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66 Coupe / Ridetech

 
Old 07-07-2019, 03:49 PM
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FrankWJones
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Default 66 Coupe / Ridetech

I’m in the exploratory stage of considering a Ridetech front & rear suspension installation on my 66 Coupe with 327 / 300.
i would sincerely appreciate input from from those who have used Ridetech for what I hope would be a performance handling improvement / upgrade along with the Borgeson Power Steering Box conversation.
I thank you for your response and the sharing of information.
Frank
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:05 PM
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I spent a lot of time researching suspension for my ‘64 coupe build. Ridetech products are really well engineered and built. They strive to make everything a bolt in for their street set ups, but you will require some modifications and welding for their more race engineered components. I ended up with the full on Ridetech Track 1 rear set up.

For the front, I didn’t care for the spindles Ridetech uses and the resulting geometry. They use these spindles and engineer their front control arms in order to make the front a bolt in. The unique design of the C2/C3 spring pockets, require a longer spindle with an extended lower control arm in order to use a coilover without clearancing the spring pocket. This is why many aftermarket suppliers use a “semi-coilover” design where the lower control arm uses a coilover type mount, while the upper mount is actually a conversional spring that mounts in the stock pocket. This is a compromise and with my very wide tires, I wanted a beefier solution with better geometry.

I opted to use Global West upper and lower control arms, C3 spindles, a specially built Ridetech coilover, and used a die grinder to remove the spring pocket and allow the coilover to mount in the stock shock position. The resulting geometry is superior. If you are interested in this approach, contact Darren at Ridetech and tell him Mark Reid referred you. I also used a Borgeson PS box.

You can find more details in my build thread https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...boy-build.html

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Old 07-07-2019, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by FrankWJones View Post
I’m in the exploratory stage of considering a Ridetech front & rear suspension installation on my 66 Coupe with 327 / 300.
i would sincerely appreciate input from from those who have used Ridetech for what I hope would be a performance handling improvement / upgrade along with the Borgeson Power Steering Box conversation.
I thank you for your response and the sharing of information.
Frank
Any improvement in "handling" has to start with tires. You wouldn't build a new house on dirt rather than a solid concrete footing, would you? If you have typical low speed rated "van tires", spending hundreds if not thousands on "suspension upgrades" will yield nothing but a stiff ride, and a properly rebuilt 55-year old steering gear and steering linkage is at least as good as any aftermarket system, and a whole lot less expensive.

So what tires are installed - make, model size, service description, UTQG, and wheel diameter and width.

Duntov and his chassis engineer Walt Zetye knew what they were doing 60 years ago when they laid out the chassis/suspension of the C2 - more than any aftermarket outfit working out of some obscure business park. Base springs along with alignment tuning, possibly a different front bar with hard link bushings, and adjustable shocks along with Avon CR6ZZ tires are good for about 1.0g on a skidpad with an even better ride that OE because you can adjust the shocks to your road conditions and response preferences.

There have been many threads on this subject including a lot of horror stories on aftermarket suspension junk.

Duke
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:10 AM
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Frank, knowing what your intended use for the car is would also help. Mark and I have similar builds going, the difference being mine will only ever be a fun street car and I believe Mark plans to beat his pretty thoroughly on the track. To that end, I am retaining stock sized 15 inch tires and brakes, while Mark has gone large by huge on the brakes and rubber. To Duke's point, you really need to decide what you're going to run for wheels and tires, and work up from there. It doesn't make any sense to dump untold cash into a trick suspension, and then run mini-van tires.

Like Mark, I cooked up my own mix of parts based on my intended use, and a lot of input from Duke and a few other members with far more knowledge than I have. To start with, I'm using Avon CR6ZZ tires which are quite sticky, and by the far the best 15" tire you can find. Up front I'm using stock springs with Global West control arms and Ride Tech adjustable shocks. I'm using a 13/16 sway bar with poly end links out of the 73-74 cars. In the rear, its an equally simple set up with Global West offset trailing arms, stock spring, Ride Tech shocks, Global West adjustable camber rods, and a C3 Corvette camber rod mounting bracket. For brakes I'm running stock discs with Wilwood calipers and a manual master cylinder.

