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Author Topic:   Trying to determine what kind of full frame car I have??
Deal Racing
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 38
posted December 13, 2005 12:27 PM  
I am new to racing. I bought a car from a guy and to make a long story short. He told me it is a monte carlo chassis. I later found out that he cut off the upper a arm brackets and put camaro ones on. He also cut the lowers so now it has camaro uppers and lowers. The question is on the rear end. You can see where the old frame rails were cut right behind the front leaf spring bolt hole. they then took 2 new frame rails a bit wider and it slide right over the old one. I am wanting to replace bushings and I am trying to find out what rea frame rails I have. You guys in this forum are pretty good so hopefully you can help. also, the stock mote rail had the leaf spring go up inside it. but the new rails they slide over it have bigger holes in it. Like the bushing actually goes in the frame rail???? Thanks everyone!!!!!

WesternAuto17
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 579
posted December 13, 2005 12:58 PM  
I can't tell you what it is, but I think I can tell you what its not.

The only thing I can tell you for sure is that the rear frame rails are not Monte Carlo or any other metric car. Metrics (78 - 87 montes, regals, malibus and cutlasses) are all coil cars.

As far as I know, Monte Carlos were never leaf cars (all the way back to '70) and Chevelles only had leafs befor '68. Unibody Camaros and Firebirds were leafs all the way up to '82. If its really a full frame GM car with leaf springs, its probably '67 or older Malibu / Chevelle / Nova or maybe even an Impala.

Sounds to me like maybe you have a Monte Carlo middle and front clip with a Camaro rear clip. The way the former owner was in love with Camaros (switching the upper and lower a-arms), its not much of a stretch to assume he wanted a Camaro rear suspension as well.

[This message has been edited by WesternAuto17 (edited December 13, 2005).]

Speedracer92
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 81
posted December 13, 2005 01:40 PM  
I agree with Western, I know that going back to '73 the Monte Carlo never had leaf springs and I didn't think they ever had them either.

Deal Racing
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 38
posted December 13, 2005 01:48 PM  
Right after I posted that I thought..... Monte's are coil cars too. I do know that camaro's are leaf cars but they are unibody right? My car has actual rear frame rails they installed. What other full frame cars were leaf cars? I just thought that all camaro's were unibody's so I eliminated that because it has actual frame rails. Thanks guys!!! any more info??

WesternAuto17
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 579
posted December 13, 2005 02:35 PM  
I'll preface this by saying that all the following is based only on my experience with old GM cars. The author takes no responsabilty for mistakes therein -

I have a '70 Chevelle which is a coil car and I once had a '72 Impala derby car which was also coils. I beleive that the last full frame GM cars with leaf springs were '67 Imapalas and Chevelles. Unibody cars (Camaro / Firebird / Nova) all had leafs. I had a '77 Nova and that bad boy had leafs. The old unibody cars did have rear frame rails, the just weren't connected to the front sub frame.

I don't want to rain on your parade, but you might have gotten taken for a ride. For a guy just getting started, a car that has been this heavily altered might be quite a headache. You might consider getting a new (or at least unmolested) chassis and moving all the bolt-ons off of the Montecamaro to the fresh chassis.

Whatever you do, good luck.

johder
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 194
posted December 13, 2005 03:28 PM  
I believe some of the caprice's have leafs and a full frame. Not totally sure. Also are you positive that they are factory rails??? Not 2x4 tubing bent???? Metric chassis tend to ge ta little thin in the back and people make the rear sections out of 2x4 tubing.

GOOD LUCK AND DONT GET DISCOURAGED.

Mark Wakefeld
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 29
posted December 13, 2005 03:44 PM  
never seen a chevelle, impala or monte carlo with leafs. any vintage period...

64 chevelle was coil on up. there was no 63,lol.


Champ2x36
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 41
posted December 13, 2005 05:41 PM  
If the new frame rails are Chevy, I believe they would have to be from a '57 or earlier car, or a pickup truck. 57 was the last year that Chevy used leaf springs in their full sized cars, as far as I know. Chevelles and Monte Carlos never had leaf springs, as far as I know. I've raced a 57 Chev (won my first races in one), won a road-runner track championship with a 67 Impala in 74, and a semi-late track championship with a 67 Chevelle in 76. None of those cars came with leaf springs. I believe the only Chevy's with leaf springs were Camaro and Nova styles, altho there might have been some station wagons with leaf springs. I've raced Camaros and Novas both also, but it's been 20+ years ago, and I can't remember how the leafs mounted to the subframes on the cars. Could the frame rails be the subframes cut from the rear of a Camaro? It's possible that the rear frame rails may be from Ford or Mopar product.

