Any drag racers use Tall spindles with zero inch drop along with +0.9" ball joints?

Discussion in 'Race car chassis tech' started by BillyG, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure if this was the best forum for this question, but I didn't know where else to place this thread. OK, this question is related to A-body drag cars, and street/strip cars:

    As I'm sure that you guys who race already know, taking advantage of the "stored energy" in the taller/lighter front coil springs that you use in your drag car, is important for weight transfer during the launch, and one way to ensure that this happens is to increase the front suspension travel, (particularly the extension travel).

    That being said, I've heard some fellow drag racers speak of using taller UPPER ball joints, to increase the "droop" of the front upper control arms. I've also heard some say that a former aftermarket spindle manufacture used to sell taller spindles for that same purpose/result which were NOT drop spindles, and therefore did NOT cause any ride height drop.

    That supplier went belly-up at least several years ago, ( I believe it's name was "L&M") however, I just noticed that Chris Alston ChassisWorks now offers tall spindles for A,G, & X body cars with the option of zero drop. So I'm wondering if a little bit is good, ( a little bit meaning either the use of the xtra tall +0.9" UPPER ball joints, or 1.5" taller spindles) if MORE is better, ( MORE meaning the use of the 1.5" taller spindles in conjunction with the x-tra tall +0.9" UPPER ball joints).

    So my two questions are, have any drag racers here with GM A-body cars ever tried this? And also what pros and cons would you guys anticipate with such a practice of combining the two on the same car? Ofcourse this would be done with aftermarket upper arms, (Global West TLC-42 arms to be specific).

    Here's a link to the tall spindles in question:
  2. sailbrd

    sailbrd Well-Known Member

    Did you notice that you must use aftermarket upper control arms? Going to be expensive.
  3. Swagon

    Swagon Well-Known Member

    im not sure about the .90 ball joints but you dont need an aftermarket spindle. Im using .50 longer ball joints right now. not sure about what it does for a full on drag car. but definitely improved the ride quality of my street car
    Harlockssx likes this.
  4. 12lives

    12lives Engage! - Jean-Luc Picard

    Hey Dalton - what brand/part number are you using for the taller ball joint?
    Harlockssx likes this.
  5. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, thanks for you reply my friend, but I guess you didn't read my entire post, because I specifically stated that I already have aftermarket control arms, and I also explained that they are Global West TLS-42 arms which are for drag racing use
  6. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    I guess you didn't didn't understand my question. Perhaps I didn't make it clear, but what I meant was the possibility of using BOTH the taller upper ball joints as well as the tall spindles together, because doing so would raise the distance between the underside of the upper control arm and the top of the frame more than simply just using the taller ball joints alone with a stock height spindle.

    In drag racing, the benefits of tall spindles and/or tall upper ball joints comes from the increased front suspension travel that each one of them create. But my thinking is that using both the tall spindle and the taller ball joints together will even create more suspension travel increase than either one of them do all by themselves.

    You guys are great for chiming in, and I'm not meaning to come across as an arrogant jerk, but I need to communicate these questions to guys who drag race their GM A-body cars, because this is pure drag racing stuff I'm talking about. What I mean is that these specific benefits that I am focusing on really don't have anything to do with better handling around corners. So if there's another forum on this board where mostly drag racers chime in, then please someone direct me to it, or perhaps I should even welcome and even request a moderator to move this thread to an another forum if it would be more beneficial.

    Again, please don't take me the wrong way guys. I really do appreciate EVERYONE's input here. But this is geared toward A-body drag racing. Not on obtaining a better handling A-body
  7. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    I don't have any personal info about your parts to give you. But I can tell you about my setup.

    I guess first thing to figure is how fast are you going to be going.

    My car is nothing crazy fast, went 10.90d on our iron heads, untested yet on the new te2 heads. But hoping to see low 10s. Our front suspension is stk arms and joints, but full motion bushings. I'm sure your new arms have something similar. These and moroso front springs. Thsee moved so much weigh and the bushing allowed so much and easy movement that merely foot braking to 2500 if I got on the gas quickly would cause a bunny hop tried getting to stage the car. Ended up putting a set of Alf wiebe upper cross shafts that basically reversed the tilt of the upper control arm and now the car drops down easy and up is stiffer.

