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Hello, I'm putting together a 55 ford fairlane, I'm making a "gasser style" car. My question : Are floaters a must on leaf spring ladder bar set-ups? I keep looking at pics of old gassers and it seems many did'nt run floaters.

This car will be a drag car only. I do want it to work correctly, but if they arent needed whats the sense? I do understand what the floaters do, but for a strip only car it has me wondering if the floaters are truely necessary. Thanks in advance. Dan
 

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If the ladder bars are welded solid to the axle, or bolted to welded brackets, then the amount of travel will be limited. Depending on how stiff the rear suspension is it might work without floating the front mounting point. If there's more than a couple inches of travel the springs will be limited to how much stress and flex the ladder bar mounts can allow. It could mean a broken part over time, and it might cause a failure that could be dangerous.
 

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Good idea! A safety strap on the front is also a good idea to keep from launching the rear if a front mount ever broke too.
 

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Damn, I thought I was the only 55 Fairlane Gasser project lol, Hey if you need help, let me know, I am in the middle of putting a front axle on mine.
 

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Ladders with leaf springs and no sliders is a dicey proposition. Technically you can run them that way, but it's better for all parts to have the axle free from the stress of the two differing travel arcs fighting each other. Mark L
 

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Good idea! A safety strap on the front is also a good idea to keep from launching the rear if a front mount ever broke too.
I remember back when chains were wrapped around the front of both ladder or traction bars to prevent them falling to the ground in case of a failure. After awhile I think it became the trendy thing to do to give a car a "hey I drag race look".

Same with installing "tow bar brackets" on the front of cars that were never hooked to a tow bar or for that matter never saw a drag strip.....

Sometimes it ALL about the look!!!!
 

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I remember back when chains were wrapped around the front of both ladder or traction bars to prevent them falling to the ground in case of a failure. After awhile I think it became the trendy thing to do to give a car a "hey I drag race look".

QUOTE]

I've never seen any car running around my area with chains on the front of their traction/ladder bars, but NHRA requires a safety loop on the front of ladder bars to keep them from sticking into the track and launching the car if the heim breaks. Mine came with them, so I didn't have to rig anything.
 

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sorry..."sliders"?...was wondering if I should run "slapper" bars or solid mount ladder bars.
Not sure how "sliders" would help either Bob; at least what I'm thinking as sliders.

Sliders do the same thing as spring shackles, and if mounted on the end of a spring they allow the spring to "grow" as the rearend moves. If mounted to the end of a ridgid ladder bar they would need to be vertical to allow the bar to move vertically as the rearend moved vertically, but that would still stop the rearend from moving back as it compresses, so still bind.
If you mount ladder bars solid, then you should use floater mounts on the axle, so the rearend can move freely in an arc and not bind when using ladder bars with leaf springs. The other option is ladder bars with coil over shocks, and delete the leaf springs. This is usually a major suspension mod, and a panhard bar is also needed.
This is a Comp Eng. floating axle mount:


Anothe Comp weld on mount. This weld on has the added feature of being able to select three height adjustments:


I saw an early 50's Chevy gasser that runs around here locally that used a unique mounting method to work out the binding issues with his ladder bars and leaf springs. He used a small Speedway shackle to mount the front of the ladder bars, and mounted it pointed back at 45 degrees. This allowed the ladder bar to move up and back as the spring compressed and moved the axle rearward. He said it worked well with no spring binding. I would guess it still did OK controlling traction too.
 

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Vall, does the leaf spring bolt on traction bars make and difference or do you think I would be better off to design a ladder bar mount?
Andy
 

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I've used what I call "slapper bars" that spring mount before and they work great. The type that mount on the spring plate that the U bolts go through allow more spring travel than those that bolt to the leafs on either side of the plate.
I also like the old Traction Masters thata attached to the plate, and then clamped the front of the spring near the eye. The company is still in business, and they will custom make them for odd installations if needed at around $120-$150.
http://tractionmaster.com/
 

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Vall, those look cool. I might have to check on a set, if I don't decide to make a set of old school ladder bars. I am still unsure how to mount so they will have enough give or movement to keep them from binding, but still be functional.
Any thoughts on that, Vall?
Andy
 

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Vall, those look cool. I might have to check on a set, if I don't decide to make a set of old school ladder bars. I am still unsure how to mount so they will have enough give or movement to keep them from binding, but still be functional.
Any thoughts on that, Vall?
Andy
I built some for a couple cars, and it depends on how well you want or need them to work. If the car hooks up OK, then I've done a simple U bolt mounting around the axle and use nylock nut to hold it so it's firm, but can slip a little. That will give the old school ladder bar look, but not create axle bind. The front mounting hole needs very little play to allow the movement you need; maybe 1/8" over on a 4' ladder bar.
The other way is to either go with ladder bars, coilovers, and panhard, which is what I did on my Austin, or do the previous mentioned floater mount to allow the axle to stay with the ladder bars and still run leaf springs. I prefer the weld on style, as it gives more adjustment, and is more reasonably priced. It also doesn't require a panhard bar in conjunction to work. I love Traction Masters, as they work great, aren't too spendy, and look good too. But they don't give the old school look of ladder bars.
I'm building 1.25" round tube ladder bars for the Falcon, and will probably do the weld on Comp floater system on it.
 

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Almost forgot to show you this Andy! These shackles are what a couple people are using to hang the front of ladder bars to keep them from binding when the rear is mounted solid with leaf springs:


They need to be mounted just downhill from vertical maybe 10-15 degrees from mounting point to ladder eye. That allows the shackle to move up and back with the ladder bar's rear travel, thus eliminating leaf spring. It also lets the ladder bar move a little under acceleration, but limits travel enough to stop wheel hop.
 

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Vall ..... GREAT advice and the pictures help. Thanks for taking the time to post them and the words of "experience"
 
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