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Post Info TOPIC: Installed Viking Hybrid Coilovers in the Grande.


Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Installed Viking Hybrid Coilovers in the Grande.


Finally got around to installing the Viking hybrid coilovers I'd bought a while back. Breaking the front end apart on the B body is a job nobody enjoys, and I'd done it far too many times trying to find an optimum spring rate. Seems replacement springs are far too stiff these days, and it's rare anyone can find a set that will give that optimum ride and height that they are wanting. One good thing is I've become kind of good at doing it, and this gave a chance to have a good look at the aftermarket arm setup I'd installed a few years back. I also had a good look at the brakes, which are holding up great.

A relatively new solution to the problem is the hybrid coilover. A setup where the spring bears on the original upper spring pocket up top, and on an adjustable collar on the shock below. The shock lower mount now mounting to the inside or top of the lower control arm, in place of the bottom mount as with the stock shock. Admittedly, it's a pricey solution, but after hunting for years for that right spring, it's one I was ready to undertake.

The unit I chose is the Viking A225-TK550 - the 225 double adjustable model shock, with the 550 model spring, which is the small block spring. Chosen since I figure my aluminum enhanced BB is within 60 or so lbs of my last all iron SB, and I'm looking for some good compliance since riding rock hard for too long. This shock has 19 positions of compression and rebound, enough to give either a soft ride, or enhanced handling if so desired. They are very nicely finished pieces, and look very well made. Bought direct from Viking.

vik.JPG

This setup comes with the two spanners, and a Torrington bearing to be placed between the spring and upper collar. Without it you'd get some serious galling between the two when adjusting the spring. Adjustment is always done with the wheels off the ground. As trying to do so compressed would place too much load on the bearing and collar when turning. That aside, the bearing and threads on the shock get a liberal coating of nickle based anti seize. Assembling it without would lead to galling during adjustment. Viking instruction are very clear on this!

 

IMG_1797.jpg

So it's break open the front end. Brakes off, stabilizer links out. Outer Ties Rods off. Remove the old shock. Back the upper ball joint nut off a few threads. Blow with a hammer on the spindle at the taper until it pops. Place spring compressor inside the spring to take away some of the stored energy, jack under the arm, upper nut off, then a slow drop down of the arm. Pull the spring. Remove compressor. Repeat.

 

IMG_1796.jpg

Tie the caliper up out of the way so as to not stress the line. Visible is the bonus of the aftermarket strut rod. The rod end allows you to drop the arm way down without having to disconnect it.

 

IMG_1799.jpg

Here's where one minor modification takes place; the two shock nuts that are welded to the inside surface of the arm have to come off. They were just lightly tacked on to the GW arm. Zip wheel, then a light flap disking to smooth it out was all it took.

I should be noted here that while the hybrid coilovers can be used in conjunction with the stock lower arms, they MUST be strengthened at the old shock mounting points. Viking recommends that the material below the mount not be less than 3/16", which the GW arm is. I don't think it would be a big deal to fab a thick drilled plate then to be welded into the bottom of the stock arm. I've seen them pre made somewhere on line at some point. So it is done.

 

IMG_1801.jpg

Installation of everything is the reverse of removal. The short spring makes it easy. Place the spring on the extended assembled shock, lift the rod up and through the upper mount hole and thread on the upper nut. It now will hang free. Clock the spring pigtail correctly into the upper mount. Bring up the arm until you can get the lower bolts in. Continue raising the arm up until the upper ball joint taper passes through the spindle. Thread on the nut. Tighten and pin everything. Make sure the spring is seated correctly up top. Adjust the collars on both shocks to the same height.

 

IMG_1800.jpg

The Viking has a spherical joint in the lower mount. Comes with grade bolts to mount.

I kept the spring adjustment collars at the lowest to start. Went with 6 compression, 10 rebound on the knobs.