    I guess the biggest question to think about is once you transfer all the weight back and bring the front wheel off the ground, it doesn't matter how much travel length it too to do that, at that point 100% of the vehicles weight is on the rear tires, from there if the front only goes 2 inches or 2 ft no more weight transfers. Now normally the higher up the longer the weight stays back there, put going any more than just off the ground is using power to lift the car which is now power that is driving the car comes wheelie bars.

    So I guess the question also becomes does your car need that extra travel, how much extra travel does all the tall spindle and joint net you and is it work or needed to go through all the expense. Up is up wither the travel is 5 inches or 6. Numbers randomly picked.

    Now the next thing to think about if you can picture. Think of you feet as the rear picture a 16 ft board as your car, now picture your buddy as your front springs. What your talking about doing is having your buddy lift the front of the board high over his head to help you pick it up..........all the way till you lift the board off his only half the weight of the car is on the tites,

    Now think about how much.more pressure is put on your feet ( tires ) if you grab one end of the board and try to pick the how think up from just the far end. Your transfer all that doward force planting your tires down. There will be more force on your feet by you picking the long board up from the end by yourself as compared to a buddy help. I think you need some movement, but long travel I feel will reduce the weight on the rear tires till the tires leave the ground. Some setup's need the extra doward force right on the line, some need the extra force 20 ft out
    Harlockssx likes this.
  8. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    That's a great post you wrote above here^. Thanks. Now as far as how high the wheel stands go, how much it can slow the car down, and the front suspension travel, you made some interestig points there, but all of that really depends on the vehicle in question, and more specifically on the front to rear weight bias of that vehicle. Allow me to further explain my point here.... please read on....... I don't know about your car which you were polite enough to described for me in your post above, but the car I have is a very nose-heavy, full weight 70 Chevelle, with a tall deck iron block under the hood, power steering, full weight OEM four core radiator, a hydroboost system under the hood, wiper motor, metal front bumper, metal hood, metal fenders, full weight brake rotors, full weight control arms, and full weight front wheels. I also added probably 150 lbs to the frame by welding many gussets in key areas to strengthen it over and above what a cage will do, (with a 8 or 10 point mils steel cage installation on the way). My guess is that is has a total vehicle weight of at least 3,950 LBS and most likely more than that.

    The engine is an 800HP pump gas 632cid power plant. An extremely heavy extremely nose-heavy car like this, expected to be high 9 second or possible even mid 9 second range, with 10.5" wide slicks, needs to get the weight on those back tires in order not to smoke them up. Keep in mind that this 632 inch engine under the hood also makes 775 ft/lbs of torque by 4,000 RPM, and on the engine dyno it was already making 715 ft/lbs of torque by 3,000 RPM. I have a TH400 trans with a 2.48 first gear, a transbrake, and manual valve body, and I plan to launch the car off the line on the transbrake at 3,200 RPM. The car has a Strange engineering Dana 60 rear with 3.73 rear gears. So this car is a very nose-heavy tank, and I need to get all that weight on that back skins, as soon as possbile in order for it to hook up consistently, and do so the majority of times on various tracks with various track conditions, and I'm quite sure that the car will run 1.3 second 60 foot times with the front skins in the air. I know three guys with Chevelles, ( one 1970, and two 1971's) who run low 10's and high 9's, with similar set-ups, ( except for the tall spindle and +0.9" tall upper ball joint combo) who run 10.5" wide bias-ply slicks, and radial slicks, who all run pretty consistent 1.3 second short times.

    One more thing I will add here is that regardless weather you have 1" of front suspension travel or 10" of travel, all of the front suspension extension will occur BEFORE the front tires come off the ground. Not afterwards. I think that is one thing that your analogy overlooks. Therefore weather the car does a 6 foot tall wheel stand, or a 3 inch tall wheel stand, your launch can still benefit from using as much of the stored energy in the front coil springs as possible, by increasing the front suspension travel as much as possible, as long as it won't cause other ill side effects, such as steering issues.

    Now as far as the front springs I have, I would never bother with Moroso "trick springs" because I've found much beter ones. I have 18" x 5" Santhuff drag springs. They are superior, and if you have never tried them, and you expect to drag race your car in the future, I would encourage you to give Santhuff a call and spend the $189 for a pair of these coil springs, because they're worth every penny. Most GM A-body cars need the 225 lb springs, but I know of one guy with a 70 Chevelle that for some reason needed the 250 lb springs. But Ron Santhuff can help you determine that over the phone.

