Chevy Tri Five Forum banner
1 - 20 of 207 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I originally planned to upgrade my stock suspension with a RideTech kit and Wilwood big brakes. But now I'm questioning if this upgrade alone will get the performance I would like. I have been driving Corvettes for many years and I have become attached to performance handling and brakes. So, I have been researching performance chassis. I've come up with 3 options. I configured all 3 to do an apples-to-apples comparison. These prices include tax and shipping.

1. Metalworks AME complete chassis ($37,700)
2. Real Deal Steel ($28,534)
3. Hardcore Chassis ($27,300)

The cost to install the RideTech suspension and Wilwood brakes is $16,259. So, it comes down to a minimum cost of $11,000 to upgrade the chassis.

My question is this: Is an aftermarket chassis worth the $11,000 cost?

By the way, the Hardcore chassis looks almost identical to the AME chassis. It is built by a small shop with low overhead. It comes powder coated with a complete fuel system, brake lines, rear housing and axles. Here's a photo.

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design Bicycle handlebar Automotive exterior
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
823 Posts
I did my chassis with a RR Frames conversion painted frame and easily bolted on the complete stock 1996 C4 suspension for around only $8500 and it drives and handles great. It's like driving a big Corvette and weighs the same. Getting the chassis built into a roller was the easiest part of my build.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did my chassis with a RR Frames conversion painted frame and easily bolted on the complete stock 1996 C4 suspension for around only $8500 and it drives and handles great. It's like driving a big Corvette and weighs the same. Getting the chassis built into a roller was the easiest part of my build.
That's a stout frame. I had an 85 Corvette that I held onto for years thinking I would use the suspension for a Tri-5. I wish I had kept it. The C4s were very good for their day. There used to be a frame builder near me that used C4 suspension. Those frames did really well at Autocross events.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,454 Posts
$16k and change seems like a lot for Ride Tech suspension and Wilwood brakes. Even going for the bottom of the page stuff, it still seems like a lot. Is the balance labor costs for installation?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That said- I never have heard or read from anyone that installed one of those aftermarket frames that didn't love it.
$16k and change seems like a lot for Ride Tech suspension and Wilwood brakes. Even going for the bottom of the page stuff, it still seems like a lot. Is the balance labor costs for installation?
$5600 Coilover 4-link kit
$299 Ridetech Steering Linkage
$277 Heidts Drop Spindles
$2,088 9-inch Housing and Differential
$500 Driveshaft
$2,249 Wilwood 13" Front Brakes
$3,365 Wilwood 13" Rear Brakes with Electric E-Brake
$2,000 Misc Plumbing, Welding, etc.

It adds up.
 

·
Registered
Auckland, New Zealand.
Joined
·
8,335 Posts
I've seen and marveled at some of you guys putting replacement chassis under your Tri-fives and the results obtained, and would love to do the same. But I am stunned at the prices you are quoting for the chassis, which would be prohibitive for me, and I guess most of our members?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've seen and marveled at some of you guys putting replacement chassis under your Tri-fives and the results obtained, and would love to do the same. But I am stunned at the prices you are quoting for the chassis, which would be prohibitive for me, and I guess most of our members?
That's why I ask if the stiffer frame is really worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I did my chassis with a RR Frames conversion painted frame and easily bolted on the complete stock 1996 C4 suspension for around only $8500 and it drives and handles great. It's like driving a big Corvette and weighs the same. Getting the chassis built into a roller was the easiest part of my build.
This is the suspension from my 85 Corvette. Dang, I wish I had it back.
Automotive tire Hood Tire Automotive lighting Wheel


Vehicle Bicycle part Automotive tire Bumper Automotive exhaust
 

·
Registered
Nomads 55-57,69Z28-RS,72ElCamino, Corvette(5)
Joined
·
10,817 Posts
The biggest difference in the $cost is that when you buy a chassis, you have to pay it 'all at once', whereas many long time trifive owners have spent as much or more over many years making one or more upgrades to their brakes, suspension, steering, etc... Yes, it surely 'seems' more expensive when you have to shell it out all at once...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,454 Posts
I'd say if you plan on driving it hard enough to need $6k worth of brakes, you would definitely be looking at benifiting from a dedicated chassis. There comes a point where the chassis just isn't rigid enough to cope with the stresses. Plus most the aftermarket chassis will allow you to run larger front tires, which the ride tech arms don't really enable you to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The biggest difference in the $cost is that when you buy a chassis, you have to pay it 'all at once', whereas many long time trifive owners have spent as much or more over many years making one or more upgrades to their brakes, suspension, steering, etc... Yes, it surely 'seems' more expensive when you have to shell it out all at once...
Agreed. I don't want to piece this together. In fact, it will cost more than I've shared. When replacing the chassis and brakes, new wheels and tires are needed as well as an exhaust system which will end up being stainless. Oh, and I'll need a lift to split the body and frame. And as long as the body is off may as well paint the underbody. With the engine and transmission out, I may as well paint them and do more cleanup in the engine bay. And then I may as well paint the exterior and refresh the trim. Unfortunately, once I decide to pull the body off, everything needs to be done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'd say if you plan on driving it hard enough to need $6k worth of brakes, you would definitely be looking at benifiting from a dedicated chassis. There comes a point where the chassis just isn't rigid enough to cope with the stresses. Plus most the aftermarket chassis will allow you to run larger front tires, which the ride tech arms don't really enable you to do.
That's good info on the RideTech. I wish I could get some feedback on the Hardcore Chassis. But nobody seems to know anything about them. Their chassis build looks hardcore.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,454 Posts
I don't think you have to paint the car and re-do the trim right away; that could easily be a $20k hit (real easily) and could done afterwards. I see your bill escalating north of $75k very quickly here. If that's where you want to be, cool- lots of folks on here have that and more. If it's not, you can make some choices on what needs to be done right away and what doesn't
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,454 Posts
One member here comes to mind: he went from a pretty well sorted aftermarket add on system with shorter control arms to run more tire in front, iirc) to a full on roadster shop chassis. When he did the chassis, it was a full on build, but more to the point, he can likely tell you how the bolt on system compares with the full chassis (I believe he is quite happy).
Lukie is his username; drop him a PM and he might have some insight that will be helpful.

Others here have full chassis cars- he just comes to mind as having gone from bolt on to full chassis.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I don't think you have to paint the car and re-do the trim right away; that could easily be a $20k hit (real easily) and could done afterwards. I see your bill escalating north of $75k very quickly here. If that's where you want to be, cool- lots of folks on here have that and more. If it's not, you can make some choices on what needs to be done right away and what doesn't
With a Hardcore chassis I'm looking to finish my build for about $48K. The body paint from my point of view will be done all at once. When I order the chassis, I will split the body and frame and prep the body for paint. When the chassis arrives, I will do a test fit of the body to chassis. Then I will send the body to paint. A local body shop will put it on a rotisserie, spray base and clearcoat and cut and buff for $125/Hr. They estimate $5,000 in labor. Total paint and trim comes in around $13K.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
823 Posts
RR Frames has done hundreds of C4 conversions on trucks, Corvettes, Tri5's, and several done just by lifting the old body off and dropping it on a new chassis. They make it easy and know their stuff when it comes to making these old cars more fun to drive again no matter how they look, and for less money than all of the bolt-on parts on the original frame to not even come close to being better handling. I am truly amazed every time I drive my car. I did add a few tricks of my own though.

RR Frames
 
1 - 20 of 207 Posts
Top