Posts Tagged ‘C4 Corvette hot rod front suspension’

Installing the C4 Corvette Front Sway / Stabilizer Bar in the Hot Rod

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Installing the Front Sway / Stabilizer Bar

More distractions!!

This past week has been interesting here at home. I have been working on the last few finishing touches in a small apartment we rent that is in our old Victorian house we live in. The house was built in 1868 and is an interesting old home. Nothing is simple here. For example the last tenant in the apartment destroyed the bathroom sink taps. Only a few years old, but one handle was broken off. I’m not sure how this would happen, but it does!! I purchased new ones and replaced them. That was easy. As I was lying on the floor, I leaned against the toilet cold water line. Well, if that didn’t start leaking. Off to the hardware store to pick up a replacement. I returned and replaced it. I gave the toilet a flush and noticed that the water would not shut off inside the toilet tank. With a quick look inside the toilet tank, I noticed that the float was cracked. Off to the hardware store again to pick up a new float. I decided to clean the bath tub out and noticed that the drain was plugged. With no drain cleaner at home a third trip to the hardware store was required. The drain cleaner solved the plugged drain problem. The point I am making is that a simple 15 minute task to replace a set of vanity taps in the bathroom turned out to be an afternoon of driving back and forth to the hardware store. These are just a few minor distractions that get in the way of building a hot rod. This is why you need to stay focused and determined when building a hot rod.


Let’s install the sway bar.

Now to the placement of the sway bar I removed from the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car onto my 1929 Ford Hot Rod.   The design considerations for a IFS hot rod using the C4 Corvette suspension continues.

Originally, the front sway or stabilizer bar from the C4 Corvette was positioned towards the front of the Corvette. Trying to keep the design of my suspension for the 1929 Ford hot rod true to the design of the 1986 Corvette, I attempted to do the same. The problem I ran into was my chassis is much shorter on the front of the Model A Ford then the Corvette is. Having the front sway bar mounts bolted to the front of the Model A frame horns would not look so good. Now I needed to try a few other options. I could have easily found an aftermarket sway or stabilizer bar for the front the 1929 Ford roadster. But, that was out of the question. One of my original goals in this design was to incorporate as much of the C4 Corvette suspension removed from the wrecked Corvette in the hot rod I am building. I want this hot rod to handle like a Corvette! We will wait and see on that thought.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 1 - After a considerable amount of time determining the exact location of the front sway bar I now needed to make a few more brackets.  I cut a piece of 2 inch square tubing along its length,  and drilled the holes for the sway bar mounts.  This bracket will be sealed and have no access for nuts, so I weld a couple of 0.5 inch nuts to a couple of 0.125 inch steel plate.  This will provide additional strength.  Both the nuts and plate combination were tack welded to the "U" channel.  This will make for a nice and clean mount.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 1 - After a considerable amount of time determining the exact location of the front sway bar I now needed to make a few more brackets. I cut a piece of 2 inch square tubing along its length, and drilled the holes for the sway bar mounts. This bracket will be sealed and have no access for nuts, so I weld a couple of 0.5 inch nuts to a couple of 0.125 inch steel plate. This will provide additional strength. Both the nuts and plate combination were tack welded to the "U" channel. This will make for a nice and clean mount.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 2 - With the 1986 Corvette sway bar in place, I bolted the sway bar to the newly fabricated mount and tack weld it to the chassis.  Using this method I ensures a perfect fit and placement.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 2 - With the 1986 Corvette sway bar in place, I bolted the sway bar to the newly fabricated mount and tack weld it to the chassis. Using this method I ensures a perfect fit and placement.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 3 - Now I needed to fabricate the sway bar link mount for the lower control arms.  Using coil over shocks force the position of the sway bar back a bit so I could not used the original sway bar mounting links.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 3 - Now I needed to fabricate the sway bar link mount for the lower control arms. Using coil over shocks force the position of the sway bar back a bit so I could not used the original sway bar mounting links.

I found quickly that positioning the sway bar to the rear of the car would work. I used wooden blocks to keep the sway bar in place and to have a visual display of what this might look like. Not wanting to be too hasty, I decided to proceed cautiously and take my time with this. Over the next week, after work, and whatever else that needing doing around the house, I would go out to the shop and look at the sway bar placement. Several ideas start to form. The problem I was having was coming up with the sway bar link attachment to the lower control arm. Heating and bending the sway bar is not a good idea. If I could, the link attachment to the control arms would be a snap.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 4 - The sway bar links have be made and installed.  The link from the sway bar to the mount is made of 3/16 inch steel plate.  The lower control arm had a couple of existing mounting holes for the sway bar mount so this made the attachment of the mount easy.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 4 - The sway bar links have be made and installed. The link from the sway bar to the mount is made of 3/16 inch steel plate. The lower control arm had a couple of existing mounting holes for the sway bar mount so this made the attachment of the mount easy.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 5 -  Everything in now roughed in and doesn't look to bad.  I am still not totally please with this and still may make a few alterations to the front sway bar links and mounts later on.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 5 - Everything in now roughed in and doesn't look to bad. I am still not totally please with this and still may make a few alterations to the front sway bar links and mounts later on.

