67 Impala - bagged or static suspension help/tips - Impala Tech
Brakes & Suspension Conversion Questions & more

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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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67 Impala - bagged or static suspension help/tips

Hi Guys , i need some help, tips and advice on suspension upgrades , i recently bought a 1967 Impala SS thats still 90% stock , im going with the CPP disc break upgrade for the front as im not going to track the car or do any for of racing , its more for show and shine and looks,

My Question is should i go air bags or do a static suspension up grade , im in two minds and never had a car with bags before , i get a lot of negative feedback from some guys about air bags but i think its because the go the cheap route and backyard installments are made.

What modifications do i need to do for the bags to work? do i need to cut chassis ?

what is your opinion on the two , pros and cons ?

Thanks
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 10:59 AM
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Your bag options are endless. A lot of it depends on what you intend to do with the bags. Are you just doing it for a more comfortable ride or are you doing it so you can lay the frame on the pavement? If your just going for ride and ride height adjustment you may be better off going with a good quality coil over conversion. Most G-machine cars are going with coil overs. The bags are pretty much reserved for those that want to put their car on the pavement and not so much for ride quality.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadwolf View Post
Your bag options are endless. A lot of it depends on what you intend to do with the bags. Are you just doing it for a more comfortable ride or are you doing it so you can lay the frame on the pavement? If your just going for ride and ride height adjustment you may be better off going with a good quality coil over conversion. Most G-machine cars are going with coil overs. The bags are pretty much reserved for those that want to put their car on the pavement and not so much for ride quality.


Thank you , i appreciate all the info i can get , like i said i haven't been in a car with bags before so i dont know the ride quality, some guys say its nice and soft with a original feel to it while others say its crap , dropping it to the floor when at a park off will look insane, just want to know how much work it is to have them fit and what to look out for ,
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 12:39 PM
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A lot of production cars had air bags as their standard suspension. My dad's Lincoln Town Car has them, as well as the Citroen which was the first car to get them. The Lexus GX470 and the Chevrolet Humer 2 has them on the rear axle. A lot of heavy trucks and most commercial buses use them (the semi trailer brags about how smooth the "air ride" suspension is).

Air bags have been used in drag racing for half a century in super stock and NASCAR to preload the suspension to counteract forces applied by cornering or engine torque.

Because air is easily compressed the design of the bag and the control system as well as the shocks will determine how the car handles. As such there are a lot of choices and a lot of variables. So there isn't a single answer to your question.

Personally I like springs as they behave predictably under all situations following a linear relationship (Hook's Law). Much easier to adjust your suspension to track conditions than with an air bag suspension. But I can not put the car on the ground which is important to some people more concerned with show than go.

Big Dave
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
A lot of production cars had air bags as their standard suspension. My dad's Lincoln Town Car has them, as well as the Citroen which was the first car to get them. The Lexus GX470 and the Chevrolet Humer 2 has them on the rear axle. A lot of heavy trucks and most commercial buses use them (the semi trailer brags about how smooth the "air ride" suspension is).

Air bags have been used in drag racing for half a century in super stock and NASCAR to preload the suspension to counteract forces applied by cornering or engine torque.

Because air is easily compressed the design of the bag and the control system as well as the shocks will determine how the car handles. As such there are a lot of choices and a lot of variables. So there isn't a single answer to your question.

Personally I like springs as they behave predictably under all situations following a linear relationship (Hook's Law). Much easier to adjust your suspension to track conditions than with an air bag suspension. But I can not put the car on the ground which is important to some people more concerned with show than go.

Big Dave

Thank you for the info Big Dave, i appreciate it very much
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 10:04 PM
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I agree with DeadWolf and Dave. The quality way to go but probably spend more $$ is the coil-overs. That said, there's something to the cool factor of dropping the car down when parked, it gets people every time! I didn't want to spend the coin on either so I opted for springs, A-arms and a little careful driving with a lowered ride.

I am a believer in Air Bags being able to have good comfort but I'm not sure how many guys take the time to determine desired ride height to match with proper air-bag inflation.

Oh, and I've seen a number of the RideTech air-ride cars in action at Pro-Touring events and Goodguys events. They do do well in those autocross events, I mean, they don't suck, ya know?
I faced the same touch choice that you did, but here in Ohio with winters and the roads here, I gave up the slammed to the ground cool factor and questions on ride quality for more certainty on the ride comfort and careful driving on a lowered (ish) car.

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2018, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BA. View Post
I agree with DeadWolf and Dave. The quality way to go but probably spend more $$ is the coil-overs. That said, there's something to the cool factor of dropping the car down when parked, it gets people every time! I didn't want to spend the coin on either so I opted for springs, A-arms and a little careful driving with a lowered ride.