    The only down side to the Santhuff coil springs is that they won't sit very well in a factory stock lower control arm since they do not have an open bottom coil like the factory springs do. So they won't sit flat in the pocket of a factory lower arm. They sit much better in aftermarket lower arms, because the first coil is closed and is ground flat. And that's the only way Santhuff offers their drag coil springs.

    Here's just one of the guys' 70 Chevelles that I know launching with those same Santhuff drag springs....(this car has a GM ZZ572 engine, and a vehicle weight of 3,900 LBS, and very nose heavy too with a full weight OEM four core radiator, running bias-ply slicks and launching off the transbrake@3,000 RPM..... (no wheelie bars ever).....he has the 225lb santhuff front springs.....and UMI Performance Relocation bars in the rear....(Lift bars).....



    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  9. 12lives

    12lives Engage! - Jean-Luc Picard

    Sorry to hijack your thread - and let me add that Vinny has a super nice car!
  10. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    That's ok, I didn't mind your interjection. We cool. Us A-body lovers need to help each other out.
  11. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    oh, and yes, Vinny's car is incredible. I've seen that car run in person at Lebanon valley, and it launches fantastic! And the greatest thing abut both Vinny Jr. and his dad is that you can ask them anything about their cars and they will openly share anything about them, and be friendly about it too. We really need more amatuer drag racers like that. Too many guys have a John Force syndrom. They take themselves waaaaay too seriously, and treat every other racer like any enemy. Especially the new comers. That's no way to promote this sport
    Tom Miller, Julian and Harlockssx like this.
  12. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    My car is 3850 with me in it our new motor is 464, our new combo is just under 700ft pounds of torque at 5000, starts new 650 at 3500, and at 6700 was hear 770hp.....our tire is either a 30x9 or 29x10. Yet to get get the combo to the track, but the old motor still 464 but iron heads ran 10.90s with 1.45 to 1.42 60ft.

    I will keep the springs in min if we gave issues. I agree till the wheels come off there is still weight transfering. But like rear suspension there are several theory and ways, some cars drive the rear tires down some raise the body, some just seem to rotate around. Thus all is how the anti dive and anti squat are set up. Dame up front. Both ways put weight to rear tires, just done diffetently. But once the tire leaves the ground bo.more weight gets transfered and it only takes power to pull them higher higher, power than can be used to go forwards. This is why you don't see prostock cars pulling 3 ft wheelies. Buy not all cars have wheelie bars to ride on.

    But the amount of anti dive in the front will drastically effect how the front reacts. B4 I installed the Alf front cross shafts on my 4 post rack I could push up on the cross member and with very little effort push the car right to the stops. The weight transfer was working how your looking at. But we couldn't stage while football racing cause the getting on the converter the car would hike the front tires out of the beam but not mover forward.

    We put in the antidote front bars and stopped that and picked up 60ft times.....mostly cause u felt it was putting the weight down cause the car was driving the tires down since it couldn't as easily lift the front where B4 the springs were tossing the front end up andoing the weight was back there, but the tires werent being really planted
  13. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    I'm enjoying everything you're posting brutha. There's an old book that you might have heard of, but it's titled "Door Slammers, the chassis book" and I attended two 8 hour seminars given by that book's author, Dave Morgan.

    I thought I knew a lot until I attended his seminar. That guy definitely knows the science and the physics behind drag cars, and he knows how to make them work right at both ends of the track. And the cool thing about his seminars was that he just doesn't stand up there and deliver an 8 hour long lecture. Anyone attending the seminar can stop him at any time to ask questions, even questions about their own car, and he will provide answers. I learned a whole lot in those two seminars, and came home with 7 pages of notes from the first one.

    Anyway, you might already know this, but the thing which determines whether or not the rear end squats during the launch or raises up, is the location of the Instant Center, (AKA the "IC"). I have software that maps out the IC of any RWD car, as long as the correct measurements are punched into the software. And if the IC of your car isn't in the right place for optimal starting line traction, it will tell you where to move it to. I've helped a number of guys out who gave me the required measurements of their rear suspension, when I ran their numbers through this software.

    And I know guys who have great hooking Chevelles who took the measurements of their suspension that I instructed them to just so they can see where the IC is located, and every time it was in, or very very close to the exact place where the software said that it should be for optimal starting line traction. I've found that the 10 second and 9 second GM A-body cars that hook the best, have an anti-squat percentage in the 180-245% range with most of them being at or above 200% AS (anti-squat)which ofcourse is the by-product of a relatively short IC.

