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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I want to get the gasser look with my 68 El Camino (yeah yeah...). This is a cruiser and driver. by no means a racer.

I've been doing a lot of research on the matter. I want to stay IFS so straight axle is out of the question. I also want to be able to revert back to stock if I don't like how it turns out, so stiffer longers springs and shocks are out too...

So from what I've read there are two more options. Raised spindles or shock, spring, and ball joint spacers.

My El Camino currently has 2 inch drop spindles, which use 80's monte brake rotors. Besides that it's all factory.


Raised spindles: 900 bucks seems a little hefty for raised spindles on this "donk" site....they raise the car 4 1/2 inches...turns out they comes with calipers, rotor, pads, bearings, etc....unkown brands.

Spacers: I can buy ball joint, shock, and coil spacers on ebay, right? Can't imagine them being too expensive, maybe a few hundred bucks for everything? The question is will I need stock spindles? Or will my 2" drop spindles work?


Money aside, what are the pros/cons between raised spindles and spacers?
What am I missing?
Opinions, suggestions?

I'm relying off of the experts in this online community for help. I'm a n00b with gassers, obviously :eek:

Thanks!!
 

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I've seen a spec sheet on the web, I think from Moog, with spring diameters, rates, installed height and more. I thought I'd saved it but I don't see it now. New springs with the same rate with a taller loaded height, along with ball joint spacers would work. I'd start with stock spindles, though, either used or repops.
 

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I agree. Trying to raise the front with dropped spindles will be much more work. First thing I'd do is get a pair of stock spindles. Then while it's apart for those, I'd install ball joint spacers. Two or three inch are available, but be prepared for the possibility of not having enough adjustment on the upper control arm if you use 3". They change the geometry enough, that the new height will tip the top of the tires in, and often can't remove enough shims to get the tires straight up. Stick with 2" and odds are better it might have enough adjustment.
Also get longer front coils, or the ball joint spacers wont add any height. They were originally designed for drag cars, to allow more lift and weight transfer with stock coils. If you don't get longer springs, then the height wont change. Do a search of spring rate, and length of your stock coils. Then check for various other Chevy models with similar spring rates, but longer springs, as a replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for . I figured about the spindles, Right Stuff have pretty inexpensive stock ones..

What about springs spacers and shock spacers? Are they okay/safe to use? The only reason I'm asking is because if I don't like the height and rather go back to stock, I won't have to buy another stock height pair of springs and shocks.

Ideally I'd like to achieve a front height similar to this:

But obviously with using spacers etc instead of raised spindles. Is this doable?

Thank you.
 

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No, I doubt you can ever get that height with any combination of ball joint spacers, and coil springs, or spring spacers. That car no doubt has raised spindles and possibly other changes to get a control arm suspension that high. If they made aftermarket raised spindles, I'd be OK with them. But most I see are fabricated by cutting and welding stock spindles, and I'm not comfortable using welded spindles myself. Even stock height would scare me, and raising them just adds to the load put on the welds they make.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for the info Vall. I don't feel comfortable with welded spindles either, too much at risk.
Okay so I guess stock spindles, ball joint, spring, and shock spacers? I'm going to do a bit more research on the safety of spring spacers just in case. This is my DD, it does see freeways... I'll do what you recommend, start with 2" bj spacers.

I may do a straight axle eventually, but it's not possible as of now due to lack of space and experience.

When you take about "tip the top of the tires in", are you talking about too much negative camber? To me is seems like I'll gain too much positive camber.

Thank you.
 

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Negative camber is the top angled in past the centerline axis of the wheel. This is what you'll get with ball joint spacers. If you look at the mounting point of the top ball joint, and consider the spacer will move that mounting point down the thickness of a spacer, then consider the spacers aren't wedge shaped, so it's moving straight down, and the control arm is at a downward angle. Think of a framing square, and how tilting it at an angle, and then start adding inches down the square. Each inch down (thicker spacer) puts the attachment point in towards the frame farther.
So a 2" will usually move it in maybe 3/8"-1/2", and more spacer will move it in farther. If it was just spacing the ball joint, but not also lifting the stance, then the upper arm wouldn't change angle, and create more negative camber. But the thicker the spacer, the farther the ball joint attachment to the spindle moves in toward the pivot point, and the more the upper control arm needs to move out to fix that. Unfortunately, the upper mount is towards the engine side on the control arm. So you remove shims to move it out, and quickly run out of room to move it out. Reworking the upper mounting point would fix the issue, but that's major, and a straight axle is less intrusive, and easier. A straight axle mounted to the original chassis can also be removed, and ground smooth, if someone later wanted to change plans and go back to stock. But I doubt very many cars through history have ever gone back to stock, once the owner took the leap to a straight axle. Unless it was something extremely rare, and desirable in stock configuration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Now I understand. Thank you for going so in depth Vall.

How will will all this affect my driveability?

Now if I were to do a Straight axle swap, would I have to redo the frame from the firewall forward? Thus also including engine mounts etc I presume?
I've never worked on a vehicle in that nature and for that reason (and lack of space & equipment) I am hesitant...

Are there any step by step build sheets you can link me to, hopefully of a similar car to mine?

Thank you.
 

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Depending on which path you choose, the frame does not need to be changed to go to a straight axle. Especially a strong frame like your El Camino, which can be easily welded to. I wouldn't have a problem even with another Chevy frame that used a subframe, like Nova or Camaro do. Still a very heavy frame, and easy to get a solid setup.
Drivability is hard to compare. A straight axle can be comfortable, go straight down the freeway, and even do well in curves. But it wont ever handle through the corners like the stock El Camino did, and even using ball joint spacers will compromise that handling. But I often take drives up our windy scenic highway, and enjoy the drive in my cars.
Afraid I don't have any links to a book, or site with instructions on installing a straight axle. I've done them so long now, that I don't think too much about it. Probably the best resource for info would be right here! The steps necessary to installing a straight axle in any car are not much different. Minor differences in how mounts are located, or fabricated, and different issues for making up the steering, or what steering box is used.
Really need to make the decision to take the leap, and then decide on whether you'll use a donor axle, or buy a kit. I personally think both have benefits. A donor axle will really reduce costs, but a Speedway kit will make things all new, and save some time if the donor needed to be rebuilt. I'm sure many here would be happy to assist with info, and tips, if you decide to go either route in raising your car.
 
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