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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys,

I have what might be a stupid question here, but I'm trying to figure out how to go about measuring the correct height for new rear shocks. I have air shocks on the car, but they leak, and I'm constantly putting air in them. I would like to put a set of coil/over shocks on (they work great on my '77 LTD), but I'm afraid of putting them on, and having the rear set too low. My problem, is that the front seems kinda high (I've posted a thread on this before), and I'm afraid if I get the shocks, put them on, then set the car down, that the rear will be lower than the front. I know the coil/overs have raised the rear of my LTD slightly (possibly due to sagging coil springs?), but the ride is not harsh, like I thought it would be. It's actually quite nice. Plus, we went shopping with the car, and put a lot of weight in the trunk, and rear seat area. The car didn't go down at all, and rode like a dream!

So, I guess in a long winded question, does anyone know how to accurately measure to see how a car will sit with new shocks on? If I take all the air out of the air shocks, then is that the same as putting other new shocks on? Or, do 'deflated' air shocks sit lower? With only 25 psi in them, they sit lower than the front end. After I put 50-60 psi in them, then they get to the height I like. I don't want to go the other way, and stiffen up the rear springs, with more leafs, and make the ride harsher. In my opinion, the coil/over shocks give the best of both worlds, ride, and handling. And, no, I'm kinda liking the way the front sits (as my new 'signature' pic shows), so lowering the front isn't an option!

As a side note, I just took the Cat out today for a drive. We FINALLY had a nice day here, in Northern IL. It started right up, and drove nice! The new brakes I put on work great, so does the Amsoil brake fluid that I just changed over to. I was actually impressed with the way it drove today! I'm wanting to start fixing her up, to take to car shows! I want to put on that other shock tower brace (another thread), and maybe even unibody frame stiffeners (or whatever they're called!).

GETTIN' THE FEVER!!!

Thanks,
John
 

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Discussion Starter #2
As an addendum to this, I wanted you to see what I meant by "coil/over" shocks:

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/MON8/58539.oap?pt=C0077&ppt=C0035

Like I said, I have these on my LTD, and they're GREAT!

I have to look at the rear end again, but if I'm correct, about using the 'deflated' air shocks as a guide, then has anyone done a pickup truck trick, and put blocks between the axle, and spring? I don't know if the Cat's axles are above, or below the spring, but if I have to raise the rear to match the front, can I do something like that, instead of putting more leafs on? We're only talking an inch or two max. I don't want to put a 'lift kit' on!

If I have time today, I'll take it back out, and take pics of it the way I like it, and with the shocks 'deflated', so you can see what I'm talking about.

Thanks,
John
 

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Shocks don't effect ride height.

Air shocks & coilovers effectively "take over" the job that should be done by your springs, & transfer the load to a part of your car that was not designed to handle the load.

Get the right springs, & buy "regular" shocks, & you'll have a car that handles load & handles as it was engineered to do.
 

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The problem with these and airshocks is they put a load on an area of the car that is not meant for this type of strain. Full frame type vehicles like your LTD has heavier gauge metal in the shock area so they will probably handle the load better. I have airshocks on my 70 and they will be coming off. I'm not having an issue yet but the memory of an airshock poking thru the trunk of my Nova sickens me! You should look into having the leaf springs rebuilt or replaced. On my Nova I rebuilt them and replaced one of the leafs with a new one from a spring shop. Mine were 5/16ths I think and replace one with a 3/8ths. Made it also a little longer toward the front of the car. This was to help with wheel hop on a hole shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The problem with these and airshocks is they put a load on an area of the car that is not meant for this type of strain. Full frame type vehicles like your LTD has heavier gauge metal in the shock area so they will probably handle the load better. I have airshocks on my 70 and they will be coming off. I'm not having an issue yet but the memory of an airshock poking thru the trunk of my Nova sickens me! You should look into having the leaf springs rebuilt or replaced. On my Nova I rebuilt them and replaced one of the leafs with a new one from a spring shop. Mine were 5/16ths I think and replace one with a 3/8ths. Made it also a little longer toward the front of the car. This was to help with wheel hop on a hole shot.
Thanks for the input, as I will check into some spring shops. I think the passenger side rear might be bad anyway, as it almost seems to droop a little that side. I'm not concerned about doing 'hole shots' with it, but I just want it to ride, and handle a little better. I still have to get that one piece shock tower brace, that goes under the hood, and I was also thinking about some frame stiffeners. I just want to get rid of the 'wallow' I sometimes get. I guess an alignment is also in it's future.

Thanks,
John
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I know this post is somewhat dated, but I finally got the Cat on a lift a while back, and was able to fully inspect the 'dirty side'! Everything seemed to be intact, and in good shape. The only problem, is what looks like oil leaks in strange places, is only a glob of 'tar', or undercoating that just looks too fresh! The floorpans, and everything are solid, but honestly, it needs to almost be sandblasted, and have a more uniform coat of something applied to the bottom!

The rear springs are OK, no cracks that are visible, anyway. So, I'm assuming that one of the air shocks is either bad, or does not hold the equal amount of air that the other side does. An easy fix would be to have two valves, one for either side. But, I know you guys are all for getting rid of them altogether. Getting them up to around 70 psi really makes the car ride nice!

As a final note, the more I've been driving the car, the better it's getting. The carb isn't coughing, and sputtering, and you can actually take off from a stop nice and smooth now! The big cam still makes it shake at stoplights, but I'm getting used to it, and yea, I'm starting to like it now! I now know why everyone looks at it at a stoplight! Especially gearheads!

John
 
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