Pulling the trigger on Firm Feel suspension!

Brakes, Suspension, Rims and Tires

  1. 1971 300 Alvah

    1971 300 Alvah Member

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    Once you press the control arm pin out it is very easy to just pry the old rubber out with a screwdriver. I was using poly bushings so I reused the original outer bushing shell. If you're using rubber bushings (which is what everyone recommends) I believe the new rubber bushings come in a new outer shell, so you may need to weld a washer to the outer bushing and press it out or cut it out with a wheel or chisel.
     
  2. Knebel

    Knebel Senior Member

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    Thanks! I was planning on doing Poly too. Did you get the new greasable Pivot pins from firm feel ir are you reusing the old ones?
     
  3. 1971 300 Alvah

    1971 300 Alvah Member

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    I reused the original pivot pin.
     
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  4. 1971 300 Alvah

    1971 300 Alvah Member

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    One issue. It appears I have the wrong HD shackles for my new leaf springs. The originals have a very different shape and dimensions than the new ones. I have already talked to FirmFeel and they will get the correct shackles for my application. In the meantime I have some stock replacement shackle bushings on the way so I can move forward with spring installation shackels (2).jpg .
     
  5. 1971 300 Alvah

    1971 300 Alvah Member

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    Question for the brain trust here. The new Bilstein rear shocks are about 2.5" shorter than the ones that are on Alvah now when fully extended. Is this a problem?

    I'm having difficulty with the FirmFeel parts not fitting on the back end. The new leaf springs fit great and seem like a real improvement over stock! The Iso Delete kit just doesn't fit. I suspect it will fit fine once I have the sway bar which includes a new plate that goes between the axle and the leaf spring, however there is a round piece which is intended to replace the rubber isolator which is probably 1/4 to 1/2 inch too big to fit into the original rubber isolator top plate where it is supposed to go. For now I've reinstalled the rubber isolator and will wait until I get the sway bar kit.

    The difficulty with the Iso Delete and the incorrect shackles has me paranoid about the shocks.
     
  6. 1971 300 Alvah

    1971 300 Alvah Member

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    After failing and flailing last night with the suspension parts, I decided I needed a win and test fitted the new rear wheels and tires... I went with American Racing Torque Thrusts (15x8, 4.5" backspacing) with BFG Radial T/A in 275 60 15. Man do they look good! wheel.jpg wheel2.jpg
     
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  7. 1971 300 Alvah

    1971 300 Alvah Member

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    I just got off the phone with FirmFeel and they are sending me the correct "puck" for the Iso Delete kit so I'll be able to remove the rubber isolators from the rear leaves. This should solve all of my woes.

    They also ensured me that I have the correct shocks. They are shorter than the stock ones, but I understand this will not be an issue once the weight of the car is on the suspension.

    Wish me luck!
     
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  8. 1971 300 Alvah

    1971 300 Alvah Member

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    Well, I keep discovering new issues. I was installing my new rear disk kit, and when I got to the passenger side I noticed the locking pawl was missing on the axle bearing adjuster. No problem, I'll order a new one! Putting things back together, I discovered that not only was the locking pawl missing, the adjuster wouldn't turn at all, and the end plate was bent (bowed) on the top. Also my lug studs are not long enough for the disk brake kit and the new wheels.

    I ordered the locking pawl from Doctor Diff, and Cass quickly helped me stop that order and change it to a new set of green bearings. He also helped me figure out what studs I need for my new setup. He didn't have the studs, but sent me a link to the correct ones. Now I just wait for new parts to arrive, then wait for a break in kids sports and rainy weather to finish the work. I'm on track to have Alvah on the road by the 34th of Nevercember!
     
  9. Knebel

    Knebel Senior Member

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    Oh man. I hear ya... and it does not help that all the packages are delayed these days....

    Hope you get it sorted out!
     
  10. 1971 300 Alvah

    1971 300 Alvah Member

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    I have it all together and did a very short test drive around the block. It feels night and day different. With the Bilstein shocks, firmer torsion bars, new leafs, and poly bushings installed it feels very firm and solid, no more nose diving with the brakes or floating over every bump in the road. It is positive. I can understand how some would describe it as "harsh".
    I'm still waiting on the front and rear sway bars, but even without them Alvah feels downright sporty!
    Next up I get an alignment (Thursday). I did my best to get the same settings as before but I suspect I didn't get the pitman arm indexed the same as stock so my steering wheel is no longer straight when the car is...
     
  11. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    Everything has (or should) have a master spline and goes together one way.

    Your issue is adjusted by tweaking the tie rod sleeves. Turn one side clockwise and the other counterclockwise to straighten the steering wheel.
     
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  12. 1971 300 Alvah

    1971 300 Alvah Member

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    The original arm had a master spline, the new arm had a line machined in the face matching the location of the master spline, but I suspect my aging eyes might have not gotten them aligned perfectly.
    I'm hoping the alignment shop (who is probably better at this game than me) will be able to get me back to right.