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Do I need SFC's asap?

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Old 12-05-2007, 09:44 PM   #1
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Do I need SFC's asap?

I was reading a different thread about somebody picking a camaro.

A few people were saying that, usually the cause of leaky t-tops is hard cornering or taking an incline on an angle. They said once the car does this once, the damage is done and they will leak forever.

My tops have origional rubber, and dont leak a drop unless I stick the garden hose up under the "flapper". Then a few drops will land on the seats.

Does this mean that I am in urgent need of SFC's? When I bought the car it only had 47,100 miles. Now it is almost at 54,000. So, is it possible that this damage has yet to occur?

Also, I wasnt sure if SFC's would work on my car. One of my front subframes is all bent out of shape due to using the floorjack and jackstands for my oil changes.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:19 AM   #2
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Not sure if they will prevent all leaking of the tops. Rubber over time shrinks and expands in climate changes. Not to mention splitting and rot. The amount of leak you have is not bad to be honest. Preventing the body flex and shifting of the tops and the mounts will probably help out tho.
IMO, SFCs are an excellent investment even if the car is used little and is a stock orig specimin like yours. They will also prevent stress cracks ar places like the roof edges and cowl ends.
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:36 AM   #3
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

These car's need SFCs as soon as they came off the assembly line, GM just forgot to install them. With the body flexing around as they do, it's a good idea to help keep the tops (and everything else) from leaking. New rubber will stop the leaking if it starts and you don't have t-top fitment issues from too much flex.
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:53 AM   #4
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

also your year veh. should have come with a "wonder bar",make sure it's still there and that someone didn't take it off. Mine didn't come with it from factory but it made a HUGE difference when i put one on.And yes SFC's do make a big difference aswell (get the weld ons).
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:54 AM   #5
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

As far as I know, only some IROCs came with wonder bars. But, yeah, they are a good idea.
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:28 PM   #6
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Yeah, my car doesent have a wonder bar. I plan on getting one when I get money. Then subframe connectors.

Anyone know if the UMI connectors are any good? I like the way they attach in the front, but not so much in the back. They appear to go around the LCA bolt hole. I would rather have them welded solid to the rear subframes too - wouldnt that be better?
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:36 PM   #7
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

The UMI SFCs are great pieces.

....I've somehow managed to own my car for almost 10 years without adding SFCs. Not sure how, but anyway, I've put in new Ttop weatherstripping and I have very little dripping only in heavy heavy rain. Totally acceptable IMHO.

Yeah, I'd recommend 'em though.
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Old 12-07-2007, 01:10 AM   #8
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Thats good to know that the UMI are good then. I was just worried that they would attach solid in the back. I might ask for them for christmas or get them myself at some point.

The other ones I was looking at were the Alston ones from TDS. They look nice too, and look like they go right from the front subframes to the rear. But they are not quite as beefy. And they look like they might get in the way underneath the car.
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Old 12-07-2007, 01:44 PM   #9
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

They do weld in place, the just go there so you can install the bolt and hold them in place for welding.

The only two SFCs I consider are Spohn and UMI...and Blaine Fabrications in California, but you have to take him the car and he installs them on a car by car basis.
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Old 12-07-2007, 03:31 PM   #10
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Well, I really dont like the look of the spohn ones. They weld on one end, and the other end is open with nothing to weld to.

I have heard good things about the alston ones too, but the UMI's are just so much beefier looking.

I was looking at pictures installed, and the alston SFC's connect the rear of the front subframe (after the crossbrace) to the front fo the rear subframes. The UMI connect the beefy part of the front subframes to the LCA mounts. It looks like they could be used in conjunction without issue. I think this combo would make the car super stiff - almost as if it had a real c-channel frame.
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Old 12-07-2007, 05:34 PM   #11
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

My UMI SFCs installed. Friends welded them up and also added some welds along the length using 1/4" and 1/2" round stock to fill in the gaps. That big yellow bottle jack was only used to hold the connector against the underside of the car, the suspension is properly loaded in the pics..