    But you cannot compare a Pro Stock car to a 9 or 10 second bracket car. Completely different animal which has different needs to make it launch right than a nose-heavy skinny tire car does. For instance, even the IC location of a 2,000 HP car needs to be a lot further away from the axle tubes than a 700 or 800 HP needs in order for it to launch correctly. In general, the less power you're trying to put to the pavement, the shorter the IC needs to be. Another thing is that in general, most ladder bar equipped cars tend to raise the rear end of the car to a greater degree, (indicating the high anti-squat percentage that ladder bars create due to the short IC that they also create)during the launch, while 4 link equipped cars have more tendency to wheelstand. Ofcourse every car is at least a little different, and these are just generalities I speak of. And yes there are a number of other variables that play into the mix besides just having either a ladder bar or a four link set up
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
  14. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    Pro Stock cars don't need to get the front skins in the air to aid in starting line traction because the engines in the Pro Stock cars produce a whole lot more axle torque than 9 or 10 second drag cars do. So as long as the rear suspension geometry is correct, the rear tires will get hit with much more down-force during the launch on a Pro Stock car. Two thirds of the downward "hit" on the rear tires during the launch on a drag car comes from axle torque, while one third of it comes from front to rear weight transfer. Therefore, the greater the axle torque, the less the car is dependent on weight transfer during the launch in order for the rear tires to hook. And that is the reason why Pro Stock cars, (or any other 5 or 6 second drag car for that matter) do not need the front suspension to be set up to provide a whole lot of weight transfer to the rear tires during the launch. But many slower/less powerful cars DO need that extra weight transfer to occur in order to get consistent traction. Especially if they're very NOSE-HEAVY.

    That is why the instant center ("IC") needs to be in the correct location, so that the axle torque can be taken advantage of and used to hit the rear tires and provide traction. Have you ever watched the top ten cars in the Stock Eliminator class? They tyically are 10 second cars, and ALL of them leave the line on the rear tires with the front tires 2 to 4 feet off the pavement, and those are some of the most efficient drag race cars in the world in the 10 second neighborhood
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
    Julian likes this.
  15. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    Are you familiar with the bolt-on custom rear suspension that Alf Weibe used to fabricate and sell for use in GM A-body cars in the Stock Eliminator race class? It was a custom type of bolt-in ladder bar set-up that used the factory mounting locations of the original factory upper and lower rear control arms. And it replaced the upper rear control arms with a wishbone. It was very effective at the drag strip, and it caused low 10 second cars to fling the front end 3 to 4 feet in the air during the very hard launches that it created. I personally saw a 71 Chevelle owned by the late Adam Landolphi run at Englishtown dragway with that same Alf Weibe suspension bolted in it. I even was granted permission to crawl underneath the car myself at the pits between rounds to get a good look at it, just so I knew what the car had, and why it was launching so hard. That was one hard hooking Chevelle with that rear set-up on it.
  16. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    I am familiar with the Alf rear setup. He built the one under my car for me. There has been several versions of it to keep it compliant to the rules over the years.

    Can't say if one version is better than another or what the differences in them are. I even have his phone number if it hasn't changed in the past few years.

    He also did fbody parts if I recall, and believe he built full chassis too.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
  17. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    I knew about him doing full chassis, but I didn't know about him doing work for F-body cars. I've never met the man since he's a Canadian and I'm in the states, but he seems to be incredibly knowledgeable and has had a whole lot to offer the amateur drag racing community. I used to have his phone number too, which I obtained from another board member here who also had been a customer of his. I spoke with Mr. Weibe over the phone several years ago, but I found him to be very picky as to who he sells his rear suspension set-up to. For some reason, he didn't even seem to be very happy that I called him!

    Furthermore, he seemed to only be willing to sell his wares to very serious stock eliminator class racers, or the like. I was always just a test N tune guy at the drag strip rather than a serious competitor, mostly because we don't even have a drag strip in my home state since 1985 anyway. So I have to travel for hours just to get 3 runs down the 1320 before the eliminations begin, and competing against the locals who are there once or twice per week for 6 months out of the year is quite a challenge to say the least. I always do enjoy the usual 3 or 4 test and tune runs that I get in when I'm at the strip, but it's just not worth driving for hours every single weekend for. A few times a year is enough for me.

