Not looking for a Jet-smooth ride - Impala Tech
Brakes & Suspension Conversion Questions & more

 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Not looking for a Jet-smooth ride

Wondering what to do to stiffen the X frame on a 64 impala? Outside of upgrading the suspension, are there any bolt on or weld on parts to make it more rigid?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 06:46 PM
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Heavier Springs is a good way, but it may give you some Height along with it. Of course years ago, we were all looking for Height, lol.

Also years ago, I would buy shocks that had different settings on them. Not sure if they still make them, but it's worth a couple of phone calls.

Bill
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 08:08 PM
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You can have lumber wagon stiff springs with out raising the current height of the car. You would need to have custom springs wound for your car (less expensive though a lot more time consuming that having a custom cam ground). Eaton or Moog would need to know your four corner weight, (you will have to borrow a set of digital scales from a local circle track or road racer; or a DOT cop, and then place one under all four wheels unless you want to spring for $1,200 for a scale for your garage). You can approximate it by driving half on a truck scale at the dump or at a truck stop (CAT Scales charge $7.50 an axle unless you don't want a print out in which case at my local truck stop she says it's free). Then you have to determine what your current ride height is (all that takes is a tape measure, but it is best if you measure at the same location the factory did with this info being found in the Chassis Service manual, or the Fisher Body Repair manual). Then they want to know how stiff a ride you think you need to perform in the manner you intend to drive it. The faster the sped the stiffer the springs have to be.

That takes care of the springs, which just holds the car up. Shocks with the correct linear travel to match your suspension are the next item on the list. As you lower a car from the factory ride height you shorten the amount of time the shock has to respond because as you shorten the effective length that the shock travels as it follows the spring it takes less time to go from at rest to compressed. So the faster you drive the faster the action the less time between compression and rebound. The shocks can be mono tube (factory original), or twin tube when considering a gas over oil shock. Valving can be fixed (the 90/10 or 50/50 from the sixties) or variable by adjusting an orifice and a needle to fill the orifice which controls the rate of fluid transfer from one cylinder to another. These adjustable shocks can be single or dual adjustable. The single controls compression or rebound depending upon how you mount it, or it controls both compression and rebound offering 256 different settings to tune the suspension to the track.

You can also add or enhance the amount of body roll the car experiencing with stiffer (bigger and stronger) anti roll bars that are just auxiliary springs. Changing the length of the distance from the pivot point to the ball joint (requires replacement A-arms such as tubular A-arms, or rear control arms also affects the steering geometry and Ackerman angle with rear control arms). Heightening the steering knuckle(distance between ball joints) allows for bigger brakes as well as improving steering geometry ion some (not all) cars.

Of course making the frame stiffer only helps performance, but the only bolt in is a brand new frame made by a frame builder. Though people have attempted to brace and reinforce the old X-frame by plating the torque box to stiffen it up as well as enclosing the open C-channel by boxing it in. The only competitive solution is a brand new frame.

Big Dave
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 10:50 PM
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This is my recipe :

Springs:

Moog 658A front (listed as SS springs)
Moog 6033 rear (listed as Heavy Duty)

Shocks
Monroe Sensa-trac

Energy Suspension Poly Graphite bushings all around
Complete kits:
http://www.suspension.com/chevy,fullsize.htm

245/60/14 Diamond Back III white wall tires (BF Goodrich tires T/A Radials with a white wall vulcanized on them)

Addco front anti-sway bar.


Results in a much more modern ride, feels like you are in control, but soft enough to be comfortable to drive.



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1964 Impala 4 door sedan

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 01:04 AM
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I just upgraded my 64 and went with everything dcains outlines minus the rear springs and tires. I also did a 2" drop spindle with ssbc brake kit. New ball joints, body bushings and tie rods. Result is a jet smooth ride with a stiff suspension. Couldn't be happier. Get it aligned when you're done. Good luck.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Im sorry, but I should have added more information in my first question. I Just replaced all 4 springs with a heavy duty 1" drop spring, good KYB shocks and both heavy duty sway bars. Not only does the car look much better, it drives much better. I was wondering if there is a way to tie the frame together to help stop what the X frame was originally designed for. It's not a race car, but the body & frame flex is ridicules on these cars. Are there any chassis stiffeners out there or can something be fabricated?
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 01:13 PM
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Plates can be welded onto the torque box (the center of the X) to stiffen it. Additionally I have seen mild steel eighth inch pipe two inches in diameter bent up and welded like a roll cage so that the pipe forms the outside of a full perimeter frame tucked up under the door sills.

Big Dave

Last edited by Big Dave; 10-14-2014 at 01:29 PM.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 03:13 PM
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 11:24 PM
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Check out the 1959 Olds X-frame it came from the factory with perimeter frame supplements the way the Chevy was supposed to do in 1958 but was changed.

1958 Concept Illustration of Frame


1959 Olds frame Illustration


1960 Olds Frame in Sales Brochure Illustrating Superior Strength


Big Dave
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2014, 08:35 AM
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The supplements look pretty good, but I have never experienced any "body and frame flexing" in these cars. Do you have good Body to Frame Mounts, with good Bolts, Bushings, etc ?

Also, did the problem exist before you did the modification work ?
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2014, 02:57 PM
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X-frames were designed with the frame's twisting in mind to allow a smoother ride that the old ladder frame used under the Chevys built after the war (WWII) could not provide. It was a major campaign used across the full GM line of vehicles to differentiate them from Chrysler (which at the time was pushing their new found 300 horsepower motor the 392 Hemi, and Ford that had a car model for every niche market at a cost less than Chevy which was GM's entry level vehicle.

Does the frame twist? You be the judge:





Here is a '65 Chevy Impala coming off the line just as hard with a full perimeter frame with Cross-members (a modified ladder frame):



For comparison when you start out with nothing (only a front sub frame that bolts to the car at the fire wall and again half way through the door) you have to provide your own frame in terms of connectors that link the front leaf spring eye with the front sub frame and a full 10 to 14 point cage to tie everything together you get a car that can stand on it's back bumper and drive in a straight line as all power is pushing the car forward instead of twisting the frame up like a pretzel.



Further to illustrate a point. This car doesn't have a perimeter frame or an X-frame. It has four pieces of pipe that ran from the motor and transmission back to the rear axle (all of four feet) and the suspension hung off the side of this back bone. This is how the C-5 and C-6 Corvettes are built with a modular front suspension that drops out with the motor for service and the same in the back for the transmission and rear end. The pieces of pipe were all triangulated with smaller pieces of pipe (to keep the weight down) to form a stiff spine.





With work and money you can get an X-frame car to work properly as a performance vehicle instead of a luxury coach with a marshmallow ride:



I searched on Google but the only road racing photos were all itty bitty and in black in white with a full field of cars racing. Hard to pick out a single '64 from the field.

Big Dave
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2014, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Not enough horsepower to launch like that Big Dave, but definitely has some twist. Not looking to race it or drop thousands into the chassis, but would like to shore it up a bit. Again any aftermarket pieces out there or can something be fabricated?
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2014, 08:12 PM
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I can't see popping $4,500 to $8,600 on an aftermarket frame (and those are the low ball numbers). Plating and boxing in the frame will stiffen it enough for your needs. Great way to practice welding as well.

Big Dave
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