Chevy II Renovation, Part 2
...but we did stick around...
...but we did stick around for a test-fitting of our new rearend. The four-link bar mounting holes lined up perfectly, as our quartet of bars made a straight trip from frame to rearend. The shocks and Panhard bar also slid nicely into place.
Assured that the subframe...
Assured that the subframe connectors and shock bar were in their proper places, Johns then loaded up the new axle housing with a Heidt's-supplied 3.70:1-geared pumpkin.
After giving the gear carrier...
After giving the gear carrier a coat of red paint, the four-link setup, coilovers, and beefy 9-inch rear were all bolted into place. The connectors have been final-welded and painted, while the under-side of the car was treated with rubberized undercarriage coating.
Before proceeding, we also...
Before proceeding, we also put in our adjustable Panhard bar, which enabled us to center our rear wheels and properly align our new diff. This bar is central to the new, user-friendly handling manners this Nova now displays.
Installing a slick new set...
Installing a slick new set of Wilwood disc binders was the next item on our agenda. The polished calipers with drilled and slotted rotors match the front binders we installed in Part I.
Moving on, the axles were...
Moving on, the axles were slid into place after getting a little grease on their splines. The axles' retaining clips went on next, bolted into place through the access holes.
The wheel studs on our axles...
The wheel studs on our axles have a non-threaded shoulder, so the rotors must be pulled down onto that area. Johns accom-plished this by tightening down some large flat washers and nuts with an impact driver.
With the rotor seated on the...
With the rotor seated on the hubs, the rear calipers were checked for alignment. Shims were added as needed, until the rotors ran right down the middle of the binders. A new frame line was installed, and Johns bent new hard lines to run out to the calipers.
Moving back to the front of...
Moving back to the front of the Nova, the Wilwood proportioning valve was installed on the inner fender panel, next to the master cylinder. Note the line running up the firewall; the car's original rear brake line ran up the passenger side. Johns ran a line across the car, down the right side, and back to the rear frame fitting. All that remained was to bleed the brakes and set the prop valve.
Coming into the home stretch,...
Coming into the home stretch, it was time to install the new Heidt's tubular transmission cross-member. These pre-production subframe connectors came without crossmember mounting plates, so fitting and welding was necessary. The brackets were bolted to the crossmember, and the crossmember to the tranny.
Once the correct mounting...
Once the correct mounting location was established, the plates were shortened on the vertical side to allow welding clearance. Note the chamfered edge, which provides a channel for the weld, creating a stronger bond.
Here's what the production...
Here's what the production pieces look like. The tranny crossmember brackets are incorporated into the subframe connectors, making installation much easier. (Photo courtesy of Heidt's)
The difference between the...
The difference between the stamped-steel factory crossmember and the tubular Heidt's version is striking. With elongated mounting holes on the transmission mounting pad and multiple holes on the crossmember bracket, the Heidt's rear subframe is ready for future transmission swaps.
The new rearend was linked...
The new rearend was linked to Nova's Turbo 350 with a new driveshaft from Driveline Services. This shaft is 53 inches, 4 longer than the original piece. It uses 1310 U-joints up front to mate with the factory tailshaft, and larger 1350s out back to mate with the 9-inch diff's larger yoke.
And here it is, all finished...
And here it is, all finished and ready to hit the test track. Our new Heidt's rear suspension is in place, aligned, and adjusted. The Nova's exhaust system has been adjusted to clear the new tranny crossmember. Also note the brake lines running along the axle tubes. This Chevy II's back end now looks as good as its front. (Photo by Paul Newell)
This old warhorse has been...
This old warhorse has been radically transformed. It now hooks and books at the strip, thanks to the solid four-link setup. Track testing proved that handling, stability, and safety have all been hugely improved. (Photo by Nick Licata)
Miller Electric Manufacturing Co.
16539-1/2 S. Broadway, Dept. CHP
Heidt's Hot Rod Shop
111 Kerry Ln.
Johns Customz & Performance