While strip testing our SS509 Nova project car for our last installment (July 2012), we couldn't depress the go-pedal too quickly off the line or the Nitto NT555R Drag Radials (325/50R15) would spin. The rear of the body was lifting instead of squatting during launch and the front end wasn't rising to shift the weight to plant the rear tires. We wanted the Total Cost Involved front clip, which is designed for superior road holding, autocross or road course action, to also work on our Nova SS509 street/strip car, but we had a problem. Or two. The old school traction bars (aka slapper bars) usually work well with a stock-type front suspension that has a few more inches of suspension travel. The slapper bars were not working with our reduced front suspension travel. Also, the rear shocks that were in the car when we bought it probably expired sometime during Ronald Reagan's first term in office. To put it mildly, they were purely decorative at this point. Technology advancements in the suspension and tire department have come a long way in recent years and we needed to take advantage of that and put it to use on our Nova. After looking at the options for our leaf-spring suspended X-body, we felt Competition Engineering's Slide-A-Links would be a step in the right direction. At the same time, we ponied up for a set of Competition Engineering's adjustable rear shocks. And are we glad we did. We swapped-out those old slapper bars and shocks and everything got better. The Nova's ride, handling and hook improved enough to make us feel like entering an autocross or road course competition for some additional fun. Our 60-foot times improved at the strip, despite our being handicapped with lots of summer heat and humidity. Read along and see the easy installation and how we made out strip testing with the Slide-A-Links and Comp Engineering adjustable rear shocks. 1 For much-needed bite, we ordered the Slide-A-Link system from Competition Engineering (PN C2100), which is part of Moroso, a trusted name in performance . It's designed for use in Stock Eliminator and bracket racing, but as we found out, will make improvements towards a better, firmer ride and enhanced road holding on a street-driven car. Shown here are all the components needed for one side, along with the installation instructions and the Slide-A-Link wrenches (PN C2199). A solid front plate and bushing is installed inside the original front spring pocket and clamps to the leaf spring, creating a positive point for torque transmitted from the rear axle through the unique sliding link, cushioned by the urethane shock pad. Free travel and pre-load adjustments are made on the vehicle for street or strip use.1 For much-needed bite, we ordered the Slide-A-Link system from Competition Engineering ( 2 Here's a last look at the old school slapper bars and stock-type shocks. They were ineffective for our combination with the TCI front clip. The TCI front suspension has limited suspension travel and front-end rise during launch (it's designed for improved handling and steering on the street or road course). Also during launch, the slapper bars promoted spring wrap-up, which caused the rear body to lift instead of squatting to plant the tires. All the while the pinion angle was changing drastically. The Slide-A-Links should eliminate these issues since they are designed, track tested and competition proven to outperform slapper bars.2 Here's a last look at the old school slapper bars and stock-type shocks. They were inef 3 A good gearhead buddy, Pat Grant, graciously offered his assistance and the use of his lift, which made life easier for the installation. Your 50-something author has done enough of his share of grunt work on his back. The first order of business was to ditch the slapper bars. We'll show the install from the right side Slide-A-Link, which gets repeated over on the left side.3 A good gearhead buddy, Pat Grant, graciously offered his assistance and the use of his 4a The front spring eye is unbolted from the hanger. 4b The leaf spring needs to be removed from the car to install the solid aluminum spring eye bushing.4b The leaf spring needs to be removed from the car to install the solid aluminum spring 5a Fortunately, Pat's home shop is equipped with a strong hydraulic press...5a Fortunately, Pat's home shop is equipped with a strong hydraulic press... 5b... to press out the stock rubber bushing and press-in the supplied aluminum spring eye bushing.5b ... to press out the stock rubber bushing and press-in the supplied aluminum spring eye 6 Be sure to press in the aluminum spring eye bushing so there is an equal amount of bushing showing on each side of the spring eye. We measured to be sure we had it right.6 Be sure to press in the aluminum spring eye bushing so there is an equal amount of bush 7a We lubed the spring eye bushing sleeve with anti-seize and slid it into the spring eye bushing. Then the front spring eye bracket is slid between the front hanger and the spring eye bushing. The clamp end of the bracket should face rearward away from the spring eye.7a We lubed the spring eye bushing sleeve with anti-seize and slid it into the spring eye 7b Once in place with the holes lined up we lubed the original spring eye-bolt with anti-seize then guided it in place. For