Before making any decisions with regard to parts selection, I would highly recommend you download the article called "Six Steps to Corvette Handling" by Herb Adams that was published in the July 1984 issue of Hot Rod Magazine. That, in addition to the Corvette section of the Chevrolet Power Service Manual are really good places to start gettin educated about how to make these cars handle. If you really want to get into it, look up "How To Make Your Car Handle" by Fred Puhn. That ones a little dry, but very educational.

None of this is to dissuade you from buying RideTech products....they make very good stuff....just make sure you have a goal for the car, and formulate a plan to meet that goal. If you just throw parts at a car, you likely won't be satisfied in the end.

Good luck!

Greg
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:38 AM
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I am also using Global West upper and lower control arms with Ridetech coilovers. Ridetech has new caliper brackets now which allow you to use stock brakes. I adapted the Ridetech front sway bar to work with stock location mounts on the Global West arm very easily. I agree with Mark on the spindles and like stock better. My car is a 69 but same frame. Mark set me up with Darren at Ridetech. Their parts are top notch, not some of the usual aftermarket mess. I am using the Ridetech rear system as well. Just finishing my car but Ridetech are great to deal with and parts are top notch. I am also using the Avon CR6ZZ tires. Agree with Mark, Duke and Greg, makes no sense to upgrade suspension without running good, sticky tires. Can also mention Bill Van Orman as a satisfied customer if you call Darren.