Sway or stabilizer bars are tempered and hardened. Heating them up with a torch and bending it is very tricky. It can be done, but not properly in the home shop. I have even watched a number of TV shows with very famous car builders modify sway bars. They would heat them up, bend them, and Bob’s your uncle. I would think they of all people would know better.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 6 -  This is a close up view of the sway bar link and mount on the lower control arm.  Of course the sway bar bushing will need to be replaced.  That can wait till the final assembly of the car.  The only part of the original front sway bar link assembly I used using the lower insulator bracket.  The left over link parts were all sold on eBay.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 6 - This is a close up view of the sway bar link and mount on the lower control arm. Of course the sway bar bushing will need to be replaced. That can wait till the final assembly of the car. The only part of the original front sway bar link assembly I used using the lower insulator bracket. The left over link parts were all sold on eBay.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 7 - I cut up a few more pieces of the 2 inch square tubing and make 4 right angle pieces that would close off the front sway bar mounts on the chassis.  Everything was welded in place ground clean, filled, and primed for a good clean and polished look.  The chassis should be a work of art!  It is a statement to everyone on the type of builder you are.  Remember these little finishing touches take time and not a lot of money to do.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 7 - I cut up a few more pieces of the 2 inch square tubing and make 4 right angle pieces that would close off the front sway bar mounts on the chassis. Everything was welded in place ground clean, filled, and primed for a good clean and polished look. The chassis should be a work of art! It is a statement to everyone on the type of builder you are. Remember these little finishing touches take time and not a lot of money to do.

Using coil over shock in the front complicated everything. If I did not use coil over shocks, I could have used everything as is was removed from the C4 Corvette with the exception of mounting the sway bar to the rear of the car. I needed to move the sway bar position slightly back on the lower control arms. I then noticed that there were a few mounting holes to the rear of the lower control arms. Not wanting to change too much or alter the control arms, I thought it would be best to use what was there already. With everything taking shape, I decided to make a new lower control arm bracket for the sway bar link mount. This bracket would be attached and mounted to a location on the lower control so I could use the existing mounting holes. After a few plexi-glass templates and sample mounting attempts, I came up with the final design of the lower control arm link mounting bracket.

Everything was tack welded into place, wheels put back on the car and the jacks, blocks, were all removed. With the roadster on its own weight, everything looked okay. The final welding was completed. All of the welds were ground clean and eventually I filled and prime the chassis for a very finished look.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 1 - The suspension is completed now.  I think this looks pretty good.  Two of my main goals have been achieved.  The first one was to incorporate as much of the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible suspension as possible in the hot rod chassis.  The second goal was to do this as cheaply as possible.   Every single part that I did not use from the wrecked Corvette donour car was sold.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 1 - The suspension is completed now. I think this looks pretty good. Two of my main goals have been achieved. The first one was to incorporate as much of the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible suspension as possible in the hot rod chassis. The second goal was to do this as cheaply as possible. Every single part that I did not use from the wrecked Corvette donour car was sold.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 2 - Now I just need to add the brakes, replace the rubber boots on the steering rack, and install the coil over shocks.  This sounds simple, but the devil is in the details, and it's those things that take up hours and hours of time.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 2 - Now I just need to add the brakes, replace the rubber boots on the steering rack, and install the coil over shocks. This sounds simple, but the devil is in the details, and it's those things that take up hours and hours of time.

The neat thing about this project is that every single part that I did not need for the hot rod project was sold. I mean everything. Up to now, the project still has no out of pocket expense. Not bad for what is turning out to be an above average hot rod.

Don’t forget to keep coming back for more information on the build process of the 1929 Ford Hot Rod, more stories, information on swap meets, and summer cruises / car shows.

I am currently working on AutoCAD drawings of the 1929 Ford Hot Rod chassis using the C4 Corvette suspension components. They should be available to purchase sometime this June or July. By the end of the summer I will also have a DVD video showing how the this unique custom chassis was built.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Chassis / Frame Design for the 1928 to 31 Model “A” Ford Street Rod – Part 6

Friday, February 12th, 2010
Chassis / Frame Design for the 1928 to 31 Model “A” Ford Street Rod – Part 6 

