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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
I really like the C4 composite traverse leaf springs front and rear. I figure there was a good reason they used them on 4 generations of Corvettes the last 36 years. They can be difficult to work on without the factory traverse spring compressor. I found a nice used Kent-Moore factory tool for $350 when I started my project. It probably cost 4 times that new, but worth is because it make it so much safer, quicker, and easier to work on. It would probably work on my C5 springs too, and I could always sell it someday.
 

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1955 chevy truck
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You didn't get the right rate then. Some are too stiff some aren't.. the flatout engineering crossmembers require coilovers. ( I don't buzz word, or worry about thoughts of others..) The corvettes modified with coilovers are incredibly better! You have to pick the correct ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
There is a limit as to what cars the traverse leaf springs will work on. Although there are many different spring rates over the years, they were all designed to hold a 3400 pound car at the correct height with near 50/50 weight distribution. So to work on heavier cars, you almost need coil overs. To me the best idea, would be to still incorporate the traverse springs, and use coil overs with light weight springs to dial it in. My car is currently weighs less than the car the springs came from, and I will adjust the weight of the car to make them work instead of chasing spring/shock rates.
My 1964 Corvair Spyder had a rear traverse leaf spring to help cure too late the demise of the FNADER Corvair. That was my first car, and always my favorite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
To me the goal of any vehicle I've ever driven comes down to a subject I find to be very interesting called "The Circle of Traction". It's all about the balance of acceleration/braking/cornering within the tire traction limits of any given vehicle. One example would be, having 600 horsepower, but your car isn't any faster than it would be with 300 horsepower. Then it's about slowing it down, and turning as fast as possible within the limits of the available traction. I should start another thread on that subject.
The fastest cars are the ones that can exceed 1g's in any direction period. Beyond that, I always wished I could fly a fighter jet. That dream vanished at the age of 10, when I found out I needed glasses in 1963. My dad was a pilot when he bought our 55.
 

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I'd rather put the money into a great paint job and decent engine, just disc brakes and a few other bolt ons.
 

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Nomads 55-57,69Z28-RS,72ElCamino, Corvette(5)
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"I really like the C4 composite traverse leaf springs front and rear."

I totally agree with this statement; I too like the composite transverse leaf springs, which is one of the reasons I chose the Corvette Corrections chassis for my '57 Nomad..
 

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I'd rather put the money into a great paint job and decent engine, just disc brakes and a few other bolt ons.
It's true, that if all you want is a nice driving, cruiser tri-five, it can be done with basic bolt-ons. One of the nicest driving '55s I ever drove was a car with mostly stock suspension, front discs, a front sway bar, and a rack and pinion steering unit. It was a really nice driving car, but I'm sure it wouldn't keep up with even a 1990 Honda Civic in the corners.

Different strokes for different folks :)
 

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There is a limit as to what cars the traverse leaf springs will work on. Although there are many different spring rates over the years, they were all designed to hold a 3400 pound car at the correct height with near 50/50 weight distribution. So to work on heavier cars, you almost need coil overs. To me the best idea, would be to still incorporate the traverse springs, and use coil overs with light weight springs to dial it in. My car is currently weighs less than the car the springs came from, and I will adjust the weight of the car to make them work instead of chasing spring/shock rates.
My 1964 Corvair Spyder had a rear traverse leaf spring to help cure too late the demise of the FNADER Corvair. That was my first car, and always my favorite.
One of the really interesting things about the transverse spring that I've never really seen addressed is where the weight is. I know for a fact that the Newman Car Creations '55 tore up the road race circuit and the auto x with stock GM transverse springs (well, with an aluminum LS motor anyhow) so it's proven on the track, but sometimes I wonder about longevity in the tri-five or especially a truck with a big block and the transverse spring. The reason I say this is because in the vette, the engine is probably about 6-8 inches aft of where it is in the tri-five...and that's a small block application in every case. With a tri-five, even with an SBC, the motor is much further forward over the spring than it is in the vette...and in the case of a BBC, you're talking about another 150+ pounds on the front spring.

Anyone ever seen the transverse springs fail? I don't think I've ever seen vette owners with failures fwiw.
 

