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Drag Racing Suspension Ideas ?

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  • Drag Racing Suspension Ideas ?

    This question is for the few people that actually drag race their Festiva's.

    How do you have your front end set-up? Springs, shocks, travel limiters, traction bars, etc? Re-enforcing front beam (lower radiator support), no sway bar?

    I'm at the point of really thinking about what I want to do to the front of the car. Current thinking is to get rid of the the factory sway bar and fabricate curved traction bars (so the tires won't rub when the wheels are turned - just like a stock swaybar) and secure them to a modified swaybar mounting plates. These would be tubular with threaded ends so I could adjust the toe in/out.

    With no sway bar running across the front of the car, the engine/trans could be moved more forward.

    I am going to keep the battery (small lawn mower battery) in the engine compartment and mount it over the transmission or on the lower radiator support as well as install a small fuel tank up forward. Still deciding whether to install a 1-gal fuel cell in the right hand corner of the engine bay or make one out of the square/tubular lower radiator support beam.

    I have re-enforced the lower suspension attachment point. I have ordered a set of the tubular re-enforcing frames that Hot Wheels is making.

    I'm leaning towards installing a shock tower strut tubular re-enforcing/tie bar as well as one for the lower suspension attachment points.

    Remember, this is a non-streetable drag racer that only goes in a straight line for a 1/4-mile, so the suspension needs are far different that a road racer or street car.

    Looking forward to all suggestions, comments and opinions - I'm sure you will come up with things I haven't thought of!

  • #2
    The lower rad support should be modded as per Charlie's suggestion. As for adjustable trailing links, that will affect more your caster than toe, though any adjustments will affect the LBJ to chassis angle laterally and therefore the toe as well, but I wouldn't use that as a toe adjustment.
    Having no stock swaybar allows you to lower the engine and trans as there's then nothing to bind against the crossmember when it's spaced from the lower rad support, moving it forward doesn't affect the swaybar, but more the rad to engine clearance.
    I guess the big thing to keep in mind is that any power that is transmitted to the chassis will flow from the knuckle to the LBJ, then to the swaybar or trailing links and into the lower rad support. The rad support pulls the rest of the car along through the forward members and the crossmember, so focus your attention on those areas to reduce deflection and therefore power loss.
    Trees aren't kind to me...

    currently: 2 88Ls (Scrappy and Jersey), 88LX, 90L(Pepe), 91L, 91GL (Skippy) 93 GL Sport (the Mighty Favakk), 94 (Bruce) & 95 Aspire SEs, 97 Aspire (The Joker),
    94 Justy 4WD, 87 Fiero GT, plus 2 parts cars. That's my fleet.

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    • #3


      I made these to replace the front sway bar and lower control arms. All spherical links no bushings. Since then I've been distracted by other projects so I've never had a chance to test them at the track.
      Last edited by shorestiva; 04-18-2017, 09:57 AM.
      Better Than Nothing Racing

      Way too many cars

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      • #4
        If it means anything, Euro is still the fastest 1/4 mile on here at 11.78 I think, and it just has stock replacement KYB's with FMS lowering springs. Greg launched it off the 7000 rpm limiter with slicks. 1.7something 60 foot I think?

        That doesn't mean it can't be improved upon though. I would imagine a slightly lifted, very stiff back end would help keep the weight from transferring off the front tires. I believe Charlie has mentioned de-suspensioning the back end. As in welding a solid tube in place of a spring or something. Would definitely take any streetability out of the car.
        91GL BP/F3A with boost
        13.79 @ 100, 2.2 60' on 8 psi and 155R12's

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bhazard View Post
          If it means anything, Euro is still the fastest 1/4 mile on here at 11.78 I think, and it just has stock replacement KYB's with FMS lowering springs. Greg launched it off the 7000 rpm limiter with slicks. 1.7something 60 foot I think?

          That doesn't mean it can't be improved upon though. I would imagine a slightly lifted, very stiff back end would help keep the weight from transferring off the front tires. I believe Charlie has mentioned de-suspensioning the back end. As in welding a solid tube in place of a spring or something. Would definitely take any streetability out of the car.
          I didn't just mention it. I made him some of the parts he needed to do it. Lol
          Last edited by Advancedynamix; 04-22-2017, 01:28 PM.
          Driving for me is neither a right nor a privilege. Driving is my passion, as it was for the people who invented the automobile, the people who paved the first roads and the people who continue to improve the automobile. Please respect this passion.

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          • #6
            Charlie mentioned the idea to me and after thinking it over for about 30-seconds I really liked it. So out to the shop I went and sawsalled some rear shocks apart to get the bits and pieces I needed, then to E-Bay to buy some tubing to weld the pieces to to make a "solid" shock.

            When I fitted it all together I liked it even more, but decided that having the "shock strut" adjustable would work better - so I could raise or lower the rear end as needed. I drew up a sketch, asked if anyone could do machine work, and Charlie came right back.

            Long story short, he improved on my design and made them. They came out great! The plan is to use Grade 8 all thread as the upper shock strut so I can just use a wrench and socket to adjust the rear end height by moving the securing nuts on the all thread.

            So I get rear end height adjust-ability and I save a bunch of weight by getting rid of the springs and their mounting points.

            I'll go out and take a couple of pictures of how it all fits together (waiting to get the reworked rear suspension/axle back in the car before I weld them up so I get close to the right height without a lot of extra tubing)

            Thanks again Charlie for the help!

            And thanks bhazard for the suspension information!

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            • #7
              Pictures of Solid Drag Racing Shocks

              Here are the pictures of the Solid Rear Drag Racing shock.

              The first couple of pictures show using only the parts from a cut up standard shock. This would work if you didn't care about adjustability and knew what overall length you need.

              The second couple of pictures show the standard lower shock mount and the new adjustable upper part. The lower mount has some "give" since it is using the original rubber bushings. The original upper bushings will also be used to center the shock strut and for a little more "give".

              The last shows using a bolt instead of all thread - probably stronger, lighter and cheaper once I figure out an overall length.

              The end pieces will be welded on thru "windows" plus full circular welding.
              Last edited by Doug Brown; 04-22-2017, 04:17 PM. Reason: forgot the pictures !

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