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New Rodder needs guidance

 
Jebb Jebb
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 02/13
Posted: 02/11/13
04:30 PM

My 19 year old brought up a '51 Studebaker, four door (bullet nose), Commandar built by a guy named Jerry Wier.  We are a dog mushing family in Salcha, Alaska and we don't know anything about street rods.  We are getting lots of on the job training, but are running into issues beyond our abilities.  Our current problem involves an attempt to raise the front of the car a couple of inches. The boy is having a hard time protecting the car from the rough roads we have in Alaska.  Frost heaves are the worst.  The front end is a Fatman mustang ii frame stub with coil over shocks.  Any suggestions on how to raise it up?  Everything I've seen on the net basically spreads the coil springs but we don't know if these pieces are the best way to go.  Do we need longer shocks when we raise it?  

waynep71222 waynep71222
New User | Posts: 44 | Joined: 04/12
Posted: 02/11/13
11:07 PM

pictures..   use photobucket.. or similar image hosting sites..

are there adjusting screw threads and nuts on shock bodies.. you can adjust them upwards somewhat.. to raise the front of the car..


warning.. changing the RIDE HEIGHT of the car will require a wheel alignment by somebody who knows what they are doing.. and you are only going to get so much...   you don't want to throw off the suspension geometry ...   don't go to low profile tires.. or you will end up replacing them and the rims that get hammered by the road heaves...



is there room to go to TALLER tires  on your existing rims.. or taller tires and rims???  

Jebb Jebb
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 02/13
Posted: 02/12/13
01:38 AM

Thanks for the help.  Wow, suspension geometry.  How do we determine if we're throwing it off?  Is there a formula to find the current geometry and figure out the sweet spot?  The tires are just 205/75R15s on Studebaker steel rims with the original hubcaps.  We aren't planning to change tire size and there isn't much room for bigger tires.  We don't see any way to adjust the shocks.  If we raise the car 1.5" will we need a different shock?  We're planning on an alignment since we have to replace a tie-rod.  

waynep71222 waynep71222
New User | Posts: 44 | Joined: 04/12
Posted: 02/13/13
10:01 AM

If we raise the car 1.5" will we need a different shock?


with the car sitting on the suspension...   measure the ride height..  measure how much the shock is sticking out..   measure the angles of the upper and lower control arm...   stick an adjustable level on the outside of the tire...  right all this stuff down...


now...    place a floor jack under the crossmember... measure from the top of the wheelwell openings and slowly jack the car up 1.5 inches...

measure everything again...
upper and lower control arm angles...
camber angle.  how much the tire leans out or in at the top..
how long the shock is now....


write it all down again...


now.. jack the car up so the front wheels are hanging...    measure every thing again...


create a chart...

you don't want the suspension travel at the max limit when you change the ride height..

many times with fatman suspension you can move the upper control arm in and out a significant amount in the slots he provided..


now you need to compare the current ride height on the shock with the +1.5 height on the shock and the max extension on the shock..

when the car goes up 1.5 inches.. the shock does not extend that much as its only mounted part way out on the arms.. but how much does it extend?????

you will also want to measure the wire diameter of the spring...   look for some kind of part number. or with the spring out.. count the coils and measure the free height...  you should already have the spring  height at normal ride height and at +1.5"    if you had an individual weight for each front wheel of the car.. that would be nice also...  so the spring supplier could supply a replacement spring thats exactly the right length..  when compressed..  

Jebb Jebb
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 02/13
Posted: 02/14/13
06:37 PM

Thanks for the info.  Though it sounds complicated, I guess measuring and calculating will get us where we want to be with fewer problems.  I didn't see any adjustment slots for upper control arm adjustment, but I'll look tonight.  So, are you recomending we replace the springs rather than insert commercial spring spacers?  

waynep71222 waynep71222
New User | Posts: 44 | Joined: 04/12
Posted: 02/14/13
07:18 PM

there are various types of coil spring spacers...  twist in kind.. won't help... rubber inverted donuts with a split.. probably not...    machined rings or cast rings that raise the spring seat or lower the top spring perch height..


i am taking that something like this is what you are working with..


Independent Front Suspensions

or is this what you have???

Classic Independent Front Suspension IFS Kit

have you contacted fatman about the proper way to raise it..???

check your private messages to the left of where you log out at...

you can send me email images directly... its sometimes easier...  

waynep71222 waynep71222
New User | Posts: 44 | Joined: 04/12
Posted: 02/14/13
07:27 PM

the UPPER image shown in yellow... has slots to adjust the wheel alignment.. you can see the bolts sticking up thru the upper control arm inner shaft..

the lower suspension has shims to adjust the wheel alignment.


when you mentioned coil over shocks... i was thinking coil over shocks.. not coils sitting on the lower control arm and the shock sticking up thru the middle.. thats why you could not see any adjustment rings...

since you are in the wilds of alaska.. you could also perhaps use some layer of rubber or steel plates under or over the spring to change the ride height..  so its getting easier...

please check that at 1.5" increase that you are NOT going to top out the suspension travel...  

just in eyeballing the ratio... i am going to venture a wild guess.. of 1/2" to 5/8" will get you 1,5 inches or increase..  you might only need 7/16 but its a wild guess...  

if you made them from rubber.. they might mush out after a while..  

gogburn gogburn
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 05/13
Posted: 05/07/13
03:37 PM

You might have dropped spindles, if so you just need to change them out for the regular spindles and get a 1.5"-2" rise.

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 ---=  Regular spindle
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 ---=  Dropped Spindle
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