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We all want to get the best performance out of our drag vehicle, and a properly tuned drag race suspension enables the vehicle to launch straight while transferring weight to the rear tires in an efficient, controlled manner.

The launch is critical, and it makes sense to create an optimal environment for a solid start. So how can suspension tuning do that? The rest of this article will explain how suspension tuning works and how you can apply it to your own vehicle. First, required settings for drag racing applications vary greatly depending upon vehicle weight, weight distribution, suspension geometry and travel, horsepower, and available traction. Figure out the results you want to achieve on the vehicle you have.

Due to differences in weight distribution, wheel base, tire size, and horsepower, not all vehicles leave the starting line in the same manner once their suspension has been optimized. Once you have completed the following procedures, only fine adjustments may be needed to tune for specific track conditions.

The speed at which the front end rises is largely controlled by the spring rate and front shock force. As the rebound valving of the shocks is softened it will be easier for the front end to lift. If the car has a softer front spring, the front suspension also will lift more easily.

Because a heavier rate front spring will take more force to lift the front end a fixed vertical distance than a lighter spring will.

how to scale a ladder bar drag car

The front end will move faster and farther because less force is required to initially extend the spring. And, it will rise higher, transferring more weight as the center of gravity rises, further assisting traction. However, too much weight transfer can hurt your ET by causing excessive wheel stands and lost forward motion. A drag race car should run the lightest front spring rate possible, without letting the shocks bottom out when making a pass. As a general guideline, lighter springs allow the car to easily transfer weight, and settle faster down track.

Changing spring rate affects ride height and the rate at which weight is transferred to the rear tires. A softer rate makes the front easier to rise during acceleration. A stiffer rate makes the front harder to rise during acceleration. If you are having trouble getting the front end to rise, you can soften shock rebound valving or change to a softer spring.

When using lighter rate springs, preload must be added by screwing the lower spring seat upward.Scaling your race car is arguably one the most important practices that you can do to increase your chance of visiting victory lane. Proper chassis set up requires that the weight balance is set correctly for the car, driver and track conditions. In order to achieve proper and repeatable weight balance a quality set of electronic scales will need to be obtained.

Before you begin the scaling process you should make sure that the car is race ready. You will also need to take advantage of the maximum left side weight and check to see if your total weight is within the rules and the front to rear balance is where you and your chassis builder want it. Emphasis should be placed on being race ready before you begin the final scaling procedure as all of these factors will have an effect on the end result.

Now that you are ready for your final scaling procedure you will need to find a level area to weigh the car.

Most garage floors vary by quite a bit. Spend a few minutes with a good level and straight edge and mark four spots on the floor that you can use each time you want to scale the car.

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Make sure that you mark the floor to match up with your wheel base and track width. Should the floor have low spots you can use simple shims to make all four scale pads level or utilize some leveling trays to speed up the job. Consistency is the goal when scaling so weighing the car in the same spot each and every week will improve your chances of having a great handling car.

Now that you have a level surface you can roll the car into position. Set the scale pads next to the appropriate tire and hook up the cables. Make sure that the cables are plugged into the correct pad and turn the scales on. Check that there is no weight on the scale pads and press the zero button.

The control box should now read zero and you are ready to place the pads under the car. Jack up one side at a time and slide the pads under the tires. Place the car in gear or use a stop to keep the car on the scales. Verify that the sway bar is disconnected or completely neutral with plenty of slop.

At this point, give the rear of the car a firm settle by placing your knee on the rear bumper.

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Then do the same at the front. After settling the front and rear I like to grab the roof roll bar and shake the car several times. I try to let go right in the middle.

By settling the car and shaking the roof bar you are helping to insure that the shocks are not hanging up and that you have worked out any small binds in the suspension points. Try to do the settling procedure consistently as this will help you obtain repeatable results. Settle the car after each time you raise it with a jack or make an adjustment.

adjusting ladder bars.

You can now record your wheel weights, partial weights and percentages. Check that the front to rear balance is correct and that the left side and total are where they need to be. If not then move the lead to the appropriate spot until you are happy. Readjust the ride heights if you have to move lead around.

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Now you can check the cross weight.The Jalopy Journal. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

how to scale a ladder bar drag car

Log in or Sign up. Atomic Industries www. Register now to get rid of these ads! The H. Looking for opinions on setting up rear suspension for traditional Gas Class drag car with ladder bars. I'm looking for the bite, as well as the look TexasHardcoreApr 15, Any ideas on length, angle, mounting, springs? TexasHardcoreApr 16, I would like to know also. Short wheelbase fullbodied Gas Class car I'm planning to build. Seems all the info I can find has coilover setups and I'd rather go with the leafs for the period style.

