I have the front subframe out and being sand blasted / painted. I want to put in tubular control arms and upgrade to front disk brakes. Does anyone have recommendations of what brands or products to use or avoid?
My recommendation is to leave it stock, if everything is straight. I have Global west uppers and lowers on my 68. Everything was so worn and bent up there I used them to get the alignment I wanted. I like them with the adjustable coil overs. BUT. Beware that they don't have steering stops so the tire can rub at full turn. The bump stops are in the wrong positions. I had to weld some stops on the frame to match the stops on the arms. Made for Nova, I think, and flogged as Firebird. I talked to Global west about them, they didn't seem to give a sht.
Depends on what you are going to do with the car. Cruiser, spirited street driving, Autocross? On my '68 I used the stock control arms, Addco 1 1/8" sway bar, KYB gas shocks. I'm running 17" rims with Wilwood disc brakes. If you are contemplating using larger than 15" diameter rims then I suggest running aftermarket control arms. The additional caster will help the car track better on really bad roads with short sidewall tires. On good roads, no issue. (We have some really bad rural roads in NW Indiana) The larger than stock sway bar is a huge improvement over stock. I drove my '68 with 4 wheel drum brakes for many, many years. Factory discs or aftermarket, switch to discs! Even in fine condition the drum brakes suck. Of all the modifications I made to my car I love the brakes the most. A lot of go is nothing but scary without a lot of stopping power.
I have the GM single piston generic front discs from the 70s on my manual drum-drum 1968. No power booster but seems to stop fine, just a little more foot pressure than the power front discs. In an emergency they would get pounded on either way. Been there.
I have always had drum brakes. Latest car has manual drum brakes. To start with, what's the point of upgrading your brakes in the rear. I love my bird but the weight distribution is pathetic. Run your car up to 60mph and lock the park brake down and lock em up. Not very impressive ehh!
Disc powered or manual will help on front end. If we could get anti-lock disc brakes, then we would have something. Can you get anti-lock repops?
Engine Test Stand Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwoxyUwptUcdqEb-o2ArqyiUaHW0G_C88 restoring my 1968 Firebird 400 HO convertible (Firedawg) 1965 Pontiac Catalina Safari Wagon 389 TriPower (Catwagon) 1999 JD LX Lawn tractor 17hp (my daily driver) 2006 Tundra (another driver) 2017 Murano (wife's car) 202? Electric car 203? 68 Firebird /w electric engine _______________________________________________________
The sub-frame will be back next week and all the parts for the front end are Christmas presents. I went with front disks and I am rebuilding the rear drums (I have all the parts for the rear drums except the e-brake cables). By February I hope to have the body as a 'roller' again.I will also be changing it to power assist brakes.
Any recommendations on the booster? Do the smaller ones offer as much assist as the larger ones?
I used an 8" dual diaphragm from The Right Stuff. I was told they work just as good as a regular sized one but also works good when you are making less vacuum. Also attached a couple pics of my front sub frame rebuild for your viewing pleasure!
I used a 9" dual from Master Power Brakes. In full disclosure, I bought a 9" dual booster / master cylinder unit form MPB. The master cylinder was a dud - couldn't bleed the system so I purchased a Wagner to replace it. The booster failed a couple years later so it was replaced by a Tuff Stuff 2224NB 9" dual booster. I'm not sure if Tuff Stuff has booster mounting brackets, I used the MPB brackets. I can't recommend MPB stuff due to my experience.
I spent the past 2 days putting together the front end. I have attached 2 pics. The close-up shows the disk brakes. There are 4 bolts that hold everything together. One of the 2 lower bolts is too long and will have to be cut off so it does not hit the support for the sway bar. One of the upper bolts is too short and does not reach the locking part of the lock nut. The other pic shows the mostly completed front suspension. I still have to install the steering linkage, the grease fittings, and pump some grease into all the fittings. Then I'm off to do some welding; I need to fix a hole or two in the floor pan, fix the shifter cutout (a previous owner made it bigger), and replace the trunk floor.
I bought an aftermarket kit with spindles, calipers, splash shields, rotors etc, had the same problem the attaching hardware were not correct. I had trouble with the calipers and pads as well. Eventually I just used the new rotors and put the rest of old GM stuff back on after refreshing it.
Some time in the past the shifter cut out in my car had been molested. I didn't know how to weld back then, but I do know about riveting aircraft skins, I make an aluminium layover patch to cover the hole.
I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure. I feel like I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. 1968 400 convertible (Scarlet) 1976 T/A - 455 SE (No Burt) 1968 400 coupe - R/A clone (Blue Pearl) (for sale) 1968 350 - 4 speed 'vert - 400 clone (the Beast!) 1968 350 convertible - Wife's car now- 400 clone (Aleutian Blue) (Blue Angel) 2008 Durango - DD 2008 GXP - New one from NH is AWESOME! 2017 Durango Citadel - Modern is nice! HEMI is amazing! 1998 Silverado Z71 - Father-daughter project 1967 326 convertible - Sold 1980 T/A SE Bandit - Sold
I picked up a console to fix up and install, but after I got that done I liked the looks of the stick coming out of the floor. I gave the console away.
With the sound deadening and carpet over I don't get much sound coming up from the tranny. Those things are noisy, sounds like something is amiss when I have the windows down and idle beside a concrete wall or no-post. Yes, even over the noise of the exhaust.