Ed

john56h
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 79
posted December 13, 2005 07:55 PM  
I second champ's post. All the mid-size G.M. cars had coil springs from 1964 to 1988. Even full-size at least from 64 onward. It's probably either 55-57 Chevy or somebody pieced in some sections of Ford (could be as new as early 70's) or Mopar (would have to be from the 50's) frame sections to get it through tech with "stock" leaf spring suspension on a full frame car. Try measuring the length of the leaf springs eye to eye and front eye to center pin. Compare your measurements to the springs listed in some of the catalogs. Camaro springs are diferent length than Chrysler (switching to Chrysler leafs is a popular upgrade around here on Camaros), so it wouldn't surprise me if the guys who set your car up, who obviously weren't afraid to make a few modifications, were after the Chrysler leaf deal. Be cautious though, as someone else posted you might have bought something that will give you problems. Carefully inspect the frame for structural soundness before you invest any more time or money.

racer17j
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 5513
posted December 13, 2005 07:56 PM  
what 71-76 wagons had leafs? I'm with champ, after 57 the only GMs with leafs are camaros, novas and firebirds(and trucks). No chevelle or impala I've ever seen had leafs. Sounds like maybe a 55-57 frame-camaro clip car from years back.

Normal Sullivan
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 88
posted December 14, 2005 03:54 AM  
Maybe it's the rear stub from an astro van.

Eljojo
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1007
posted December 14, 2005 04:21 AM  
My vote is with Normal. I would not be afraid of this chassis! Leaf cars are easy to set up and the front geometry of a camaro is hard to beat. My advice is to get it ready to go and have someone who really knows their stuff set it up for you. Maybe you can hook up with a team that has a good crew and driver who will work out the kinks for you on practice day. Most front runners are the type who WANT to see the newbies run well--who wants to haveto dodge a car thats lap traffic?

Deal Racing
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 38
posted December 14, 2005 06:29 AM  
Hey, Thanks alot for the input guys. I realized very quickly this guy wasn't afraid to make changes. I just got done fixing one of the rails because they put it on a bit crooked and the leaf spring was in a little bind. I figured once I got wheels back on it I would square the car and if anything was majorly wrong I would know when I tried to make sure everything was square. In the mean time, thanks to everyone. I am going to post some pics and maybe one of you guys will recognize what I truely do have. Thanks again!!!!

Deal Racing
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 38
posted December 14, 2005 01:34 PM  
Hey guys, before I take some pics I have a question. I read a post on here that the difference between camaro and chrysler leafs are that the measurements from the center pin to the front eye are different. Is this true and if so does anyone know what the measurements would be? Also I talked to my cousin who was in when this car was bought. He said he thought the guy told him they were chrysler leafs. What kind of car would that have been? Thanks

Deal Racing
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 38
posted December 14, 2005 02:11 PM  
Anyone??? I am going to leave work in about 13 minutes and I am going to go try and buy bushings for the real frame rail. It has the multiple hole shackle that holds the actual spring? So does anyone know after reader my previous post? Thanks! Guys!

marp
Dirt Roller

Total posts: 19
posted December 14, 2005 05:20 PM  
17j is right.71-76 gm wagons had leafs and a full frame.
maybe they shortned one of those.

racer17j
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 5513
posted December 14, 2005 05:35 PM  
Thanks again guys, I am getting close to figuring out what I have. I think they put frame rails off of something else. I don't really think it matters. You would have to see it to understand.... lol My question now turns to this. I read a post that the the difference between camaro and chrysler leafs was the distance between the centering pin and the center of the front bushing. Anyone know if this is true?? I also read that the difference was that on the front eyes the camaro had a 9/16 front hole and the chrysler's were a 5/8 hole? What do ya think guys?? Thanks a bunch for everyone's help!

Eljojo
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1007
posted December 15, 2005 06:08 AM  
Go to landrum spring's website and look around. There's a ton of info there, but it's kind of hard to find.

sc1 racing
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 445
posted December 16, 2005 11:30 AM  
on a chrysler spring the rear end is moved forward about 4 inches, and the chrysler springs are an inch narower. i redrill springs and install allen head bolt and not or move front spring mounts back to make up for the wheel base

john56h
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 79
posted December 16, 2005 07:29 PM  
It is my understanding that the reason for using Chrysler leafs instead of Camaro leafs is because the shorter length in front of the axle allows for a stiffer spring and aids forward bite by not wrapping up as much as the longer Camaro spring (similar to adding traction bars on drag cars). The longer legnth behind the axle allows for softer spring action and more suspension travel. So, the same "rate" in Chrysler and Camaro would actually be quite different in application. In order to properly use the Chrysler leafs in the Camaro chassis, the spring mounts must be altered in order to maintain the 108" wheelbase. I would think that redrilling and repositioning the center bolt so the Chrysler spring fits the stock Camaro mounts would diminish the advantage of the Chrysler springs.

neil rucker
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 888
posted December 22, 2005 07:05 PM  
it sounds like a metric chassis some one has put leaf springs under. very common. if it is stock mounts, it just about has to be a shortened 55 thru 57 frame with metric clip or?

racer17j
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 5513
posted December 23, 2005 10:29 PM  
The only X frame from 55-57 was a convertable.

john56h
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 79
posted December 24, 2005 09:34 AM  
GM fullsize cars from the early sixties had those x-frames. They do not have frame rails running along the rocker panels, so they are not considered a perimeter type frame. Many tracks and sanctioning bodies didn't allow those frames because it was thought that the perimeter frame was more safe for the driver in a side impact. Also, I think most of the 55-57 Chevies that had the 8-lug wheels were on stock frame rails, but had switched to a floater type truck rearend and a 3/4 ton truck front crossmember and front suspension.

  

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