One of the most essential components of a classic auto build is reworking the car’s brakes and suspension. Obviously the weight of these metal beasts is far heavier than today’s plastic and fiberglass models, so ensuring a safe, smooth ride should always be a priority for any classic. When I started working on this Caprice, I figured the overhaul of the brakes and suspension would be a quick and easy process. I assumed I could just go through the old suspension and stock components, but after looking at the car, boy was I wrong! I did some research and found two key players that could help with my dilemma, so I’m bringing them to you this month. I called upon Ride-Tech and CPP to assist in the buildup of the front suspension and brake upgrade. You’ll remember last month, we upgraded the steering by using a CPP steering box and tie rod components. This month, we finished off the front suspension by adding RideTech tubular arms and integrating CPP’s calipers for braking.
The RideTech coil-over suspension modernized the stock suspension by upgrading the lower A-arms. Even though the Caprice had stock disc brakes, it was actually cheaper to replace the factory setup. After paying a visit to CPP, we knew that we had to add one of their brake kits for the car. The CPP brake kit had a few benefits, including being able to find replacement parts when the brakes need to be fixed. They also allowed us to bolt up wire wheels without having to do any modifying to the calipers or adding spacers for clearance!
Since we wanted to dial this car in before adding our hydraulics, we opted to use RideTech’s coil over shocks for the front, along with the tubular arms. These same arms are going to be used when it is time to add hydraulics to our car, as they are strong enough to support air bags or a basic hydraulic setup. Now follow along, as we upgrade our suspension and braking on this classic car.
1. This RideTech gear was ready to help modernize the front suspension.
2. Here is a look at the stock suspension before it gets replaced.
3. You can see the front control arms are bent; this usually occurs from parking to close to the wheel stops. These bent bars can throw off the alignment on your car like this one did.
4. The tie rods were disconnected and the stock sway bar was removed.
5. Having a bare canvas made it easier to begin the build.
6. The frame was ready for reassembly.
7. The upper RideTech tubular arms, which feature heavy-duty ball joints, were easily bolted on.
8. When adding this front suspension, a good strategy is to add the muscle bar first.
9. The only modifying necessary was to drill out the frame with three holes to keep the pivot bearing in place.
10. After marking up the frame, we drilled out our pilot holes.
11. 3/8 holes were used for the 3/8 bolts used to hold the bearing in place.
12. The lower arm was attached with ease.
13. The tubular arm needed to be bolted on to the bearing that allows the arm to travel like a normal A-arm.
14. Since we were adding CPP disc brakes, we needed to use non-disc spindles to assure that everything lined up.
15. We pulled off the stock drums and only kept the spindle and stock steering knuckle, as most kits are based off the 65-68 spindles.
16. The CPP’s brake kit was designed to allow 14-inch wire wheels to bolt up without a problem.
17. The steering knuckle and steering brackets were bolted on.
18. Once we saw that everything fit with the spindle, we tightened everything up.
19. The new bearings were ready to be lubed and installed.
20. The bearing was attached to the slotted and drilled rotor.
21. The dust protector was placed and ready to be fitted.
22. The dust protector was tapped in using a hammer.
23. Using something flat helped to allow the shield to go on without a problem.
24. The rotor slipped on normally and with ease.
25. The castle nut and cotter pin combination kept the rotor from coming loose.
26. We used a center punch to tap in the rotor dust cover.
27. With easy to use directions and engraved arrows we were able to install the rotors with no confusion.
28. The tie rods were reconnected.
29. The calipers were tightened again to make sure that they didn’t come loose.
30. The arms and brakes were ready for the coil over shocks.
31. The RideTech coil over shocks and coils were ready to be assembled.
32. The adjustable coils were assembled and ready to be attached.
33. This ½-inch grade eight-bolt was tightened down as it holds the shock in place.
34-35. The front suspension was back on the ground and ready to roll on our Player Wire Wheels and Coker tire combination.
Classic Performance Products
175 East Freedom Avenue
350 S. St. Charles Street