Throwback Thursday: Getting Technical With Total Cost Involved

Here we are again, another Thursday is here. That means the end of the week is getting close, and it’s time for another Throwback Thursday. While many enthusiasts focus on building big horsepower, there re those that understand the importance of a suspension that is working to help make your car handle its best.

In June of 2016, we tackled this subject by talking tubular suspension parts with a couple of guys at Total Cost Involved Engineering (TCI), Jason Wilcox, and Sal Solorzano. In our published article, Getting Technical With TCI About Tubular Suspension Parts, Jason started the conversation by saying, “The primary goal of tubular suspension parts is to gain strength while dropping weight.” As the social media coordinator at TCI, his job is to explain tubular suspension parts and the fundamentals so everyone can understand.

total cost involved

“Our suspension designs used on both the Nova and Camaro are lighter than the stock suspension and helps with the weight bias,” says Sal. “When used for drag racing, the pure weight bias is the benefit, but with autocross or road racing, the same weight bias provides better overall control from an improved front-to-rear weight ratio.”

“Stock equipment is easy to reproduce, so manufacturers use it out of necessity,” Wilcox continues. “It’s just formed steel welded together, and the parts are weighty and inexpensive. For example, our front suspension for the ’67 through ’81 Camaro is 120 pounds lighter than the stock system. The difference between where our frames fail versus where a factory frame fails is astounding.”

In the original article, Solorzano adds, “A complete tubular suspension system allows for much wider tires than what can be used with a stock suspension system. Tire width has everything to do with grip, so it’s important to get the overall width up as much as possible. The stock subframe limits tire size and turning radius. Tubular suspension components also offer significant improvements to negative camber gain.”

The original article also takes a deep dive into all aspects of creating a great suspension. For instance, did you know your springs do more than just support the car or truck’s weight? When talking about springs, it also needs to be mentioned that not all springs are created equal. There are two different types of springs used in the suspension industry depending on the application. One is a linear-rate spring, and the other is a progressive-rate spring.

Total Cost Involved

When building suspension parts, there is no better material to start with than mandrel-bent steel tubing. “The round tube is the lightest and toughest possible structure you can use,” explains Wilcox. “The steel tubing is both lighter and stronger than the stock components, and the design allows builders to tweak the material’s wall thickness to get the best possible weight-to-strength ratio.

Whatever spring you use, there will be a trade-off between the best performance and the best ride. Whether using a pair of coilovers or a set of fixed springs, the ride will not be as smooth as it could if the chosen springs are overly stiff to combat roll resistance. Likewise, the car will lean much more when going around corners if the springs are too soft for better ride comfort. The goal is to select a spring that delivers a happy medium.

Whether you’re wanting to add better shocks, control arms, or complete suspension packages, the original article definitely gives you a lot of information to consider. Since there is a lot more vital information in the original article, that is why I selected, Getting Technical With TCI About Tubular Suspension Parts as this week’s Throwback Thursday showcase article.

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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