Looking through the headlight opening of my '47, there seems to be enough space between th
Fatman 'n' Robbin' ...
Now that we've shown you how to install an IFS kit, we'll touch on a possible problem some of you may have, as I can't be the only one. In fact, I know I'm not, as our own publisher had the exact same problem with his '41 woodie. This leads me to believe there are many more cars out there just like these with a transplanted front chassis clip that's just a tad too wide to allow the wheels to turn without fouling the sheetmetal.
In what seems like eons ago, I "clipped" my '47 Ford sedan-turned-pickup. Actually, I fabricated a complete chassis for it from box section steel, but used the front clip from an '81 Caprice. It seemed ideal at the time, as it provided independent suspension, power steering, and motor mounts in one fell swoop. Plus I did all this back in England, and there's not a huge selection of front clips to choose from for a car of this size. No Camaros turned up at the time, and I didn't want to use a Jaguar suspension since I wanted it left-hand drive. Sure, I knew it was slightly too wide but figured I'd sort that out later with heavily offset wheels.
Here's the original suspension, albeit with no weight on it. Compare this to the new tubul
However, even with such wheels, the tires still fouled the bodywork. I could raise the suspension, but that goes against the grain, especially as I designed this chassis to ride low yet retain plenty of suspension travel. Then Editor Kevin introduced me to Brent VanDervort of Fatman Fabrications last summer, and after a chat about my problems he offered to fabricate some narrowed arms for my application. The one depressing reason why I'd neglected completing the 80 percent-done project looked like it might actually be surmountable.
I sent Fatman the stock arms, and a couple of weeks later UPS dropped a large box at my door containing a pair of upper and a pair of lower tubular arms, complete with new shafts, bushings, and ball joints-the shafts featuring a 3/16-inch offset built in, which would come in handy later. The box also contained molded urethane spring seats and a pair of steel plates with which to replace them, as I'd mentioned to Brent that I might switch to airbags at a later date. Turns out once they had my Caprice arms, they noticed they were identical to front-steer Camaro arms (obviously no one had ever inquired after tubular arms for their Caprice!) and so they sent me a set of 1-inch narrowed Camaro arms. This explains why Fatman's new catalog now lists narrowed arms for '77-81 fullsize GM cars as well as the '75-79 Caddy Seville, in addition to the '70-81 Camaro and '75-79 Nova!
Fitting the new arms was a breeze, with even the antiroll bar locating perfectly on brackets on the new lower arms. In fact, the only modification necessary was to narrow the tie rods by 1 inch per side, but that was to be expected. All in all, the conversion was a snap, and I now can't wait to get it aligned and get the project completed. Seems I have a newfound enthusiasm for my dormant garage ornament!
The upper shaft is offset (arrow), as mentioned in the text, to allow for the huge discrep
Compare the new tubular Fatman lower arms to my old GM pressed versions. An added bonus to
I had to narrow the tie rods by an inch each side to compensate for the 2-inch-narrower tr
Compare this picture with the similar one before I fitted the new arms. Not only do I now
R&C's publisher, Tim Foss, encountered a similar problem with his Mustang II-suspended '41