Jump to content

1964 Riv suspension


Recommended Posts

I am looking to refresh the suspension on my Riviera.  Looking for recommendations regarding where to source springs and shocks.  I plan to keep it stock, but I am also open to ideas. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you truly are considering keeping it stock, I would suggest contacting Coil Spring Specialties in St Mary's, Ks for some factory correct replacement springs. Then get Monroe's OE Spectrum shocks.  

 

Coil Spring  Specialties also has the springs which came as part of the 1965 H2 Handling Package option. These springs will lower the car slightly and are a little stiffer.  There is a debate about shocks to go with the Handling Package. DR914 has some info on some Bilstein shocks that he recommends.

 

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I can get you ALL you need plus front & rear sway bars I designed 50+ years ago.

Not inexpensive BUT well worth the money AND ALSO a faster ratio steering box that's 2.5 turns lock-lock as opposed to 4 turns lane-lane that you have now. Poly bushings in the CORRECT places, etc.

There are MANY places that advertise at less costly $$$$ BUT you don't know if they fit or will do what you want/need. I ALSO install these parts for the last 50 or so years so I KNOW what works & is NOT just a universal part that you need to make adjustments for or adapt somehow.

 

Tom T.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

In general, it goes like this: replace the rubber, inspect the rest.  Assuming that you're the first guy to touch this stuff post-factory, that means rear control arm bushings, track bar bushings, lower control arm bushings, front sway bar bushings, and reaction rod bushings should get changed as a matter of course.  Doesn't matter if "it looks good"; 55-year-old rubber is shot.  You will feel the difference.

 

You can do this in steps.  A good place to start is the track bar; it's easy, cheap (about $15) , and can make a big difference.

 

Rear control arm bushings are only available for something like $85 each (and you need 6).  Search the forum for a low-cost workaround.

 

The front springs, ball joints, and lower control arm bushings go together.   Fix them all at the same time (because jacking with the springs is somewhat dangerous and a PITA) .  If they're apart, give the upper control arm shaft another turn towards the rear.  This will give you the increased caster that you want for radials.  IMHO, it's a better approach than trimming the reaction arm bushings to pull the control arm forward as it doesn't affect the geometry of the LCA pivoting.  While you're in there with the inside of the spring tower accessible, replace the fuel hose with Gates Barricade (it's ethanol proof and your OEM hose is probably falling apart anyway).  There are several sources for springs.  CSS is highly recommended, as they can make a set to give you both the firmness and ride height you want (e.g. you can get springs like those in the H2 package but without lowering the car).  IIRC, standard springs are 400 lb/in; H2 are 500 lb/in.

 

No need to replace ball joints, tie rod ends, idler arm, or center link unless they're bad (but fix them all at once).  Outer tie rod ends and lower ball joints are readily available from any jobber.  You need to go to specialty suppliers for upper ball joints (which aren't often bad to begin with, and they're spot welded to upper control arm) , inner tie rod ends, and idler arm.  Those places are a crap shoot, as neither you nor they know where the parts come from.  As an alternative, Rare Parts has parts they've scavenged from closeouts, or will rebuild your old parts (but they're not cheap).  If the center link is bad, you'll need to have it rebuilt (there are no replacements available).  That's not cheap, either.

 

Pay now, save later: don't cheap out on the parts.  Example: I wanted a couple of the adjusting sleeves for the front tie rod ends.  I figured it was an easy part to replace, so I went to the local AutoDeath and got what they were selling.  Absolute POS. Flimsy, metric nuts (WTF?), etc.  OEM was twice the part.  So I did what I should have done at the beginning: cleaned up the factory part, put it on, and chucked the cheap Chinese crap in the trash.  That bit of idiocy would've bought me a case of good beer.   If they can't get an adjusting sleeve right, are you going to trust them on a ball joint?  And if it needs rebuilt (e.g. your center link), get it rebuilt.  Don't be driving around with a sloppy front end because you didn't want to spend the money.  Your kids can go without food for a couple of weeks.

 

And speaking of parts: if you're running the original steering components (look for the big S stamped into the cover), don't throw them away.  Even if they're loose, they can be rebuilt.

