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Thread: Corvair Front End In 31 Coupe
          
   
   

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  1. #16
    Bob Parmenter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjd3636
    Now, what year, make and model front end should I look for in the bone yards that will bolt up without me pulling what hair I have left in my head out?
    You've already got that!
    It kinda depends on how they hacked up the front rails to put in the Cowvair (that was the leather interior model). If the original front crossmember is still there (I saw a '33 once that was done that way) you should switch back to the Ford style front; beam axle, transverse spring, and then locate with wishbone or split bones, or, or, or.

    Before expending a bunch of guessing energy, how about a picture of what you've got and some info on how the car is equipped (engine, trans, what kind of steering col, what kind of exhaust manifolds, so on), and what style of car it is, or you want it to be (traditional, smoothie, contemporary, whatever).

    Matt's suggestion for a MII has a major drawback, front steer rack and pinion; it won't fit behind your front gravel shield, and the upper control arms interfere with the fenders......................or if you're fenderless, the setup is double ugly (but then the Cowvair ain't no peach either).
    Last edited by Bob Parmenter; 09-16-2006 at 09:08 PM.
    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

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  2. #17
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    Bob is thinking exactly what I am..........going back to a traditional front suspension (I beam) would be a good way to go. He's also right about us needing some pictures to see what has been done to put this front end under in the first place. Otherwise, we are flying blind here.


    Don

  3. #18
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    traditional front i beam suspension is what I would do if the framework was there to go back to it. I compleatly forgot about the interference with the fenders for MII, one of my friends has a '28 Model A sedan and was contenplating the swap until he found out there would be intererence, so he's keeping it traditional
    You don't know what you've got til it's gone

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  4. #19
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    Matt is right, and it is going to be hard to find a boneyard front end that adapts real easy or that will perform well. I'm not up on independant front suspensions, as I never use them, so there may be some current unit out there that is the hot setup (one of our other members might be able to supply that info though).

    There are several problems with going the junkyard route, IMO.

    1) Model A's don't weigh all that much in the frontend. If you try to adapt something from a passenger car, the ride can be very harsh because of spring rates.

    2) You are starting with a very used unit, and it may also require a total rebuild to make it servicable.

    3) They look like H***, IMO. If the car has fenders it helps somewhat, but many times I have seen where a builder had to incorporate "pockets" into the fenders to make room for the springs or another part of the suspension.

    The key to this entire situation is seeing what you have now. The builder could have mounted the Corvair front end so it easily removes with no real damage to the A frame. Then again, he could have modified and welded it so badly that the only answer is to get another frame and start over. I hope you have the former.

    I am like you, and like to save money where I can, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and spend a few bucks to get the parts to do the job properly. If you have been reading the "Project $ 3 K" build I am doing, you will see how I am spending too much time building a shifter that will never perform as well as one I could have bought for $ 200.00. I should have just picked up the phone and ordered one, and may end up doing that yet.

    You have 2 choices IMO. One is to put the car back to early Ford style front suspension with I beam and radius rods. The other is to buy one of the IFS setups sold in all the magazines. I think they make one engineered just for Model A's, and it will give you disc brakes, modern steering, good suspension, and it will fit well. It will also increase the value of your rod, because a poorly designed front suspension stands out like a sore thumb, and any potential buyer will shy away if they see sloppy workmanship there.

    But, get out the digital camera and take pix from every angle. We really need those to go on from here and give good advice.


    Don

  5. #20
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    You can fit a M-II suspension under an A-bone if you know what you're doing. The front end on mine was a little higher than I liked, but that was header ground clearance, not suspension issues.
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    Gone to Texas

  6. #21
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    Jack: What components did you have to use from the MMII and what modifications did you have to make to get it to fit?


    Don

  7. #22
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    Don,

    This was a late 80's project, and there wasn't a lot of stuff available back then. I used a Progressive Automotive crossmember, and stripped all the parts from a M-II donor. I moved the lower control arm inward an inch, and fabricated my own tubular upper A-arm a bit shorter than stock. If I had thought a bit more, I would have eliminated the struts and fabricated a tubular lower A-arm.

    I posted these photos a year or two ago, and it prompted a discussion about roll center and bump steer. However, I drove it through the traps at 120 MPH at Scribner, NE, and drove it to work down I-80 in Omaha every chance I got. It rode like it was on rails, and I never had any hint of handling problems.

    I originally had it sitting really low, but the full length headers kept me from putting it on the deck. A set of shorties would have made it sit really right.

    If I still had it, I'd replace the lower a-arms and change the headers - but years ago, someone waved too much money at me, and the car ended up in Harrisburg, PA. That guy sold it to someone in NY, I believe. I'd sure like to know if it's still out there somewhere. That was my first street rod, and it was one bada$$ driver.
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  8. #23
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    Great info, and really nice job on it. I bet this helps him in making a decision on what to do.

    I know what you mean about those debates where people tell you something you have done "can't work well." But here you are, having driven it alot, and can testify it does. Every hot rod is a compromise, and we modify things to make them do the job. If some super engineer looked at these mods he might tell you his textbook says it won't work, but we prove them wrong every day.

    On the T modified I'm doing, I KNOW it is not the best thing to turn spindles around.........ackermann and all that jazz. But I simply have no choice, they would hit all of my rear suspension if I turned them the right way. So I will go with them turned backwards and see how they work. If it handles badly, I will go to plan B. (But I don't have a plan B yet )


    Don

  9. #24
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    Just to make things clear, the setup Jack used/has shown is not something cheap that can be had from a junk yard and just "bolt in". Heidt's also makes a very nice system for Model A's called a Super Ride front end that puts the rack in rear steer along with tubular control arms and coilovers that don't interfere with the fenders, and would even look good on a fenderless car. This wasn't mentioned earlier because it didn't meet the "money is not there"...................All up the Heidts would run close to $3k before qualified installation. Someone with Jack's skill and knowledge can fab something like he had on the orange/red (?) sedan for something less than that but I didn't get the impression that rjd is there yet.
    Last edited by Bob Parmenter; 09-17-2006 at 09:20 PM.
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  10. #25
    old
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    corvairs

     



    Quote Originally Posted by rjd3636 View Post
    I've Got A Corvair Front End In My Recently Purchased 31 Ford Coupe. I Can't Get The Alignment Correct Because The Caster Is As Far Out As They Can Get It, And The Tires Are Still Leaning Out At The Bottom. Anyone Ever Heard Of Off Set Upper Ball Joints And Where Can I Get Them. I'll Take All Advise. Thanks Again Guys!!!!
    the lower a frame on a corvair has a bolt which attaches it to the cross member . the bolt is like a cam lobe you turn this bolt to make your lower arm move in or out ,which will make your tires lean in or out at the top .you can get shorter steering arms to speed up your steering I cut and shortened my own , used a pinto rack ,as long as the rack is level with the lower a frame you don't have bump steer ran this setup for over 20 years no problems

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by old View Post
    the lower a frame on a corvair has a bolt which attaches it to the cross member . the bolt is like a cam lobe you turn this bolt to make your lower arm move in or out ,which will make your tires lean in or out at the top .you can get shorter steering arms to speed up your steering I cut and shortened my own , used a pinto rack ,as long as the rack is level with the lower a frame you don't have bump steer ran this setup for over 20 years no problems
    Welcome to CHR! Not a big deal, and someone may value the new input, but notice that you're resurrecting a post from 2006, nine years past.
    Roger
    Enjoy the little things in life, and you may look back one day and realize that they were really the BIG things.

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