1972 Chevy Corvette - The Sure-Footed Shark, Part 2

Part 2: Tearing down our C3’s rear suspension to install Van Steel coilovers

Jeremy D. Clough Nov 13, 2013 0 Comment(s)
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Nut 2/30

16 To remove the shock mount, which also holds the strut rod in place, first remove the nut. (Recall that I did this earlier while unbolting the halfshaft loop.) Here, you can see the nut bracket hanging freely to the right of the mount.

Removal Tool 3/30

17 To remove the shock mount, you’ll want the removal tool (around $20) and something along the lines of this short-handled sledge, which we lovingly call “The Motivator.” The tool screws over the threaded end of the shock mount like a nut, protecting the threads. You then whack it with the hammer until the mount comes free.

Shock Mount Removal 4/30

18 The shock-mount removal tool in place. While not absolutely necessary, it costs less than half of what a replacement shock mount does, making it a good buy.

Shock Mount 5/30

19 The shock mount after removal. Remember how far behind the mount the spring sat? The advantage of a coilover is that it combines the spring and shock into a single unit, eliminating the tenuous connection between the two in factory form.

Halfshaft 6/30

20 Disconnect the four bolts that hold the halfshaft to the hub. These will most likely be extremely tight, so anticipate using a breaker bar. While the directions say to disconnect both the inboard and outboard ends of the shaft, freeing it completely, I opted to only unbolt the outboard side.

Drivers Side Trailing 7/30

21 Now for the trailing arm. This is the driver’s side: Note the painted-over pivot bolt, and the head of the large cotter pin that’s visible near the bottom of the photo. It holds the alignment shims in place.

Pivot Bolt 8/30

22 After removing the nut from the pivot bolt, remove the cotter pin that holds the shims in place and pry them up so they can be removed. The square ends of the alignment shims are just visible beneath the trailing arm, having already been rotated part of the way upwards. Depending on the amount of rust present, you may not be able to free them until the trailing arm is out.

Pivot Bolt 9/30

23 On the driver-side trailing arm, removing the nut and shims was fairly easy. The problem was that the pivot bolt, shown here, was frozen into place in the trailing-arm bushing.

Sawzall Shims 10/30

24 While the pivot bolt wouldn’t budge, the shims would, so I was able to slip a Sawzall blade into the frame pocket, cut the bolt on either side of the trailing arm, and then remove it.

Shims 11/30

25 Make sure you lay the shims aside so you remember which ones went where; this will be important for reassembly. While not evident in this photo, the trailing-arm bushings were absolutely shot.

Factory Trailing 12/30

26 Out at last. Other than boxing them up and shipping them to Van Steel for bearing rebuilding, this is the last we’ll see of the factory trailing arms.

New Coilover Trailing Arms Van 13/30

27 The new coilover trailing arms from Van Steel, fully assembled and ready to bolt in. It almost seems a shame to put something this pretty underneath a car.

Van Steel 14/30

28 While the factory trailing arm was made from folded-and-welded steel, the Van Steel arms are of much thicker stock, with welded reinforcing ribs down the inboard side.

Adjustable Coilover 15/30

29 Another portent of things to come: one of the adjustable coilover shocks that will go in with the new trailing arms. Stay tuned. vette

Check out the rest of the series in Part 1 and Part 3 of the Sure-Footed Shark!


Summit Racing
Akron, OH
Muskegon Brake
Muskegon, MI 49444


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