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Ground Force

Our eBay Nova gets a suspension, brakes, and wheel makeover

By Bob Mehlhoff

If you're a regular reader of Popular Hot Rodding, Super Chevy, Car Craft, or Chevy High Performance magazines you've undoubtedly heard of the eBay Editor's Charity Challenge. For those of you just joining in, we were basically given a purse of $25K to largely spend on eBay with 10 grand of the funds going to the purchase of any car we could find.

After scouring the electronic pages of eBay, our Chevy team found the perfect candidate; a '72 Nova SS that we'll build and modify to compete with against several other Primedia magazines on the track for best ET, braking, handling, and appearance. When all of this is completed a special auction will be held on eBay during '05 where the cars will be auctioned off. Yes, you could be the one who in the end owns one of these rides. So stay tuned.

But for now we're in the midst of our eBay Nova buildup and have enjoyed purchasing parts online. To date we've collected a cool Hotchkis suspension kit, four-wheel Baer disc brake system, Global West control arms, Edelbrock IAS shocks and a set of awesome looking ROH wheels to really make this Nova come alive. Our wrenching sessions have taken place at Johns Customz in Torrance, California.

The Baer brake kit we purchased included a pair of 13-inch front rotors (Track system) and 12-inch rear rotors (Touring system). The rotors are cross-drilled and slotted and came with Baer calipers, pads and a proportioning valve. The front portion of the kit installs to the stock style spindle. Because the spindles on our Nova had been in service for over 30 years we went ahead and purchased a pair of brand-new front disc brake spindles on eBay.

To install the rear disc brake kit required removing the factory axles in order to add the special rear caliper mounting brackets. Since we would soon be pulling the rear springs too, we decided to just pull the entire rear suspension system and rearend as an assembly and place the works onto a sturdy shop fixture at Johns Customz.

With the rearend on the stand, we unbolted the stock leaf springs and installed the new Hotchkis springs. These springs are part of a total Hotchkis system we bought off of eBay and are designed to improve the overall handling of our Nova. After completing the install of the rear springs and disc brakes we moved the assembly back into position and bolted it back into the car along with the Edelbrock IAS shocks.

With the rearend firmly in place we had the perfect opportunity to install the rear sway bar. The Hotchkis bar mounts across the rearend with U-bolts and then anchors to the underside of the car with special brackets. To bolt these brackets into position requires that the rear seat be removed, which is about the most difficult part of the install. The entire installation of the rear sway bar took us only about 45 minutes to complete.

Up at the front of the car the rest of the crew at Johns Customz had been busy removing the stock 11-inch front disc brakes, control arms, sway bar, and coil springs. So we had an easy avenue to begin adding our new Global West control arms. First we bolted the upper and lower tubular control arms into position and placed the new Hotchkis coil springs into the seat of the lower arm. With a vehicle lift this procedure was almost effortless compared to installing the springs in a driveway with a coil spring compressor and floor jack. One of the tips we learned after completing the control arm install is that it would have been easier to install the front sway bar before the new control arms were installed. We still managed to get the front sway bar on, but it did take some maneuvering.

After we had the control arms, Edelbrock shocks, and Baer front brakes installed we bled the system and added the new ROH wheels and lowered the Nova to the ground. We are still in the process of installing all of the power-adding engine components, and are eagerly anticipating the excitement of driving our eBay Nova with all of its cool parts. We're sure it will be a blast!

eBay Parts/Prices
Edelbrock IAS Performer Shocks - $268.95
Baer Brakes four-wheel disc complete system, - $1,195
Global West upper and lower tubular control arm kit - $1,000
ROH wheels w/Sumitomo HTR tires - $1,125
Hotchkis TVS suspension system for '72 Nova - $872
CPU Car Parts front disc brake spindles - $158
SOURCES
Johns Customz
20022 S. Normandie, Dept. PHR
Torrance
CA  90502
By Bob Mehlhoff
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