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Old 12-07-2007, 07:15 PM   #12
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Those look real nice! Did they make a noticible difference?
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:33 PM   #13
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

I dont have them on yet, but I just picked up a set of Alston SFCs from another member here locally.
Thay are tubular and they are very beefy. They mount to the rear subframe rail (cups around it nicely) and not to just the LCA portion. The front 'cups' around the rear of the front subframe rail just behind the tranny crossmember.
They look like they are going to work well. I was thinking, why not use this type and the type that runs down the pinch-rail?
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:34 PM   #14
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 91_5.7_TPI View Post
These car's need SFCs as soon as they came off the assembly line, GM just forgot to install them. With the body flexing around as they do, it's a good idea to help keep the tops (and everything else) from leaking. New rubber will stop the leaking if it starts and you don't have t-top fitment issues from too much flex.
Exactly right.

I have had many of these third gens. The ONLY one that didn't require the frame shop to rack it back into shape before the sfc's were installed was an 85 four cylinder automatic car...

You can't go wrong by putting them on.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:09 PM   #15
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

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Those look real nice! Did they make a noticible difference?
Really noticeable. I had already upped the swaybars from the stock 30mm/18mm combo to 34mm/24mm and added WS6 springs and Tokico Illumina shocks/struts to the car. It was pretty stiff to begin with, but the difference was still night and day.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:36 PM   #16
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

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I dont have them on yet, but I just picked up a set of Alston SFCs from another member here locally.
Thay are tubular and they are very beefy. They mount to the rear subframe rail (cups around it nicely) and not to just the LCA portion. The front 'cups' around the rear of the front subframe rail just behind the tranny crossmember.
They look like they are going to work well. I was thinking, why not use this type and the type that runs down the pinch-rail?
I'm wishing that I kept those now, I'll just have to pick up a set after the new motor. The Alston ones are pretty beefy and cup the end of each subframe nicely.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:38 PM   #17
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

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Exactly right.

I have had many of these third gens. The ONLY one that didn't require the frame shop to rack it back into shape before the sfc's were installed was an 85 four cylinder automatic car...

You can't go wrong by putting them on.
Does this mean I am going to need to bring it to a body shop to get it put on? My car might still be bent? I was hoping to be able to do the job myself. Just find a buddy and borrow his welder.

And my car already has the WS6 so it should have the big sway bars. I must admit it handles pretty nice considering all the 10 year old bushings and origional shocks. But every time I go over a speed bump (I try head on) the t-tops are real noisy.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:43 PM   #18
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

I'm sure that most guys here never take their cars to the frame shop. I'm just saying that EVERY car (except the 4 popper) of mine was twisted. Some bad, some not so bad, but they all were bent to some extent.

The VERY FIRST thing I do after the car is running and reliable is to buy sfc's, and then go to the body shop to the frame rack. After the car is racked back into factory specs, the sfc's are installed.

I really believe that every 3rd gen should have these. It is worth the money to have the car checked before they go on.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:50 PM   #19
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Does putting the car on the frame rack and "bending" it back to spec cause other problems like cracks in the paint, torn seats inside, way bad fender gaps, broken hatch or any of that? I have never heard of doing it on a car that wasnt like toatled or something.
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:28 PM   #20
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

I never saw anything like that happen to me. What it DID do was make it feel a lot better handling wise and when the alignment was done there was a lot less adjustment needed to square everything up.

As a matter of fact, I think on my 87 formula the hatch actually shut BETTER and lined up better with the gaps after the rack...
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:23 PM   #21
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Alright, since I am getting views on this thread, I have a few other questions that need asked.

Plans for the next year or two (after SFC's) are to get the TDS Wonder Bar, Edelbrock TBI strut brace, and LCA's, adj. panhard, and the UMI bolt-in LCARB's.

The main thing I had read about is that poly bushings in the LCA's might cause binding or something and be dangerous. Is this true?

Also, I need new control arm bushings up front. Would poly be good up there?

