'91 Caprice HD Suspension?? (OK, now I'm thoroughly confused...) - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 06:26 AM
bartonmd
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I didn't want to put this in the SS suspension page becaus I think they may have different rate springs and such than the Caprice...

Background: I'm out of college, married, and 25 years old... Probably 3 years ago, my dad picked up this LOADED, 40k mile '91 Caprice Classic that doesn't say it anywhere, but the VIN comes up as an LTZ and the RPO tag as it as having the F41 (typed as F40 on the sticker, but I think that's a typo) suspension. In the manual, I don't remember the spring rates, but the front springs are at the bottom of the list (which I assume is the stiffest rate fronts) and the rear springs are in the middle of the list (which I assume is the stiffest rate springs the civilian sedans got)... The car now has 83k on it... It came with about every option, except I wish it had come with the 8-1/2" rear axle instead of the 7-1/2" 2.56:1 axle... It's got the regular 305 and 4L60. It has, however, been hit on both passenger doors in a parking lot at Purdue when my little brother had it (asian kid didn't look before backing up, but everything still seals and it just damaged the door skins... Everything in the door still works though...

When my dad got another car, he gave my brother his Lumina and had no use for the Caprice any more, because the kid's insurance almost totaled the car anyway, so he had no money in it any more... I don't have a truck, so he gave me the Caprice to tow a utility trailer with, to be used as my "pseudo-truck."

Anyway, I have a couple questions...

1. How much can this car tow? I've looked in the manual, the inside of the door, everywhere I can think of... This is only a real question because of the rear axle and suspension... I only planning on towing a utility trailer with 2 bikes, or a load of dirt or whatever on it... Maybe 2000lbs including trailer... but if I end up needing to tow a car or something (this would be VERY rare), I'm just curious...

2. Even with the F41 suspension, the rear goes down several inches when I stand on the hitch, so with the 200lbs tongue weight (10% trailer weight) along with stuff in the trunk or whatever, I'm concerned about the springs not being strong enough... Can I just go buy replacement springs from a wagon and drop them in, or is there some kind of something that I can do for helpers?? I've seen helper coil-over shocks on cutlasses and such... Is this an option for this car? What do you folks do? Any options I didn't list?

BTW, I'm trying to do this cheaply, so the cheapest way to do this would be great... Like I say, if I really need to tow a car trailer or something, I can use my dad's Silverado, but am using this as a pseudo-truck with the trailer so I don't have to borrow my dad's truck any time I need to get anything (plywood, dirt, etc), or tow a dirt bike/motorcycle trailer somewhere to ride (don't get me wrong, I ride my blackbird anywhere in the US, but you have to trailer to track-days and to ride the dirt bikes/quads someplace)...

Thanks,
Mike
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 07:43 AM
bartonmd
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I finally found them, but has anybody tried the Monroe Air-Shocks or the Monroe Loade Leveler Shocks??

Thanks,
Mike
post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 07:53 AM
seven0seven
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[img]graemlins/5.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/.gif[/img] Your the first person I have ever herd say they want use a caprice/b-body as a toy hauler why not just sell it and buy a truck?
 
post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 08:15 AM
bartonmd
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Yeah, I know... I actually did do the search and found load adjusting shocks in a couple posts, but not much else... The search function takes all day when you let it search all the forums...

Reasons for not just buying a truck:
1. If I need to use a "real" truck, my parents live in the same town, so I don't want this for anything really heavy.
2. For the $500 this car is worth with the bashed up doors, can I get an option loaded, sub-100k mile (and I know the full history of), reliable, comfortable 5-6 passenger truck that gets relitively good highway mileage? If so, I'd trade straight up right now!

If I was buying something right now, I'd be looking for a mid-90's 4-door Blazer, 4.3L... but being that this isn't worth much and was given to me, and the small amount I tow with it, I'll just keep it...

Mike
post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 11:07 AM
bartonmd
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I guess a better question is:

Which is better? The Monroe Air Shocks, or the Monroe load-adjusting coil assist shocks?

I'm leaning toward the coil spring assist shocks, but do they retain about the stock ride height unloaded, or do they jack up the rear end?

I did do a search on these, and found only 3 topics, and none of the info above...