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Nomads 55-57,69Z28-RS,72ElCamino, Corvette(5)
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I bought a 'used' 1990 ZR1 in the late 90's... and the first time I drove it at high speed, I'd hear a POP when I hit a bump. When I got to the ZR1 meet I was attending, several people told me... How did you get the rear of your car so LOW.. :) I had no idea, so under the car we went.. and found the rear transverse spring was delaminating. Fortunately there in Bowling Green, KY there was a good Corvette parts guy, who I called and when I went to visit him, he said take a look in the storage building and pick out the one you want. Fortunately, I found one with the exact same spring code as the broken one, which we then took back and swapped out in an hour or so in the 'shop area' back of the NCM! We did that with 15-20 folks standing around giving advice too!~ :)

That's the only 'broken spring' I'm aware of, but I found out afterwards that car had been in an accident, so I suspect that is when the spring was damaged... (and maybe hitting a few interstate potholes at 150+ hastened it's demise! ) I have two other 1990 ZR1's now with no problems ever.
 

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I bought a 'used' 1990 ZR1 in the late 90's... and the first time I drove it at high speed, I'd hear a POP when I hit a bump. When I got to the ZR1 meet I was attending, several people told me... How did you get the rear of your car so LOW.. :) I had no idea, so under the car we went.. and found the rear transverse spring was delaminating. Fortunately there in Bowling Green, KY there was a good Corvette parts guy, who I called and when I went to visit him, he said take a look in the storage building and pick out the one you want. Fortunately, I found one with the exact same spring code as the broken one, which we then took back and swapped out in an hour or so in the 'shop area' back of the NCM! We did that with 15-20 folks standing around giving advice too!~ :)

That's the only 'broken spring' I'm aware of, but I found out afterwards that car had been in an accident, so I suspect that is when the spring was damaged... (and maybe hitting a few interstate potholes at 150+ hastened it's demise! ) I have two other 1990 ZR1's now with no problems ever.
Nice man!...I've always kind of wanted a C4 LT5, but I really don't care for the interiors, well, really just the seats, but I suppose those could be changed. Maybe someday! Very rare car and aside from the C6 Z06, probably my favorite late-model Corvette. Gotta work on fixing some stuff on the '67 Corvette I have in the garage right now first ;)
 

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Actually the seats used in '90-92 ZR1s, are nice looking but are 'tight', especially for 'wide butts' even with adjustable bolsters. In 1993, they made the seats wider, but also a very unattractive design...
 

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IMO coilovers is a 'buzzword' that people want because they think they are supposed to! My '56 Nomad has front coilovers on it (QA1) which I do not like. I see NOTHING that they do for me... and as soon as I find a decent set of factory front springs, they will get swapped out.
Hey... we might be able to do a swap. ;)
 

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I think it's one of the coolest things to do with a Tri-Five. I wanted to do the C-4 conversion on my '57 Nomad and had a great source for all the stock parts from Stricker Auto Salvage, a GM salvage yard in Akron, OH. GM brought their test cars and engineering mules there to be dismantled. I had bought a 1994 Corvette C-4 complete front and rear suspension, along with the wheels from them, along with six LT-1 engines and 4L60 transmissions from 1993 Camaro test cars. I resold five of those engines and kept the one with 9000 miles for myself along with the Corvette stuff. While I was there, I watched them bring in commercial car haulers with all kinds of GM cars and trucks. I also watched them dismantle a new 1996 Corvette that had some body damage, that was easily repairable, but I was told none of these cars would ever be resold intact and had to be dismantled. GM required that the whole process to be video taped and the cars cut in half once they were stripped. I counted at least sixteen 1993 Camaros in the yard, all cut in half. The LT-1 engines I bought all had the oil pumps removed. Everyone had great luck with the LT-1's and transmissions that I sold them for $2000 complete. Eventually another big reseller of engines shut me out by committing to buying everything Stricker had, just to eliminate the competition, me!

My C-4 Nomad dream came to an end when I retired and moved to Arizona. I couldn't keep it all of it while moving and building a house. As it was, it still took me eight trips from South Dakota with my 24' enclosed trailer and one commercial 9 car hauler to move all my cars, parts, tools and stuff down here. I sold the C-4 suspension cheap for a $1000 and the wheels and tires for $400, which was what I paid for them. I kept the Nomad, but since I didn't have enough garage space and it was sitting outside, I had to let it go. I finally found my '56 Handyman two door wagon to replace it and I'd love to do a C-4 conversion but I don't want have another long term big project until I get the three projects (all '32 Fords) I have done. So many dreams!
 

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C4 stuff is obsolete now ,step up to c5 and later they are even making after market spindles for the c6 set up
Obsolete maybe for a Corvette.

C5 rear ends do not work well in Trifives. Massive cutting.

Nothing wrong w/C4 front ends. Don't need the more complexity and expense for what?

I plan on getting an SRG frame and putting late (89) front end, early (85) rear end (narrower than the later 88-96) rear end. Dana 44.