The Thunderbolt style bars work and certainly look old fashioned. On my 64 Fairlane which is sort of a natural application I made 'em 32" long and they pivot about 10" from the ground with 30" tall tires. The car will do big wheelies on 9" tires.

TomP64Apr 17, Longer bars equals better traction. They tear up the front bushing or eye with a lot of street use, plan for replacement when they're built. Shifty ShiftertonApr 17, Check out the Teixeira Willys thread I made some floaters for the rearend.

RoyalshifterApr 17, If you want to run parallel leaf springs why not look at the Mopar rear suspension used in the early 70's? It's engineered to work without ladderbars. Or you could go with some kind of slapper bar like Lakewoods and not worry about having the ladderbars bind up the springs or viceversa. It worked well enough for Jenkins in the late 60's. As far as ladder bars go, in the early to mid 70's it was in the rulebook that ladder bars couldn't be any longer than half the length of the wheelbase.

I don't know if the rule still applies or not, wouldn't hurt to check. Larry T. Larry TApr 17, I was thinking of using 4 heim joints to make a pivoting link V in the front of the ladder bars to lessen the spring binding with leaf springs.

Drag Race Suspension Tuning

Anybody try this? Just wondering. Might loose some of the effectiveness of the bars but if look is the goal along with some extra traction this might help. Any thoughts? HJmaniacApr 17, Mr HaneyApr 17, Moderators: David LemmondDave Morgan. Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 4 guests.

Skip to content. Quick links. Last weekend I made my first passes with this setup. I got the best et, mph and 60' ever so I'm pretty happy. After talking to some guys at the track and doing a bit of research I realized my setup of the bars is far from perfect or good. I got the coilovers and springs adjusted to the proper hieght they had been setup with too much preload in the springs.

how to scale a ladder bar drag car

Then I borrowed a set of car scales and have my car setup on them. So now I have some numbers from them but I'm not sure exactly what to do with this info. FL So what I'm asking is what kind of distribution of wieght am I looking for. Completely even on all four tires? The car is a Dodge Charger You want equal rear tire loading during your launch.

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In other words, the driveshaft torque greatly upsets the loading of the car. The only way to achieve equal rear tire loading during the launch is to build some form of asymmetry into the car which will cancel the effect of driveshaft torque. It does seem heavy on the LF, which will also load the RR.

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I think that's something to take a look at as you have time to fiddle with this. Did you get any numbers without the driver? What kind of shock and spring arrangement do you have up front? My X Nova Facebook. SaskCharger wrote: So using scales is a waste of time. SaskCharger wrote: Well then my next question is how to build this asymmetry. If so what spring weight are you running up front and in the rear? When you scaled the car, You do this by taking one of the rearend mount bolts out.

You don't want any preload in the rear suspension when you're scaling the car. Thats something you add after getting things weighing as correct as you can get.Thread Tools. View Public Profile. Send a private message to chevyart. Find More Posts by chevyart.

Top is used for pinion angle and preloadlower is wheelbase or squareness adjustment. Send a private message to TopspeedLowet. Find More Posts by TopspeedLowet. Like this. Here we go, First to change just the pinion angle you would adjust both top adjusters in the same direction together to change pinion angle. To pre load you would just change one of the pop adjusters, it does not matter which top one you use as long as you are lifting the passenger bar to get positive preload.

We usually set pinion angle and preload by placing the car neutral, meaning no pre load condition where you can remove the front bolt on the passenger side by hand or with little effort with the car at race weight with driver in driving position. Now you have not changed the pinion angle very much at all from neutral but have positive preload. Does that help you out Art Bruce. Not all ladder bars have them. Don't do anything with them Art, OK. They are redundant unless you need to make a correction in the pinion angle that the present setting can not reach.

Just think about it, as you are setting the pinion and you have too much angle on it due to using the lowest hole in the chassis. This setting may require shortening the lower rear adjusters to get your 2.

You do not want to over extend the upper adjusters to have less than 1. Now quit over thinking this simple suspension and go set it up Art. Posting Rules. You may not post new threads. Thread Tools Show Printable Version. Email this Page. Advanced Search. Forum Jump.Over the years, drag racers with door cars have gone through all sorts of suspension arrangements. To complicate things, there has been quite a bit penned over the years regarding suspension setup—some right and some wrong some very seriously wrong.

