1 2
xflowgolf
xflowgolf HalfDork
7/2/13 10:28 a.m.

...without spending a million dollars?

Basically wondering if a fat tired late '70's Monte Carlo (which I love the look of) as a hot rod, boulevard bruiser, can be made to feel competent in use as a track day/auto-x car also (rather than hot rod only) without tens of thousands of dollars of typical pro-touring style build parts. Junkyard swap options?

I've always liked these cars stylistically, and would love to own one someday just to go do burnouts and say I did it, but the "fun car" guy in me would want it to at least be somewhat composed.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory HalfDork
7/2/13 10:49 a.m.

One of my favorite bodies of all times. Owing in large part that I was born in 1970...

Earnhardt, Geoff bodine, Richard petty, Harry Gant, Darryl Waltrip and Mark Martin all drove G bodied cars.

That was all you saw at circle tracks at least for much of the llast three decades.

http://gbodyforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=11428#.UdL3LmS9LTo

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltraDork
7/2/13 10:50 a.m.

There's a ton of circle track parts for the chassis out there that can bolt right on, and are pretty cheap. You just have to use the same spring rates left to right.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
7/2/13 10:50 a.m.

If you take all the junk out ....

The_Jed
The_Jed SuperDork
7/2/13 10:57 a.m.

It has basically the same rear suspension geometry/bind woes as the '79-'04 Mustang...and the Mark VII.

Make of that what you will.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr HalfDork
7/2/13 12:46 p.m.

You need to redo the front suspension. It isnt bad really.

Get some bump steer correction going on, use taller ball joints for the spindle (top and bottom) and get (2) right side circle track control arms. Bolt them on with some moog springs from an S10 extreme in teh front and a monza in teh back. Buy bilstein shocks for about 45$ each. Put on swaybars from a F41 package car and you are about done.

The car will handle fairly well. That is basically what we did to our Lemons malibu. It handled surprisingly well. We also added a WS6 steering box to help with the ratio.

This is just 1 way to go. It worked for me and most of the parts are from teh junkyard (except the howe long ball joints.

Rob R.

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro HalfDork
7/2/13 1:08 p.m.

Some good ideas from Rob. On the same note, third gen Camaro/FB front springs fit as well, just look for Irocs, GTAs and Z28s. If buying new springs, get ones for an 85-86 Iroc (700 lb springs) or get the S10 extreme ones like Rob mentioned. Or get some circle track springs, plenty of rates to choose from and good prices. Note, some places call it the metric chassis instead of G-body.

dinger
dinger Reader
7/2/13 1:17 p.m.

Swapping in some spindles from a full size car (caprice/impala) or camaro fixes a lot of what is wrong with the front end of a G body. Mainly, the negative camber gain that they exhibit in stock form. It gets you bigger front brakes as well, the stock ones are really puny and suck even with good pads. The stock 4 link in the rear isn't bad, but isn't great for sure. Fays2 makes a watts link that bolts on that keeps the rear roll center from moving around while the suspension goes through its range of motion. Aftermarket springs can be had for about $50 per corner from the many circle track suppliers, so don't bother scrounging the junkyard unless you really want to.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku UltraDork
7/2/13 1:24 p.m.

Some fab work might adapt an 3rd or 4th gen F-body rear end for a 3 link / torque arm instead of 4 link.

+1 for everything else

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr HalfDork
7/2/13 1:25 p.m.

The moog springs are about 65$ for the pair from any parts store.

The Bbody spindles (the caprice / impala ) cause some seriously bad bump steer. This CAN be addressed AND should be addressed. This may be the cheapest way to fix the camber curve (it does require the shorter upper control arms).

The other way is to take teh brakes from a newer s10 / blazer / extreme / ZR2. They should bolt onto the g-body spindle. This helps with the brake issue but not with the cmaber loss issue. The longer ball joints should solve that (again, you need the shorter upper control arms).

