Machining the Uprights/Spindles

Been playing with changing the kingpin to balljoint conversion for 8 weeks now. Been modeling everything in 3D in Autocad. Decided that I can't use the original 54 spindles - just too difficult to manufacture proper mounting. Spent 3 hours at the wreckers one Sat. until I found 68-74 Nova and 67-69 Camaro rear steer spindles that had the correct balljoint spacing (roughly 10"). The nice part is that the steering arm is bolt-on, so it can be changed easily for my application. Unfortunately, the disc brake spindles are highly valued for conversions and are tough to find.

Picked up a set of 73 Nova spindles and hubs for drum brakes - now the clincher was that I also picked up a complete 4 wheel disk brake set (from the brake pedal to rotors) off of a 85 Toronado. The rotors will mount to the 73 Nova drum brake hub and 76 Camaro rear-end (std 10 bolt) with minor mods. The calipers will require a mounting plate to be made. So it looks like I'll get balljoint front suspension and 4 wheel disk brakes!

Nova hubs and spindles

73 Nova hubs and spindles from drum equiped vehicle

turned spindles

Spindles machined out of uprights and turned on a lathe

Finished machining the new uprights for the spindles. We made it an interference fit. The spindle is 0.004" larger than the hole in the upright. We heated the upright until it expanded enough to slide the spindle in. To be on the safe side, we welded the spindle in and then let the weld cool slowly for 6 hours in a special cooling oven.

I was only able to drop the spindle about 1.25" due to clearance problems with the steering arm, its mounting bolts, disk brake mount and lower balljoint.

Upright back view

Spindle/upright back view

Spindle side view

Side view

Spindle front view

Front view

I looked at aftermarket 2" drop spindles for 73 Nova (Fatman, NNNova, Classic Performance, ~US$360 pair) and all have the steering arm cast in place. They also use Malibu disk brakes. The disk brakes would work with the Camaro rear-end but the steering arm angle and position is all wrong.

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Copyright March 2011 Eugene Blanchard