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Thread: Checkered Flag Racing Suspension systems Indiana
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    twolaneblacktop is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Checkered Flag Racing Suspension systems Indiana

     



    Hello all,
    I am building a 72 Nova. The forum has helped me many times over the years and now I am coming back for more. I am tired of dealing with a rusty front suspension and frame rails on the Nova. I found a company in Indiana called Checkered Flag Racing that builds a replacement front suspension for Nova and Camaro and many other cars. The Nova front comes complete with brakes and Mustang rack and pinion. I do not know anyone that has used their products before. Does anyone here know of them or have used their suspension offerings?
    Thanks twolaneblacktop

  2. #2
    jerry clayton's Avatar
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    You should look at Heidt's--
    Heidts.com

    1-800-841-8188

  3. #3
    Matthyj's Avatar
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    Never used that one but I put on a Chris Alston front clip several years ago, on a camaro (basially the same) and it was perfect, I have used the Heidts and like it (Alston was still tops) but a well engineered clip will make you wonder why the factory put on that large front piece of gaudy engineering, it will save weight, stop better, steer better and you'll be very happy. Speedway Motors is carring a new one, never used it but a bunch of there stuff comes from Lakeshore Industries here is Missouri, and they are really great, and Speedway stands behind there products, I know as they paid for a entire motor build for me after some bad parts got out there door, paid for the parts, machining and assembly on everything, great support (even though it was there fault) Best of Luck Matt
    G-Comp 1968-79 Nova Front Suspension Kit
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  4. #4
    techinspector1's Avatar
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    The thing I don't like about some of these aftermarket MII systems is that the lower control arms are not wide enough to take the punishment that is afforded the lower control arm under all road conditions. Look at the original MII lower arm, with a diagonal strut that made a very large and very stout triangle out of the lower arm. The aftermarket has eliminated the diagonal strut and made the lower arm front and rear tubing very close together, rendering them incapable of absorbing large bumps without folding up. Noted automotive journalist Pat Ganahl has stated that he sees several hundred collapsed front end systems on rods across the country that are on rod runs that he covers for magazines.

    The OEM's have teams of engineers who figure out the load and engineer the systems so that they will not break on normally-driven street suspension systems, but you have no idea who designed some of these rinky-dink systems. Really, if you have any hot rod experience at all, you can see that most of this crap from the aftermarket will not work for long. Most of these guys are about making the system pretty to look at rather than making the system functional. This is what keeps me either building my own parts or using OEM parts, like the Jaguar XJ6 suspension systems front and rear.

    .
    Last edited by techinspector1; 03-28-2017 at 04:05 PM.
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  5. #5
    Henry Rifle's Avatar
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    Definitely Heidts. Check this catalog link.

    The reason for the strut on the lower control arm of the original MII suspension was that the control arm was narrow and made of stamped steel. Without the strut, it was a true 'suicide' front end.

    Replacements, such as the one by Heidts, are re-engineered with high strength components. On the Heidts unit, the stamped narrow lower MII-type strut is eliminated and replaced with a wide, triangulated unit made of DOM tubing and TIG welded. The upper strut is similarly constructed.

    I can vouch for the Heidts concept because I have used it. I have never heard of Checkered Flag, so I can't comment.
    Last edited by Henry Rifle; 03-27-2017 at 06:01 PM.
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  6. #6
    twolaneblacktop is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Checkerd Flag suspension kits

     



    I looked at the G Comp suspension on Speedway and for some reason it is no longer available. The Heidts system is $1K higher than the G Comp and the G Comp is $1K higher than the Checkered Flag system. The lower cost is really what concerned me. You usually get what you pay for. One thing I noticed, with both the G Comp and the Heidts systems it appears that they include motor mounts. The Checkered Flag system does not.
    I'll take what you all have said and check further and report back.
    Thanks

  7. #7
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    The MOST important thing you need to look into is the suspension geometry. Simply taking a mustang II steering rack and throwing it into a custom fabbed suspension does not mean it is a good suspension design.
    Any GOOD aftermarket suspension that uses a rack and pinion to replace a gearbox style suspension will be redesigned to work with that particular rack. Chris Alston does that and they will work up a custom rack to suite your track width and suspension points.
    The other alternative for you (and the one I will recommend) is to simply replace your arms with new ones and just clean and paint. Much simpler and cost effect to just rebuild your current suspension with upgraded bushings, shocks and stab bars. A stock suspension with a few upgrades will out perform any cheap, badly designed aftermarket system all day, every day.
    Mark
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  8. #8
    Henry Rifle's Avatar
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    Mark, I think he said the frame rails were rusty and was looking at replacing everything. I could be wrong . . .
    Jack

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  9. #9
    astroracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rifle View Post
    Mark, I think he said the frame rails were rusty and was looking at replacing everything. I could be wrong . . .
    Yes he does... But how rusty are they? To the point of holing or just surface? OP?
    Mark
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  10. #10
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    When we jacked up the camaro to put on the Alston clip I watched the bumper rise before the rest of the car, yeah that attachment point for a unibody isn't much and if your rails are rusted that pocket holding those cage nuts and the cage nuts themselves are something I wouldn't risk, lets just say I am not a fan here, and the bunper was attached to those frame rails which clearly was rusted away from everything else. Yes aftermarket tubular arms, a new brake kit, new steering etc, you might as well weigh doing the swap, thats why we went Heidts on a '65 mustang its actually cheaper! They do make two different aftermarket a arms, the narrow, that uses the strut rod and the wide that eliminate it. I would recommend reading some suspension books, great reading and understanding why the parts are used, and what not to purchase, and yes the geometry must be right, if it is in every case so far I have done it was a huge improvement, thus the reason they are making so many of these kits, ask anybody who has used one of the reputable ones. If you want to use Checkered Flag, ask for refrences from somebody that installed one and has actually used it and see what they say, my speculation on something I know nothing about might not be a great idea to listen to. This company could be the next great kit who is selling reasonable to get a niche in the market place, clearly I have know idea, I won't bad mouth something I don't know about but can vouch that Heidts and Alston are nice additions. Homework time, your doing that and won't regret it that way later best of luck Matt
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  11. #11
    twolaneblacktop is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Checkered Nova Suspension