    So Mr. Weibe refused to sell his rear set-up to me because he doesn't want his customers using it on the street. The ironic thing is that I know of a couple of his customers in new Jersey who DO use it on the street anyway although I fully realize that it must make for a very harsh ride, and might even lead to broken parts. But let's face it, I don't think that anyone is going to be racking up hundreds of miles of street driving every week with a 700 or 800 HP car. So that's why I was very surprised at mr. weibe refusal to take me on as a customer. Therefore, after that pointless conversation I had with him, I ended up buying a copy cat version of Alf's set-up designed and sold by another customer of his from New Jersey, only to find out that the Strange Engineering Dana "S-60" rear that I installed in my Chevelle isn't compatible with Alf's set-up without having to weld the factory GM 12 bolt bumper brackets onto the axle tubes which Alf's set-up must be bolted to.

    But still I have held on to that Alf Weibe copy cat set-up I bought in case I ever buy another Chevelle to race, or I decide to pull the rear end out of the one I have just to weld on those GM 12 bolt rear bumper brackets on the axle tubes, IF I can even find any place that sells those OE type brackets. I cannot bring myself to sell the set-up since I was so impressed with how well it worked on the Chevelle that I witnessed at the track back in 2006. So even though I found Mr. Weibe to be kinda strange to deal with on the telephone, I always give a lot of credit to the man for his success in designing impressive and effective suspension pieces for certain drag cars.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
  18. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    It is a very stiff setup, you can feel ever little bump in the track. On the road it would be beyond awful to ride any distance over a few miles unless on great roads.

    I don't stk or super stock race. I as well called him up to talk and found he would answers all my questions, but not go any farther. I had to be very specific and perticular to get the info. I left our conversation with knowledge but felt like you I wasn't getting setup. About 8 months later I got a call from him back out of the blue informing me that my parts were ready, I needed to send him money in a very perticular way to help parts go through customs.

    Once here I had to ream all my mounting holes in my 10 bolt to fit the ones that came in the kit.

    My car doesn't carry the front end as high as you said you have seen, but it is very consistent at every track I go too. I still tend to spin the rear tires once the front end comes back down, but going to get some double adjustable shocks. I feel the konI spam drag shocks coupled his front bars unloads the front very quickly. Even though about going back to stk bar up there since I do more transbrake racing now than footbrake. Hopefully the new heads will help make a little more power to carry the front better.

    But I don't want to get too far from the OP subject
  19. BillyG

    BillyG Well-Known Member

    LOL..... but I AM the OP, and I sure don't mind you talking about what you have on your car. It sounds like you've done pretty well with it. I appreciate your posts my friend. Here are some pics of the Alf Weibe set-up



    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  20. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    Guess I didn't catch that you were the OP. I can get side tracked sometimes easily. Your pictures are of a older version of mine. The way I understand it NHRA didn't like the location of that extra lower bracket. Because of adding the extra bracket it wasn't technically a bolt on into the factory location.

    Mine has a similar square tube lower arm, has 2 plates that bolt to each side of that the small round bar that comes from the bump stop perch you mentioned earlier. Both my square tube and round bars have adjustments. The square tube adjustments centers the axles in the wheel opening..........effects wheel base and sets my preload. The small round tube sets pinion angle. You can actually take the upper wish bone out and not effect too much in the way the car sits, but it's adjustments centers the axle from side to side.

    I think the basic operation is the same....mine just doesn't have that lower round bar and that extra bracket. Mine is gray colored not black.

    Mine does hit the tires very very hard, it has a crazy stiff rear spring. And in fact it hit the tires down so hard and has so much rear suspension separation that the springs have to be bolted into the car or they would fall out on a launch. If the extra power from my new motor won't carry the front past the point where it's spinning the rear when the front comes down, I'm going to try to make new brackets that bolt to square tube to raise that bar and move the IC out farther to the front to lift the front a touch more.

    I run 19psi in my Hoosier drag slicks with rubes and I have had pictures taken and show to me where the side walls are so wadded up the what you see is Hsier on the side. And where normally there is a nice flat contact patch when viewed from the has that but in the center you can see a loop that's pulled up where it's just balling it all up.........on the track it leaves v shaped marks on the starting line. If I can find a pic tomorrow I will add it.

    I wish I could show pictures of the rear setup, but per Alfs request when I bought the setup I will not.

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