Rob R.

tuna55
tuna55 PowerDork
7/2/13 1:29 p.m.
Gearheadotaku wrote: Some fab work might adapt an 3rd or 4th gen F-body rear end for a 3 link / torque arm instead of 4 link. +1 for everything else

The third gen had that weirdo tong torque arm that connected to the transmission - I would avoid that.

novaderrik
novaderrik UberDork
7/2/13 3:09 p.m.
wvumtnbkr wrote: The moog springs are about 65$ for the pair from any parts store. The Bbody spindles (the caprice / impala ) cause some seriously bad bump steer. This CAN be addressed AND should be addressed. This may be the cheapest way to fix the camber curve (it does require the shorter upper control arms). The other way is to take teh brakes from a newer s10 / blazer / extreme / ZR2. They should bolt onto the g-body spindle. This helps with the brake issue but not with the cmaber loss issue. The longer ball joints should solve that (again, you need the shorter upper control arms). Rob R.

in order to use the slightly bigger (11" vs 10.5"- woohoo) later S series brakes, you need to get the whole spindle from the truck. it's a totally different setup, but the spindle mounting points and all the important geometry is the same. doing the swap gets you an expensive bearing/hub assembly with a slip on rotor and 2 piston calipers... i think Baer makes a bigger brake kit for it, but you can do the LS1 (98-02) front brakes on either the stock or big spindle for about $300 with parts from NAPA...

tuna55 wrote:
Gearheadotaku wrote: Some fab work might adapt an 3rd or 4th gen F-body rear end for a 3 link / torque arm instead of 4 link. +1 for everything else

The third gen had that weirdo tong torque arm that connected to the transmission - I would avoid that.

do what a lot of F body owners do- take the torque arm mount off the trans and hook it to the crossmember with either a sliding bushing like stock or with a link that allows the arm to pivot... get a rear end from a 98-02 F body and it will be a few inches wider and have 12" disc brakes if you get one from a V8 car... thought about attempting this swap on my T Type, but that car's already got a beefier 8.5 rear end in it..

somewhere out on teh internets is an article from some magazine from the early 80's where they threw a bunch of cheap parts onto a then brand new Regal and got it to pull over a G on the skidpad and haul ass thru the slalom without breaking the bank or causing it to ride really rough... i couldn't tell you where on teh internets it is, but i've got it saved to my hard drive somewhere..

tuna55
tuna55 PowerDork
7/2/13 3:12 p.m.
novaderrik wrote: do what a lot of F body owners do- take the torque arm mount off the trans and hook it to the crossmember with either a sliding bushing like stock or with a link that allows the arm to pivot... get a rear end from a 98-02 F body and it will be a few inches wider and have 12" disc brakes if you get one from a V8 car... thought about attempting this swap on my T Type, but that car's already got a beefier 8.5 rear end in it..

You're right, I am just saying that it requires work, can't just use it as is - also that bar and the panhard are really weak and should be upgraded.

Also the rear end on the vast majority of those was super weak.

xflowgolf
xflowgolf HalfDork
7/2/13 3:19 p.m.
tuna55 wrote: Also the rear end on the vast majority of those was super weak.

rear end of vast majority of G-bodies? ...or rear end of vast majority of '98-'02 V8 F-bodies?

tuna55
tuna55 PowerDork
7/2/13 3:22 p.m.
xflowgolf wrote:
tuna55 wrote: Also the rear end on the vast majority of those was super weak.

rear end of vast majority of G-bodies? ...or rear end of vast majority of '98-'02 V8 F-bodies?

82-92 F is what I meant, but I don't know that the little guy in the G body is much better.

pres589
pres589 SuperDork
7/2/13 3:24 p.m.

In reply to xflowgolf:

Both.

noddaz
noddaz HalfDork
7/2/13 3:29 p.m.

Interesting idea. Gotta love a "big" car being thrown around the cones. I wonder how far you can move the engine back without cutting the firewall and using a small cap distributor?

pres589
pres589 SuperDork
7/2/13 3:35 p.m.

In reply to noddaz:

A DIS ignition setup would be even better, with no cap to get in the way.

