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Squarebirds, Rocketbirds, and Fifties/Sixties Ford Discussion Forum (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/index.php)
-   1958 To 1960 Squarebirds - General Technical Discussion (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=14)
-   -   Airbagging Question (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=9531)

opaque 08-30-2010 07:40 PM

Airbagging Question
 
Hey guys, this is purely for curiosity and conversation's sake, how difficult would it be to bag a '59 bird? My friend runs a fabricator shop that specializes in airbag suspension and we were just talking about it last night out of interest, thought I might as the squarebird brain trust.

bags on rear leafs isn't the best set-up, how difficult is it to swap in the coil set up from a '58? Has many people done this to their squares yet?

Dakota Boy 09-01-2010 08:38 PM

My '58 had the coil spring setup removed and standard leaf springs installed (by the previous owner); so I suppose a person with some serious skills could do the opposite of that.

The '58 design was one year only, and I think there was a reason for that.... it supposedly didnt work all that great. But that's only what I've heard, not what I can personally vouch for.

tbirds8 09-02-2010 08:06 PM

I think the 58's were going to come with air suspension from the factory.

YellowRose 09-03-2010 01:42 AM

Airbagging Question
 
Yes, that is what I have read also. Ford intended to put air suspension on the '58's, but abandoned the idea.

protourbird 09-04-2010 12:53 PM

Call Air Ride Technologies now known as Ridetech in Jasper, Ind 812-481-4704 ask for Tony Bicknell. He & I had worked out a system for my 60 using their air springs. My budget just hasn't agreed with the job yet but they make the absolute best products.

opaque 09-09-2010 12:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by protourbird (Post 48638)
Call Air Ride Technologies now known as Ridetech in Jasper, Ind 812-481-4704 ask for Tony Bicknell. He & I had worked out a system for my 60 using their air springs. My budget just hasn't agreed with the job yet but they make the absolute best products.

I live at the bottom of the world, a call to Indiana sure would set me back. Would you care to elaborate on the system or did they do most of the design?

Thanks, Vinny

YellowRose 09-09-2010 01:03 AM

Airbagging Question
 
Hi Vinny!

Since it is a really longgg distance call for you, I Googled their information for you. Here is their website, which might be a help to you. Also their email address so you can communicate with them that way. I hope this helps you. Good luck.

http://www.ridetech.com/store/

Email: sales@ridetech.com

c4clewis 11-04-2010 02:12 PM

I have just finished having airride installed on my '59. It took quite a bit of engineering for the front air bags to fit in the narrow spring pockets up front. The shop ended up having to slightly modify the lower control arm to accept the custom shockwave mounts. Ridetech should have these ready to go now for the squarebirds (thanks to performance car craft for their work).
As for the rear, you can go with the airoverleaf from ridetech. I opted for a 4-link conversion (purest, insert hatemail here) in the rear. If you want to see pictures you can go to http://www.performancecarcraft.com and scroll down to "Matt and Sarah's T-bird" for pictures on the work.

I am having the shop do the airride conversion and paint and body. Then I'm taking it home for the rest... I just realized I'm not a good enough painter (yet) to get the job I want on it.

YellowRose 11-04-2010 06:33 PM

Airbagging Question
 
Thanks, Matt & Sarah, for this fantastic information! I am glad to see someone do an air ride conversion like this on a Squarebird. The pictures are great! I have taken the liberty of adding this thread, the link to Performance Car Craft and Ride Tech to the Technical Resource Library. You will find it all under the Suspension heading. That should be one super ride when you get her back on the road again. It looks like they did a masterful job of the conversion. Ride Tech certainly has the parts to do this with, though they have not done a Squarebird conversion in their shop yet. They seemed pleased to hear about this one. Here is the actual link to the pictures of the conversion. http://performancecarcraft.smugmug.c...13627939_22Ztu

619Square 11-04-2010 11:12 PM

Hey c4... this is amazing! :D Exactly what I want to do to mine!!! Huge props to you for making it work!!!

Question!?!?!? Is there any chance I can get picture copies of the work being done? It would really help me work things out!

If not... no worries!

Cheers,
Justin

PS keep us informed of the progress!!! :D

YellowRose 11-05-2010 12:17 AM

Airbagging Question
 
Justin, if you look at my post below yours, the link is already posted there. Clicking on it will let you go through every one of the 113 pictures posted. You can view it as a slide show and see bigger pictures of each. I have also put this information on the Technical Resource Library web page.

619Square 11-05-2010 12:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YellowRose (Post 50240)
Justin, if you look at my post below yours, the link is already posted there. Clicking on it will let you go through every one of the 113 pictures posted. You can view it as a slide show and see bigger pictures of each. I have also put this information on the Technical Resource Library web page.

