We have started our 1963 Corvette front suspension assembly. This can be a rather slow meticulous process, but it pays off in spades in the end if you only have to do it once. We have started off by installing our upper and lower control arms, springs (with assembly marks), steering knuckles, steering arms, backing plates, brake assemblies, drums, and hubs. The key to this assembly process is having your NCRS judging manual, Corvette Assembly Manual, original parts removed from the car (if available), and reproduction hardware (if available). The whole process goes as follows: Check assembly manual for part being assembled, check NCRS judging guide for compliance with assembly manual, check reproduction hardware for compliance with NCRS manual and assembly manual, compare reproduction hardware to what was originally taken off the car. If every thing jives install the reproduction hardware. If it doesn’t match up, you either need to refinish the original hardware or alter the reproduction.
Here is a prime example. The reproduction studs for the upper control arm mounting are fine. The nuts however are longer than stock. We chose to refinish the original nuts back to black oxide to keep originality as close as possible.
After installing the control arms we set the spring in and compressed it. We then installed the steering knuckle. The spring gets a set of lavender assembly marks, these need to be put on before install or it will be difficult to do it afterwards.
We then installed the steering knuckle. After checking the stock hardware to reproduction hardware, the stock is all black oxide, the reproduction has zinc lock nuts. We chose to use the stock hardware.
The front suspension mostly assembled.
We refinished some of the brake hardware and then installed new shoes, cylinders, and springs.
We blasted and painted our drums – semi gloss black as original.
After measuring our drums, we determined we had enough left to turn and resurface them.
We removed all the old races and bearings from the hubs and refinished them in bare steel.
We packed a new set of bearings and installed them in the hubs. Now our brakes are fully ready to go back together.