Thanks,
Mike
post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 03:58 PM
cletus284
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According to my '95 FSM, and I assume it would be the same for a '91, F40 = Suspension System, Heavy Duty, Front & Rear. It's highly unlikely this was a 'typo'. I'm sure the SPID was produced by computer from the same data the build sheet came from.

As for shocks, I've heard the coil-overs are pretty stiff. If you want to change springs, I'd suggest 9C1 springs, they should be pretty stiff. I'm running a set of Monroe Severe Service shocks, and though I've never towed with them, I have loaded my car down, and they didn't give all that much. Also, I think you'd be asking a little much of your L03/700R4 to tow a car on a trailer, at least very far. Especially without at least an external tranny cooler. A 9C1 with an L05 and 3.42:1's MIGHT be able to pull it off.
post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 04:49 PM
VIN Guy's Alter Ego
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What about some Air Lift 1000 bags? Cheap, easy to install, and will do what you're asking. You still wouldn't want to tow more than about 2000-2500lbs total, and that may be pushing it. A utility trailer and a motorcycle? Sure. An 18' car hauler? Not very far! Do a search in Suspension on the above bags. They're far easier than replacing rear shocks, which is a surprising crappy job to do! Look at summitracing.com for AIR-60755, as that should be your part number.
post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 05:47 PM
kdrolt
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Quote:
Originally posted by bartonmd:
....Background: I'm out of college, married, and 25 years old...


Some advice --- watch out for the following combination: a slinky negligee and a puppy.

Quote:
... LOADED, 40k mile '91 Caprice Classic that doesn't say it anywhere, but the VIN comes up as an LTZ and the RPO tag as it as having the F41 (typed as F40 on the sticker, but I think that's a typo) suspension.


IIRC the LTZ has a specific SPID code all to itself, like Z09. In GM SPID-speak it's listed as a "model conversion." I think BiSScayne has a post or two listing it, as he owns one.

I rode in one several years ago. It had 7B3 suspension, along with V-rated tires on the alloy Caprice wheels. 30mm front and 26mm rear swaybars, certified speedo too I think. It also had 3.23 (GU5) and the only engine available, the 5.0 v8 LO3. The 3.23 made it perkier but only at launch.

Quote:
... It came with about every option, except I wish it had come with the 8-1/2" rear axle instead of the 7-1/2" 2.56:1 axle...


Check that again... because the 3.23 was used on the larger rear end if memory serves, What is the axle code shown on the SPID ?

Quote:
It's got the regular 305 and 4L60.


305 was the only engine for a non-police Caprice in 1991, even on the LTZ. The only trannys used in 91-93 Bcars were 700R4 (SPID code MD8 MX0), which was renamed the 4L60.

Quote:
.... Anyway, I have a couple questions...

1. How much can this car tow? ...


Hard to say. The towing package cars/wagons got extra coolers for the trans & engine oil. Dunno if you got those. That means you couldn't tow the same load at the same speed and have the same thermal-margin. IOW heavy tow load, sustained highway driving, and hot weather could be a problem... unless you retrofit the parts.

The engine and trans are certainly up to the task if cooled properly.

Quote:
2. Even with the F41 suspension, the rear goes down several inches when I stand on the hitch, ....
Air bags, or air shocks, on the rear would help. Wagon or copcar springs would too. Either have been done before. Lots of choices there.
post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-30-2006, 07:00 PM
cletus284
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OK, a little more info from my FSM. Keep in mind that this is info for '95 models, but I think your car is roughly equivalent of a '95 with an L99 so far as towing is concerned.

"All Caprices and Roadmasters can tow 2000 lbs. Vehicles equipped with RPO V92 (Trailer Provisions) can tow 5000 lbs. See the Owner's Manual for details."

Also, if those shock absorbers are originals, they're guaranteed to be shot. Replace them first, then see how the car sits. 200 lb tongue weight shouldn't cause the rear to squat that much. That's roughly equivalent to a couple back seat passengers.

Also, be sure to become religious about your trans fluid and filter changes, and don't use overdrive when towing, except maybe if towing a light load on level terrain.
post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-31-2006, 03:28 AM
Billy Johnson
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sell the caprice bro and buy a truck
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