Rear Improvement

This bolt-in subframe is just what early Novas need

Ever wonder why some cars seem to have just the right attitude? You know, those machines you see that not only look good and run well, but also handle, corner, and ride just as well? It seriously gets you wondering, "What does that car have that mine doesn't?" Then you take a closer look and you're thinking, "Looks basically stock to me." And then it hits you, "Whoa, what is that?"

For you avid SUPER CHEVY readers that remember a light-blue '63 Nova in our January 2004 issue, you know what I'm talking about. For those of you who don't, lemme fill you in. Stitz Street Rods in Upland, California, built a '63 Deuce that not only was on bags and could lay frame, but at the same time pulled .82 g's during our skid-pad testing, and shot through the 420-foot slalom at 43.32 mph! As you could only imagine, we were impressed, and had to know more about this car's chassis. Under further examination we noticed it was equipped with a new TCI (Total Cost Involved) front clip and 17-inch Intro wheels up front. But then we noticed something new and different we've never even seen before at the back of the car. Stitz had put the very first bolt-in rear subframe kit beneath the Nova. By this time we were on the edge of our seats begging for more.

We began a thorough inspection of the Stitz bolt-in rearend kit, and what we found is this little baby comes with more goodies than a stocking on Christmas morning. It not only allows for a complete new rear stance, which lets you run a bigger tire in the rear. But, it also comes with Stitz subframe connectors and spring relocator to bulk things up and allow you to really get down and dirty. Also in the kit is a Stitz adjustable Panhard bar, TCI narrowed Ford 9-inch axle housing, 31-spline fast axles, airbags, and the list just keeps going. And here's the best part, the entire kit is a bolt on! However, there is an option to weld if you'd rather, but there's no need. The installation takes about 4 to 5 hours, and carries an intermediate level of difficulty. All in all, this is a good at-home project.

3

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The experts at Stitz Street Rods started off by disassembling the OEM rearend.

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Next the factory leaf springs were removed.

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The new Stitz bolt-in subframe was positioned, and the edges were marked to show where the rearend would eventually sit.

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The air bags were bolted onto the new Stitz subframe.

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Even though this kit is totally bolt in, it's also an option to weld, and that's what we did. The area where we marked the frame was prepped.

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The Stitz rear was placed back on the car, and welded into place.

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Using the new Stitz spring relocators, the OEM leaf springs were mounted.

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Our new Stitz's sub-frame connectors were then installed.

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Shocks were mounted to the Stitz rearend.

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The Total Cost Involved narrowed 9-inch axle housing was put in place.

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This car was given 2-inch lowering blocks, however 3-inch blocks are available as well. Using the Stitz five-hole plates, U-bolts, and 2-inch blocks the springs were attached to the axle housing.

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Once the axle housing was all squared up, Aaron then secured the U-bolts in place.

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The airbags were then mounted to the brackets on the Ford 9-inch housing.

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The shocks were then mounted to the new Stitz five-hole plates.

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Then the other end of the Panhard bar was mounted to the adjustable positioned bracket on the Stitz rearend.

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Since we used 2-inch blocks instead of 3-inch, the excess threads on the U-bolts were trimmed up.

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Finally, the 31-spline fast axles were slid into place and the tires were mounted. Since we used 2-inch blocks instead of 3-inch, the excess threads on the driver's side U-bolts also needed to be trimmed up.

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You have just completed Nova Rearend Suspension 101.

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