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Ladder bars and floaters?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by whitey70ss, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. whitey70ss
    Joined: Oct 12, 2011
    Posts: 71

    whitey70ss
    BANNED
    from Central PA

    Hello, I'm putting together a 55 ford fairlane, I'm making a "gasser style" car. My question : Are floaters a must on leaf spring ladder bar set-ups? I keep looking at pics of old gassers and it seems many did'nt run floaters. This car will be a drag car only. I do want it to work correctly, but if they arent needed whats the sense? I do understand what the floaters do, but for a strip only car it has me wondering. Thanks in advance. Dan
     
  2. Without them your springs are going to bind or you will bend your ladder bars or both. On a lot of older drag cars you don't see the floater because it is not setup like the ones you see in the catalog, they are just a tab below the rear with a bolt that hooks them to a tab on the spring.

    A lot of times when you buy old use ladder bars they are bent all to hell, that is because they didn't run floaters.
     
  3. whitey70ss
    Joined: Oct 12, 2011
    Posts: 71

    whitey70ss
    BANNED
    from Central PA

    OK thanks. Guess I'm not getting the easy way out on this am I? Has anyone ever succesfully used a ladder bar/ leaf setup like this?
     
  4. Danny G
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 399

    Danny G
    Member

    I have done it with the floaters and without and when I didnt have the floaters and let off after going through the lights the springs would unwind and the rear would move around which wasnt any fun. The floaters stopped all of that.
     

  5. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,728

    GassersGarage
    Member

    I've seen them with what they called "Lift Bars". My buddy had them on his car. Basically, it was a 2"x4" steel tubing that was welded to the rearend and connected to a transmission cross member. I have seen them go as far as the firewall, but that was on a '41 Willys drag pickup. Very low tech since the front of the bars couldn't articulate and they were solidly mounted to the rear axle. This was in the late 60's.
     
  6. whitey70ss
    Joined: Oct 12, 2011
    Posts: 71

    whitey70ss
    BANNED
    from Central PA

    Would something as simple as a AFCO slider work if mounted in the front? Just looking at options, I guess floaters are'nt that big of a deal. Which ones do you guys prefer? Jeg's or comp eng .
     
  7. Actually a pic with the description maybe will make it look easier. Here is a crude pic of what I am talking about. You will still need a pan hard bar or cross bar to keep it aligned, you set your pinion angle with the ladder bar. Really no more than a couple of plates and a couple of ears.

    I have seen a lot of them done this way over the years with good success.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. The main issue is you need to separate the torque reaction from the holding up the car weight. The ladder bars control the torque. So you need to use the springs for only holding the car up. Just make the design so as the spring cycles (both up and down and back and forth due to arc changing) that the ladder bars are able to keep the rearend located along their arc (pivot point at front mount) and controlling the torque.
     
  9. flamedabone
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,906

    flamedabone
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you want ladder bars because they look cool, that is one thing... But if you are looking for a traction aid for leaf spring cars that REALLY works, check out Cal-Tracks.

    http://www.calvertracing.com/

    John Calvert has been around forever and is still a hardcore racer and a cool guy.

    Good luck, -Abone.
     
  10. whitey70ss
    Joined: Oct 12, 2011
    Posts: 71

    whitey70ss
    BANNED
    from Central PA

    Trying to make the car look as correct as possible.
     
  11. boogeracng
    Joined: Feb 13, 2008
    Posts: 343

    boogeracng
    Member
    from Eureka,MO

    On my 1st Willys coupe, I ran leaf springs......no ladder bars on the street, ladder bars when I raced. Took about 3 hard launches on a 10" slick @10# to take the arch out of the springs, a couple of times, bending the main leaf right at the spring eyes. The problem is the different pivot points of the forward spring eye, and the mounting point for the traction bar......everything is in a bind, locked together. Something has to give, and it turns out to be the spring leaf.

    2 alternatives.......a floater/slider arrangement. Or, as I did on my new deal/full time drag car, Cal Tracs. I'm sold on them, and their support before/during/after the sale is without question. And the car HOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!

     
    Hightone111 likes this.
  12. whitey70ss
    Joined: Oct 12, 2011
    Posts: 71

    whitey70ss
    BANNED
    from Central PA

    I have to do this right the first time. The car will make 700HP so I don't need any suprises!
     
  13. ray-jay
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 200

    ray-jay
    Member
    from Buford GA

    How about coil springs and a panhard bar ?
     