now we only hand-tightened the spring eye bolt and nut. Not shown, but next installed is the spring clamp U-bolt onto the front spring assembly using the 7/16-inch-14 Nylock nuts. Tighten the U-bolt nuts to 15 lb-ft.7b Once in place with the holes lined up we lubed the original spring eye-bolt with anti- 8 The springs were mounted in place using new Energy Suspension polyurethane rear shackle bushings. Be sure the rear axle is positioned exactly back in place to install the new lower spring pad bracket. Use the new U-bolts, washers and locknuts and torque to 70 lb-ft.8 The springs were mounted in place using new Energy Suspension polyurethane rear shackle 9 Next, the Sliding Tube assembly was easily to put together following the illustrated and printed instructions. It's important to lube the sliding tube and urethane shock pad with wheel bearing grease. Once properly assembled the Slide-A-Link is ready to be installed.9 Next, the Sliding Tube assembly was easily to put together following the illustrated an 10 First we installed the solid rod end of the Slide-A-Link assembly into the front spring eye bracket. It was bolted in place with the supplied 5/8-inch-18x3-inch bolt and rod end spacers lubed with anti-seize and a 5/8-inch locknut. Only hand-tighten it at this point.10 First we installed the solid rod end of the Slide-A-Link assembly into the front sprin 11 Position the rear spherical rod end and rotate the rear tube assembly until the rod end holes line up with the holes in the rear spring pad bracket. Slip the 3/4-16x2-1/2-inch bolt through the holes. Install the 3/4-inch locknut and tighten to 75 lb-ft.11 Position the rear spherical rod end and rotate the rear tube assembly until the rod en 12a Here's a look at the installation. The Slide-A-Links got lots of looks, questions and were well received when we strip tested them. Before lowering the car at rest, be sure to rotate the rear tube so there is a 1/2-inch gap between the urethane shock pad and the tube stop.12a Here's a look at the installation. The Slide-A-Links got lots of looks, questions and 12b Now the front 5/8-inch bolt can be tightened so the nut just touches the bracket plus a half turn more. Do not over tighten the bolt. This will cause suspension binding. Recheck that all bolts are tightened correctly. With the vehicle lowered to the ground, rotate the rear tube once again until there is a 1/2–inch gap with the vehicle rested at on all four wheels.12b Now the front 5/8-inch bolt can be tightened so the nut just touches the bracket plus 13a We replaced the dead, stock-type rear shocks with Competition Engineering's three-way adjustable rear drag shocks (PN C2720) for additional help planting the rear tires.13a We replaced the dead, stock-type rear shocks with Competition Engineering's three-way 13b They're adjustable in three ratios: 30/70, 40/60 and 50/50 by compressing them fully and rotating them to the desired setting. We set ours at 30/70 so it required the most force to extend the shocks. We felt this would minimize the rear body rise issue we had during our last strip-test outing.13b They're adjustable in three ratios: 30/70, 40/60 and 50/50 by compressing them fully 14 Be sure not to adjust the front tube as shown in this picture. All adjustments are made with the rear tube. Adjustments can be made with corner scales or without scales at the track before racing. CE recommends race adjustments (without scales) as follows: Rotate the driver's side rear tube until contact is made between the urethane shock pad and the tube stops. Rotate the tube one additional turn to apply pre-load to the system. Tighten the 1-1/8-inch jam nut while holding the welded nut on the rear tube with a wrench. Do the same to the passenger side except rotate the rear tube one and a half turns to help compensate for driver's weight. Don't forget to tighten the 1-1/8-inch jam nut or you'll lose the preload adjustment on your first launch. Return to the street settings before returning the vehicle to street use.14 Be sure not to adjust the front tube as shown in this picture. All adjustments are mad 15a The Slide-A-Links definitely helped our launch with track conditions not as favorable as in our previous tests. Weather was hot, 81 degrees (over 30 degrees warmer than on our last outing) yet we still ran our best 60-foot ever (1.52).15a The Slide-A-Links definitely helped our launch with track conditions not as favorable 15b The launch felt better than ever on the Nitto 555 Drag Radials. Reviewing the pictures it appears the left front tire has air under it--that's what we're talkin' about!15b The launch felt better than ever on the Nitto 555 Drag Radials. Reviewing the picture 16 We used the Density Altitude Calculator from the www.dragtimes.com website to discover our 10.76 at 125.03 was corrected to 10.55 at 127.50 using our previous test's weather data. Just enter the date, time, e.t. and mph from your time-slip and the DA Calculator estimates your corrected e.t. for the weather conditions of the track you're running on that day and hour. SOURCES Competition Engineering 80 Carter Drive Guilford CT 06437 203-453-5200 www.competitionengineering.com Atco Raceway Atco NJ 856-768-2167 www.atcorace.com By Dan Foley Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!