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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, first time poster here. I've owned my '67 Bird since I was 15 (1984) and have decided to modernize / restore her fully. My question pertains to suspension modernization. I could use some input on "suspension upgrade kits" vice "complete subframe kits." Any experiences, advice, comments or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks again.
 

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Welcome to Firebird Nation, Todd. Be sure to post up pictures when you can!

Complete subframes are big-ticket items. The advantage is an engineered solution where all the components are matched to work better together offering improved geometry for better performance. A secondary advantage is that it looks really cool and you won't have to restore your factory subframe. The disadvantage is cost. Plus you may have to wait for the vendor to fabricate it to your particular car and powertrain requirements. But this is what is necessary for total customs or exotic engine choices.

Tubular A-arms give you most of the same advantages at reasonable cost. Combine them with new bushings and mounts, along with whatever suspension components need replacing/updating, then clean up and paint or powdercoat your factory subframe for better-than-new performance and appearance. This is the route most resto-modders take. Global West and Hotchkis are the main players in this arena, although you can find additional, less expensive vendors as well.

Even stamped factory restoration pieces (or cleaned up originals) will improve handling when combined with polyurethane bushings. Go this route for lowest cost and most factory appearance if restoration is your goal.

On my 2nd Gen, I'm going with Hotchkis tubular A-Arms (uppers and lowers), built-to-spec springs & shocks, solid subframe mounts and polygraphite bushings. Even when combined with the work to clean up and powdercoat the factory subframe, my capital outlay is less than half what a complete subframe kit would cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome to Firebird Nation, Todd. Be sure to post up pictures when you can!

Complete subframes are big-ticket items. The advantage is an engineered solution where all the components are matched to work better together offering improved geometry for better performance. A secondary advantage is that it looks really cool and you won't have to restore your factory subframe. The disadvantage is cost. Plus you may have to wait for the vendor to fabricate it to your particular car and powertrain requirements. But this is what is necessary for total customs or exotic engine choices.

Tubular A-arms give you most of the same advantages at reasonable cost. Combine them with new bushings and mounts, along with whatever suspension components need replacing/updating, then clean up and paint or powdercoat your factory subframe for better-than-new performance and appearance. This is the route most resto-modders take. Global West and Hotchkis are the main players in this arena, although you can find additional, less expensive vendors as well.

Even stamped factory restoration pieces (or cleaned up originals) will improve handling when combined with polyurethane bushings. Go this route for lowest cost and most factory appearance if restoration is your goal.

On my 2nd Gen, I'm going with Hotchkis tubular A-Arms (uppers and lowers), built-to-spec springs & shocks, solid subframe mounts and polygraphite bushings. Even when combined with the work to clean up and powdercoat the factory subframe, my capital outlay is less than half what a complete subframe kit would cost.
Thanks very much for the reply. So, what are your thoughts on this kit http://www.classicindustries.com/firebird/parts/e5297.html from Edelbrock? Appears I would also need the control arms / full bushing set correct? Ultimately, I would prefer it ride/steer/perform like a modern muscle/sports car such as my GT500.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I forgot to mention a couple other quick notes. This was an OHC V6 car converted to a BB 400, now has '68 Pontiac 428. Except for larger springs in the front, the rest of the suspension was untouched. Could also use some direction in terms of the rear. I'm thinking of mini-tubs but I think that would require yet another kit to mod the rear suspension correct? Also need to know if minis require any mod to the interior rear seating area?? Once again, any and all advice / comments greatly appreciated!!
 

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Well, given that you are freshening a '67 and the kit you linked to is for a 4th Gen, I don't think that is what you're looking for.
 

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If you are thinking about minitubbing the rear, I would submit that you are either going to do a whole bunch of work or pay somebody else to do it for you. There is a member here doing that, I'll try to link to his thread. But is you go that deep into the project, you should have a pretty big budget regardless. Are you planning a conventional suspension or something exotic like a 4-link? Because with minitubs, you are going to have to cut and modify the rear frame rails. Once you do that, you may find that commercial subframe connectors won't fit, meaning you'll have to fabricate your own. And you will definately want to connect the front and rear subframes at some point.
 

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Here's the thread I was referring to above. Don is resurrecting a '69. Not the same as a '67, but the basics will be similar and he took lots of great pictures.

http://www.firebirdnation.com/forums/topic/307731-my-soon-to-be-dream-car/

I like the Hotchkis brand. I would consider adding tubular upper and lower A-Arms though. They are stronger than factory and offer improved geometry. All that is original are the spindles and the subframe itself after all that and you've still come in way under the $6k+ cost of a whole new subframe assembly. But if you're using the rear leaf springs in that kit, you have pretty well nixed the possibility of tubbing the rear, even minitubs. That means the width of your rear wheel/tire combination will be somewhat limited.
 

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There is a few different ways to go about fitting big rubber on a first gen... It all depends on how wide of a wheel/tire combo you want to run. Here's a couple different ways,1. move your shock to inside the frame rails. This will give you a couple inches by it's self. 2. you can move the shocks and mini tub it up to the frame rails without moving you leaf springs. 3. Full mini tub-and move your leafs springs or run a bolt in 4 bar set up. I'm going all out and have plenty of room to fit a 15x12" wheel with a 14.5" wide tire! With plenty of room for the tire to move around.

When moving the rear leaf springs you are basicly moving the rear of them over to allow more room in the wheel well. They have a few different bolt on relocation kits out there. But I am going to use some leaf spring sliders to mount mine. This will really free up the rear suspension and let it work more freely. But this is more for drag racing then road carving. They have a few different bolt in rear suspension kits that will suite and needs you got. Some of them aren't too pricey either.

For the front I would swap in some upper and lower tubular control arms, rack&pinion steering, and coil overs. And bigger sway bars is basicly all you need for the front. And of course a disc brake swap if that hasnt been done already.
 
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