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1955 BelAir 4-Door Wagon, 350/350
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Gang,
Last weekend, I took a brief break from all the sanding and began installing my rear shock bar. I bought the Earle Williams Wagon style bar, based on the experience of other TriFive members (roger1 and asbicca). My first step was to remove the gas tank, which provides some much needed room to work, plus I have a new tank to install later... Since my body is still on the frame, I used the existing upper shock holes in the body to help locate the points on the inside of the frame to cut the 1-3/4" holes. Based on the pictures from roger1 and asbicca's installations, I located the pilot holes such that the bar was as high as possible in the frame, more or less 'flush' with the upper edge of the frame rail. Here's where I encountered an issue. Before I got started with the hole saw, my buddy stopped me and pointed out that the bar would hit the existing shock mount brackets on the body if the bar were mounted that high. Sure enough, he was right, so we decided to lower the bar slightly so it would clear the body. Reviewing roger1 and asbicca's installation threads, they installed their bars with the body off. I'm curious if they elected to cut out the original shock mount brackets before installing the body. I'm not sure if the factory shock mount on the sedans is different than the wagons, so roger1 may not have had to deal with this issue. I just wanted to alert anyone planning to use a Williams rear bar that they need to consider this before installing.

I bought a pair of KYB shocks (344044) which have a compressed length of 12.52" and an extended length of 20.79" (8.27" travel). I measured my 'eye to eye' distance with my car on the hoist (axle hanging) and it is right around 21". I think I should be OK, especially since I have 2" lowering blocks on my car, reducing the amount of upward axle travel before the axle snubbers hit. Here are a few pictures of the installation showing the slightly lower location of my bar and the resulting clearance to the factory mount brackets (~1/8"). Looking forward to roger1 and asbicca's comments on the locations of their bars and whether they encountered and interference with their bodies. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to snake some tailpipes around the bar and out the back of the car. I hope this information helps anyone who is planning on installing one of these shock bars.

Regards,
John








It's kind of hard to see, but here is a picture showing the clearance between the Williams bar and the production shock mount bracket. The original shock hole is in the upper right section of the picture, and the view is from the back of the car:





By comparison, here are a couple of pictures of the bar mounted flush to the upper edge of the frame rail:

 

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Nice job John and nice overhead welding job. My overhead welds are usually pretty ugly.

I did not have any clearance issues with the bar on my hardtop. I did not cut out the original mounts either.
 

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1955 BelAir 4-Door Wagon, 350/350
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks roger1. Unfortunately, I can't take credit for the welding job. My buddy is pretty handy with the MIG welder, and I insisted he weld it, even though he tried to convince me to do it. I have basic welding skills, but I wanted it to look descent, not like someone throwing popcorn at a Shell No-Pest Strip...

It did give us a chance to try out the Mig Light that each of us recently purchased, based on recommendations from this Forum.


http://www.tooldiscounter.com/ItemDi...le&kw=STK23240


It works really nice when your are under the car and there just isn't a good way to hold a light and weld at the same time. I think it is a no brainer for anyone who does any MIG welding.

Regards,
John
 

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I removed the factory shock mounts from the floor and filled in the holes . then made the new bar using tubing and a tube bender. I made mine go up parallel to the trunk floor made a lot more room for exhaust.
 

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nice, thanks for sharing john. :tu
 

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Nice job. Good plan on putting the bar up high as practical.

Looks like the clearance to the floor is "just right".

For anyone interested, the passenger car floor is very similar if not the same.
 

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It appears like there is a difference in the floors.

The 2 pictures John posted of the William's bar where it is mounted at the very top of the frame rail are mine.

I just crawled under my car and I've got 1 1/2" clearance between the bottom of the original shock mounting location and the top of my bar.
 

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If shock relocation kit is used, is it possible to use orginal exhaust system anymore? Looks like there isn't a lot of room for that? Even if one exhaust is used.

How good is that cheap relocation kit that Ecklers is selling? They say that it also fits for wagon. Is it true in real life?
 

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Now that is a beautiful chassis! Nice job!

I love the way you did your exhaust. I hadn't see one run outside the frame in the rear like that. If I had seen that before I did mine, I might have stolen your design.

I used Flowmaster tailpipes on my car. I cleared everything but it was tight.

Yours really shows the exhaust can easily clear any style of shock bar. Would clear any sway bar too.
 

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The 2 pictures John posted of the William's bar where it is mounted at the very top of the frame rail are mine.
Didn't know that because it wasn't said. I thought the bar clearance to the floor photo was his car. Wasn't it?

Regardless, you can get it out of the way by cutting or with a hammer.

My solution to the shock problem was to mount the shock to the frame rail with a stub bracket, no crossmember. This stands the shock up a bit. Also this was combined with a pocket kit, which moved the bottom shock mount inboard, making it stand up more. This may cause problems with stock configuration tailpipes, but I had to have custom ones anyway because of the pocket kit.
 

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I thought the bar clearance to the floor photo was his car. Wasn't it?
Correct. The first 5 pics were his and the last 2 were mine.

Interesting that asbicca's bar is mounted at the top like mine is and his clears on his wagon. (He didn't say whether his original shock mounts were trimmed out or not though.)

Edit:
Corrected
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Correct. The first 4 pics were his and the last 2 were mine.

Interesting that asbicca's bar is mounted at the top like mine is and his clears on his wagon. (He didn't say whether his original shock mounts were trimmed out or not though.)
Actually, the fifth picture is mine also, showing the minimal clearance remaining at the production shock mounts after I mounted the bar lower (I knew that's what you meant roger1). I'm curious also if asbicca chose to remove the original shock mounts. We pondered doing that in the 'heat of the battle', but decided that lowering the bar slightly wouldn't prevent me from custom bending tailpipes (although it will be tricky), and it looked like it would take a fair amount of fabrication work to make it look descent underneath. I'm pretty sure the KYB shocks I bought will have enough travel to handle the reduced upward travel, but I need to do a bit more measuring to be sure. If the body was off the frame already, I probably would have elected to remove the original mounts, but then again, I may not have realized that I has an interference problem.... My hope here is that anyone else who elects to install this bar in their wagon with the body off realizes that they will have this clearance issue if they try to install the body without modifications.

Regards,
John
 

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Shock bar clears with no problems. Earle installs them with the car together in his shop. His instructions are very specific as to how far forward to mount the bar so it clears everything.

I think the problem is when you us stock type top mount shock. It gets pretty tight against the floor with that bayonet mount sticking up. With the mount pictured nothing sticks above the bottom of the frame.
 

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I removed the factory shock mounts from the floor and filled in the holes . then made the new bar using tubing and a tube bender. I made mine go up parallel to the trunk floor made a lot more room for exhaust.
Hotrodg - I like the idea of removing the factory mounts to provide additional clearance for exhaust. I'm getting ready to make my own bar using EW's wagon bar design. I have the body off the frame.

1. Since the body is off, are there measurements available as to where the bar mounts on the frame and where the shock eye's should be located on the bar? ( How far in from each end of the bar)
2. What size hole is the hole on the bar for the top shock eye?
3. What size bar? OD/ID? Looks like about 1.75 OD but, what is the ID?

Thanks,
 

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I just did this same install on our '55 Nomad. I had to use the air hammer and create clearance in the factory shock perches on the body to clear the Williams bar. I already had filled the spare well and covered the shock holes with sheet metal previously. The air hammer work was ugly but I'm working on an otherwise complete car and didn't want to undertake cutting out the factory mounts right now.


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