59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

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Hardcharger55
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59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by Hardcharger55 » Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:55 am

I have a 59 Chevy station wagon that I want to drag race. The pullbar mount is ripping from the stock location on the frame. I want to upgrade it and I was thinking about going to a center mount on the Rearends housing and fabricating a bracket between the stock frame rails. By my accounts there's plenty of room under the floor boards for this to work, I could tunnel it out if need be, not a big deal. Will this set up be good for a level launch or would it be better to keep the pullbar to the right in the stock location. Just want to have some fun drag racing and not break a bunch of parts. The car has a 454 that I built, TKO-600 5 speed, heavy duty driveshaft and a Strange crate 9". I think my parts are tough enough but the stock frame is crumbling under the power and weight.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

BirdMan
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Re: 59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by BirdMan » Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:45 am

Back in early to mid '60's friends had a 59, 60, 61, 62 Impala 2 dr HT's. Mostly the 59 when got on it it would swing dog fashioned and straighten out when he shifted and doggie style again under power. I don't remember the 60 but the 61 with 350HP 348 didn't have that problem?? I think.

Do you have a low pressure pp and metallic disc ala McLeod type? That would help from shocking suspension so much but I imagine the parts need upgraded to racing specs as you probably weight around 4500 lbs?? Maybe narrower slicks to get a little wheel speed instead of dead hook?
Dale C.

Hardcharger55
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Re: 59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by Hardcharger55 » Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:38 am

Have never raced it as of yet. Just doing some research for the future because I do need to fix the rear suspension before it breaks and I ruin a bunch of good parts. I'd like to sell the car but not having any luck. So, I figure if I can't get what I want for it I'll put my engine building skills to the test and race it. I just want to do some basic upgrades like an NHRA stock class racer would do to one of these cars. Don't want to completely back half the car, just want to simplify and strengthen the suspension.

bigfoot584
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Re: 59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by bigfoot584 » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:50 pm

If you ever look under '58 Chevy that's what they did, they took what looked like a upper a-arm
from the front and mounted a ball joint on top the rearend housing and then fasten the other
end of the a-arm to the plate similar to what you have for your single arm now.
We use to cut the arm and bracket off another rearend and weld to the left side, as I recall
they have the holes in the frame brace now. I feel your pain but once the frame plate is
reinforced properly you'll be fine. Wheel hop just kills these also.
I'm not sure why it was only used that one year.
Good luck.

Hardcharger55
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Re: 59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by Hardcharger55 » Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:21 pm

I've seen what you're talking about. My car doesn't have the plate though. It only has a small bracket welded to the right frame rail. My idea is to build a bracket between the frame rails and anchor to the X tunnel. Weld a bracket to the top of the rearend housing and run a straight swedge tube at a downward angle as a 3 link pull-bar.

bigfoot584
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Re: 59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by bigfoot584 » Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:57 pm

I'd never seen a '59 so I assumed it was the same as a '62 that I'd had
that be in one plate to both sides of the frame.
I like your idea building a triangler upper locator bar, myself I don't
care for heim ends on the street because of quick wear, I'd prefer
poly and if it's fixed in 3 places 2 on the frame 1 on the rearend
housing you'll be able to remove the panhard bar then also.

Rizzle
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Re: 59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by Rizzle » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:43 pm

Does your suspension look like what's in (hopefully) the attached picture? (three link with offset torque arm) If so, ( its in the text) the distance from the axle center is done purely to create what you are after, a level launch. The spacing is determined by the gear ratio.
Picture taken from Chassis Design, principles and analysis by Milliken and Milliken.
Attachments
WP_20150912_003.jpg

jim_ss409
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Re: 59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by jim_ss409 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:05 pm

By about 1963 or 64 Chevy finally reinforced the rear cross member to reduce the chance of it tearing out.
I had a similar setup to your car,,, Tremec TKO 600, 1350 series driveline and 476 ci engine with maybe 550 hp.
It wasn't exactly a drag car but I did run it down the track quite a few times with slicks.

What I did was reinforce the cross member by welding in a small brace that ran ahead to the inside of the frame. I also beefed up the mounting pad area where the upper "banana bar" bracket bolts on. I did that while the body was off the frame. In your case it would be harder to do but probably not impossible. I think just a little extra bracing will take the flex out of the cross member and keep it from cracking.

I also welded a piece of flatbar to the bottom of the upper track bar "banana bar" to help stiffen it up. I also used polyurethane bushings.
The car always hooked well with no tire hop but in my case the car sat at stock ride height or maybe lower. I have heard of guys that have the car sitting higher in the air running into wheel hop.

Another popular upgrade is to add a second banana bar on the drivers side. If you look at the crossmember you'll see that it looks like it was designed for dual upper bars and some aftermarket replacement axles already have the brackets for a second bar on them.

Hotchkis and a few other suspension companies sell adjustable upper control arms, that would probably be the way to go if you went with an extra upper arm.

Hardcharger55
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Re: 59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by Hardcharger55 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:27 pm

Thank you guys for the response! Yes I understand why I would want to keep the bar on the right side. My chassis experience is with dirt circle track cars. When we move the pullbar to the left it stabs the left rear harder, if we move it to the right it softens the application to the left rear. I've decided to beef the hell out of the right side frame mount and tie it into the left side frame rail and the driveshaft tunnel. Thanks again everyone.

BSL409
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Re: 59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by BSL409 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:20 pm

Please check out my build on page 3 you see what I did to my frame I have two X frame cars that run in the 9 sec

http://www.348-409.com/forum/threads/19 ... 493/page-3

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Re: 59 impala rear suspension for drag racing

Post by BSL409 » Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:16 am

http://www.globalwest.net/1958-1959-196 ... parts.html
This is a must part for you

1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 Impala Rear Frame Support (Passenger Side) part # TS-84R

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