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no name3's 1965 LeMans

2021 April
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Alden coilovers 1963 Pontiac Catalina


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After the engine trans swap the car still had the boat in the water ride. I contacted Alden to see what they could do and they set me up with some coilovers suited to my car and weight. The install is pretty much straight forward EXCEPT FOR the spring diameter. In my case if you read the engine install I mentioned that the upper control arm mounts needed to be moved. I did that after disassembling the front suspension which you probably will not need to do.  The factory springs are 4 inches ID the Aldens are 3 3/4. Yes the quarter inch makes a big difference. The last coil on the Alden springs has been flattened out to make a flat surface on the top. I had to get into the spring and grind out the inside of that last coil to get the full 3 3/4 inch available. it also gave me a rounded edge to pound the spring into the pocket. This it would be much easier on a hoist but I don't have access to one and had to do it on the ground. If you do this on the ground get the tallest jack stands your jack will allow because you will need all the room possible under the car. The spring pocket is made for a 4 inch spring nothing smaller so it is necessary to bend the flange toward the center to be able to use the 3 3/4 spring. I used a 12 inch crescent wrench adjusted as tight as possible on the pocket flange and bent the flange in all the way around. you will need to loosen the mount bolts to swing the lower control arms out of the way. I went around the flange three times bending it in a little at a time until the Alden spring would fit over the flange. I installed them and bolted everything back together. I jacked the car up as high as my jack would go and dropped it hard 3 or 4 times to start pounding the springs into the pockets. When I got everything settled as much as possible I adjusted the riding height. With the height adjusted I aligned the front end and took it for a road test. I can honestly say that I will never own a car of this vintage again without putting Alden's in the front. The difference in the ride and cornering is night and day. I can casually drive down the freeway with all its bumps and stuff one handed completely relaxed. It goes over the freeway bumps, rebounds and it is done. No more bump steer no more leaning over on the average curve, it is a completely different car. Admittedly it was a real PITA  but worth every moment of aggravation.  

The next installment will be putting Wilwood brakes on. Wilwood has a rear kit for the Olds/ Pontiac rear end, but nothing for the front of a full size Pontiac. As soon as I get some information on how much front caliper I will need to balance with the rear kit I will buy everything and fabricate all the brackets and stuff to put them on. I have found a wilwood rotor that will work with the stock front hubs, correct diameter, thickness, offset, Just need caliper information which I am not finding anyone at wilwood either willing of able to answer.

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