  14. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    CutawayAl
    Member
    from MI

    Ladder bars are a drag race set-up. It is essentially nothing more than a hinge. Where body lean should be controlled by the springs, with ladder bars body lean is prevented. That puts a lot of stress on the bars, housing, and attachment points. While limiting body lean sounds like a good thing on the surface, it actually isn't. Without getting into a lot of particulars I'll just say, cars with ladder bars don't corner very well and don't like irregular surfaces. Yes people do get away with running ladder bars on the street. Just realize what you are getting vs what you are trading off.
     
  15. whitey70ss
    Joined: Oct 12, 2011
    Posts: 71

    whitey70ss
    BANNED
    from Central PA

    As I said before, car is a drag ONLY car.
     
  16. ray-jay
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 200

    ray-jay
    Member
    from Buford GA

    I had a mid 14's 1980 Malibu with ladder bars and I just about spun it out one night making the first turn off. First time I ever countersteered a drag car :)
     
  17. h2omonkey
    Joined: Dec 8, 2008
    Posts: 165

    h2omonkey
    Member
    from vegas

    Good article about different rearend setups in latest street rodder issue. Covers everything from stock spring set ups all the way through 4 links with irs and coil overs, good pics and illustrations.
     
  18. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,669

    1971BB427
    Member
    from Oregon

    Have a friend who set his front mount up using a small Speedway spring shackle laying horizontal for the front mount to the frame. It was inexpensive and allowed the ladder bar to travel without binding, but still worked great.
    [​IMG]
     
    Hightone111 likes this.
  19. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,103

    TagMan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I made front ladder bar brackets with a slot to allow the ladder bars to slide forward & backward a bit when the springs flexed. Took the strain away from the set-up when using the vehicle on the street.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. jim powers
    Joined: May 12, 2010
    Posts: 50

    jim powers
    Member
    from new jersey

    For a leaf spring suspension cal trac bars are the way to go , and as far as the original look you are wanting they really do look alot like the old 'traction master" bars of the late 50s and 60s ,cal trac is a great company to deal with
     
  21. X2

    Sam
     
  22. porknbeaner has shown it the best. One more thing not mentioned is that the assembly that holds it to the leaf actually needs to slide back and forth as well. Theres where the term "floater" comes in. Then only the Ladder Bars controll the rear end placement and suspention movement.
     
  23. Bucksnort
    Joined: Dec 24, 2007
    Posts: 3,302

    Bucksnort
    Member

    X3
    Lot more cars around here ran the old Traction Masters than ladders.
    Just as "period" as ladders.
     
  24. whitey70ss
    Joined: Oct 12, 2011
    Posts: 71

    whitey70ss
    BANNED
    from Central PA

    Just wanted to give a update, I ended up installing the comp eng #2033 housing floaters with my new ladder bars. For all the more work thats involved it's worth the piece of mind also!
     
  25. Lew031
    Joined: May 10, 2010
    Posts: 130

    Lew031
    Member
    from Pittsburgh

    Having a similar problem with my street gasser. I actually ripped my front ladder bar brackets off of the the front mount where it was fixed to the frame. Could have been really ugly!! Does anyone have a picture of a rear ladder bar floater setup. I want to buy a set from jegs but would like to see how they install first
     
  26. 296 V8
    Joined: Sep 17, 2003
    Posts: 4,666

    296 V8
    BANNED
    from Nor~Cal

    i guess not
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  27. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Properly set up ladder bars with leafs and a floater will work just as well as cal-tracs. Improperly set up ladders wont work worth a shit.
     
  28. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,186

    55chieftain
    Member

    Here's the CE ones, click on the instructions

    http://www.competitionengineering.com/catalog/CategoryDisplay.asp?CatCode=10047

    Too bad they don't make those for 3 1/4" housings like what I have. I'll probably run neither and clamp every spring end on the front half and unclamp the back half similar to the Chrysler ss springs.



     
  29. rat nasty
    Joined: Jul 22, 2007
    Posts: 683

    rat nasty
    Member

    cal tracs,split mono leafs,afco sliders on mine & it will dig a hole! had this very same set up on a 26x8.5" tire nova you couldnt keep it off the bumper! they are the only way to go!
     
  30. Martys 55
    Joined: Mar 12, 2007
    Posts: 47

    Martys 55
    Member

    back in highschool 79 i ran alston ladder bars and leaf springs on my 55 chevy and had the front mounting point same as springs, i thought that was the answer, i bent leaf spings and torn my pontiac housing tube all most in half, live and learn i guess my dad was right good luck
    marty
     

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