Finally, who sells a good set of upper strut mounts (the bearings in the top of the strut towers)?
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:24 AM   #22
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

I gota Global West wonder bar years back. I coupled with the Energy Frt LCA bushings were a handling treat. I added a set of Eibach ProKit springs and was very impressed with the added cornering skills. I think the F-body 3rd and 4th Gens are awesome in the handleing dept. to begin with. But the improvements are responsive with each upgrade.
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Old 12-08-2007, 03:13 AM   #23
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

I was thinking about going ProKit eventually too. But it lowers it 1" all around. I will want the front just a little lower maybe .5" more so that it will even out that nose-high factory look.

Also, you say you put in Energy Suspension front lower control arm bushings? No binding or anything?

Also, I notice some people have strut mounts that use a plate and spacers. Does this provide additional lowering?

Thanks for all the advice guys. I am trying to plan what I want to do this summer because I want to get the car solid and handling good before I even start to worry about engine mods.
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Old 12-08-2007, 10:13 AM   #24
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

The thread entittled "Lowering/Making an F-Body handle" may help you with your questions. I wrote it, but people seem to think it is a good write up. There is also some addition tech others posted. As for the front control arm bushings (something I forgot to add), I am going with these from Global West. Polyurathane bushings work well on the front, but from what I've seen it's pretty much agreed that these are better.

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Old 12-08-2007, 08:23 PM   #25
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Damn those are expensive for bushings. I might have to go with poly.

Just for ***** and giggles, I added up all the stuff I could think of that I need right now, and it came out to over $1000. I guess I need to start saving for a few more years

UMI SFC's - $200
UMI Single Adj Rear Control Arms - $180
Adj Panhard Bar - $110
Bolt on LCARB's $90
TDS Wonder Bar - $55
TDS F+R grsbl. sway bar bushings - $82
1LE Endlinks (4) - $60
Edelbrock STB - $130
Lower Ball Joints - $50
Stock Replacement Strut Mounts - $120
Poly Front LCA bushings - 32
Tq arm bushing - $12
Tranny Mount - $20

Grand Total - $1141 and that is no shipping

I want to lower it too, but unsure what springs yet. That will be at least another $220, and then ppl say I need new shocks/struts. I cant affors the bilsteins or anything, so I would get like the GR2's or the Monroe Sensatracks. That would get me to about the $1500 mark.

And I will still be driving a slow, stock L03.
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Old 12-08-2007, 08:55 PM   #26
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

But it's a PAID FOR LO3, right? In my book, that's a lot better than a NOT paid for 02 Ram Air T/A that has to sit in the garage because it's car payment or gasoline!! (That's a friend of mine in that boat...)
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Old 12-08-2007, 08:58 PM   #27
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Quote:
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And I will still be driving a slow, stock L03.

You and I are in the almost in the same position. I'm just a little farther along with SFC, wonderbar, font/rear sway bars & end links with non-greaseable poly bushings, shocks/struts and springs. I think I have some of the more expensive stuff out of the way. I'm trying to do this right though by building the platform, then work from the rear end to the engine, probably going to take a while
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Old 12-08-2007, 09:16 PM   #28
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

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But it's a PAID FOR LO3, right? In my book, that's a lot better than a NOT paid for 02 Ram Air T/A that has to sit in the garage because it's car payment or gasoline!! (That's a friend of mine in that boat...)
Yeah. Its paid for. All $4500 worth. I bought the car because it was bone stock, low milage, and really solid with no rust and good paint.

Now that I see what it is gonna take to get this thing to even just drive like I want it, I am starting to think I paid $4500 too much lol.
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Old 12-08-2007, 09:25 PM   #29
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

If you lower the car, you don't want to go with Monroes. I did when I first lowered the car. Trust me, they suck. A friend of mine has KYBs on his 'Bird, and he said they lasted 6 months before they started stucking. The lowering springs kill them very quickly. Bilstein HDs or KONIs are the only way to go.

