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Post Info TOPIC: Best Donor Car for Suspension


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Best Donor Car for Suspension


Greetings gents,  I am wondering if there are a couple "go to" donor cars for a suspension upgrade for my '51 fastback? Both front and rear. I have already read about rear axle widths and potential donors in that regard.  As previously stated, this is my first car "build", so there is plenty I don't know yet.  For instance, if I used a rear axle from a '78-'88 GM A body, is the suspension from those cars a good fit/donor as well?

 

Thanks,

Doug



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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I am amazed that no one has answered Doug's questions here. There has to be someone in C.P. that knows the answers. 



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1957 Pontiac Pathfinder Deluxe sedan restored 261 six

1974 Chevrolet Caprice Estate wagon low mileage original 400 V-8



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When I did my 51 Ford pickup, I used a subframe from a 76 Nova. That is rather outdated today. 

These days, I would think I would go with a Mustang 2 type setup from one of the hotrod shops. There may even be better options these days. There may even be kits to update your current setup to disk brakes etc.

 



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I don't have anything to share, but doesn't your car have leaf springs for the rear suspension?  The A bodies used a 4-link suspension that might be hard to adapt.  I've never done such a conversion, so I can't speak to the difficulty level, though.



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Hello
Well since Doug made a comment "amazed that no one has answered Doug's questions here. There has to be someone in C.P. that knows the answers. "
I thought I would share my build experience and provide my 2 cents worth.

To start, I guess it all depends on what you plan to do with your car ie motor, transmission and rear differential. I think you have to have a plan. In our case my wife wanted  her 1950 Pontiac Silver streak to be a cruiser and she wanted it to stay almost original, hummmmmm. Did we do everything right and make all the right decisions, in short no. I was blinded by my wife's wanting to keep the original shift 3 on the tree, by all accounts this is the only mistake I made, ended up with no power steering options other than EPAS.

So to answer your question, once you decide what your expectations of your car are going to be, what is wrong with your existing frame???,
If you are going to put a chevy V8, with EFI and a nice 4L60E, and a nice 8.2 GM differential for a nice cruiser. I would recommend a Fat MAN MII Independent front suspension c/w motor mounts, your choice of Disc Brakes with that option. My rear end is a 1970 Camaro 8.2 mainly because the measurement from backing plate to backing plate was identical to the torque tube differential that I took out. I used the original leaf spring to determine the length and arc for a new set which I got through a local Spring shop. Perches and pinion angles happened to be bang on. No vibration at all.

The choice to swap out the frame is a big decision when it comes to the coach mounting points, there are 18 bolts and nuts that bolt the coach to the frame, this does not include the front rad wall. In my humble opinion, it is easier , once you decide on what your car is expected to be , to put in a new IFS with MII rack and pinion, mount your motor and transmission, install new springs then measure and have a new drive shaft fabricated . 

I hope I didn't confuse you. Best of luck with your build, and remember to enjoy the process. 

Dale 

 



-- Edited by silver steak on Saturday 22nd of February 2020 12:46:07 PM



-- Edited by silver steak on Monday 24th of February 2020 07:20:31 AM

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Dale Petrie

1950 Pontiac Silver Streak 2 Dr Sedan

1956 Studebaker 1/2 ton

1967 Beaumont  2 Dr Sport Coupe 

1985 GMC 1500 Sierra 4x4 One Owner



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Wow, thanks for the feedback gentlemen. Thanks "longstroke" for getting it kick started. Silverstreak, your comment is exactly what I needed to hear. I don't have the body off the frame yet, but it looks like it is certainly useable. If it is easier to use the original frame and still have "modern car handling" that would be ideal.
I want to end up with a cruiser, power steering, power disc brakes with some passing power on the highway. Chevy V8 with EFI. I am thinking about a manual transmission. Don't know enough about them to decide type/brand (4spd/5spd?). As far as the rear end goes, one from a '70 camaro might be hard to find.
This being my first build, I would like to use donor parts where possible to cut costs. I realize that for some things it may make more sense to buy new, like an IFS with rack and pinion made for '49-'54 chevs. Those are the kinds of things I am looking to find out.

Thanks again,
Doug

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