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1966 Chevy Chevelle SS Suspension - A Detroit Overhaul

This '66 A-Body Was In Dire Need Of Some Suspension Essentials So We Do Our First Install Of The New Chevelle Parts From Detroit Speed & Engineering.

By Mike Ficacci, Photography by Mike Ficacci

Two 3/8-inch holes need to be drilled in the frame for the forward mounting location of the sway bar. Supplied pictures help to orientate the position of these holes, but it is always in your favor to do you own measuring. We centered the sway bar off the housing and cut our holes. Measuring 1 1/8-inch in diameter, the sway bar mounts to the frame using swivel-links and minimizes deflection through corners.

We then set the Koni adjustable shocks to the mid-setting and placed both them and the springs in the rear. The Koni shock absorbers provide a comfortable ride while also maximizing performance. Also, DSE's 2-inch drop and standard height rear springs have a tighter coil to work in parallel with the shocks.

Here is a good look at the finished product.

Up front, the DSE kit replaces everything for the front suspension. We scrapped the factory sway bar, control arms, springs, shocks, and spindles and replaced them when Speed Kit 1 for the A-body consisting of tubular control arms, Koni shocks, springs, 2-inch drop spindles, and sway bar.

We began by disconnecting the sway bar, cutting the old brake lines, and unbolting the spindles. Rather than fight with the old springs, we simply cut them apart with a cut-off wheel.

Check out the difference between the DSE lower control arm and the one from General Motors circa '66. These arms provide much more strength than stock and positive caster assisting in the handling of the vehicle. Both the upper and lower control arms are gusseted to add strength to an already design.

The upper and lower control arms slid in without much of a fight. We greased the mounting locations for the lower control arms and slid the bolts in place. Luckily we were able to work around the headers. It is possible that you will have to remove one, if not both of the headers to get the lower control arm bolts in and out. This is easier said than done, especially if you take the hood off. Our owner loves to stare at his Rat and hasn't had the hood on yet.

The tighter-bound coil spring for the front suspension is shorter than stock and also went in without much of a fight. Once in place, we lowered the car to the point where we could a jack under the lower control arm. We needed to compress the spring just enough to get the spindle bolted on both the top and bottom. Check out that positive caster! Coming from a drag racing background, this was neat to see. It was even cooler when the car performed like a champ.

We then installed the sway bar using the factory locations. The DSE sway bar differs from stock in both design and thickness (1 1/8-inch), and will help keep the Chevelle level going through the corners by increasing roll stiffness.


By Mike Ficacci
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