Hello,

I did see the link... but I can't save the pictures from the site. My project will take a bit of time... I am on a 7 year plan! (before I am 40 she will be done)!!! lol... I have two kids under 5... so my $ & lots of time goes to them! :)

I plan on doing most of the work myself... so I am looking for LOTS of reference!

I am not sure that the pictures on the link provided will be there when I am ready to do the work. So I have been collecting info & pictures along the way.

Long story I know.... but just wanted to let you know there is a method to my madness.... so I hope! :)

gaffney1951 11-05-2010 02:38 AM

Suspension ...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by c4clewis (Post 50222)
I have just finished having airride installed on my '59. It took quite a bit of engineering for the front air bags to fit in the narrow spring pockets up front. The shop ended up having to slightly modify the lower control arm to accept the custom shockwave mounts. Ridetech should have these ready to go now for the squarebirds (thanks to performance car craft for their work).
As for the rear, you can go with the airoverleaf from ridetech. I opted for a 4-link conversion (purest, insert hatemail here) in the rear. If you want to see pictures you can go to http://www.performancecarcraft.com and scroll down to "Matt and Sarah's T-bird" for pictures on the work.

I am having the shop do the airride conversion and paint and body. Then I'm taking it home for the rest... I just realized I'm not a good enough painter (yet) to get the job I want on it.

That looks like a nice setup. Are you planning on using a panhard bar or watts's link for lateral stability? Mike

simplyconnected 11-05-2010 05:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gaffney1951 (Post 50243)
...Are you planning on using a panhard bar or watts's link for lateral stability? Mike

I see a parnhard rod in pictures #45 & #59, but they never show it installed. They MUST use one behind the banjo or that setup won't last a week.

I am more concerned about the front end. The whole front structure weight bears down on four skinny grade-5 bolts. I'd feel more comfy if that welded plate had a 'step' and was bolted to the top of the 'A' arm (like how the spring was on top, pushing down). I have never seen a stamped suspension arm welded. Ever. - Dave

c4clewis 11-05-2010 01:52 PM

The panhard bar is hard to see in the pictures and I wondered the same thing until I saw it in person. It actually runs from the passenger side, underside of the axle, and runs across to the drivers side rail (near where the parallel arms are set). This is usually more of a racing setup, and if not setup correctly can result in the axle moving significantly side-to-side during cycling. Greg (the owner) assured me he has done this setup many times and has the geometry worked out (although ridetech doesn't like the setup). The upside is that it leaves plenty of room over the top of the axle to run the exhaust.

As for the front A arm setup. I hadn't thought about the stamped arms being welded. However, while not a metalurgist or professional welder, I can't really say I have a problem with it. If you look at picture 110, it looks as though the machined piece that was welded to the A-arm allows the bottom of the airwave to sit on top of it, so that it is what the airwave actually sits on. The 2 bolts are just for the rebound of the shock (the pull up). I'll have to check on that when I visit next week though!

YellowRose 11-05-2010 11:25 PM

Aibagging Question
 
I have been in contact with Ride Tech concerning the parts or units to use on a Squarebird for their Air Ride system. As Matt said, Ride Tech does not recommend mounting their system the way it is being done by Performance Car Craft. However, as has been noted, that company has done a number of these conversions with no problems. Ride Tech has yet to do one in their on shop on a Squarebird as far as I was able to ascertain. Here is what Rodney there had to say.

"On the front they used a 1000 series shockwave. We don't recommend running the shockwaves bolted to the bottom of the control arm, You are supporting the car with 2 3/8" bolts. It looks like if they would have used a shorter shockwave they could have put it in right on top of the factory arm with minimal modifications. The rear isn't an air overleaf. It is a weld in parallel four link with 7000 series shockwaves. I hope this helps."

So if you want to do this conversion using Ride Tech technology, you might talk with Rodney or one of the guys there regarding which shockwave unit to use up front, instead of the 1000 series unit. I also note that simplyconnected also has some concerns about how they mounted the front section. That might bear further looking into if anyone decides to go this route.

simplyconnected 11-06-2010 03:06 PM

First, I do apologize for contradicting and I don't ever intend on starting flames, BUT I am genuinely fearful for the safety of you and your family, Matt. I wrote these comments in an open forum for everyone to constructively criticize, not for my benefit, but for yours. I hope this thread benefits all who consider customizing their carís suspension.

