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Techin’ In With Fletch - January 2014

Reader's Chevrolet Tech Questions

Dan Fletcher Jan 29, 2014
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I see a number of people asking about tire and rim sizes for cars. I am currently re-doing a 1986 El Camino and would like to put larger rims and tires on the car. It is a standard suspension and I would like to put the same sizes on the front and back. I will be driving the car on the street and would like a tire that’s for good for riding and handling. I do not want to be hitting the frame or fender wells during hard turns. Also, I know back spacing on the rims is a factor and was considering 3 3/4-inches, but I will obviously go with what works best. Can you help me or refer me to a site that could help. I have tried several web site forums, but they all seem to differ in opinion and types of tires for front and rear.

Robert Wilson
Via email

Robert, for some help with your query, I hit the speed dial to Don Raiser at Tread City Tire in Buffalo, New York. I know there are lots of different websites that you can plug numbers into, but given the choice, I’d rather talk to an expert with over 30 years in the business. When it comes to tires and wheels, Raiser is my go to guy. Your vehicle came from the factory with a 205/75/14 tire. Raiser advises that the biggest combo you can run without incident is a 235/60/15 tire on a 7-inch, 4.75 backspace wheel. Many have used 16-inch IROC Camaro rims on Elkys like yours (see our October issue), but we aren’t sure if would rub with a stock suspension.

What Is This?
Before I start restoration project, can you tell me what I have? It’s a 1955 Chevy with a VIN of V855L069537. It’s a two-door with a center post, so which of the following do you think it would be? Bel Air two-door hardtop, Bel Air sedan, 210 Delray sedan, 210 hardtop, 210 sedan or a 150 sedan?

I’m trying to figure out what chrome body pieces would go on the sides, etc., and we both know how costly, and maddening, a mistake here could be.

Any help or input would be greatly appreciated.

Via email

Ed, a ’55-57 VIN can be 10 or 11 characters long, The initial digit V simply denotes that it was a V-8 car. If your VIN was 10 characters and started without the V, the implication is then that it was a 6-cylinder-equipped automobile. You list the next character as “8”, but I think you have misread that, as the choices are limited to A, B, C, D, or E. As such, I’m pretty confident it is a B, which denotes a ‘55-57 2100 series and a model type of 210. The next two (55) obviously correlate to it being a 1955 vehicle. The next digit speaks to the assembly plant, and the L states that your car was assembled in Los Angeles, California. The last series of numbers is simply the plant sequence number, which became the car’s serial number. If you have a center post (B-pillar), you have a two-door sedan. A hardtop has no B-pillar.

Go Low
I’m hoping that you can help me make a final decision. I have already lowered my Camaro 1.5-inches in the rear with lowering leaf springs. Additionally, I have lowered the front end with 2-inch drop spindles. The car has the original coil springs that have sagged over the years, so I am going to install new springs up front. I wanted to lower car a little, but I also want a level look—a classic look with a touch of pro-touring. I didn’t want to be extreme when I lowered the car, but didn’t want huge gaps between the tire and wheelwell either. I’m currently running 15-inch rims, but have plans on going to 17-inch Cragar S/S rims. I have Wilwood disc brakes and a 350 (the original motor was a 307).

Right now I am giving two options some thought. In your opinion, which of the following would give me my desired level stance and offer best performance for normal street performance: keep the drop spindles and install new stock height springs, or put the original spindles back on with 1-inch drop springs?

Lastly, is there a company that sells stock height spindles for a ’69 Camaro that will improve handling and is an upgrade from original spindle for under $300? There is nothing wrong with my original spindles, but I just thought I would ask. I have looked around and haven’t been able to find anything as of yet.

Jason Freeman
Via email

Jason, you can achieve the profile that you desire with either plan of attack, and either plan is require a spring change, so it’s really a toss-up. Seeing as you already have the drop spindles installed, I’d probably leave them right where they are and go with new stock height springs. To that point, I would consult whatever company that you bought the drop spindles from for a spring recommendation to ensure that you wind up with the exact amount of lowering that you covet.

Global West offers a stock height replacement spindle, which you can view with the following link . They’re priced at $225 each, and I’m sure they’re a very nice piece, but I can’t see how it would do anything in regards to improved handling if yours are already in good condition. If you’re leaving the drop spindles in place, I’d just put the stock ones in the basement for a future day.

Monte Haul
I’m building a 1984 Monte Carlo SS with a 1988 IROC Tuned Port Injection system, and I’d like it make it stop better. I need an inexpensive disc brake for the rear. Is there a way to do that by using common salvage yard components? The other question I have is will 2010 Camaro wheels fit my car? Will I have to use a spacer of some kind?

Via email

MP, I spent a lot of time researching what I thought would be a simple question. I should know by now that things seldom go as I think they will. It appears that you can get junkyard parts to facilitate the swap, but I wouldn’t even consider it. The best looking junkyard process I came across for your application involves a ’94-97 Camaro set up combined with this adapting bracket But let’s be serious, you aren’t going to actually use junkyard calipers, rotors, and pads, are you? I certainly wouldn’t. You’re attempting to improve the braking, and I really don’t think used components are the best way to facilitate it.

By the time you buy the adapter, new calipers, rotors, and pads, you’re going to be stuck almost as deep as one of the economical lines of brand new kits. Many companies produce kits, and yes, some are high dollar, but Summit offers a very affordable set up as seen here .

As for the 2010 Camaro wheels on your ’84 Monte, not so much. Your original wheel is a 4.75-inch backspace; the ’10 Camaro wheel is a 6-inch backspace front and a 6.85-inch bs rear. Obviously, that will not work…

LSA All The Way
Does anyone make an LS swap kit for the 1994-’96 Impala SS? I’m planning to replace the engine and transmission and would like to use the LS3 engine. Thanks for any information that you can provide.

James Lee
Sumter, SC

I researched your question and came across these helpful kits for the mechanical aspect of the swap This should help with the physical install of the engine and transmission, as well as provide you with some appropriate header choices.

As for engine management, I spoke with the folks at Painless Wiring and they make several products that should help with the engine management aspect of your proposed project. As seen here, part number 60524 is the harness to handle fuel and spark. This harness will operate any GEN IV LS2, LS3 or L99 engine coupled to a 4L65E, 4L70E, 4L80E or 4L85E transmission. You cannot use a 4L60E transmission with this harness as it is missing the Input Speed Sensor required by the Transmission Control Module. If you don’t have a donor vehicle pcm, they offer a custom pcm, part number 60701, and the associated transmission control module, part number 60710,

Got a restoration question that’s been puzzling you? Send it to:

[m] Super Chevy, Fletch, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. [e] [f] 813/675-3559



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