Bill

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Old 07-08-2019, 02:19 PM
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Mark: First let me Thank You for responding. I also want to apologize for not providing the info as to what I’m actually going to do with the suspension upgrades. Quite honestly, I’m really looking to improve overall handling of the car which will be primarily street driven. With the occasional shot of spirited driving while out cruising. If I were much younger, I’d be more interested in something that would be a little more aggressive. Thanks again for your response as well as your supportive comments & recommendations with respect to Ridetech & Borgeson products.
Best regards!
Frank
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Old 07-08-2019, 02:35 PM
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Duke, I also would like to Thank You for responding. Your input is informative and broadens the research I need to review to hopefully end up with a great handling street driven Corvette with some occasional spirited driving while out cruising. Tires are, as you so aptly pointed out, are the basis for handling, to result in what I hope will improve my daily driver. As you can see, I’m a little green and lack experience, coupled with in depth knowledge of suspension systems and what it takes to fine tune your system. Thank you again for your well received directions.
Best regards!
Frank
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Old 07-08-2019, 02:51 PM
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Greg: Your input is very much appreciated. I’ve just started to read “ How to make your car handle “ by Fred Puhn. I’ll also download the article from Hot Rod magazine as you suggest. And the Corvette section of Chevrolet Power Service Manual. I’m not really up to speed, as I’m sure you can tell by my posting, with respect to suspension systems at all. But with your input and the reference materials you provided, I’ll be a lot closer to being able to at least
start out with good resources. Hopefully I’ll be able to choose the proper upgrades and matching tires to attain a great handling street driver with occasional spirited driving while cruising.
Thank You Greg !
Best regards!
Frank
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Old 07-08-2019, 03:06 PM
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Bill: Than you for responding. Your input and concurrence with Mark, Duke, & Greg, on Global West control arms as well as tires and of Ridetech is great.
I’m really going to have to get educated with respect to all the intricacies of this suspension system so as to end up with a very good handling Corvette Coupe as a daily driver. I especially appreciate your recommended contact, Darren at Ridetech. I’m just starting out but with yours and everyone’s input, I’ll be better prepared .
Thanks again Bill!
Best regards!
Frank
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Old 07-09-2019, 03:45 PM
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I went with Ridetech's smooth line shocks. They were a big upgrade from the Bilsteins I was running. I have a Muskegon Brake composite rear spring and I was able to dial the bounce out. My driving intention is like yours. A nice street car with occasional spirited driving. I did a lot of research including discussing it with Corvette Conspiracy, the shop I work for. (occasionally). They told me I was wasting my $ unless I was going to autocross etc. The only benefit is that you can adjust the ride height with coil overs. So, I have a fairly stock suspension except for the previously mentioned upgrades and DB radials. The car handles great for my purposes. FWIW
However, I am looking at the GW adjustable strut rod set up to improve the rear handling.
Also, I installed Borgeson steering system. You will love it. Strangely, I feel the car rides better with this upgrade. I was told that is because road bounce doesn't transfer as much from one wheel to the other due to the elimination of the slave cyl. JMO
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:06 AM
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JMO: Thank You! I had previously installed a Steeroids Rack & Pinion Steering system which seemed to improve the the handling. It definitely helped with a reduction in the actual steering wheel movement or free play. That being said, there is still free play. Not much mind you, but noticeable. Front end linkage seems to be tight at all connections. Might need to reinspect same one more time. I’ve read a lot of good things about the Borgeson system and your suggestion on the Ridetech smooth shocks. And I might add that I really doubt that autocross is in the future.
Once again I Thank You!
Frank
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:30 AM
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I would love to see a stock chassis and components up against all aftermarket suspension both prepared correctly. The reason being I haven't found any proof that the after market stuff is superior as far as handling is concerned. There is proof that a properly prepared stock style chassis dose work. But if you are truly wanting the best you can get from ether one you should start with the frame. check out my thread race+ street 66 build Good luck on whatever you decide to do
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by FrankWJones View Post
JMO: Thank You! I had previously installed a Steeroids Rack & Pinion Steering system which seemed to improve the the handling. It definitely helped with a reduction in the actual steering wheel movement or free play. That being said, there is still free play. Not much mind you, but noticeable. Front end linkage seems to be tight at all connections. Might need to reinspect same one more time. I’ve read a lot of good things about the Borgeson system and your suggestion on the Ridetech smooth shocks. And I might add that I really doubt that autocross is in the future.
Once again I Thank You!
Frank
FYI, JMO is an acronym for "just my opinion"
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Old 07-10-2019, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by reno stallion View Post
I would love to see a stock chassis and components up against all aftermarket suspension both prepared correctly. The reason being I haven't found any proof that the after market stuff is superior as far as handling is concerned. There is proof that a properly prepared stock style chassis dose work. But if you are truly wanting the best you can get from ether one you should start with the frame. check out my thread race+ street 66 build Good luck on whatever you decide to do

I don't disagree with you....that being said, I think some of the factory stuff can be improved upon....perhaps not in measurable "performance", but in other aspects.... In my case, I went with the Global West control arms because I'm not a competent enough welder to install their Del-A-Lum bushings in the factory control arms. I also wanted to keep all of my changes 100% bolt on so that i could go back to factory (not likely). I used Global West rear trailing arms only because I had to buy new trailing arms to convert to disc brakes as my car is a '64 drum brake car. I went Global West over factory '65 and later arms because they are slightly offset for tire clearance, and route the parking brake cable through the arm to avoid interference, along with a better bearing set up. I don't think that anyone would argue the adjustable rear camber rods are an upgrade over factory....just from an adjustability standpoint. None of these are likely to show any measurable performance increases, but all should make the car feel tighter, and more responsive, not to mention the change to disc brakes that spurred my current project.

My point is, I don't think it has to be an all or nothing deal. I love the way youre going with your build, foregoing the fancy aftermarket chasis for simply making the best of what Chevrolet provided us.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:18 PM
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And I Just learned something else today! Whoops! My mistake, but it’s really kind of funny isn’t it.����
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:54 AM
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I wanted to add my newly gained and uninformed observations to the mix.