I am a believer in Air Bags being able to have good comfort but I'm not sure how many guys take the time to determine desired ride height to match with proper air-bag inflation.

Oh, and I've seen a number of the RideTech air-ride cars in action at Pro-Touring events and Goodguys events. They do do well in those autocross events, I mean, they don't suck, ya know?
I faced the same touch choice that you did, but here in Ohio with winters and the roads here, I gave up the slammed to the ground cool factor and questions on ride quality for more certainty on the ride comfort and careful driving on a lowered (ish) car.
Thanks BA , that makes more sense now , still not sure witch way to go , LOL i hate being in 2 minds like this, im definitely not going to track the car or do any Pro -Touring events, i want to build it more for weekend cruising (Looks) , and a show and shine classic events, so i think my options is narrowed down to ether springs and drop spindle or bags, coil overs are a pricey option if you not going to do track days .

Thanks again for all the feedback and info,
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2018, 01:19 PM
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Coil overs can only give you about an inch and a half difference in height adjustment once you decide upon static height (no more than three quarters of an inch up or down). Even then that adjustment requires taking a spanner to your coil overs to run the jam nut up or down the threaded body of the shock. You can buy a bunch of different springs of almost any length to set your car's height up, but you have to take the shocks off the car to replace the springs.

If you are not going to drive the car other than to load it on and off a trailer you can use Acme threaded screw jacks to adjust the height. Many roundy-round cars use them to adjust the height about three inches total (one and a half up or down from a predetermined height to race with). Speedway sells them as spring jacks, and they are welded into your frame atop the coil spring.

All things equal nothing is going to beat an air bag spring suspension if all you want is to adjust the height of the car with a single knob (or bounce the front end off the ground in competition with the other hombres down in the barrio). I personnally never liked low riders as they are impractical; and for decades where associated only with illegal Mexicans in SoCal who cut up cheap used full sized cars to make them distinctively theirs (as opposed to the much more expensive to buy muscle cars that the white boys had). Now any sixties car regardless of size is expensive (with Camaros and Chevelles being unrealistically expensive).

Big Dave
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2018, 04:45 PM
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If you are doing the bags the quality of the ride will depend on the setup. I have seen a lot of rides with poorly designed system. They install 4 valves only in order to save money and it results in the crappy ride as you have 1 fill and 1 dump valve for both front wheels and same for back wheels. 2 wheels on the same valve is not a good idea as it allows air to travel from one wheel to the other every time you hit a bump or make a slightest turn. For example, if you are making a left turn, the weight shifts to the right side and pushes the air out of right bag into the left, causing increased body roll and crappy ride. Changing lanes on the freeway feels like the car is floating like a boat.
I hope this makes sense.

Another common mistake is not running shocks in the front.

When done right air bag ride is very comfortable and makes the car ride smooth. And no you don't need to spend $4-5k to have a good setup that will last for years.

To bag the car correctly you need 2 valves per wheel (1 fill and 1 dump), this isolates each wheel and dramatically improves the ride quality. Each bag is independent this way.
On my 67 I have a simple setup that I put together my self with quality components. 2 compressors, 2 5g tanks, quality bags (Universal Air), mounting brackets, weld in shock re-locators, 1/2 lines, 2 dual gauges to monitor all 4 bags and 2 switches (1 front 1 back).
My complete setup was little over $1000 and I installed it my self. It's been on the car trouble free for last 3-4 years. I definitely don't recommend buying kits on ebay or similar.

The ride quality is amazing, not as performance oriented as coil-overs on my Chevelle, but I don't take the Impala to the track either. It's more for cruising around with family and for that purpose bags are doing an amazing job, much better than (lowering) springs.


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 09:37 AM
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Another alternative is to restore the stock configuration.

There is nothing WRONG with stock if the parts are all in proper condition. The risks are low because documentation exists on how/what to do. Do it like GM did. The car was designed for it. Based on your stated intended use of the car, stock' would be my recommendation.

My recommendation is based on MANY years and miles of driving cars w/'stock' suspensions dating back to 1965 (the first year I legally drove). I currently have a '63 convertible, drum brakes all around and other than a front roll bar, the suspension is stock. I drive it everywhere (not often, but in nice weather, it goes on highway, suburban roads, urban roads; everywhere). It stops and goes perfectly for its design. Does it handle like my BMWs? No. Nothing will allow that.

I also would not switch to discs. The drums are fine and work as well as the discs on a car driven as you state is your intent.

It's 'urban myth', in my opinion, that the stock is unsafe. The car has its limits and those limits are 'lower' than 'modern' cars. But if driven within current street/highway limits, the stock will do just fine.

Just an alternative for your consideration.

Pete
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