Looking for upgrades aka help me spend my stimulus check

Discussion in 'The whoa and the sway.' started by TheCynic, Jul 20, 2020.

  1. TheCynic

    TheCynic Smack Talker

    Hey again guys.

    So a few years back i bought a 67 Skylark that ive since went through and replaced the battery, alternator, engine harness, plugs, wires, distributor etc etc. The body is in good shape and everything is relatively sound. The engine is a 455. However, its still riding on old suspension and brakes.

    So, looks like high time to throw a few dollars at upgrading the machine and ive got ofc about 1200 to do it. You are all more knowledgeable than me, so what would you gents recommend i go about upgrading and replacing? Brakes or suspension first and considering 1200 isnt enough to truly upgrade a suspension to like pro touring specs or anything, is there some components i should get and replace first, and then can replace the rest later? Or is it something to all be done at once? Im guessing some parts work better with others or potentially not at all with certain brands etc etc. So i know im lookin for a pretty lengthy respose, but indulge me if you all could.

    This vehicle has been my nearly daily driver for awhile. As with all thats been going on though i havent had a lot of places to go to. So im lookin for a performance upgrade, sure, but im not looking to hang with Porsches in corners obviously.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Oldskewl59

    Oldskewl59 Gold Level Contributor

    If you need brakes then it isn't a question. If you have drums in the front, your money might get a budget front disc brake conversion and new ball joints. Maybe even tie rods and idler arm. Then there are shocks.... Will make a big difference to a well used car, but wont make it a Porsche.
    Then a big front sway bar..which you can keep when you go Pro Touring, but we are out of cash.
    68ElectraCustom likes this.
  3. TheCynic

    TheCynic Smack Talker

    Got it thanks. This is exactly the sort of thing i was trying to figure out. Not sure which suspension components are... I guess "more important" than the others in order of a check list. Ie, which can be upgraded last like idk trailing arms or something or in the case of this particular vehicle, something to be done altogether as when one component is removed, best to replace that and a few other things that are connected, etc.

    Thanks for your input, ill get to googling!
  4. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    Check out Todd's Stage 1 Restoration page. You can get a new Inline Tube kit for $595. If you already have power brakes, you just need a master and can skip the booster. Also available from OPGI for a few bucks more.


    While you have the spindles out, I'd put tubular upper control arms and tall upper ball joints in to get your alignment to a more modern setup, -1/2° camber, +5° caster. Those things alone will make it feel like a newer model car.

    Tubular upper control arms, $147 for two. Also available from OPGI for $200.


    Tall upper ball joint $120 for the pair: https://www.amazon.com/Proforged-10...RNRFHAK50JK&psc=1&refRID=1NZ3C2TSDRNRFHAK50JK

    That puts us at $595+$120+$147 = $862. Still enough money to get a big front sway bar and a rear bar.

    OPGI 1.250" front sway bar $102 https://www.opgi.com/chassis-suspen...-solid-front-1964-77-a-body-1-14-addc709.html

    OPGI rear sway bar $100 https://www.opgi.com/chassis-suspen...bar-1964-72-a-body-78-solid-rear-addc938.html

    Now we are at $1,064 with the remainder for taxes, shipping and misc parts you might have to replace.

    Of course, replace anything you find worn out. Often times the idler arm is pretty bad and lower ball joints are usually bad after 30-50k miles.
    68ElectraCustom, wkillgs and BUQUICK like this.
  5. TheCynic

    TheCynic Smack Talker

    Oh wow thanks man thats a treasure trove of information and links thats awesome of you.

    As luck would have it theres already a rear sway bar in place. I forget the make ill have to crawl under there when it stops raining to take a look.

    Ive got 15" wheels on there currently hopefully there wouldn't be a fitment issue ill check the links
    knucklebusted likes this.
  6. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    15" wheels will work with everything I listed.
  7. TheCynic

    TheCynic Smack Talker

    Gotcha thanks, one last question is: are these components friendly for further updating? Like if i went up to 17" wheels or eventually to coilovers etc would i be able to keep these parts or is there something more compatible with future plans? Thanks again sorry if im i pest but i really dont know much when it comes to this stuff and im trying to learn and diy as much as possible
  8. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    Depending on where you plan to go.

    For instance, if you want to lower the car, those disc kits can be had with drop spindles for about the same money.

    The tall ball joints and tubular uppers are good for about anything since they don't touch the shock/spring for a coilover. Coilovers will attach to the lower control arm so you would buy the proper lower control arm if stock doesn't work. I have tubular lowers on one of my cars but not the other because they don't offer anything in weight savings or improved geometry on non-coilovers.

    The sway bars should also not be an issue unless you want to go crazy big bars.

    If you saved a few bucks on the rear bar, a nice quick ratio steering box helps a lot. Hector/CarHex on here usually sells them reasonable with a core. 2.75 turns lock to lock instead of 3.5 of most of them.
  9. TheCynic

    TheCynic Smack Talker

    Thanks a ton, you've been a killer help here. I noticed you linked inline tube rather than right stuff or wilwood. You find them better or as good for the money?