That has led to all sorts of misinformation, which in turn is bad news for the racer. It should be no surprise to anyone reading this that Bickel has built more than his fair share of championship winning race cars, and he is certainly no stranger to tuning suspension systems.

When a drag car launches, the rear-end wraps up. The purpose of a traction device is to turn that wrap-up into forward motion. This is a simple triangular-shaped device that connects the rear-end housing to the frame.

The ladder bar prevents excessive suspension wrap up by pushing up on the frame at the point of forward connection basically the point where the upper and lower bars of the ladder bar intersect. As a result, the forward attachment point is called the pickup point. If the car has two ladder bars as nearly all dothere are really two pickup points—one on each side of the car see illustration 1 below.

Consider what happens when the ladder bars push up on the chassis at the pickup point. The respective bar on each of the car also pushes down on the tires and wheels. That all makes sense, but over time racers quickly discovered that changes in that pickup point location can have a considerable influence upon the behavior of the chassis. If, for example, the pickup points were short and high, then the launch would prove violent. This regularly resulted in the slicks wadding up at the launch.

It definitely looks wild, but it also can result is horrendous driveshaft alignment—the results of which can prove disastrous. So instead of a short, high pickup point, what if you had a long, low pickup point? Bickel tells us that this arrangement will tend to hit the tires less violently, but it can also create more total load transfer to the rear tires.

Bickel notes that this is generally an acceptable situation, but if you go too far, the chassis may squat excessively or worse, rattle the tires. The big question with a ladder bar setup is this: How do you make the ladder bar adjustable so that you can tune it from a range of short, high pickup point to long, low pickup point?

It can be accomplished with several different ladder bars along with several different front ladder bar mounting positions. If you begin with a four-link, Bickel notes that it is entirely possible to create both pickup point extremes short and high versus long and low. Bickel goes on to tell us that the ideal pickup point locations for a race car are dependent upon multiple factors.

But there is one truth: All race cars all have a neutral line that determines how the chassis will behave see illustration 2 below. If the pickup point is located about this line, the body will separate upon acceleration. If the pickup point is located below this neutral line, the body will squat.

In a perfect situation, the front pickup point should be located near the neutral line. This setup will ultimately work well and prove very stable.Big power coupled with a stiff chassis and stock leaf springs is a recipe for no traction. There are band-aids for leaf springs, like slapper bars and installing stiffer springs, but the inherent problem remains- there is no static connection to the chassis. The rear end is hanging off the chassis on a stack of spring steel leaves that shift, twist, and wrap up, leaving much to be desired.

In addition, the leaf springs sit outside the subframe rails, seriously cutting into the wheel well area. Since we are running slicks on the Royal Scamp, we needed a better solution. There are three main styles of rear suspension not counting IRS, which is a whole other animalleaf spring, ladder bars, and the 4-link. While some people swear by leaf springs, you would be hard-pressed to find a serious drag car that uses the stock leaf springs.

Most drag cars use a 4-link style suspension. The 4-link offers the maximum amount of adjustability, which allows for chassis tuning at the track. The 4-link uses 4 separate bars two on each side, upper and lower that connect the chassis to the rear-end. These may run parallel or be triangulated, with top bars running outward from the center of the chassis to the rear. The bars connect to the chassis and rear via rod ends that bolt to plates with potential mounting points, providing quite a few tuning options.

In the middle of the three is the ladder bar. The ladder bar provides adjustability on the front side bar to chassis and a static mount to the rear. Ladder bars are easier to tune for the novice than the 4-link and, when set up correctly, provide the same benefits. Like the 4-link, ladder bars use a coil-over shock to support the weight of the vehicle. What makes ladder bars and the 4-link so effective is the controlled movement of the suspension.

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The travel will always occur the same way, every time, in the same arc. This static connection to the chassis controls wheel hop and promotes better weight transfer to the tires for optimum traction. Leaf springs simply cannot do this; there are too many variables, what one side does can differ from the other side.

The choice for the Royal Scamp is ladder bars. Installing ladder bars is a big task. There are no bolt-on kits for the Mopar A-body. Everything had to be custom built. The kit came with the ladder bars, coil-over shocks, track locater and tubing for mounting the system. We went with the VariShock double-adjustable shocks for maximum tuning.

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One key area that added difficulty to this project was the rear coil over mounts. The shocks have a maximum extended length of inches, and minimum travel of inches. The suggested travel is right in the middle at