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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting ready to put my 70 Nova back together. Here are some of the specs:

- BBC
- M20
- 12 Bolt 3.31 Posi
- Detroit Speed Mini Tub Kit
- I have both the regular rear ride height and 2" drop ride height springs from Detroit Speed, so I can use either. (Bought the kit from a guy who couldn't make up his mind.)

I want to make the Nova handle better than stock. I don't anticipate doing any road racing or anything like that, just want it not to roll so much in the corners and just handle better overall. I am thinking about going with a Tubular A Arm and Coil Over Setup, but am not sure which setup will give me what I am looking for. If someone could recommend a few things or point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. As far as budget goes, spending less to accomplish what I want is preferred of course.

Thanks for the expertise guys.
Jay
 

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Hotchkiss, DSE and Global West all make replacement A-arms that will correct your steering geometry issues. They are reasonably priced but all are for stock style coil springs, not for a coil over shock. DSE will sell you (for only $400 more MRP) a conversion kit that allows you to mount a set of coil-over shocks using their tubular coil spring A-arms (they also sell another adapter that adds in more camber for higher performance use, but you guessed it, they want more money.

RideTech sells a set of upper and lower tubular A-arms (for around a $1,000 MRP) that are built to accept coil over shocks and they have been designed to corrected the Camaro/Nova's inherent steering geometry issues. RideTech offers three different coil-over shock combinations; from Street (RQ for $600), Street/Strip adjustable shocks (HQ for $700) to fully rebuildable adjustable racing shocks with external re-chargeable reservoirs for $1400), as well as the option of Firestone air bags. They also have a selection of front sway bars and mounting mechanisms from street to full race. Finally they sell a fully machined tall front spindle to mount your big brakes upon and still further correct for the weakness in the Nova's front suspension (I suspect they got it off an Impala since it doesn't mentioned being lowered).

As for the rears, RideTech sells a bolt in four link conversion that uses coil over shocks, with again their being three levels to choose from. You can buy their full suspension package including everything they make for the Nova depending upon the shocks you choose the packages list from $3800 to $6900.

Chris Alston's ChassisWorks (Chris is a renowned a race car chassis fabricator) sells a set of tubular A-arms with coil over shocks to fit your Nova (though they start at $1,487 and go up as you add options).

http://www.cachassisworks.com/p-1180-camaro-67-firebird-67-f-body-gstreet-coil-over-suspension.aspx

He also sell a complete fully assembled Pro-Street front clip that will accept any engine and is equipped with rack and pinion steering for a mere $3,487 to start.

http://www.cachassisworks.com/c-520-camaro-67-69-gm-f-body.aspx

CPP (Classic Performance Products) makes and sells a lot of brake and suspension parts. Including tubular A-arm conversions for the Camaro/Nova equipped with your choice of coil over shocks. Though cheaper than ChassisWorks they can not be called cheap. All of what I have seen has been a quality product.

The list of possible choices in different duty rated (or price point) parts for your car is extensive:

http://www.classicperform.com/camaro.htm#12

Basically there are no cheap up grades to your suspension with the word coil-overs as part of the solution. By the time you figure in brakes and steering you are looking at spending more for parts than a professional chassis builder will sell you a fully fabbed front sub frame replacement ready to bolt up.

Big Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Big Dave for your time compiling that list. I am not really dead set on Coil Overs. Not knowing an incredible amount about suspension setups, I am guessing that they give you better handling than the typical springs. Another thing that pointed me in that direction was finding this setup here:

http://www.performanceonline.com/1968-74-CHEVY-II-NOVA-STAGE-3-TUBULAR-CONTROL-ARM-SUSPENSION-KIT/

After doing some searching and reading on here, it seems like the consensus is to stay away from cheap setups like this. I thought the price was crazy cheap for both lower and upper control arms and the coil over shock setup and was initially going to give it a shot.

My car was originally a manual drum brake car, but I already have a power disc brake conversion kit complete with rotors, calipers and spindles.

Again, I am not going to do any competition road course driving, just want my street car to turn better than stock.
 

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There are two advantages to a coil over suspension. First is that you can adjust the ride height of the car with a wrench by screwing a nut on the shock up or down. The second big thing is changing the spring rate of the car to match track conditions (springs are cheap at about $45 ea compared to $60 ea or more for coil springs), and they are no harder to change than changing out a shock absorber (compared to a half day in the shop for coil springs.). That is why all race cars have them installed.

You can set up your suspension to compete with a coil over system by installing screw jacks on top of your coil springs (Speedway sells them) and lightening your unsprung weight, while increasing tire size to the biggest one you can stuff under the car. You change your spring rate by playing with the size of the anti-sway bar and how it is mounted on the car (four small sheet metal screws as used by the factory won't hold much spring force in check).

There are two trains of thought on suspension set-up and design. Adams (the GM senior Pontiac engineer who reworked the Pontiac Fire Bird so that it trounced the Camaro in road racing) believed in making the suspension and frame stiff enough to resist any dynamic loads placed upon the suspension in reaction to the tire meeting the road.

The other way of looking at it is to install the biggest tire you can find and then make the suspension components as strong as they have to be (without gaining excess weight) to hold the tire flat on the road surface at all times.

In both cases you car handles only so long as the car's tire contact patch with the road remains the same. In your car because it is based upon the 1967 Camaro that was rushed to market to compete with the new fangled Mustang it has a set of A-arms bolted to a removable sub frame that picks the tire's outside edge up off of the pavement on turns (cutting the tire patch in half. The wheels point in and out with suspension travel and the car gains camber as the suspension is worked. The Ackerman angle changes as the wheels are turned leading to under steer that has to be overcome with more throttle that wears the tires prematurely. These are the steering geometry problems that are fixed (a relative term) by installing aftermarket tubular A-arms.

Big Dave
 
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