front end height

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    Gary Coffey


    I have recently found this site and already learned a lot. Having had a Minneapolis,  Chevy based Fiber-Fab for 10 years, the front end always seemed to be a little high as compared to a lot of others. While reading this forum I have noticed that others also have this problem.  The building instructions say, cut springs untill they have 7 turns, as mine does. My Sunday driver measures, from ground level: 28″ to the peak curve outside of the fender on the back and 30″ on the front outside curve. If I cut 2 more coils off the front springs in the front would that be about right????? or would it be too hard of a ride???? Thanks for any thoughts on this subject or has the solution been discussed  before??   Gary


    Mark Hendrickson


    Welcome Gary

    The Chevy based TD’s are Chevy Chevette, Pontiac T-1000 vehicles. Luckily, the front suspension used in the these cars were used in the Pontiac Fiero.

    ALL of the TD replica producers were interested in using as much of the donor car as possible and were not really interested in handling and ride as long as it looked right. Hence we have lame directions to cut and rotate VW front beams, cut Pinto and Chevette springs, etc.

    As you know, a coil spring is nothing more than a torsion bar that is wound into coils. The shorter you make it, no matter what the diameter of the wire, it gets stiffer. So, you are correct in the assuming the ride height will drop, but the spring will increase rate and the car will ride stiffer.

    Luckily, there are many different rate front springs available in different heights for the Fiero. There used to be a place called Held Motorsports that marketed an entire tubular control arm/adjustable height coil over front suspension for Fiero’s. Not sure if they are still around. I was going to use one in my Chevette based TD. There are literally hundreds of different size and rate springs for coil over shocks, plus the ride height is adjustable.

    Because the Chevette/T-1000 were front engine, the springs are little longer in height (better ride) and a little stiffer (nose heavier) than the mid engine Fiero’s. There may be a Fiero spring that will be a “bolt-in” swap? If there is, Eaton-Detroit would know.

    If you can, remove one of your front springs. Measure the static height, # of coils, the outer and inner diameter of the coil and wire diameter. Then call Eaton-Detroit spring and tell them what you are doing and what it’s for. They may have that diameter/style spring that will do exactly what you want.

    I have two sets of NOS, uncut Chevette front springs and one set of NOS rears. My car is a British Coach Works TD and is considerably heavier than the CMC car. I may get away without cutting coils. I can measure these if you like? 

    The correct way to spring a car is on scales. Short of that, the correct rate is a crap shoot, completed by trial and error. Let the Tech’s at Eaton-Detroit Spring help you out. They were very accomodating when I ordered from them. 

    I built a rolling chassis on a Ford (Pinto) based CMC TD kit. It used quarter elliptical rear springs that were made by cutting the stock rear leaf springs in half. The car was so stiff that my 6’3″/250 lbs could not make it squat 1″. Eaton-Detroit made me a set of new Pinto leaf springs, cut them in half and told me what leaves to remove to dial the spring in.  

    Also, DON’T Cut Coil Springs With a Torch  …use a cut-off wheel.

    Hope this helps.

    Pink MG39540.6460185185

    Gary Coffey


    Pink,  Thanks so much for the discussion on ride height, and the Eaton site. The ride on this Fiber Fab around Morehead City, N.C. is really stiff already so I am hesitant to cut the springs again so will contact Eaton. If you get a chance you can measure your spring.  Since I  am getting a little older now I remember back in the 50’s the hot rodders were  Zeeing the frames , making 1932 etc. fords run very close to the ground.
    that would be a major rework on a completed car though.
    I did put an original moss motors supplied  dash mirror on today and with a little filing managed to get some original MGTD wind wings mounted……super quality….looks 90% better…again Thanks….Gary

    Mark Hendrickson


    Gary, I’m no “spring” chicken either (bad pun).

    You will be able to correct the ride height by using the correct free height and weight (rate) spring.

    Here’s a no brainer to measure your suspension travel:  Take a tie wrap and place it on the shock shaft (piston) as tight as possible. Then, while the car is sitting static at ride height on a level surface, push the tie wrap down flush against the shock body.

    Drive your normal manner for 10 or 20 miles and come back and park at the spot you put the tie wrap on. The tie wrap will have moved the total distance of your suspension’s shock travel.

    If the distance is minimal, that’s too stiff. If the distance it too great and the frame bump stops show that they were being contacted, there is too much travel. Surely not your case.

    You can locate and put a dab of grease on the rubber suspension bump stops to see if the suspension has been contacting them. It will leave a grease print on the suspension part, usually an upper and/or lower control arm.

    The kit car makers used to cut the springs/VW tubes to get the suspension static height correct, but gave no consideration to the ride and handling.

    I’ll write myself a note to measure the springs.

    William J Collins


    Hello Mark (Pink MG) Bill Collins here …I don’t have your Phone number any longer and it seems that your email addie is not working any longer.. The one ..So I’m kind of hope to get to you this way..I know its off topic .BUT …anyway are you aware the NJRC is braking up.. And it seems a dinner is Planned to say goodbye to all.. Dinner is on the club..And whats left over goes to some charity…Dinner planned for April 12th ..I know its very close and a few of use want the date changed but it seems Betts is a Hardhead and won’t do it..Well the club went down on his watch..and I blame hime for stopping the meetings and just having officer meetings with out the membership..By the way mayby this year I may be putting the Angelica up for sale

    Mark Hendrickson


    Hi Bill

    I posted a thread here a couple days ago about the demise of the NJRC. It’s under “Clubs and Shows”

    I wouldn’t blame the club’s demise on Dave Betts. When I was president, the club had already started to shrink drastically over the last couple years. No one would volunteer for anything and the events dwindled to one or two a year and only a few members attended them. All of the officers tried hard to keep the club vibrant, but with non-responsive membership, it wasn’t going to happen.

    Keep in mind, the club was started by 10 guys that were social friends. When I was elected the first term, there were just over 100 dues paying members.

    The last year of meetings, 2006, the monthly meeting attendance was pathetic at best. For over 8 years I drove a 125 mile round trip on the second Wednesday of each month, in the NYC commuter traffic, to attend the meetings. I also had to take off the afternoon from work to arrive on-time.

    I tried to “save” the club by initiating sound fiscal policies and try to switch to a “cyber-based” club like this forum. The monthly news letter costs more to print and distribute than we collected in dues! I suggested e-mailing the newsletter in PDF format and the whole club bitched. We did it anyway and the treasury grew quickly…enough to pay for website, incorporation, etc.m, but the votes were always don’t spend the money on that stuff.

    So, it took 3 years to get a lame website that no one used anyway. If you remember, Mr. Mustang volunteered to build it in 2004 and never did. So a “friend of a friend” was hired. The website sucked and was basically never used. Mr. Mustang, was one of the biggest complainers too! When reminded he volunteered to build the website, he made excuses why he couldn’t do it.

    For nearly two years, before I was president, the topic of every meeting was an argument over whether to incorporate or not!

    I’ll stop here. If you reply to this, do it on the thread about the NJRC Demise (under Clubs and Shows)

    Jane and I will try to attend the “farewell” dinner on 12 April…it’s free, just gas and tolls!

    Why are you selling Angelica? is my new e-mail address.

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