     



    You guys are just great. I love the debate. I converted my stock drum brakes to discs a while back. I built a BBC for this Nova and went a little overboard HP and torque wise. So I took the front end off and the SBC out in order to clean up the frame rails, fire wall, and etc. I seem to be one of those people who doesn't know when to call good enough. I started scraping and sanding rust off the rails and soon decided that I had to pull it all apart and get down to bare rails. I will tell you that I HATE DEALING WITH RUST!! The plan was not show car stuff. I was just going to clean it up enough to paint it with POR15. This Nova is in really good shape so I don't want to screw this up and make a mess. That is when a friend put me on to Checkered. I work in Indiana all the time so I think I'll schedule a trip over to the shop. That is after I bone up on suspension and steering! I'll keep you all posted on how this goes and what I wind up doing.
    Thanks

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by twolaneblacktop View Post
    You guys are just great. I love the debate. I converted my stock drum brakes to discs a while back. I built a BBC for this Nova and went a little overboard HP and torque wise. So I took the front end off and the SBC out in order to clean up the frame rails, fire wall, and etc. I seem to be one of those people who doesn't know when to call good enough. I started scraping and sanding rust off the rails and soon decided that I had to pull it all apart and get down to bare rails. I will tell you that I HATE DEALING WITH RUST!! The plan was not show car stuff. I was just going to clean it up enough to paint it with POR15. This Nova is in really good shape so I don't want to screw this up and make a mess. That is when a friend put me on to Checkered. I work in Indiana all the time so I think I'll schedule a trip over to the shop. That is after I bone up on suspension and steering! I'll keep you all posted on how this goes and what I wind up doing.
    Thanks
    Back in the late 80's, I determined that the next thing I should try to accomplish as an "amateur engineer" would be to build a complete independent front suspension system from scratch. Trying to find a place to start, I read several books that were authored by respectable writers, but couldn't gain a foothold into the project. Finally, on the advice from a fabricator friend, I bought and digested a book called "Tune To Win" by Carroll Smith. Mr. Smith was employed by Ford Motor Company to go to LeMans as the crew chief on the GT40 project with the goal of beating the Ferraris.

    In the back of the book, Mr. Smith included a section for constructing scale "paper dolls", using pieces of heavy paper cut from manila folders and such and put together with stick pins so that you can design the suspension and then work it through bump and droop with your fingers, observing characteristics which are measurable and which can then be converted to full scale mathematically.

    I followed Mr. Smith's instructions and found myself with a whole new understanding of how an IFS works. I then went on to design and build a very nice IFS from scratch, around an MII rack and pinion, and using 7/8" chromoly tubing for the upper control arms and 1 1/8" for the lower arms. All American coilovers were used. This front end was attached to a homemade frame that went under my '27 T roadster. The nice part is that once you know how to do this, you can build an IFS around ANY rack and pinion that you want to.

    I'm aware that there are computer programs that are available to do this, but they were not available when I went through this exercise.

    Anyway, what I'm suggesting is that you make yourself familiar with all the aspects of what it takes to build a good, solid IFS before you go looking at something that someone else has engineered and put together for sale. You really are not prepared to go shopping yet.

    Here's the book on Amazon if you are interested in pursuing it.....
    https://www.amazon.com/Tune-Win-scie...=carroll+smith

    .
    Last edited by techinspector1; 03-30-2017 at 11:34 AM.
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  13. #13
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    I agree with Tech about Carroll Smith book as a very good reference to understanding the ins and outs of how/why the geometry works---

    After working on dozens of suspension systems in street rods, kit Cobras, etc I bought an used Hunter alighnment set up that used 4 stands about 2 feet off the floor and used the older school string set up--------after a while ( since GM let Caddie dealers have Suburban) all Caddie dealers had to get longer alignment racks and many used early alignment lifts were available reasonable $$$. I bought one in very good shape with 4 wheel options.

    Also , what most people do when they are doing the patterns and travel is that they lift the wheel up and down to check the stuff, when in reality you need to leave wheel at ground level and raise/lower the frame/suspension--------remember the ground doesn't move up and down-the vehicle does-anyway, with the Hunter, not only could I measure (read out) the values, I could also check for clearance/interference with other components-----like tires rubbing steering links/ exhaust/ traction arms/control arms at full turn up and down limits. I also always worked with tires/wheels that were planned for the build so fender clearance, brake line, etc could be dealt with ------

    So anyway, gets lots of poster board paper, big cardboard box panels, chalk, magic markers, plumb bobs, levels, lazors----and a auto darkening welding helmut--------
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  14. #14
    techinspector1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry clayton View Post
    In reality you need to leave wheel at ground level and raise/lower the frame/suspension--------remember the ground doesn't move up and down-the vehicle does.
    No, no, your other left. HAHAHAHAHAHA Thanks Jerry, for the return to reality. It's all about perception isn't it? Appreciate you Sir.

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry clayton View Post
    the ground doesn't move up and down
    I rarely, if ever, question what you say though in this case I will.
    If you've ever driven in So. California and encountered after shocks or the actual earthquake it self, the damn ground does move and depending on how severe you might be changing your skivvies when you get where you're going.
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