    If coilovers arent exactly worth the $$$, ive heard just putting new shocks on will help the ride feel less floaty as well so if you dont mind id id like to pick your brain there as well. I dont don myself ever autocrossing, but having an overall protouring/modern car feel would sure be nice down the road.

    The drop spindles are a new idea to me. Id only previously known about lowering being done thru the springs. Would you do one before the other? Is there a benefit vis a vis clearance issues or overall geometry/camber etc? Once again thanks for your time and patience hahah you're really helpin a lot
  10. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    We don't have the greatest roads around here so I generally just put good Gabriel HD shocks on my cars. Bilsteins are nice but a little more expensive. I also have new stock springs. I let my tires and swaybars deal with the corners.

    Drop spindles will lower the car 2" in the front. I have headers so I don't want or need dropped spindles. I don't think they will cause clearance issues. Bigger tires will clear these parts more so.

    As for Right Stuff vs Inline Tube, they both seem pretty much similar and Inline Tube is usually a tad cheaper. I have a Right Stuff rear disc kit on my Stage 1.
  11. TheCynic

    TheCynic Smack Talker

    Gotcha thanks for the reply.

    Also if anybody else has any ideas for now or future use im willing to hear more information. Thanks!
  12. 12lives

    12lives If it runs, it's done!

    Here's a few more ideas: Your car can handle well with just a rebuild (bushings, etc), correct alignment, decent shocks (KYB level) and late model firebird front sway and 1" rear sway bars. I assume you already have boxed rear arms. Get the box from Hector and you will be amazed at the transformation. If you do the work yourself and are careful in buying parts that maybe is 1/2 your budget. Research on this site and you will find more details on what I mentioned. Then throw in lower gears in the rear, maybe 373 0r 342. Later you can save up for a OD trans or separate OD unit for those long Texas roads!
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2020
    wkillgs likes this.
  13. TheCynic

    TheCynic Smack Talker

    Trust me, a new trans or OD is absolutely on the list. Taching high at highway speeds w a 3spd auto suuuuuucks hahah.

    But i need a rear end too. It never ends.

    Thanks for the response. Im not actually sure if the rear arms are boxed. Ill check it out.
  14. 12lives

    12lives If it runs, it's done!

  15. wkillgs

    wkillgs Gold Level Contributor

    That's the basic recipe I apply to my 66's.
    Back then I used junkyard parts- Trans Am, Z-28, or Monte SS/GN 1-1/4" front sway bar, fast ratio steering box from T/A, Grand Cherokee, or Monte SS, and front disc setups from 70-72 A-body. Just those changes make a huge improvement in driving feel and performance.
    New coil springs for higher or lower height and KYB shocks are budget-friendly upgrades.
    Lots more choices now with bigger discs, taller spindles and matching A-arms to optimize the geometry.
  16. TheCynic

    TheCynic Smack Talker

    Yeah heres to hoping i dont screw the geometry up while attempting to upgrade my ride hahah.

    And yeah 12lives theres a sway bar in the rear i just havent crawled under there to take a look yet as it's been raining last few days
    knucklebusted likes this.
  17. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    Any rear sway bar, even the 7/8" factory one is better than nothing. While it isn't the best, it does work on our cars. The type that bolt to the axle housing and have frame-mounted end links are better but I've got factory 7/8" bars on both my cars and they handle great. If you had more weight on the front, a bigger rear bar would be appropriate.

    As for messing up your geometry. The factory alignment on these cars was criminally terrible. They had +1/2° camber (backward) and -1/2° caster (backward) so that when you turned the wheel to the hard left, the left (inside) tire stuck out at the bottom and the right (outside) tire stuck out at the top. Back in the day, I used to drive a lot of curvy roads to go see a girl (married her) and always scrubbed off the outsides of my front tires before I wore out the rears from burnouts and racing.

    I was always known as the guy that, win or lose the race, would beat you back to town because I ran 60 series tires on all 4 corners (late 70s) when everyone else was running VW tires on 4" rims in front.
  18. TheCynic

    TheCynic Smack Talker

    Thats awesome hahah, i only ever won races because i was some fearless lunatic in my 20s. Not these days!

    Would you assume its important for the A Arms to be a matched set? Ive seen some real price disparities between them and was wondering what the deal is with that
    knucklebusted likes this.
  19. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    If they are sold as a set for some custom purpose like coilovers, I'd buy them together if I was to go that route. If you want a name brand logo on your car, I guess that is valid as well. I've never been about logos or brands as long as the parts work.

    However, I have tubular uppers on my 71 350 GS with stock lowers. Mixing and matching should not be a problem as long as they are meant to bolt to a stock chassis and perform as stock items would.

    If you do a B-body spindle swap, you get into a whole other ball of wax. If I remember correctly, you need shorter upper control arms, custom ball joints in the lower control arms and a different outer tie rod ends. Modern parts have removed the attractiveness of that swap though it was the "in" swap for a decade or so. I was never convinced.
  20. TheCynic

    TheCynic Smack Talker

    Nah im no logo chaser. My car is old ass patina and i like it that way hahah.

    Thx again for the response. One of my concerns had been the willingness of various parts to work together but i figured in this day and age most manufacturers would have a kind of agreed upon sizing or whatever you wanna call it

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