The upper and lower control...
The upper and lower control arms can now be unbolted from the chassis; at this point we have relieved the Nomad of the entire front suspension.
Next our attention is turned to the bolts that hold the upper and lower control arms to the framerail. Remove the appropriate cotter pins and then remove the nuts and lift the control arms off the frame, deposit these parts on that same swap meet pile. We have now effectively removed the entire front suspension from the car. Now is a good time to do a little cleaning and frame painting, if required.
The installation is a true bolt-on operation, first the control arms, steering arms, coil springs, and spindles. The new ball joints were bolted onto the new tubular control arms and we were ready to install them on the car.
One of the keys to better...
One of the keys to better handling is lowering the car. We had already lowered the rear several inches, and these new lowering springs (right) will combine with dropped spindles for a new lower stance.
Once again great care must be taken when compressing the coil spring between the control arms. After placing the coil springs in the control arm spring pockets there are two ways to compress the spring. One is use a quality spring compressor that pulls the spring together, allowing you to connect the spindle to the ball joints shafts on the control arms. The other method, and probably the more common for this type of suspension, is to place the coil spring into the spring pockets and with a floor jack carefully jack up the lower control arm until you can install the spindle. This method does not work on a bare frame with no engine since it requires weight to compress the spring.
Be very careful while installing the spindle as the spring is now loaded with energy. Once the spindle nuts are tight, the jack is slowly lowered down and your front suspension is back in tack. Finally, bolt in the Performance Online adjustable gas shock to complete the suspension.
The new lowering springs are...
The new lowering springs are placed in the control arm spring pocket and a floor jack is used to carefully compress the spring and raise the lower control arm.
Next we assembled the Performance Online brake kit, starting by packing the new wheel bearings and tapping the inner seal in place on the hub. Then the hub and rotor assembly was slipped onto the new dropped spindles and the front bearing was packed with grease and installed.
The caliper bolts directly to the new dropped spindles and the new brake hoses were a snap to install. Finally the stock steering arms were bolted to the new spindles and steering linkages were reinstalled.
Since we had now converted the Nomad from drum brakes to disc brakes a new master cylinder was in order. A firewall-mounted power master cylinder was bench-bled and installed. Since the car had a dual-reservoir master cylinder conversion earlier we simply bolted the new master cylinder in place. The existing brake lines were routed to the new master cylinder.
The new dropped spindle can...
The new dropped spindle can now be bolted in place by slipping the ball joint shafts into the upper and lower tapered holes. Tighten the bolts and don’t forget the new cotter pins.
The final piece of the performance puzzle was the sway bar. Since our ’56 Nomad had no provisions for a sway bar we had to locate the bar on the frame and drill two holes per side for the urethane bushing mounts. Then the drop links were installed on the ends of the sway bar to find the proper location for the drop link mounting tab on the tubular control arm. After finding the proper location, the drop link bracket was welded to the lower control arm. The drop links were adjusted and bolted in place, completing our front suspension conversion.
Once again with a pile of quality parts and a weekend in the garage we had converted a very nice Nomad from a stocker to a car with modern braking and handling abilities, and other than welding the tabs on the control arms it was a complete hand tool operation. Now that’s a good weekend’s work.