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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this has been discussed before but I have not seen anything really complete. So here goes, I am contemplating installing a shock bar for my 57 sedan. I made a mistake in not doing this when the body was off the frame and before power coating. I don't want to make one myself but want to purchase one from the aftermarket. I want to bolt it in with the body on the frame and was hoping to use 2 inch stock 55-56 tail pipes (straight out the rear) with a stock 57 rear end. So I was hoping some of you who have already done this conversion could chime in on what aftermarket unit you purchased, and any issues you had with the installation, and clearance with the rear snubber, and tail pipes. Many thanks friends!
 

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I originally bought one of the shock bars from a vendor. It was one of the ones built with 2 3/4" bars in parallel. I didn`t like the angle of the flat steel used to bolt the shocks through, it was at the wrong angle. So i used the tech articles from CCI (now ecklers) and built my own using 1 1/2" square tubing and 2" angle for the mounting tabs. With bolting it on you need to be careful not to crush the frame.
Terry
 

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I didn't like the upper shock mounting configuration originally used by GM. It was very poor. As stated above, the mounting angles are not right. They only match the original ride height. When you you change the ride height, the angle is wrong. I elected to make my own and use a "double-loop" shock, same as used on 64-70's chevelles. I too used a double 1-1/8 square tubing and made the shock mount brackets to accomodate the changed (improved) upper shock mount. If you are wondering, it's a Nomad. Note these shocks allow a rotation at both the upper and lower mounts, not a rocking motion as with the original shock design. THinck about when the car moves up and down with the original design, the upper shock is rocking side to side. The rocking motion certainly contributed to failure of the floor reinforcements in the original design. This provided a full reverse-bending load on the floor pan and spot welded reinforcements. Note how close my shocks are to the are to the floor and center kick up in the rear cross 1-1/8 tube to clear the 12-bolt center section. Note also the radially improved shock mounting angle and wide stance compared to the original GM design. Compare the the original design in the 3rd & 4th photos of a beautiful original restored '57 Nomad. Those shocks are at quite a lean with the body weight. I think you can readily envision the rocking action at the floor from this angle.

Ref: I don't know who the current owner of the '57 is, but the VIN is VC57L165039.
 

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I didn't like the upper shock mounting configuration originally used by GM. It was very poor. As stated above, the mounting angles are not right. They only match the original ride height. When you you change the ride height, the angle is wrong. I elected to make my own and use a "double-loop" shock...
Williams Classic Chassis Works makes a shock bar that uses shocks with loops on both ends. They call it their "wagon style" bar but they recommend it for all models. I went with one for my Bel Air.
 

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Williams Classic Chassis Works makes a shock bar that uses shocks with loops on both ends. They call it their "wagon style" bar but they recommend it for all models. I went with one for my Bel Air.
Good for Williams. My intention was to make my own, not buy from a manufacturer/vendor. For those that either cannot, or choose not to make their own, Williams sounds like a design to consider for the reasons I stated.

I see the Williams design is a 1-3/4 tube welded to the frame rails (see below). With both their standard and wagon designs, the shock load imparts a torque on the tube where as my configuration provides a straddle support at the upper shock mount and no torsion load at the frame rails. The Williams design must be welded in, might be a bit tight with the body in place, whereas mine could be bolted in if desired. I elected to weld mine.
 

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Yeah,
I had another bolt-on type one on their but didn't really like it.
When I saw the one from Williams, that what I wanted.





Btw,
My rear shocks are KYB GR-2 344045. They have the perfect minimum and maximum lengths. Better than the ones Earle carried. I searched through the KYB spec info to find these.
 

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I have one from Earle Williams that raises the bar, but installed it when the body was off. I'm sure if you call Earle, he can fab one in Chrome Molly with a bolt in flange, and likely something you can also weld along the sides and bottom that should be a simple fit. Chrome Molly is plenty strong enough and I'm certain Earle can TIG weld some flanges on the sides for you.

I welded a couple trans mount brackets on my frame after changing the transmission once everything was powder coated and it was an easy touch up. Just ground the area where the weld was going and touched it up with a matching color once the new plates were welded in. Not to big of deal at all.
 

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I didn't like the upper shock mounting configuration originally used by GM. It was very poor. As stated above, the mounting angles are not right. They only match the original ride height. When you you change the ride height, the angle is wrong. I elected to make my own and use a "double-loop" shock, same as used on 64-70's chevelles. I too used a double 1-1/8 square tubing and made the shock mount brackets to accomodate the changed (improved) upper shock mount. If you are wondering, it's a Nomad. Note these shocks allow a rotation at both the upper and lower mounts, not a rocking motion as with the original shock design. THinck about when the car moves up and down with the original design, the upper shock is rocking side to side. The rocking motion certainly contributed to failure of the floor reinforcements in the original design. This provided a full reverse-bending load on the floor pan and spot welded reinforcements. Note how close my shocks are to the are to the floor and center kick up in the rear cross 1-1/8 tube to clear the 12-bolt center section. Note also the radially improved shock mounting angle and wide stance compared to the original GM design. Compare the the original design in the 3rd & 4th photos of a beautiful original restored '57 Nomad. Those shocks are at quite a lean with the body weight. I think you can readily envision the rocking action at the floor from this angle.

