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Friction shocks????????


Just wondering if those of you using friction shocks find them adequate. We had to use them instead of hydraulics on my Kid's T because of space limitations. Mickey from TP said he doesn't like them and suggested we try to retrofit hydraulics, but I see so many cars out there using the friction ones.

How tight do you tighten them up?

My bucket is a late 80's build that was never finished. It has friction shocks mounted parallel to and behind the front axle. so far all I do is crank them down tight and run them. They seam to work pretty good that way. I'm going to leave them on and see how they last. I don't want hydraulics, but hey its a bucket image is everything. :cool:
I had friction shocks for awhile, I think they look cool but I could never get them to work quite right, switched mid season last year to a set of hydraulics and the improvement was dramatic plus no more tightening them. If I was building I would go with the hydraulics. If I was going to go for a more retro look I would look for some of the lever action hydraulics.. Paul
Here is an idea that I haven't ever tried, but it might have some merit. Use a thicker rubber pad and pins to locate the disc in relation to the frame and the arm. That way you have something that is resisting the arms movement and not just sliding along with it.


The other thing that seems to be a real problem with friction shocks is maintaining the tightness of the adjusting nut. It would seem to me that by using a needle thrust bearing between the arm and the nut, the friction between them and the resulting untightening would be eliminated.

Just an idea. :D
Once again, GAB comes thru, the needle thrust bearing is a great idea. The biggest problem to me seems to be the springs don't have enough tension on the pads and plates. The other thing I wonder about is the amount of friction surface. I'm building my own friction shocks for my modified. I'm going to try adding fixed plates to the stack like they use on aircraft brakes. This way I can use more than one friction pad. As for the spring, I think I'll try a Chevy valve spring. If that dosen't work, maybe a die spring.

Mr.Roadster has a 6 fingered spring for a pre load.I think that style would look better than a die or valve spring.Also you might look into a Belleville Washer it is dished and with two back to back give a BUNCH of load we use them in our machine clutch's for positive engagement.Hope this helps.
Here's a picture of what I have so far. The assembled shock at the top shows how the stationary plates are held to the base. If need be, rotating plates can be added to work with the arm like the unassembled one. It would seem the shorter the arm, the more the spring would dampen.

Of course, you could always do something like this. We did actually do this on a car. It got kind of carried away with the needle bearings and machine work...but what would you expect from a car that goes by the name of "Overkill"?


Here is a better solution to the problem:


I made a pair of shackles and added a shock stud between the two bushing pins. The frame bracket was mounted with a couple of nutserts.

More than one way to skin a cat.:D
Hi George: Welcome to this site. Look forward to seeing more of you stuff. A lot of guys here have never seen and are new to building "T"s.
Here is an actual working installation, I intended to post weeks ago. After a few changes, I will fit this to my car, as it's the cleanest, original looking setup I've seen. Just like the last drawing here. ;)
California Custom Roadster has what appears to be a nice setup. Bolt or weld on.


There ain't no way around it guys, hydr. are better than fric. Call me stubborn, call me ol' fashion, I just gotta try 'em 'caus they go with the theme.

On my build I used friction shocks with NO problems. What I did differently than most installations that I have seen was to double the friction pads. By that I mean, I installed an extra pad on the outside that is held in place with a 5/8" stainless steel fender washer. I also chose not to go with a stud mount but rather a bolt. The reason I chose a bolt over a stud or captivated bolt was because with the bolt in a fixed position the movement of the shock arm tends to loosen the nut unless you have it pinned. However, if you pin the nut you will not be able to adjust the shock for optimum performance.

I have been using this set up for over 5,000 miles with absolutely NO problems. Granted, a good hydraulic shock may perform a little better but these cars are never going to ride like a "Cadillac." Therefore I am MORE than willing to exchange a very small difference in ride for the MUCH cleaner look of the friction units.

I know that there are die hards out there that will not agree with me but I still say that a properly installed and adjusted friction shock will give you excellent results.
On the set I'm building, ( see post #7 ) I'm using a frost plug to capture the spring hoping that they will act as a washer. Don't know if it will work but that's the idea right now.

A lot good ideas been noted above. I'll add a few I didn't see.
I use to make my own fric's back when i had more time and my youth,now i just buy hydraulic,but anyways,so here's some old fric'en tips; Twin nuts lock on each other keeps them from coming lose,but not much keeps them from losing fric over a fairly short time,just got to reload them.
Just like any shock,there going to work far better by mounting on axle being as far out to the wheel as you can get,this is were many I see are in near the frame insted of out near the end of axle. Don't lean them out more then 15* if you can help it.
If you think about it a bit,you can see how it takes less fric to do the same job if that arm ends out near'er the tire on the axle end.
Thank you all for your input and suggestions. For now we are going to have to stay with them because the frame and all is painted and designed around them, but I did like that picture of the brackets to hang hydraulic tube shocks off of, and might have to go to that somewhere down the road.

For now we have torqued them down lots tighter for more resistance and will see how that goes.

Thanks again guys.

My T is an old TP car that has the friction shocks . I never liked these, so I am now adding hydraulic shocks.
I checked on the car, and it had regular hyd. shocks. It's installed,and o'boy does it work. I put nylon fender washers between the bellcranks, and the frame, plus another washer on the outside next to the nut.The bellcranks swivel very easy on the bronze bushings, and the shock end bushings move on the bolts just fine. I had to lengthen the right front hard brake line to get around the forward swing of the lever. THose double flare connections on the lines seem to be only good for two or three
tightens before they loose the seating flex.
Road testing the new installation showed the action to be quite a bit stiffer. The shocks seemed to capture the jolts, and jars more efficiently. I didn't notice as much suspension deflection as before, but overall the front end seemed to absorb more of the heavier bumps, and potholes much better. At first the connecting links on the top between the bellcranks, and the axle were at a slight angle which appeared to push the levers to the side instead of up, and down. I put a spacer on the axle mounting which brought the links back to a verticle plane.
So having the installation in it's final phase, I dissassembled the setup and sent it to the platers to be chromed. Very satisfied with this retrofit to improve the ride of the car.
Next up is the construction of a tear drop trailer to pull behind the car on future road trips.

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