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Ride height for a 51 Champion

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  • Frame / Springs: Ride height for a 51 Champion

    Hi all, So....I have a 51 Champion that originally had a 6 banger with an automatic. The engine has long been gone, so I am putting a 302 Ford in her. I have the front suspension completely stripped out right now. I've been reading a lot about engine and drive line angles and it seems the optimum angle is between 2 and 3 degrees. The problem is that they say the frame should be at "ride height". I am thinking that if I knew the distance between the BOTTOM of the front cross member to the ground, that would get me in the ball park. If anyone has a 6 cylinder 51 Champion, could you please take this measurement and let me know? I know there will be some differences in weight and that old springs will cause this measurement to be less than when new. I figure the SBF engine and AOD will weigh about 600 pounds whereas I am guessing the Stude driveline would be in the neighborhood of 525.

    I know many people will say "use a Stude" engine"....but I am using what I have. I have all the mock ups done, I'm just trying to get the drive line angles correct.

    Thanks, Zeke
    Last edited by showbizkid; 01-13-2021, 12:30 PM.

  • #2
    One more thing to consider is modern tires are rarely the same diameter as original would have been.
    KURTRUK
    (read it backwards)




    Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

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    • #3
      Here’s what I’d do, or at least what I did with another car... level the frame; then set your engine with the top of the intake level as well. Most intakes have 3-5 degrees of slope built in. Since you’d be using one driveshaft and likely a Ford differential, you can adjust your pinion angle for optimum performance by shimming or welding on the spring perches accordingly.

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      • #4
        The real issue (in my mind) is not ride height but the relationship between the engine angle (down) and the pinion (up)angle. Those angles need to be parallel. For what it is worth I cut 1 1/2 coils off the front and used two inch lowering blocks in the rear. Stude coupes should be low

        I have an App on my phone from Tremech to insure that the angles are correct so as to not have drive line vibration etc. Not sure how I got so lucky but I set the engine in my 53 using home made engine mounts and the bat wing for a transmission mount and by luck the angles with the "stock" rear end were spot on. Hope this is helpful.

        https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...hl=en_US&gl=US

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        • #5
          Thanks for your replies. 1953Champ.....what front springs did you start with? The stockers? Or were you able to purchase something else....then cut them down? And....do you have a Small block Chevy in yours...or an SBF? I have been playing with the motor mounts and believe I have things where they need to be now. I also had a buddy of mine narrow up a Ford 7.5 inch for the rear end. So the next step is to get the front suspension rebuilt. The only component I'm worried about is the coils. Your input would be appreciated. Thanks, Zeke

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          • #6
            Zeke, being a CASO.....when I disassembled the 58 Hawk frame (front and rear suspension) I found that one of the front springs had broken, a little over one coil. I knew I was going to use lowering blocks in the back (two inch, although I bought 1 inch blocks, just in case) so, I'd decided to use a cut off saw and take about 1.5 coils off (to even them up), it sits right, rides a little rough so I don't know if my solution would be acceptable to everyone. My wife thinks it rides better than the 38 Chevy I have with a MII front suspension. Or maybe she just likes the car better

            I am running a SBC with a 700 R 4, and I suspect there is less weight on the frame now than the 289 Stude motor with BW? automatic trans. Stude motors are heavy and the transmission was too. (I disassembled it just to see what it looked like inside. Old people are amused rather easily. Plus...my wife does metal sculpture and some of the internal pieces will end up in a gallery someday.

            I am not familiar with a Ford 7.5, what did you liberate it from?

            I think.....there might be a better option in a Buick/Olds rear spring from the 80's to replace the coils in the 53-6x C/K cars but.....I think I have the info in the shop and if I can remember I will check because I think I kept the info. For what it is worth I have a three ring binder for both the Stude and 38 Chev and they are indexed similar to the parts book, I keep any info/part numbers/schematics etc in that binder so when I forget what I have done I can find the info. Yeah...maybe I am a little OCD

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            • #7
              This is from Turning Wheels (they deserve full credit) and "may" be helpful to you. Click image for larger version

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              • #8
                1953Champ......thanks again. I found Jim Pepper's article you refer to above and WAS able to locate these cargo coils from O'Reilly's. I'm just going to give them a whirl "as is" and see how she looks. I'm thinking of using lowering blocks in the rear to give it what my brother calls the "Carolina lean". The 7.5 rear I refer to is from a 2001 Ranger 2WD. I believe it is real similar to the Ford 8.8....just a smaller ring gear. Zeke

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Zeke Dechant View Post
                  1953Champ......thanks again. I found Jim Pepper's article you refer to above and WAS able to locate these cargo coils from O'Reilly's. I'm just going to give them a whirl "as is" and see how she looks. I'm thinking of using lowering blocks in the rear to give it what my brother calls the "Carolina lean". The 7.5 rear I refer to is from a 2001 Ranger 2WD. I believe it is real similar to the Ford 8.8....just a smaller ring gear. Zeke
                  I'll be anxious to see how they work good luck!!

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