Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

Click Here to Begin SlideshowIf you point your browser back to the first part of this saga, you’ll note I was faced with a construction dilemma on my own Nova project.  I attempted to mix several key suspension pieces together from various manufacturers. Simultaneously, I tried to meld drag race tech with pro-touring. Sounds easy enough, but even though I entered with great intentions, it all failed rather miserably. In the process, I managed to craft a difficult to work with package that also proved next to impossible to adjust.  That was a tough pill to swallow, considering I’ve been at this for something like five decades. The first segment details how I came up with the fix. This time around, we’ll look at a key ingredient in the mix:  Springs. I have a number of old pals who race NHRA Stock and Super Stock.  I queried them with regard to the hot setup for cars like my Nova. The consensus was to use Santuff springs on the car.  Santuff springs fit the stock style spring pocket. They’re tall and have smaller-than-stock diameter wire. That means they store energy.  They’re also available in a wide range of spring rates.  And as it turns out, Santuff has springs custom wound to their specifications by the folks at Landrum Spring (well-known and respected in the industry for their high quality, made-in-the-USA spring components). The other question I had when it came to springs was what rate should I use?  Typically, one would get the car on a set of scales and then determine the front end weight.  By determining the front end weight, the spring rate can also be determined.  But I had another dilemma:  There’s no engine or transmission in my car. I can’t get the front end weight. And even if it was together, I personally don’t have a set of scales.  My class racing pals intervened again, and suggested I call Rineharts Performance (https://rinehartsperformance.com) for help.  Rineharts Performance is a full service Santhuff dealer. They’re also very familiar with typical spring configurations for a pretty wide range of NHRA Stock and Super Stock applications.  The Rinehart crew successfully campaigns a first gen Super Stock big block Camaro, so that helps too (the Camaro has the same basic front end configuration as my Nova). As it turns out, Marty Rinehart suggested I try a set of 200-pound springs for my Nova.  That’s similar to what an NHRA Stock Eliminator Nova would use and it’s also in line with what they use on their Super Stock car (within 20-pounds on the spring rate side of the equation).  Marty pointed out the Santuff springs are built like a valve spring. There is no pigtail on the end.  The springs have closed ends and they’re flat top and bottom. He noted that it’s entirely possible to run them this way, even if the spring pocket is laid out for a pigtail (and they do on their Super Stock car).  Should the ride height prove too high, it’s also possible to cut the spring (on the flat) to create a pigtail. The right way to do this is by way of a cut-off wheel on an angle grinder.  Cutting a little bit off the end of the spring flat will lower the car and it won’t have a super adverse effect upon the spring rate. When it comes to spring rate, Rinehart Performance advises that it is entirely possible to use springs with a different rate on each corner. For example, you might have a 180 pound spring one side and a spring with a rate of 200 pounds on the other. You can use this to level out the car, compensating for driver weight and other factors in a stock body application. So what kind of spring rates are available? Rinehart Performance can supply you with 5-inch/5-1/2-inch OD front springs in 150, 180, 200, 225 and 250-pound ratings.  The springs are 18-inches long (free length).  The wire diameter (at least in the 200 pound springs I have)  measures 0.555-inch (or so). In terms of cost, the springs currently run $220 for the pair. So how do they install?  Just like a regular OEM coil. Typically for an early GM like mine, I install the spring compressor bolt through the shock absorber hole in the frame.  The spring is inserted up into the pocket next.  Then I install the spring compressor hooks. Due to the length of the Santuff springs you should install the hooks as low as possible on the spring (that’s the only difference from installing stock springs). Use lots of lube on the compressor threads and wind up the spring.  Then you can hook up the lower a-arm ball joint to the spindle. It’s actually pretty easy.  By the way, Santuff also offers a special spring compressor designed especially for this job.  FYI, if you check out the photos, I’ve included a photo of my own spring compressor.  It’s similar to the Santuff job except its shorter on the top side. In the end (and thanks to Marty at Rinehart Performance), everything fits like a glove. The front end now has sufficient travel for a lower horsepower, small tire car such as my Nova.  A bonus is, I can remove and re-install the front shock absorbers easily.  Plus, there are all sorts of “High Energy” spring rates available to allow me to tune the chassis.  As you can easily see, I took the long way around in an effort to encourage aftermarket parts to get along. Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes and save yourself some time and dollars in your own build.  For a closer look, check out the accompanying photos. Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

Click Here to Begin SlideshowIf you point your browser back to the first part of this saga, you’ll note I was faced with a construction dilemma on my own Nova project.  I attempted to mix several key suspension pieces together from various manufacturers. Simultaneously, I tried to meld drag race tech with pro-touring. Sounds easy enough, but even though I entered with great intentions, it all failed rather miserably. In the process, I managed to craft a difficult to work with package that also proved next to impossible to adjust.  That was a tough pill to swallow, considering I’ve been at this for something like five decades. The first segment details how I came up with the fix. This time around, we’ll look at a key ingredient in the mix:  Springs.

