Next, we installed the lower links. This was pretty straight forward as they install using the factory spring buckets. The lower links are non-adjustable and provide you with a geometrical foundation for centering the axles and setting the pinion angle. This also provided you with your side-to-side geometry and saved us countless hours of measuring and fabrication.
Using the supplied bracketry, the guys over at Mercer County Votech made quick work of the lower control arm, and lower coilover mount. We purchased T-bolts to keep everything looking clean. We could have reused the U-bolts from the factory, but decided otherwise. Once in place, the coilovers slid right into place with the top mated to the brackets we installed to the framerails.
It was at this point that things got a little interesting. While trying to place the 13-inch Wilwood disc brakes and emergency brake in place, the inner hub of the disc was too small and would not mate properly with the axles. We sent the brakes over to Nick's Machine in South River, New Jersey, which bored out the inside of the discs and made them fit snuggly. This allowed us to move up and get the entire rear setup with the rotors, emergency brake assembly, caliper brackets, and calipers.
At this point, we could set the rear under the framerails and figure out the pinion angle. We set the pinion angle at three degrees off the angle of the car. This was easier than we thought and we were almost perfectly lined up by eye.
We then got started on the rearend housing. Currie Enterprises came through with a 9-inch limited-slip rear for the build complete with 3.70:1 gears, 31 spline axles, and 7/16-inch studs. The rear is also set to the stock width and comes with stock-style mounts that we will use to mount the coilovers and lower control arm.
We then called Bobby Carroll from Carroll's Rods and Racecraft before we began welding the brackets for the upper control arm. We wanted a professional to take a look at the setup before welding and final assembly. Taking guesses with a suspension that may see 150 mph is not a great idea and I don't suggest amateurs attempting this on their own. Get everything set up and bring the car to a fabrication shop for the welding.
We had to do some fitting to get the upper brackets in place. On the driver's side, the brackets lined up on the pumpkin and not on the tubular surface of the axle housing. This meant some time grinding down the brackets to achieve a clean finish.
Bobby spot-welded the brackets in place and then we were able to pull the rear out from under the car. He then proceeded to weld the brackets in place permanently, giving up a great deal of his day to help us out. Check out the welds when all was said and done. That's one bracket that isn't going anywhere.
We then placed the assembly and using an air bag, moved it up and down through its entire range of motion to ensure there was no binding of any kind. It fit perfectly and was ready for us to rip it all apart and start painting.
As an added bonus of things to come, check out the paint scheme that we will be going with. This is the blue we are using before any clear coats. I think I have talked the owner into deep grey racing stripes. What do you think?
Fat Man Fabrications
8621-C Fairview Rd., Hwy. 218,
Dept. SRM Web
Carroll's Rod & Racecraft
11 American Way, Ste. 17