Swiss Impala to be lowered with brake drums - Impala Tech
Brakes & Suspension Conversion Questions & more

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 07:01 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Swiss Impala to be lowered with brake drums

First of all, apologize for my maybe « bad » english, I’m a Swiss engineer and my mother language is french ;-))

I wish to make my Chevrolet Impala from 1965 a cool low cruiser like a lowrider but I have not found a lot on B-Body on internet.

My goal is to have a low car with the 13x7 True Spoke Supreme wheels with following specs & condition :

- keeping the original drum brakes
- keeping a suspension system with springs, not coilover (it is not a race car)
- having a proper chassis and geometry adjustment with the correct angles
- airbags are not allowed in Switzerland !

For the height in the front, my idea was to find the correct drop spindles (-2 inches), adding shorter springs (-2 inches and not cutted ones) or finding lower shortened A-arms (-2 inches).

For the height in the back, my idea was finding shortened springs.

And to finalize, then adding a set of sway bars with the necessary arms and bars to adjust the geometry. Maybe you had similar requests in the past, else it would be a new challenge ? ;-))

Waiting your feedback and sharing your experience with me would be very kind.

All the Best to Impala Fanatic's !
Michel
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 09:29 AM
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Welcome to the Team Michel!

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 01:56 PM
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Welcome to the team!

Last time I drove through Switzerland and went into some of the villages I noted that those older cobble stone streets were not the smoothest around. Those might not like a car dropped down too low. If memory serves me right most drop spindles are designed for a disc brake conversion. If their a reason why disc brakes will not work?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Hello,

yes the homologation process is very expensive if I changed the front brakes, I cannot make as I wish to be officially "road legal" and behind the insurance will not cover if not road legal ...

And the drums are enough for a cool cruising around the Geneva lake.

But how do they do in the 60's to drop the cars so much ? certainly some tips or special parts taken from other models ? or from suppliers ?

Any idea ?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageguru View Post
Hello,

yes the homologation process is very expensive if I changed the front brakes, I cannot make as I wish to be officially "road legal" and behind the insurance will not cover if not road legal ...

And the drums are enough for a cool cruising around the Geneva lake.

But how do they do in the 60's to drop the cars so much ? certainly some tips or special parts taken from other models ? or from suppliers ?

Any idea ?
In the 60's they cut out coils, heated coils, or got coil springs from smaller lighter cars. Today you can go to a company and buy custom springs for your application. Generally speaking you can get 50-75 mm of drop using custom springs. I am not sure about your model year, but I have seen for some model years a drop front A arm. Basically has a deeper pocket for the coil over.


One thing that normally hangs people up is they get the lowering springs and install them and they don't seem to drop the car. This is sometimes due to the fact that they are replacing old worn out springs with new springs. You get better handling with the new springs as the old worn out ones are most likely soft, but it is something to keep an eye out for.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Thanks for these information. I will not cut or heat the springs ... as engineer, I know what happens when heating on the material ...

My car is a 1965 Impala Hardtop Coupé - B-body.

Do you know where I can find the lower A arms dropped ? which supplier ?

Thanks for your help.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 09:43 AM
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You will have to make them your self by cutting a two inch band of steel plate and roll it to the diameter of the spring cup (or wider if you want to go lower). Then you weld this extension to the bottom of the spring pocket of the A-arm after you cut off the stock one. After that you then weld the stock spring pocket back onto the bottom of the band of steel you just welded to the bottom of the A-arm; while keeping the tang aligned where the bottom of the spring sits in the pocket. This lowers where the spring sits and as such it raises the lower A-arm up.

This process shortens the distance from the A-arm to the bump stop which will have to be modified or replaced with a shorter one made of stiffer material. If you have rough roads and drive fast you will be hitting this stop frequently. Without a stop to absorb the shock of impact you will break parts like ball joints.

Big Dave
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 09:35 PM
BA.
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Welcome Michel,
That does sound like a bit of a challenge but plenty of Californian's have put a similar "low-rider" look to the 60's Impala's. If you didn't know that, then maybe some Googling of California low-rider might give you more tips/tricks and ideas.

I want to put some 2" lowering spindles on my 66 also. Here are the 2 that I am aware of in case you hadn't found them already, Summit Racing sells them both. (as well as many other places, even Ebay) https://www.summitracing.com/search/...t/model/impala

At first thought, I wasn't sure that drums would fit behind a 13" wheel, but, then I remembered the Low-Rider clubs and realized - of course they fit! Over here the "Dayton wire wheels" are insanely popular with the Low Rider guys.
Sorry I'm not much more help like ol' Dave there. Sounds like if you have a welder you're good to go!

Oh, also, they absolutely make an adjustable outer-tie-rod that allows for bumpsteer correction and geometry correction,....BUT,.....I think I saw it for either old Nova's or Camaro's, not sure if they make one for our B-Bodies.

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2018, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Dear BA,

thanks for the information. Have you bought the dropped spindles ?

And do you have kept the drums on these spindles ?

In Switzerland, it is more complicated to homologate some kind of modifications.

Thanks for your feedback ;-))
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2018, 04:11 PM
BA.
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I have not bought the drop spindles yet because I want to get some disc brakes and (safer) dual master cylinder all at the same time. I've got some other irons in the fire for the old girl, so the effort is kind of on hold but I have been reading up on vendors of both and pricing so that I can be sure to get a disc brake kit that will work with the drop spindles. I have read about some disc brake kits that will not fit on a drop spindle.

i understand you're keeping the drums so unfortunately I'm once again not nuch help! :-D

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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