4 Link with stock frame rails - Team Camaro Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions, Steering & Handling

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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 06, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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4 Link with stock frame rails

I'm considering changing to a 4 link rear suspension in my wife's convertable and was wondering if anyone sees a problem with using the stock frame rails as a mounting or attachment point for the forward portion of the 4 link setup?
I don't really want to remove and replace the rear frame rails as they are in good shape and don't need replacing. I'm just somewhat concerned that the sheetmetal rails may not be suitable for installation of the front mount point.

Thoughts?


Thanks,
Tom

1967 Prostreet Camaro BBC TH 400 w/4,500 stall 4:56 gears,narrowed and tubbed...

1969 Convertable RS Clone 385 TH 400 w/2800 stall 3:73 gears

1966 Pontiac LeMans... Soon to be a GTO clone.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 06, 12:33 PM
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Tom,

You are justified with your concerns about the sheetmetal duribility. I would not trust it with a four link. I wonder how you would make a four link would using them anyway. There are plenty of companies that sell four link kits that use a weld in front crossmember for the front pick-ups. I would look that route if you are set on doing it. You should not have to touch you rear frame rails in the process.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 06, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

baz67,

Thanks for the input... Here's plan B! Purchase CE's formed frame rail kit and install inboard of the original sheetmetal frame rails. Then install the 4 link kit

I didn't really want to hack up the backend of the car, because it's in pretty good shape and I intend to keep the original width of the diff. I did look at Charlie Lillard's "Mule" from the Pro Touring site and it does look like when Stielow put the rear together he may have used the OEM rails? I know the front chasis is a home cooked piece, but it does look more like the stock stuff in back only improved!

Please keep the input coming so I can make an informed decision

Thanks,
Tom

1967 Prostreet Camaro BBC TH 400 w/4,500 stall 4:56 gears,narrowed and tubbed...

1969 Convertable RS Clone 385 TH 400 w/2800 stall 3:73 gears

1966 Pontiac LeMans... Soon to be a GTO clone.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 06, 09:31 AM
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Matt Jones
 
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Tom,
A person who does not want to cut up a car and wants to install a four-link kit is a bad match. You're going to have to cut it up no matter what to install any sort of effective, quality four-link kit.

CE uses 2x3 frame rails which are fine if you have a cage. If you not going to weld the rails to a cage, you MUST go with 2x4 tubing. You can get around this however by stitch welding the 2x3 rail to the trunk floor (all while making sure the new trunk floor is a structurally sound member of the rest of the unibody).

Matt Jones
Lead Mechanical Engineer
Art Morrison Ent. Inc.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 06, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Matt,

Please check your messages.... I sent a few questions along that I would like your opinion on?

Regards,
Tom

1967 Prostreet Camaro BBC TH 400 w/4,500 stall 4:56 gears,narrowed and tubbed...

1969 Convertable RS Clone 385 TH 400 w/2800 stall 3:73 gears

1966 Pontiac LeMans... Soon to be a GTO clone.
67 Prostreet is offline  
post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 8th, 06, 09:36 AM
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Mario
 
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Tom,

If i may ask, why in the first place do you want to install a 4 link in the car?

And what is the main use you make of the vehicle?

Starting with the basics and knowing what it is you wish to achieve would likely help us steer you in the right direction.


Lead.

LEADFOOT1

'Still a 1969 Camaro, but now a 1 owner 63 000 miles stored since 82 Convertible! Complete C6-Z06 Brake set-up, DSE Frame conn,19x8.5" and 20x13" Gunmetal-FORGELINE ZX3p's w/345-25-20's P-Zero in full tubs.
AirBar Suspended!
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 9th, 06, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Leadfoot1,

A really great question.... It steams from the typical worn leaf springs and the normal sag to the passenger side that all of these cars have over time. I'm currently in the restoration stage of my wifes convertable and I'm facing this issue with some ideas on how best to resolve the replacement process. I could just replace the original springs with another pair to the tune of almost 400.00 for a set of new ones ones that would allow me to lower the car 1 1/ inches. Or I can attempt to use parts that I already have on hand (4-link) from another project that got placed on hold. I like the idea of the 4-link for two primary reasons. 1.) Improved handling and ride 2.) Adjustability for varying conditions and ride heights. This is a crusier that I want to have some fun in. Because I already have purchased all the 4-link componants it feels less expensive to go this route and use this years play money on paint materials instead, in hopes of getting the car back on the street where it belongs.

Hopefully this brings some clarity to it
Regards,
Tom

1967 Prostreet Camaro BBC TH 400 w/4,500 stall 4:56 gears,narrowed and tubbed...

1969 Convertable RS Clone 385 TH 400 w/2800 stall 3:73 gears

1966 Pontiac LeMans... Soon to be a GTO clone.
67 Prostreet is offline  
post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 9th, 06, 11:15 AM
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Matt Jones
 
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Tom,
I apologize for not answering your PM yet, but I just wanted to quickly add that 4-links are not handling suspensions. They always bind.

This is assuming you are talking about a drag-type four link.

Matt Jones
Lead Mechanical Engineer
Art Morrison Ent. Inc.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 9th, 06, 11:52 AM
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Mario
 
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Matt,

I second the motion...(and the 'why' i asked the question of car usage)

Tom,

if you already considered replacing your sagged leaf susp. ...i got a brand new set of de-arched leaf springs for anoter project and it only cost 150$ I'm sure if you shop around (try some truck repair shops, they often can custom bend them and the guy's there always seem to like muscles cars...It helps in getting good deals!:-))

If its just for street cruising and that no "extreme" performance improvement is wanted i think this is your best and simplest bet. Just add some performance bushings and new anti squeak pads check your shocks while your there drop the top and go for a ride!

