1963 Corvette Z06 Suspension and Chassis - Split Personality, Part 2

Chassis And Suspension Upgrades For A '63 Z06 Pro-Classic Vette

Rich Lagasse Apr 10, 2007 0 Comment(s)
Corp_0703_19_z 1963_corvette_chassis_and_suspension_upgrade Rear 1/17

This is a front view of the driver-side rear suspension. Note the custom sway bar and mounts. If it looks like something is missing in this picture, the spindles and half-shafts have yet to be installed.

Once that problem was solved, the parts were taken back to Allied Metal Finishing in South Windsor, Connecticut, to complete the chroming. These folks also have decades of experience in chroming for commercial and decorative chrome and, fortunately for us, make the sacrificial lead anodes used to get the chrome to flow into recessed areas. Some of these are extremely complex and almost look like works of art.

For those parts which cannot be subjected to chemicals or high heat, such as with chroming or powdercoating, they can be polished and protected with Zoops Seal. We used that for parts, such as the tie-rod ends and stabilizer links.

If you plan on driving your car regularly, our suggestion would be either to leave the suspension "natural" or use powdercoating.

Corp_0703_20_z 1963_corvette_chassis_and_suspension_upgrade Rear_axle 2/17

This view shows the differential carrier and custom rear toe-rods, camber rods, sway bar, and coilovers. At this point, the half-shafts have not been installed, but that's one of the next things on our long list of things to do.

Suspension Installation
Front Suspension: We started by installing the lower control arm, followed by the coilover, and then the upper control arm. The hub knuckle, with the bearing hub already mounted, was then installed, and the ball joints were torqued to specs. Lastly, the sway-bar brackets, sway bar, and stabilizer links complete the suspension itself. Then you can install the rack-and-pinion and connect the tie-rods. It's a good idea to leave everything loose at this point until you are sure everything is as you want it, and then torque all fasteners to spec.

Rear Suspension: A second pair of hands can help with the rear suspension, especially when it comes to installing the differential and when connecting the components to the rear hub. We started by installing the differential carrier assembly. This assembly includes the carrier and differential, torque arm, and camber-rod brackets. Then the trailing arms were installed to the chassis. The next step was to have someone hold the hub assembly (which consists of the hub, brake mount, and bearing) while the trailing arms, coil-over mount, and camber rod were assembled to the hub. Then the rear toe-rods can be installed. Lastly, the sway bar brackets, sway bar, and stabilizer links are installed, which completes the rear suspension.

Corp_0703_21_z 1963_corvette_chassis_and_suspension_upgrade Front 3/17

This is a rear view of the passenger-side front suspension. Note that the C5 upper control arms have been converted to use a C4-style control arm mount, which allows for caster and camber alignment.

Bushings: If you disassemble the suspension and remove the stock bushings you will have to replace them. There are two schools of thought when it comes to using rubber versus polyurethane bushings. Some folks like it, while others don't. On some components (such as the C5 upper control arms) the only ones we found were polyurethane. They do look good and will likely last forever. one caution: use enough of their special lubricant to avoid squeaks. The lubricant is nasty stuff to work with and hard to get off the parts and your hands. One product which helps is the 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner (PN 08984), which is handy for other uses around the shop as well.

Hardware: For mounting hardware, we used high-strength six- and twelve-point stainless bolts, washers, and nylock nuts-each of which were polished. One word of caution: when working with stainless, use anti-seize as they can "cold weld" themselves together if you don't.

Corp_0703_22_z 1963_corvette_chassis_and_suspension_upgrade Rear 4/17

This is the rear view of the driver-side rear suspension. Note the coilover mount and reshaped hubs to clear them.

Well, that's where we are at this point. It sure was nice to finally get into the assembly stage and see things come together after spending all those hours preparing everything. At times during a project you wonder if you are having fun or not. there are a few of those times along the way during any project, but having things come together as you had planned makes it all worthwhile.

Next Time
In the next installment, we'll cover the drivetrain, including the engine (accessories, mounts, electronics, and dry-sump system), the transmission and clutch, the differential, and the brake system. In the meantime, you can find additional pictures and links to sources on our web site: www.corvetteforum.net/c5/richs7/.

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