right in place.

      At this point I kicked myself in the butt as I just did in 10 minutes what I had spent the last three hours trying to do...unsuccessfully.

      I put the top two pieces of the shock mount in place on top of the frame and tightened the nut down. Boom...coil over shock installed. I did the same to the other side and lowered the car down to check the ride height. Fender was about an inch lower than we wanted it, that meant the bottom spring adjuster needed to go up about a half inch. While I was doing the passenger side, my brother finished up the install on the drivers side including the sway bar mount and the cotter pin in the ball joint stud. Second mistake...

      We tried to raise the adjuster up with the spanner wrench but the adjuster being at the very bottom of the shock down in the dropped A-arm mount, there wasn't room to get the spanner wrench in there much less turn it with pressure on the spring. The smart thing to do would have been to bust the lower ball joint loose again, lower the A-arm taking pressure off the spring, run the adjuster up by hand and re-install. We did it the other way. We used a hammer and a punch to turn the adjuster about 3 turns before we could get a good bite on it with the spanner wrench to run it the rest of the way up we needed. This isn't particularly easy and I strongly suggest to not use this method, but we made it work anyway.

      Once both of the adjusters were ran up a half inch we lowered the car down again, jounced the suspension up and down a bit, rolled the car back and forth and measured again...we need another couple turns on each and it was good. We then stopped for the night and today I finished up the install and test drove.

      What we've learned here is that it is possible to run a 3.6" travel shock with a 10" 600# spring in the front of a G-body. The pressure it takes to move the front down on the springs feels very similar to the 575# conventional springs I had in it before and it drives very similar as well.

      I haven't started adjusting on the shocks yet. I set all three settings at -12 clicks on all 4 shocks for the initial test drive. The rear feels a little bit more stiff than before but the front feels VERY similar to the old setup. Travel, turn in, weight transfer, control, ride, all are very nice as is...but I'm certain I can make them all much better with some tuning, which is next. I need to clean up the shop and spend some time with my wife for a day or so first...then get back after it.

      Hopefully this will show though that you can make a long travel coil over setup work on a G-body without resorting to putting a super stiff spring in due to space constraints or install difficulties. It really isn't that hard to do now that you know how.
      Lance
      1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car

    19. #219
      Join Date
      Mar 2006
      Location
      California City Ca.
      Posts
      397
      Nice work Lance, i'm going with ridetechs on my buick also just the single adjustables thou. Hope to order bynthe end of the week.are you gonna use those camaro brakes or stay with stockers?
      Dale Hayes
      87 turbo t
      turbonetics t60, pet stock location intercooler, ride tech coilovers, rjc exhaust, 60lb injectors with tt chip, ported heads and intake, ported tb, baer brakes, roh 17 inch wheels....now need to finish paint and get it put back together.

    20. #220
      Join Date
      Nov 2002
      Location
      state of confusion
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      1,499
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      It's not surprising that 600# coilovers feel similar to 575 # big springs, since the big springs are roughly concentric to the shock and would have at least a similar motion ratio.

      One of the things to do next would be to cornerweight the car. Getting the ride heights equal does not guarantee that the corner weights are balanced. You'll probably want at least one endlink on the front sta-bar to be adjustable so that re-connecting the bar won't upset the corner weights after you've gone to the trouble of getting them set.


      Norm
      '08 GT coupe, 5M, suspension unstockish (the occasional track toy)
      '19 WRX, Turbo-H4/6M (the family sedan . . . seriously)
      Gone but not forgotten dep't:
      '01 Maxima 20AE 5M, '10 LGT 6M, '95 626, V6/5M; '79 Malibu, V8/4M-5M; '87 Maxima, V6/5M; '72 Pinto, I4/4M; '64 Dodge V8/3A

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