 

Remember, you may need to shell out for an alignment after any work on the front end, so you'll save time and money in the long run by doing it all at once.

 

There aren't many available shocks.  They go from soft to firm (and cheap to expensive) in the order of Monroe, KYB, and Bilstein.  Addco makes a beefier front sway bar (part # 1062?).

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

if all of the bushings are good I really like the GS springs with bilstein gas shocks. Makes all of the difference in the world to where you then want to add quick ratio steering, disc brakes and some seats with more side support! 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, dr914 said:

if all of the bushings are good I really like the GS springs with bilstein gas shocks. Makes all of the difference in the world to where you then want to add quick ratio steering, disc brakes and some seats with more side support! 

Just buy an Audi.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, KongaMan said:

Just buy an Audi.

 

Not good advice to someone fighting with stripped triple square bolts to remove the driver's seat and gain access to the battery, not good at all.

 

Go for the BMW. It's more like a German Buick. The big one even shifts like a Dynaflow.

 

Nice GT.

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, arnulfo de l.a. said:

Would like to see a picture of your front sway bar, installed if installed if possible ?

Surprisingly, I have one of Tom Telesco’s front and rear sway bars installed. I’ll get some pics for you.

Turbinator

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, RivNut said:

Thought you were the Porsche Dr.?

I am but also open minded!  I always thought back in the day that my Dad's Riviera handled better than any other american car of the era.
   My Dad would NEVER let me drive his prized Riviera.  ONE time on an unopened interstate I buried the speedo needle, but that was it.  HOWEVER One year my Parents came up to my College in Virginia for the weekend, and they let me drive the Buick over the mountain to pick up my girlfriend.  I was very familiar with this road and prided myself on really making good time between Washington and Lee and Sweetbriar colleges.  Usually driving my MGB, the Buick seemed like a rocket ship winding around every curve with great horsepower and glee while even drifting the rear end a bit. (hard to do with an understeering American car). What a great handling car I thought.  Years later  I got used to driving these old Porsche 356s, and later 914s. When I finally got our prized Riviera from my Dad and drove it once again, I actually thought that there was something wrong with the car because it was so soft and sloppy.  The problem was not the car it was I who had changed over the years.  I was so used to driving fast around the corners and aggressively, that I "out aggressed" the car!   More years later, Bilstein came out with a dual action gas shock that we had had on our Porsches for years, I heavily encouraged them to develop it for the Riviera, and along with the GS springs which lower the height to an excellent stance, have dramatically improved the handling of the former "great handling" car

IMG_0500.JPG

IMG_0613.JPG

56467453097__132C7537-D934-4DB8-8B0B-A7985EC90577.JPG

IMG_0610.jpeg

IMG_0159.jpg

IMG_0550.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/17/2020 at 9:05 PM, KongaMan said:

Don't be driving around with a sloppy front end because you didn't want to spend the money.  Your kids can go without food for a couple of weeks.

 

LOL!!!  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sir, I would recommend you source your parts and consultation by a recognized expert. Tom Telesco ( TelRiv)  guided me on some replacements parts I could do myself. Tom rebuilt my steering box and I R&R the steering box myself. Rubber replacement parts., shocks, lower ball joints, front and rear sway bars, axle seals, were sourced from Tom Telesco.

In my opinion Tom is the most economical way to go ESPECIALLY if you do the job yourself. If, you have the skills to do it yourself, but need direction on how to do it Tom is your best bet. Mr. Telesco will take your phone calls and patiently explain in as much detail as you like how to do the job.

 

The expense to refresh/rebuild your suspension can be measurable and even  a significant investment. Tom will guide you on what to do and what you need not do. Tom stands behind his parts based on many years of Riviera car building first hand experience. 
Turbinator

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, dr914 said:

I Agree, Tom is great and really knows his stuff.

George, in these times to have skilled people at the top of their game who are truly experts is a gift. When Americans in this country apply themselves they are unbeatable. Tom Telesco is an example of how many of us can strive to be our best.

Turbinator

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...