These aren't that heavy at ~3200lb. I'm not calling that light but they aren't as heavy as one might think.

Gasoline
Gasoline Dork
7/2/13 3:42 p.m.

Search out an Olds with an aluminum trunk and hood.

I've seen 442's in the PullAPart with the 8.5" rear. From Buick GN's , turbo T-types, '84 H/O, and 442's show up on Craigslist from $200 to $500....you just have to look.

iceracer
iceracer UberDork
7/2/13 5:01 p.m.

Much stiffer springs and shocks to start.

clownkiller
clownkiller Reader
7/2/13 5:46 p.m.
Gasoline wrote: Search out an Olds with an aluminum trunk and hood. I've seen 442's in the PullAPart with the 8.5" rear. From Buick GN's , turbo T-types, '84 H/O, and 442's show up on Craigslist from $200 to $500....you just have to look.

ATL pull-a-part, ATL craigs..........

novaderrik
novaderrik UberDork
7/2/13 6:28 p.m.
xflowgolf wrote:
tuna55 wrote: Also the rear end on the vast majority of those was super weak.

rear end of vast majority of G-bodies? ...or rear end of vast majority of '98-'02 V8 F-bodies?

the rear end in the 98-02 F bodies is a slightly upgraded version of the same 7.5 that was in 99% of the G bodies built, and is a design that goes back to the 1975 Monza.. they can take some abuse if done up right, and hold up better in something like road racing than they do in drag racing...

curtis73
curtis73 UltraDork
7/2/13 7:09 p.m.

Rear axle is always the sticking point for G-bodies. The normal G-bodies came with the 7.5" which I've seen fall apart with just a swap to sticky tires and 250 hp. The 7.625" in my buddy's LS-swapped 84 Trans Am spit the carrier straight out the cover when he put some Proxes RA-1s on it and stabbed the throttle. Monte SS came with the 7.625" which is basically the same weak axle with a bigger ring gear. The GN, 442, and turbo Regal got the 8.5" which is very capable, but finding one that bolts into a G-body means getting one from a G-body, and people usually don't let them go for less than $1000 if they're smart.

Some guys use the Explorer 8.8" or Mustang 8.8" which fits pretty well if you have some welding talent or want to do something like truck arms (which would do nicely on the track) The Ford 8.8" is basically a corporate theft of the GM 12 bolt. Plenty stout and zillions of them out there with discs for cheap.

Front suspension can be done fairly GRM for cheap. Find yourself a B-body with the HD package (impala SS, wagon, cop car, some taxis, etc). Snag the spindles and 12" brakes. Stock lowers will work with the corresponding ball joints and some Afco or other aftermarket uppers will give you a massive improvement on camber curve. If you don't want the 5x5 bolt pattern you get with that, you have several options; 1) have the rotors re drilled for 5x4.75, pay the big bucks for WS6 12" rotors (which are the same casting drilled with the smaller pattern), or just get your parts from an 11" donor. You'll be surprised how interchangeable the bearings, rotors, calipers, ball joints, and tie rod ends are from GM all the way back to 1964 for BOP and 1971 for Chevy.

The other nice thing about a G-body is that the frames are drilled for darn near any engine that GM ever did; big block or small. LS1, caddy, olds, buick, chevy, LT1, Pontiac. Most also have multiple holes in the frame for the tranny crossmember since they could be had with almost any of the GM automatics. T10, T5 and T56 are easy swaps too. Just use the pedal assembly from an F-body and cobble up the factory master/slave or pushrod/cable.

nicksta43
nicksta43 Dork
7/2/13 7:48 p.m.

DROOOOOL!

mw
mw Dork
7/2/13 8:58 p.m.

A good friend of mine autox's an impala ss. The handling improved dramatically when he welded chains on that limit the droop. I don't know the difference between g and b body suspensions, but weighing over 1000lbs less has to help the g body.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
oz1yRpOoFugOCMzJgXtXN6gS7tPA3e84Imu475W36INrG6HX86mTanyq4KbmSkYr