I have a number of old pals who race NHRA Stock and Super Stock.  I queried them with regard to the hot setup for cars like my Nova. The consensus was to use Santuff springs on the car.  Santuff springs fit the stock style spring pocket. They’re tall and have smaller-than-stock diameter wire. That means they store energy.  They’re also available in a wide range of spring rates.  And as it turns out, Santuff has springs custom wound to their specifications by the folks at Landrum Spring (well-known and respected in the industry for their high quality, made-in-the-USA spring components).

The other question I had when it came to springs was what rate should I use?  Typically, one would get the car on a set of scales and then determine the front end weight.  By determining the front end weight, the spring rate can also be determined.  But I had another dilemma:  There’s no engine or transmission in my car. I can’t get the front end weight. And even if it was together, I personally don’t have a set of scales.  My class racing pals intervened again, and suggested I call Rineharts Performance (https://rinehartsperformance.com) for help.  Rineharts Performance is a full service Santhuff dealer. They’re also very familiar with typical spring configurations for a pretty wide range of NHRA Stock and Super Stock applications.  The Rinehart crew successfully campaigns a first gen Super Stock big block Camaro, so that helps too (the Camaro has the same basic front end configuration as my Nova).

As it turns out, Marty Rinehart suggested I try a set of 200-pound springs for my Nova.  That’s similar to what an NHRA Stock Eliminator Nova would use and it’s also in line with what they use on their Super Stock car (within 20-pounds on the spring rate side of the equation).  Marty pointed out the Santuff springs are built like a valve spring. There is no pigtail on the end.  The springs have closed ends and they’re flat top and bottom. He noted that it’s entirely possible to run them this way, even if the spring pocket is laid out for a pigtail (and they do on their Super Stock car).  Should the ride height prove too high, it’s also possible to cut the spring (on the flat) to create a pigtail. The right way to do this is by way of a cut-off wheel on an angle grinder.  Cutting a little bit off the end of the spring flat will lower the car and it won’t have a super adverse effect upon the spring rate.

When it comes to spring rate, Rinehart Performance advises that it is entirely possible to use springs with a different rate on each corner. For example, you might have a 180 pound spring one side and a spring with a rate of 200 pounds on the other. You can use this to level out the car, compensating for driver weight and other factors in a stock body application.

So what kind of spring rates are available?

Rinehart Performance can supply you with 5-inch/5-1/2-inch OD front springs in 150, 180, 200, 225 and 250-pound ratings.  The springs are 18-inches long (free length).  The wire diameter (at least in the 200 pound springs I have)  measures 0.555-inch (or so). In terms of cost, the springs currently run $220 for the pair.

So how do they install?  Just like a regular OEM coil. Typically for an early GM like mine, I install the spring compressor bolt through the shock absorber hole in the frame.  The spring is inserted up into the pocket next.  Then I install the spring compressor hooks. Due to the length of the Santuff springs you should install the hooks as low as possible on the spring (that’s the only difference from installing stock springs). Use lots of lube on the compressor threads and wind up the spring.  Then you can hook up the lower a-arm ball joint to the spindle. It’s actually pretty easy.  By the way, Santuff also offers a special spring compressor designed especially for this job.  FYI, if you check out the photos, I’ve included a photo of my own spring compressor.  It’s similar to the Santuff job except its shorter on the top side.

In the end (and thanks to Marty at Rinehart Performance), everything fits like a glove. The front end now has sufficient travel for a lower horsepower, small tire car such as my Nova.  A bonus is, I can remove and re-install the front shock absorbers easily.  Plus, there are all sorts of “High Energy” spring rates available to allow me to tune the chassis.  As you can easily see, I took the long way around in an effort to encourage aftermarket parts to get along. Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes and save yourself some time and dollars in your own build.  For a closer look, check out the accompanying photos.
Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

This is one of the Santuff/Landrum springs Rineharts Performance shipped to me. The free height is 18-inches. That’s a bunch when compared to the conical spring.

Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

The spring from Rineharts has an outside diameter of 5-inches. That’s pretty much the same as the conical spring on the top end.

Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

Another big difference in the springs is the wire diameter. These examples have a wire diameter of just over 0.55-inches.

Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

The Santuff/Landrum springs have a closed end on both sides. They’re like a valve spring in that regard. The text offers more info.

Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

For my application, Marty Rinehart suggested I start with a 200-pound rating on the spring. Basically, spring ratings indicate how many pounds it takes for the spring to compress one-inch.

Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

This photo really tells the tale. Conical coil over spring on the left; Santuff/Landrum spring on the right. It’s pretty easy to visualize how as tall, thinner wire spring can store energy.

Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

Here’s a look at the spring compressor I used for the job. I’ve had it for over 40 years and it’s worked fabulously (provide the threads are judicially lubricated). Rineharts Performance sells a similar example.

Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

Aside from hooking up the steering and installing the brakes, the front end is done (again!). It doesn’t look much different, but it certainly has more travel.

Back to Post

1 Comment on Encouraging Aftermarket Parts to Get Along – Part 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


I agree to receive emails from RacingJunk.com. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2005-2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands
All Rights Reserved.

Internet Brands