One of my main goals in the design for the 1928 to 31 Model A Ford Street Rod chassis / frame was to incorporate as many of the 1986 C4 Corvette suspension components as possible.  Initially, I even wanted to use the front mono composite spring from the Corvette.  This spring is huge and at the time did not seem like a practical idea.  Having acquired a variety of automotive parts over a short period of time, I had sitting in the shop, 4 Jaguar coil over shocks.  The distance between the mounting holes was prefect for my application.  These shocks came from the rear end of a mid 1980’s full size Jaguar Sovereign 4 door car.  The Jaguar Sovereign is a heavy car, and my 1929 Ford Roadster hot rod would be much lighter.  I thought there might be a possibility to use the coil over shocks on my hot rod.  Temporary mounting brackets were made for the shocks.  The motor and transmission were temporarily mounted into the hot rod chassis / frame.  I even added several bags of sand for added weight.  The shocks were mounted to the front of the new 1928 to 31 Model A Ford Street Rod chassis / frame.  I measured the ground clearance for a reference point then stood on the chassis and started bouncing my 6’-4”, 250 pound body up and down on the chassis as hard as I could.  Very little movement was observed.  It was then I realized that I could save a bit of money for the time being and use the Jaguar coil over shocks in the front of my 1929 Ford Roadster.  Later on, once the car is on the road, I do intend to replace these shocks with nice and shiny chrome coil over shocks.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - the upper control arm mount is tack welded in place and the lower right angle cross memeber gussets have be installed.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - the upper control arm mount is tack welded in place and the lower right angle cross member gussets have be installed.

Everything is starting to come together nicely with the front 1986 C4 Corvette suspension for the 1928 to 31 Model A Ford Street Rod chassis / frame.  The front suspension mock up produced favourable results with the desired ride height.  Not only that, all of suspension components taken from the1986 C4 Corvette look great on the new hot rod frame.  Now it came time to create a proper chassis cross member, and the required mounting brackets for the front suspension.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - outside view - these brackets are welded to the outer edge of the chassis rails. The chassis rails have a slight taper to them.  The chassis rail width is narrower in the front than in the rear.  I mounted both upper control arm brackets parallel to each other.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - inside view - the shocks are mounted and tested to determine if the spring rate is adequate.

For the cross member I used  2” x 4” x 0.1” rectangular tubing, heavy wall 1.25” round tubing for the lower control arm mounts, and 0.25” plate steel for the upper control arm mounts.  Inside the 1.25” heavy wall round tubing, bronze bushings were pressed into each end providing an inner diameter of 0.5” for the lower control arm mounts.    Originally the lower control arms were fastened to the 1986 C4 Corvette cross member with metric bolts about 3” long for each pivot point on the lower control arms.  I did notice a minor amount of wear on the original C4 Corvette cross member mount holes for the lower control arms.  The design for my hot rod will allow for sealed lubrication in the lower control arm cross member round tubes eliminating wear problems.  The only thing left to do, is enlarge the inside bushing diameter of the C4 Corvette lower control arms.  This was accomplished very carefully, using a 0.5” cobalt drill bit.  High speed drill bits will not work for this task.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - inside view showing the gussets for the upper control arm brackets.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - inside view showing the gussets for the upper control arm brackets.

Wanting a strong chassis / frame, one that will not flex when picked up by one corner of the chassis, I welded in right angle gussets from the lower front cross member to the inside of the frame rails.  Scraps of 2” x 4” rectangular tubing was used for this job.  Now this created a minor problem for the stock 1986 C4 Corvette steering rack.  The steering rack and the intermediate steering shaft needed a bit of clearance space notched out of the right angle gussets I just welded into the cross member / chassis.  To solve the problem, a very small section of round exhaust tubing was moulded into the gusset.  This took a few hours to do and make it look nice.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - inside view showing the gussets for the upper control arm brackets. Now a bit of grinding is in order to make everything smooth.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - inside view showing the gussets for the upper control arm brackets. Now a bit of grinding is in order to make everything smooth.

Work on the upper control arm brackets started.  Using the plasma cutter, and a wooden template, I cut out 2 identical brackets.  The plasma cutter produces a very clean cut, so it didn’t take too long finishing the edges of these brackets.  The highest part of these brackets would stand a little more than 4” from the top of the frame rail.  Again, wanting everything very strong, I fabricated gussets to strengthen the upper control arm brackets to the frame / chassis.   

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - inside view showing the exhaust tubing massaged into the cross member.  This is required to have the proper clearance for the 1986 C4 steering rack and intermediate shaft.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - inside view showing the exhaust tubing massaged into the cross member. This is required to have the proper clearance for the 1986 C4 steering rack and intermediate shaft.

Now it was time to weld everything in place.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - outside view showing my first version of the upper mount for the coil over shock.  I didn't like the way this looked and ended up removing it.

C4 Corvette upper control arm mount for a 1928 - 1931 Ford Model A Hot Rod - outside view showing my first version of the upper mount for the coil over shock. I didn't like the way this looked and ended up removing it.

Come back next week to see how this progresses more towards the final product and finished state.  Of course you can have an advanced look at the completed hot rod frame / chassis for my 1929 Ford Roadster.  Just go the “PAGES” section new the top right of the screen and click on “Preview of the 1929 Ford Chassis with C4 Corvette suspension. 

This frame / chassis will work for any Model A Ford from 1928 to 1931.

I am currently working on CAD drawings for this entire chassis complete with template drawings for all brackets.  This will be available soon on this WEB site.

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