In my suspension (counting brakes, the 4th gen rear, all 4 KONIs, Eibach Pro-Kit, LCAs, brackets, PHB, 2 front/3 rear sway bars, wonder bar, J&M strut mounts, fun-time wheels and tires, and soon SFCs) I have just about $3600 in my suspension...and I still drive a slow L03/700R4. Bought the car with 103k miles for $3600. Then I painted it, put on the hood, spoiler, whole new front end (bumper, GFXs, lights, turns) and did the suspension. So don't feel too bad.

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Old 12-09-2007, 01:10 AM   #30
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

When you lower the car you want to get revalved shocks. Just regular shocks no matter what brand will be killed by lowering springs if they aren't revalved for the lower height.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:18 AM   #31
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

No binding on the poly LCA bushings. You just got to tighten after you pre-load the chassis. They do squeak in real cold days. But I dont mind =)
Do it in peices man. Thats what I had to do.
Got the Lakewood rear LCAs and Adj Panhard first. They were the chapest I could find at the time. I plan on selling them. I just picked up a set of Adj Spohn LCAs from another member a few months back and am looking to get a Black Spohn Adj/Poly Panhard to match them.
I bought the G.West wonderbar and installed at some point in between.
I installed new drag link, inner and outter tie rods and idler arm at some point seperate.
I got the Eibach ProKit from a buddy. He had never used the front springs since his car was orig a 3.1 and had a 355 in it. So the front was lowered from the extra engine weight. I saved up for the SSBC rotor/pad kit, Energy Poly LCA front bushings, Moog lower ball joints and Spohn upper strut mounts. Also got Earls Hyperfirm lines. Did that job in a weekend.
I got the Alston SFCs from 2.8RS off here last month. I plan on getting those and the Spohn LCA relocation brackets Ive had for 3 years installed soon.
Right now I just rebuilt my 1st tranny myself (not to be confused with the first for the car.....its had many rebuilds) and am puting new exhaust on it.
Just got the Flowmaster 3.0" ball-socket for the rear of the testpipe. Rebuilt the tailshaft/exhaust hangar and got the OEM catalytic converter mount to fit on the testpipe. Ive got a new Dynomax overaxle and tailpipes with some SLP tips to go on. Saving up for the 3.0" intermediate pipe as of now.
Once the exhaust is fitted and my tranny test out, its down to the exh shop for welding of the exh, sfc's and lca reloc brackets.
Its a slow go, but Im restoring the underpans as I go.
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Old 12-09-2007, 02:53 AM   #32
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Car: '86 Trans Am and '03 S-10
Engine: 355ci and 4.3l
Transmission: 700R4 and NV3500
Axle/Gears: 7.625/3.42 Auburn and 8.5/3.08 Gov-

Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Some of that project --->
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:30 AM   #33
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Car: 90 Firebird Formula
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

That looks real nice underneath there! Did you have any rust? My car still has almost all the origional undercoating on the floor, so I would be hesitant to bring that bare metal out and expose it. What are you using for paint?
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:39 AM   #34
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2.8RS View Post
When you lower the car you want to get revalved shocks. Just regular shocks no matter what brand will be killed by lowering springs if they aren't revalved for the lower height.
On my last car and this car, I cant even seem to get a set of shocks to last. I think it is the massive speed bumps my school put up.

I had origionals on my monte and I came to school here. Within 3 months, they all were blown out. Oil Everywhere. Put two new monroe's in the back, and they lasted like two months so I sold the car with them blown.

The firebird still has origionals. I read somewhere that these cars have gas shocks from the factory? Well they worked great all summer since I bought the car. Now i am at school and every time I go over a speedbump the back end is starting to bounce up and down alot more.