Second, I appreciated over 110 pictures of this job. Without them, we could never see the intricacies of this setup.
Quote:

Originally Posted by c4clewis (Post 50251)
The panhard bar is hard to see in the pictures...

Matt, can you get some clearer pictures of the panhard rod as it is installed?

Quote:

Originally Posted by c4clewis (Post 50251)
...If you look at picture 110, it looks as though the machined piece that was welded to the A-arm allows the bottom of the airwave to sit on top of it, so that it is what the airwave actually sits on. The 2 bolts are just for the rebound of the shock (the pull up)...

No, Matt... Picture 110 and 105 clearly show the bottom of a lower ball joint in the back. This picture is taken from below the lower "A" arm. It clearly shows two bolts pulling up the spring on a welded plate.

Your new spring is pulling in the middle of a 'lever' (the "A" arm) and thousands of vibrations are realized over a one mile distance. This is a recipe for disaster because of three problems:
The plate is welded to the bottom of your "A" arm,
The bolts are grade-5, not grade-10,
The spring is pulling down on that stack with thousands of pounds, equally counteracted by vibrating force.

If the weld fatigues or causes stress cracks (usually at a weld), or if one bolt breaks, the spring will come crashing through and the "A" arm will collapse up into your wheel well.

Welds can be 'stress relieved' by heat treating the whole part, then the grain structures become one piece of steel. But we never heat treat stampings because they warp terribly.

One solution is to machine a cup-like perch that bolts to the top of your lower "A" arm, and extends down, so the spring can rest on top of it (or the bottom rod can go through it). The metal needs to be tough, like machine steel. Then, keep all heat far away.

Finally, it's great that Ray, or anyone, calls for expert advice. Posting this job on our open forum is a great tool to avoid potential dangers, so we can safely enjoy our passion.

If I am wrong about anything here, I will publicly eat all my words. I would much rather be safe than sorry. That's why I couldn't let this matter slide. - Dave Dare

c4clewis 11-06-2010 06:21 PM

I will try and get some pictures of the panhard bar this week if I can get off work early enough on Wednesday to get out there and pick up my engine/transmission (it's a 2.5 hour drive).

The pictures that have been taken are all done by Performance Car Craft themselves and I will receive them all on a disc once they are done. Hopefully, just another month or so!

I have emailed Greg both to let him know the buzz here over the conversion and the concerns expressed. Knowing him, I should have his answer by COB Monday regarding the concerns.

c4clewis 11-07-2010 10:23 AM

From Greg at Performance Car Craft
Hey Matt hope all is well so you can feel better the pictures are for mock up only we are putting the shock on the top side and the bolts we use are for mock up we will be using grade 10 with lock nuts the thick plate we used was tapped.
I'll try to get pictures of the panhard bar setup on Wednesday when I pick up my engine (if I can duck out of work early enough!).

c4clewis 11-18-2010 01:59 PM

Sorry guys, I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the panhard setup when I picked up the engine last week. Last minute stuff at work kept me way late. I'll see what I can do though.

dgs 11-18-2010 02:20 PM

Hard to see how they'd mount the shock from up top of the a-arm. With the stock set up, the shock is mounted from below like they have, but the shock isn't supporting the weight of the car, the spring is.

With the air bags, the shock and spring are integral, right? That means the weight of that front end, and all the cornering and suspension loads, is supported by the welds on the a-arm and, ultimately, by those 2 bolts per side.

No way I'd accept that. You've got the manufacturer of the parts they are using and other knowledgeable folks (I work as a mechanical engineer) telling you that isn't a good set up. Maybe once it's together we'll all go "Ohhhhh...." and it'll be fine, but it looks dubious to me.

c4clewis 11-18-2010 07:29 PM

Thanks?...

simplyconnected 11-18-2010 08:25 PM

Matt, please read my #17 post carefully. Squarebirds.org, an open international forum, is here for the benefit of you and all our members.

We all want you to be happy, but safe. Catastrophic failure involving personal injury almost always goes to court. We want to avoid injury at all costs.

If Ridetech approves the quality of work on your car with their products, they should assume responsibility since they engineered the system. If they will not be responsible, you need to find out why not. Get it in writing.

This isn't about who is right, it's about protecting YOU from hidden danger resulting in injury.

Air suspension is usually found in the most expensive luxury/performance cars. Done properly on a Squarebird, the ride will improve dramatically. We're all excited to see that happen on your Thunderbird.
- Dave

c4clewis 01-11-2011 12:34 PM

Picture of 4 link setup
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthew...en/5339506905/
Been awhile, but I got over to the shop and took a picture of the 4 link setup with the panhard bar location. It is out of the car and on the floor, but you can get the idea.


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