Ref: I don't know who the current owner of the '57 is, but the VIN is VC57L165039.
sweet nomad! always liked that color :tu
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
55 what did you use to touch up the powder coating? I will keep the Williams unit in mind. Has anyone used any of the other aftermarket units? Can anyone comment on stock exhaust pipes and how they fit with the shock bars?
 

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I got my car ridiculously old shocks, The floor mounts had been reinforced on one side with some steel welded poorly to the floor underneath. And some 2.5" diameter washers to keep the floor intact
I need a shock bar badly as well, Please keep the advice coming.
 

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55 what did you use to touch up the powder coating? I will keep the Williams unit in mind. Has anyone used any of the other aftermarket units? Can anyone comment on stock exhaust pipes and how they fit with the shock bars?
Took a paint chip of the powder color over to a local paint mixing company and they made me a can of urethane single stage spray paint to match the color. Most body shop supply stores can do this or check for paint mixers in your nearest city. My frame is done in mini text black and it was a simple match. I then masked off around the newly welded pieces, primed and sprayed it up on my lift using a shop vac to evacuate any over spray in the air. Worked real slick but you need three hands almost. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I will keep that in mind 55. I am a total product of the 70's so I would have painted the frame metal flake if it had not been for my sons who stated in no uncertain terms that they would not help me with the car if id did that so I went with gloss black instead. Should be easy to match. Still want to see if some other members will chime in on what they used for a shock bar and any stock tail pipe issues.
 

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rear shock bar

I will keep that in mind 55. I am a total product of the 70's so I would have painted the frame metal flake if it had not been for my sons who stated in no uncertain terms that they would not help me with the car if id did that so I went with gloss black instead. Should be easy to match. Still want to see if some other members will chime in on what they used for a shock bar and any stock tail pipe issues.
Hey guys, I purchased a shock bar for my 56 Nomad. In the process I learned that the welded frame is 3/4" narrower than the "one piece" frame. Be sure to check with your supplier for the correct dimension. TJN/56NOMAD:gba:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Did you end up purchasing the correct one. Have you installed it yet? Lots of the members recommend these bars but so far not many have weighed in on the subject or their experience. Anyone have an opinion on using nutserts to bolt one in as opposed to drilling both sides of the frame?
 

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I used the rear shock relocation bar from Ecklers for my one piece frame. I had drilled the holes prior to powder coating the frame so no damage was donw when installed.

 

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Just 2" drop, then...

With a straight square tubing shock mount bar, we had clearance issues with the rearend center section striking the bar, going over bumps. Then we replaced the rear springs with 2" drop leafs, and had to do something. So we fabbed a kickup in the center of the bar. This solved the banjo clearance issue, but we still only had about 3" of total shock travel. Presently we're in the process of raising the upper shock mounts on the bar to be flush with the trunk floor mounting holes, to achieve only a little over 5" of shock travel. For such a big car, spaces are now kinda tight.

Below is a link to a previous thread on the subject. See post 17 and 18. Be advised ours is a home-built piece, and not on the level of work pictured by journeymen fabricators.

http://www.trifive.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1150264&highlight=shock#post1150264

Just another owner solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So my concerns are not imagined. It appears that there is a clearance issue with using the commercially available bars. You know, its funny, when I was a lot younger (a lot), I was a member for a very short time in a 55-57 chevy club in Philadelphia and had a subscription to the classic chevy international magazine and I remember an article in which the owner of a car had a damaged stock shock mount and the owner solved the problem by making up, and then providing the dimensions and a pattern for, frame mounted units, one per side, no bar accross. Anybody of age remember this article?
 

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Not even close to a clearance issue with my Williams wagon style bar.
I'm using Flowmaster tail pipes and they clear fine too.
 

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So my concerns are not imagined. It appears that there is a clearance issue with using the commercially available bars. You know, its funny, when I was a lot younger (a lot), I was a member for a very short time in a 55-57 chevy club in Philadelphia and had a subscription to the classic chevy international magazine and I remember an article in which the owner of a car had a damaged stock shock mount and the owner solved the problem by making up, and then providing the dimensions and a pattern for, frame mounted units, one per side, no bar accross. Anybody of age remember this article?
Dragsix,

Resurrecting this thread because I too am in need of an alternate upper mount solution for my shocks on my 56. I remember the article you mentioned very well; in fact, I constructed and installed a pair of these mounts way back in 1981 for my 55 Bel Air. They worked very well, and they were bolted (not welded) to the frame.
 
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