Q: Ride Height too High
I have 14×6 Rally II’s all around I have rebuilt the front end but it seems WAY to height using the original springs!!!!!!!!!! So I don’t quite know what I did!
The second thing is should I get 5 or 4 leaf rear springs? which are better if there is much of a difference…I’m not good with planning ride height at all!
A: When you assembled the front suspension, did you leave the control arm bolts (through the bushings) loose until the car sat down on the wheels to tighten them? If not, the twist in the bushings could hold the car too high. Either that, or the tops of the front springs are not properly seated in the upper perch. Or maybe both conditions exist.
A: A mistake a lot of newbies make is to torque the front control arm bolts down while the car is still in the air, and the suspension is unloaded. This introduces bind, and also results in excessive ride height and lousy ride.
Raise your car with the suspension unloaded, then loosen the bolts. Now put some jack stands under the control arms and let the car rest on the suspension. Torque the bolts down according to spec.
Once the car is back on the ground, it should be back to the ride height you started out with.
Another thing to check on is to make sure that the bottom of the coil spring (pigtail) is in the molded in pocket in the lower control arm. Not getting it into this pocket will raise the can about an inch or so. If it’s out of place, you’ll need to compress the springs, seperate the upper ball joint, and reseat the spring.
But my money is on the control arm bolts.
Rear Leaf Springs Some spring suppliers sell 5 leaf springs, which are often Nova springs that they pawn off on the unsuspecting. Nova, Camaro, and Firebird leaf springs will all fit, but not necessarily result in the desired ride height. First gen Firebirds left the factory with lower ride heights than their Camaro cousins. The Fisher Body Guide lists the measuring points and expected dimensions for those with stock sized tires restoring to the factory settings.
Many of us have has very good luck with springs from ESPO Springs -n-Things, or Eaton Springs (ESPO sources their springs from Eaton). They offer stock height, lower, or raised ride height springs. Both have web pages that you can locate by company name in a good search engine. Much better pricing than the restoration houses.
Planning ride height is a matter of determining what you want. Duplicate the factory settings? Get the stock replacement springs. Want to lower or raise the car? Determine how much, and then talk to their order desk help. Keep in mind that as your car ages, the factory springs will settle, and the car will sit lower than original. Some buyers have been suprised to order new stock type springs, and have a car sitting higher than before they made the swap.
Also, new springs need some time/miles to settle to the correct ride height. Usually a couple hundred miles is all it takes.
So, once you get the springs in, the car settles as much as it’s going to, then take some measurements to see what needs to change, if at all. You may have to make changes because each car is different, and there is some chance that your car will still not be at the expected ride height after installation.
If the rear is too low, you can add another leaf or get the springs re-arched. This can be done at a shop that specializes in 4 wheel drive suspensions.
If too high, take a leaf out, get the springs re-arched, or as some spacers between the spring pack and axle tube. For the front, if too high, cut a coil or change to another spring. If too low, the only good choice is to replace the spring. Spacers and such are just a poor crutch and are not a good long term fix.
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Content last modified: January 20, 2014 at 9:50 pm