The nice thing about using C4 suspension is you can get parts for it easily (new or used).

Try getting suspension parts from say...Art Morrison in 10 years. By then they'd change the design of parts and they'd be NLA.

Don't want proprietary parts if you can help it.
 

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Obsolete maybe for a Corvette.

C5 rear ends do not work well in Trifives. Massive cutting.

Nothing wrong w/C4 front ends. Don't need the more complexity and expense for what?

I plan on getting an SRG frame and putting late (89) front end, early (85) rear end (narrower than the later 88-96) rear end. Dana 44.



The nice thing about using C4 suspension is you can get parts for it easily (new or used).

Try getting suspension parts from say...Art Morrison in 10 years. By then they'd change the design of parts and they'd be NLA.

Don't want proprietary parts if you can help it.
I am pretty sure all Morrison "wear" parts are over the counter stuff. Of course if you bend a control arm or other fabricated part.... well you may need to fab your own replacement.
 

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My next build will be with a NerdRods frame that uses a C4 front and rear.
I can't wait to see how you like it!
Version 8 has been fun taking 10+ years of chassis and refining it into the current revision. Lots of "reading between the lines" of what customers say they want VS actually want. Less "peak performance" and more ride quality.


IMO coil overs is a 'buzzword' that people want because they think they are supposed to! My '56 Nomad has front coilovers on it (QA1) which I do not like. I see NOTHING that they do for me... and as soon as I find a decent set of factory front springs, they will get swapped out.
Springs control the car, shocks control the springs. You have to tune your chassis like you tune the engine. This is why I start with the double adjustable shocks at a minimum so you can have this room you need to tune after its all said and done. The problem as you might have noticed is that adjustment will let you screw up just as fast as fix the problem. The right tool for the job. I would say you should talk to a Circle Track shop and get then to adjust your shocks for you.

Honestly it's crazy the number of shocks I have to stiffen up because guys have them dead soft thinking it will help the ride out.

SHOCKS CONTROL THE SPRINGS
read that twice.
You need to run the shocks up to deal with the springs.

That being said. Everything effects everything else. Coil overs are not a bandaid for other problems in the stock geometry.


C4 stuff is obsolete now ,step up to c5 and later they are even making after market spindles for the c6 set up
Yeah, no.

While there are some advantages to the C5+, Newer is not always better.

Especially when taken at a performance per dollar cost analysis in these old cars. The C5/6/7 is just too wide. By the time you narrow it, replace the rack and pinion, replace the front and rear swaybars, narrow the CV shafts, AND get the shocks you need to make it all work you're easily at 2x the price of a C4 sway. And you can't get your rear tires out from under the car. That's the real trick everyone figures out the hard way.

The C4 and C5+ share a lot of the same geometric advantages you need to make a car perform like a modern car.
lots of caster, front mount racks, sway bars, aggressive camber curves, anti dive for disk brakes just to name a few easy to recognize items.

And the C4 package 'just right' for our beloved TriFives when it comes to floor board modifications as well.

When I get to the C2/3 Conversion frame I want to do I'll have a C5+ option but the C4 is still the best bang for the buck.


Automotive tire Motor vehicle Wheel Automotive design Toy
 

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I think the C4 stuff is great, I'm curious what you think the next popular donor car(s) might be as junkyard C4 stuff eventually starts to dry up? Or do you perhaps see people doing 'C4 style' setups with all aftermarket parts, like the Mustang II stuff that was the hot ticket years ago?
 

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I think the C4 stuff is great, I'm curious what you think the next popular donor car(s) might be as junkyard C4 stuff eventually starts to dry up? Or do you perhaps see people doing 'C4 style' setups with all aftermarket parts, like the Mustang II stuff that was the hot ticket years ago?
Gen 5 Camaro stuff
 

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The Mustang II stuff is not a suitable benchmark for this discussion because it was not high performance at all. Its advantage was that it was easy to adapt to older frames like street rods and older pickups, most times replacing a straight axle.
+
 

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The Mustang II stuff is not a suitable benchmark for this discussion because it was not high performance at all. Its advantage was that it was easy to adapt to older frames like street rods and older pickups, most times replacing a straight axle.
+
Yes. What I was asking is if someone making a business out of C4 suspension thought C4 stuff would start to be made completely from scratch, like the Mustang II stuff where 90% of Mustang II front ends didn't start life in a Mustang II. I wasn't trying to compare the two suspensions, MII and C4 are worlds apart, and I agree for completely different purposes.
 
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