I recently bought a 65 roadster. I had driven a number C2s before the purchase of my car and frankly they drove like crap. My goal was to end up with a nice cruiser (not a canyon racer as I have a Ferrari for that purpose) and I thought that I would achieve that by doing a mild restomod and likely update the suspension along with the engine and transmission. Essentially I wanted to keep the look of the car but I wanted a “newer” car in terms of handling and reliability.

I also didn’t want to start with a barn find, I wanted the best base car that I could find to build upon. I was lucky enough to find one that the prior owner had fully restored. He replaced virtually every rubber and plastic part, most of the suspension parts that wear, the power steering unit, the brake cylinder, the brake lines, the rotors, the pads, etc. It was a numbers matching car and so the owner tried to stay original with everything on the restoration (other than Cooper steel belted radials).

The point here is that with everything restored, the car handled much like it did when it rolled off the assembly line (probably a little better with the radials). I was actually shocked to find how well the car drove in comparison to all of the prior cars I had driven. I have often had it up to 80 to 90 on the freeway and it is very very tight. There is no steering wobble or shake, no need to make any mid course corrections. Overall as a cruiser it handles very nicely from a steering and ride perspective and well enough in the corners (though not amazingly and when the Coopers wear out I will go with the Avon tires as suggested here). I also changed out the single master brake cylinder for a power dual cylinder (primarily for safety but also I like the feel of the power unit as well when braking).

So, I wanted to underscore what Duke said, that it is a pretty well designed car from a suspension and handling perspective if everything is in good order and you are looking for a cruiser. I dont think it would be worth my while to make any significant changes at this point (though I do get it if somebody wants to make it a Ferrari eater and then some major changes are likely in order).

However, I would say, if you were not a number matching guy and your suspension was shot then perhaps some upgrades could be in order rather than going back to original. If I was going to make any changes at the top of my list I would probably go with rack and pinion and a Borgeson power steering box. The reason I say this is although my steering is tight without any wobble, it also has a “dead” feel. This would also make it more enjoyable in the corners. I could also see going with some coilovers for the corners as well.

Apart from those small nuisances I think the car is a great cruiser and so I will concentrate on the power train rather than the suspension for my improvements.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
If I was going to make any changes at the top of my list I would probably go with rack and pinion and a Borgeson power steering box. The reason I say this is although my steering is tight without any wobble, it also has a “dead” feel. This would also make it more enjoyable in the corners.
So as not to confuse things, rack and pinion (Steeroids or Flaming River) are completely different than the Borgeson box. The Borgeson box is simply a better steering box but retains the rest of the factory steering set up. A rack and pinion system completely replaces the factory steering box and components. I recently installed a Steeroids MANUAL rack and pinion on my car. Unfortunately, I have not yet gotten it back on the road to provide any feedback on the system.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:16 AM
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Thanks Flynavy 30. What I was saying is I would do both the Borgeson box and rack and pinion. Is there any reason you could not do that?

My understanding is that the Borgeson box is better than the power assist system that I presently have (and I have never been a big fan since I had it on my 71 Econoline back in the day). Also I have rack and pinion on several other cars and I like the transmission of road feel that gives.

As I said, to Duke’s point, the original system is good enough for my present cruising purposes notwithstanding the “dead” feeling. However, I would love to hear if you think your rack and pinion system is a significant improvement in terms of road feel and handling. If so—I could be persuaded.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by RonCL55 View Post
Thanks Flynavy 30. What I was saying is I would do both the Borgeson box and rack and pinion. Is there any reason you could not do that?
Borgeson and rack and pinion are mutually exclusive mechanisms.... you have one or the other but can't have both.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jim lockwood View Post
Borgeson and rack and pinion are mutually exclusive mechanisms.... you have one or the other but can't have both.
Jim, that sucks. Having not driven the rack and pinion on a C2, I dont know, but wouldn’t manual rack and pinion be heavy? I have power rack and pinion on my Ferrari and it a great system in terms of both road feel and effort in terms of parking etc.
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