Chevette based TD

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Mark Hendrickson


Some points to remember:

The Chevette based cars have front and rear coil springs. The fronts may be able to be trimmed shorter due the coil having an “unshaped” end that usually sits in a shaped “pocket” in the lower control arm. I believe the rear coils are “shaped” on both ends and can’t just be cut shorter and reinstalled.

The Ford based kits use a Pinto/Mustang II coil in the front and quarter elliptical rear leaf springs. Due to the fact that there are a zillion street rods using Pinto/Mustang II front ends, there are literally hundreds of different height and rate OEM style coils springs available. I used Eaton-Detroit Spring.

The rear leafs on the Ford based cars can have leaves added or subtracted to make the car stiffer and higher or lower and softer. These kits used the OEM leaf spring cut in “half” and turned upside down and backwards. This is actually 19th Century technology, but it works, especially where room is limited. I also used Eaton-Detroit Spring to make and modify some OEM application Pinto/Mustang II rear leafs. I think I ended up with the required main leaf and the next longer leaf, but removed all the others.

The VW based cars have torsion leaves in the front and torsion bars in the rear. Due the vibrant air cooled VW aftermarket, you can get the front ride corrected by simply removing torsion leaves form the upper and lower tubes and then adjust the ride height with the aftermarket ride height adjusters that are welded in the tubes. The rear is another story. I posted a long thread about this a few years ago.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that when you cut a coil spring or shorten a torsion bar, the rate increases. So, getting the right ride height could result in a “brick like” ride if you don’t get the spring rate right too.

Because these cars are so light, it is imperative to get the suspension right or they are actually dangerous to drive, not to mention uncomfortable.

The Pink MG is a Chevette based BCW kit and it has 14″ wheels. It’s the diameter of the tire, not the wheel diameter that determines ride height. Real TD’s had 15″ wheels.