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Unread 04-20-2008, 03:05 PM
switchblade327 switchblade327 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 9
Default Suspension upgrades for a 55 Chevy

Work is resuming on my 1955 Bel Air after a year and half break and I'm trying to figure out how to make the best of the current setup without redoing what's been done so far. I've done a lot of searches, especially on rear suspension setups but the tri-fives have a lot less options then A and F bodies. Basically, I'm trying to acheive a very well handling street car without breaking the bank (if I get to the point where I can afford a lot more, I'll get a Morrison chassis). At the same time, my daily driver is a miata with performance suspension so I I like my corners and can deal with some ride stiffness.

Currently the car has 2" drop spindles, QA1 coilovers, mcgaughtys upper control arms, offset upper a-arm shafts, poly bushings and will be getting the fattest Hellwig sway bar. My first question is, what can I do to improve this setup without starting from scratch? Are there are tall ball joint options for a tri-five to fix the camber curve? How else can I improve the geometry?

Second question is the rear suspension: It's all stock and has a stock, one-legger rear end. I don't expect the rear end to survive long behind the lt1 so hopefully replacing that at the same time opens up more suspension options. I want to improve the setup on a descent budget so I think a 3 link is out of the question and may be overkill with a mostly stock geometry front end anyway. I've read up a lot on truck arms as one of the few bolt in tri-five setups and I'm thinking about it but it sounds like lower speed, sharp cornering is it's major weak spot and I'm more likely to be doing a lot more of that then blast down turnpikes at triple digit speeds. The air bar is also a bolt in option but I don't want half an air suspension and full Ride Tech street challenge kit + a new rear end is getting close to the Morrison frame in price.

So with all this considered, what should I do for the rear end? Get a new 9", some performance leaf springs + coilovers and call it good? Are there any new rear suspension options for these cars in the last year or so? If some fabrication is necessary, that's fine but I don't really have the facilities for something that's going to require an immense amount of tuning. And what about frame bracing? Is it worth stiffening the frame on a street car?

I figure I'll need around $2k for the complete rear end alone and can probably spend another $1-2k for a good rear suspension. Much more then that and I might as well sell my old parts and buy a complete frame.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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