 

IMG_1805.jpg

Sitting way low now! Too low, but it certainly looks cool. Can be driven, but now the alignment is off. Has gained what appears to be a excessive toe out condition. This is caused by a major change in camber acting on the steering arms. It's so different to drive, I can now see road in front of the hood, and when you step out of the car, it feels like a low-rider. I'll probably come up at least an inch to start. And it'll get my DIY driveway alignment as always. 

 

op.JPG

Comparing to before, it's now probably 3" lower!

The beauty now is I'll be able to fully adjust it to suit what I want. On the road, the difference in smoothness and compliance is huge, it finally might ride (just a little) like a big old GM was intend to. Another plus is it will now give me a proper level of camber adjustment. I could never get it completely out of excessive negative, owing to how low the upper arms sat, and I ran out of eccentric on the lower arm. The position will be much more normal now.

All in all, another good and relatively easy mod to make the car that much more adjustable, roadworthy and safe. 

 

Cheers, Mark

 



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67' Grande Parisienne. Ex Ottawa USSR Embassy car, 67- 68.
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Poncho Master!

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Installed front Hybrid coilovers in the Grande.


Great post Mark! Love the idea of the amount of adjustability in that system. Can't wait to see it all dialed in and what the difference in ride and handling is.

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A Poncho Legend!

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Cool! Is there some sort of way to ensure both sides are adjusted exactly the same?

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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I think initally you just go by the amount of thread exposed on the shock body. And after that, a check of ride height on a equal point on the forward frame to ground each side. 



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67' Grande Parisienne. Ex Ottawa USSR Embassy car, 67- 68.
6977017306_dfca361bfc_m.jpg
 


Addicted!

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Thanks Mark for your great posting on the 67 Grande! I really enjoy the mods you are making to the Grande and are very applicable to my Grande!

Hopefully you will also post your dyi driveway alignment as well!

Jake

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Guru

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looks better lower than higher IMO

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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68sd396rag wrote:

looks better lower than higher IMO


 Agreed.

Although it had come down a little since that original picture was taken a few years before, it still sat too high. But it'll need to come up a little. The pan or headers just kiss the sidewalk coming into the drive if my approach angle isn't right.



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Great write up Mark! Looking to do this swap in my Canso in the near future. Did it state in the instructions which way to position the adjusting screws/valves. Just wondering if it's easyer access pointing inward or outward? Since mine would sit on the upper control arm there will be no access from the back side so they must be set outward. Just curious as to what they instructed on your set up. Think the kit I'm looking at you can get a 350lb or 450lb spring. Think I'm going with the 350lb because she already sits low and has the stance I like. You might be fine tuning for a while......that is a lot of adjustment variables!!!

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Funny you ask that Jim. I have thought about it. There is nothing stating which way the knobs must face. Not a big deal, but I'm thinking that it might have been easier to adjust with the knobs inboard in my case. Kind of easier for me "reach around" if that makes sense. Design wise, it appears to make no difference. Regardless, they do have a very positive click, so it's easy to count by feel.

I'd stay with the lighter spring for sure. If you need more height you can always dial it up. A stiff spring might not allow the drop.

Today I'll play with it a little. More preload and some alignment measure.



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67' Grande Parisienne. Ex Ottawa USSR Embassy car, 67- 68.
6977017306_dfca361bfc_m.jpg
 


Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Installed Viking Hybrid Coilovers in the Grande.


Hows it working....have it all dialed in? Curious what your up/down stoke is set at. Just ordered mine with the 350lb spring. Way less $$$ than the QA1 shocks and these come with adj coils!

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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I'm very happy with them Jim. Really, they have transformed the ride and feel of the Grand. It's nice to actually have some wheel travel and compliance for a change. 

I have them dialed in at 7 compression, 12 rebound, and they seem to be working well. I had cranked up the collars about 1.5 inches from the initial install. The springs are still settling somewhat and may have to be dialed up again. I'll be reluctant to do that so since it will require another alignment if I move the ride height up. The stance looks good with some nose down anyway.



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