That is why, even if I had $1000 to spend on shocks, I wouldnt.
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:12 PM   #35
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Car: '86 Trans Am and '03 S-10
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Transmission: 700R4 and NV3500
Axle/Gears: 7.625/3.42 Auburn and 8.5/3.08 Gov-

Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

No rust.
It had the factory or dealer applied undercoating. I used some mineral spirits in a bottle to soften the hardened undercoat (some sections had got soft naturally already) and used putty knifes to scrape it off. Then used shop paper towels douced in mineral spirits to wipe the rest off.
It was overspray factory BrightRed on top of the Gray Primer Sealer.
I filled in small holes caused by amp installs under the fromt seat and ground off those little skin peircing metal points from some of the spotwelds.
I used some primer sealer back in the spots I ground to metal, but for the mostpart it was gray primer sealer.
I used Duplicolor Red (GM 398) for my application in the shaker cans. Started in the trans tunnel, worked out to the pinch welds. I just put the freshly rebuilt tranny back in. Im mocking up the new exhaust now. After that, Im going to be doing the underpans under the rear seats, driveshaft tunnel and back to the rear. I should be done in a month.
The cat conv. sheild was a mess. I removed it and scrubbed it doen with PurplePower and MineralSpirits. It looks like shiny new aluminum. I got to do the rear ehxaust sheilds next. I got some stainless steel screws to reattach them.
I think Ill start a thread on it soon. Im uploading pics.
Heres a couple more =)

----------

----------

----------
Sorry for stealing the thread. But basically my point is things take time. Hrdly any of us can just drop all sorts of money down at one time and buy/install the goodies.
Ive had the car since '95 and have worked on upkeep, upgrades and restore for about as long. I started the underhood, under fender and under pan refurb last year.

Last edited by Mikz86TA; 12-09-2007 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 12-09-2007, 04:37 PM   #36
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

I've not read of anyone revalving KONIs for standard lowering springs. I thought that they were designed to work with lowering springs. I've had my KONIs for more than a year and beat the crap out of them.... still no leaks or issues with the. But, you get what you pay for. I'll look into it though.
As for the poly LCAs binding, they do, no matter how you install them. They just don't bind in the direction you are thinking. I don't mean when the suspension is traveling up and down, I'm talking about entering/exiting a turn. The body of the car applies pressure to the control arm. This causes the body to more or less move to the outside of the turn in relation to the wheels/axle which remain 'stationary'. If you have polyurathane, it won't allow the LCAs to move as they are designed to. When the car comes out of the turn and the pressure is released, sometimes the suspension snaps as it releases this pressure.
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Old 12-25-2007, 07:42 PM   #37
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Well, today for xmas my mom ordered me a set of UMI sfc's. I cant wait till they get here! However, I had a few questions.

When I am welding the SFC's in, I know the suspension has to be loaded. If I had access to an alignment rack that would be nice, but I dont.

So, I do have a set of steel ramps. And my buddy has a set of ramps like mine, but they are ablout 1.5" wider and 1" taller maybe more. Would this height difference be so bad if I put the front on my set, and the rear on his set? Or could I put jackstands under the axle tubes? Then they load will be closer to the pumpkin on the rear end.

Also, I knew about that problem with the control arm bushings snapping back. But are those on the rear control arms, or the front ones? I wanted to get the ES poly bushings for the front LCA's, then get single adjustable rear tubular LCA's. I read that having a rod end on one side of the rear LCA will be better than a poly busing on either end.

Thanks!
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:47 PM   #38
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

My Spohn SFCs are setting under my bed right now. My Christmas present too.
I don't know for sure, but I'd feel better if the car was setting level with the suspension loaded.
The rear control arms are the ones that bind with poly bushings. The front with poly are ok, but I'm going with Global West ones that I linked (when I get the money). A rod end on the LCA will help alot with binding. I have these on my. It's a DYI project. Heavy duty rubber on the body, and a rod end on the axle. Same rod end Spohn uses on theirs.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:24 AM   #39
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Re: Do I need SFC's asap?

Quote:
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----------
Those are actually the same exact yellow ramps my buddy has. Same width and height. Mine are a little narrower and shorter, just enough where the 245's start to ride up on the edges and bulge out. Still get the job done.
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