(+ you get to save buying a new 4 link in the future for your other project, or having to remove it from the Camaro when time comes for the other)

Hope this helps!

Lead.

LEADFOOT1

'Still a 1969 Camaro, but now a 1 owner 63 000 miles stored since 82 Convertible! Complete C6-Z06 Brake set-up, DSE Frame conn,19x8.5" and 20x13" Gunmetal-FORGELINE ZX3p's w/345-25-20's P-Zero in full tubs.
AirBar Suspended!
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 06, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Guy's,

Ok I'll fess up.... first, yes this is a Drag type 4-link. I don't expect to use the car as a G Machine... More along the lines of a cruiser with an occasional trip to the Sat night drags! I've had a really great opportunity to have Charles Lillard send me pics of his Mule and how it was fabbed as a model for my project. I have had the feedback that even Drag type 4-links ride pretty nice if there are setup correctly and you don't overdrive them in a street setting. The Strange coilovers that I have do have progressive rate springs so I'm hoping that this will allow for a Dream Whip ride with the ability to lower the car for a Mean look and give me the adjustability to set things up to prove she can hold her own at the track!

I really do appreciate all the feedback

Cheers,
Tom

1967 Prostreet Camaro BBC TH 400 w/4,500 stall 4:56 gears,narrowed and tubbed...

1969 Convertable RS Clone 385 TH 400 w/2800 stall 3:73 gears

1966 Pontiac LeMans... Soon to be a GTO clone.
67 Prostreet is offline  
post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 06, 09:07 AM
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Mario
 
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Location: Montreal area, Canada.
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Ok then...How does this stand now...

[QUOTE=67 Prostreet]
I didn't really want to hack up the backend of the car,

Matt? any suggestions?

Lead.

LEADFOOT1

'Still a 1969 Camaro, but now a 1 owner 63 000 miles stored since 82 Convertible! Complete C6-Z06 Brake set-up, DSE Frame conn,19x8.5" and 20x13" Gunmetal-FORGELINE ZX3p's w/345-25-20's P-Zero in full tubs.
AirBar Suspended!
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 06, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Ok.... I'll take it one step further! I didn't want to perform extensive surgery

Here's the plan.... I want to use a CE drop crossmember to tie in right behind the leaf spring mount tying left and right rockers together to firm up the body. then fab two frame rails inboard of the OEM as the attachment point for the 4-link as well as the upper shock mount. I don't intend to carry the rails to the end of the trunk pan as I was hoping to cut it short and end it right in front of the gas tank. As Matt had stated in an earlier post I intend to actually cut the trunk pan directly above where the new frame rails will be located and actually slide them through so they will be flush on the trunk side and then stitch weld them to integrate it more into the body structure in hopes of adding regedity to the unibody structure. Additionall there will be a two additional crossmembers added being the upper shock mount and at the long end of the inboard frame rails. I intend to attach both to the OEM rails at these locations to add more strength and redegity to the entire back half of the car.

Thoughts?

Thanks again for all the input

Tom

1967 Prostreet Camaro BBC TH 400 w/4,500 stall 4:56 gears,narrowed and tubbed...

1969 Convertable RS Clone 385 TH 400 w/2800 stall 3:73 gears

1966 Pontiac LeMans... Soon to be a GTO clone.
67 Prostreet is offline  
post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 06, 11:51 AM
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Matt Jones
 
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

I think no matter what you are going to have to do some major surgury, I don't know how you couldn't. The back seat may or may not have to come out.

I don't like the idea of cutting the new rails short to the gas tank. IMO, it needs to go all the way to the rear pinchweld. That's going to put somewhat of a moment on the flimsy sheetmetal rails (I don't even call them framerails).

Can you sent me photos of the Mule's 4 link that you're looking at? That might give me a better idea what what you're thinking of.

Matt Jones
Lead Mechanical Engineer
Art Morrison Ent. Inc.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 10th, 06, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

Matt,

The illustration of the Mule is just what I'm taking from.... I have a little different spin on how I want to install mine. I'm working on a crude drawing in a CAD program that I can send along once I have it to a point that would make any sense to anyone else. Watch for it in the next several days and then give me some feedback!

Thanks,
Tom

1967 Prostreet Camaro BBC TH 400 w/4,500 stall 4:56 gears,narrowed and tubbed...

1969 Convertable RS Clone 385 TH 400 w/2800 stall 3:73 gears

1966 Pontiac LeMans... Soon to be a GTO clone.
67 Prostreet is offline  
post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old Feb 11th, 06, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 4 Link with stock frame rails

OK.... So I made an error in thinking through my original idea! My chasis/fab guy came by last night so he could have a look at several things after I had shared my idea and the one thing that I didn't consider was the location of the upper link bars. Sooooo after studying the Mule photos, he indicated that we should follow it's design to the tee! So we will be using it for the exact model, which is a proven design and is pretty simple once you really look at how Mark Steilow assembled it. Besides I have checked in with Charlie Lillard and the original seat was maintained which is a positive thing I know my wife would have hit the convertable roof if I had indicated that the rear seat was coming out of her car! Ha

This is the left side of the car's forward mounts


1967 Prostreet Camaro BBC TH 400 w/4,500 stall 4:56 gears,narrowed and tubbed...

1969 Convertable RS Clone 385 TH 400 w/2800 stall 3:73 gears

1966 Pontiac LeMans... Soon to be a GTO clone.
67 Prostreet is offline  
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