Frequently Asked Questions
Question - Will your front radiator guard fit a factory TR4A frame or only a RATCO frame? Any plans to build a tube shock conversion for live axle TR4A cars?
Answer - There are two types of guards. The stock Radiator guard is a copy of the original and bolts up to the same two blind nuts in the ends of the frame rails as did the original. When you receive the guard it will have two pierce marks where the mounting holes would normally be, Since we do not know the condition of the rails on your car, we suggest you line up the guard, mark the hole locations on the part and drill accordingly. The other type of radiator guard made for your car is substantially more robust and incorporates a system that allows you to flat tow your car, it's on the website
The Tube Shock Conversion kit has existed for quite some time now and is available for purchase. It substantially improves the ride of your car, and is an easy install.
Question - I am building a 1970 TR6 and plan to use your anti sway bars front and rear along with the rear shock and coil kit. Should the front bar be 7/8" and the rear bar 3/4"?
I'm thinking of new springs as well, but possibly stock springs to avoid a stiff ride. The car is mostly for street use. Are your heavy springs progressive? The unsprung height of the old rear springs is 10 1/4" and the fronts are 10 1/8". Is this any indication of their condition?
The engine in this car will be a GM V6 3.4L. The engine is about 80 lbs lighter than the stock engine and will sit about 8 inches farther to the rear of the car than stock. Does this have an effect on the choice of suspension springs?
Question - I have a 1969 TR6. I'm planning to purchase your coil over rear shock pieces. I'm wondering about a rear sway bar. My car at present has slight oversteer, it drives pretty well. I have the stock front sway bar, Spax shocks and a rear shock conversion that I don't care for ( the shocks are bolted with brackets through the body to the stock lever arm attachment points.)
Can you give me an idea of the effect of your rear sway bar on oversteer/understeer? Is it acceptable to use your rear bar with the stock front bar?
What is the process of mounting the rear bar to the differential cross member with the body in place?
Answer - You are on the right path toward better handling for your Triumph. In fact I ran the same system on my TR250 for years before deciding to redesign it entirely. I had the same through body tube shock conversion kit you have and no front sway bar at all.
Heres the story as I have found it to be true as well as hundreds of TR owners:
The TR250's did not come with a sway bar and as a result had a problem with understeer. The engineers added a front sway bar to teh TR6 suspension to remove the understeer, but created oversteer at the same time which accounts for what you are experiencing. By the way, most owners are unfamiliar with these terms and how performance is effected, so good for you.
Suspension systems are just that, systems. They need to be designed in such a way that the system works in unison under most conditions. The development of racing technology has demonstrated how to build a system that is balanced and effective in providing a suspension that is neutral in feel and tracks perfectly. The system design is based on this concept and I added an additional requirement, that the system needed to be compliant on rough roads so that the occupants don't lose their tooth fillings when driving in city conditions.
First, lose the front sway bar as it is fatigued beyond usefulness. Replace it with our 7/8" front sway bar. Next order our Shock in Coil Kit and rear 3/4" Sway Bar Kit. Replace the original fatigued springs with our uprated springs front and rear.
These changes alone will provide better tracking and a neutral steering response. The rear sway bar should be smaller in diameter than the front bar, this is what provides the neutral steering. The stiffer springs in the rear will make for less body roll in the corners and compliments the rear sway bar which is designed to reduce body roll as well.
As for the shock type, the Sensatrack shocks provide both a compliant ride on rough roads, and performance in the twisties. Alternatively, choose the gas charged shocks for a firmer ride all of the time.
The next step to consider is the is the front end changes required to make everything work perfectly. Change the front shocks to the same as those in the rear using our Front Shock Kit. Similarly, change the front springs to the same hi rate springs used in the rear. These changes will produce a balanced suspension front and rear. You won't get a better system for street use.
Please don't just take my word for all of this, go to the chat sites and as the other owners about the RATCO system, also visit the RATCO website and download all of the installation manuals for all of the products suggested. This give you a feel for the simplicity of the installation of the products.
Question - I just received the frame for my customer that he had shipped directly to my shop. I'm plenty familiar with TR6's, but this will be my first Ratco Frame install. Anything unique to the Ratco frame I need to be aware of during the swap process?
Answer - The RATCO frame is built to be a direct replacement for the stock factory frame. All the points in space that mate to the body and suspension mounts are in their correct place. Having said that, I don’t have to tell you that the body you are going to place on it is not true. You should have no trouble with the fit but the body might have to be persuaded in places to lineup. A push or shove is all that is usually necessary. As for the mechanicals, there are no issues to report and it should be an easy fitment.
I would appreciate your comments after you finish the assembly. As a professional in the field we both would appreciate your input to improve the product we build. Good luck and thank you in advance.
Question - I see on your website that you sell new, modified TR6 frames to accept a Ford 302. Do you do the same for a small-block Chevy (LS3) and tranny?
Answer - I spoke with Tony and we have not done this combination before. However, we are always interested in new projects. In order to build a frame for this, we would need the drivetrain here at the shop. Then we can engineer new motor mount brackets and transmission brackets. We typically charge for our engineering efforts, but that only involves developing the approach, building the brackets is part of the frame cost. In some cases if we believe there is a potential market for the new product we are creating, we will share in the engineering cost. It will be impossible to know beforehand if Sheetmetal mods will be required or not, but we would make every attempt to place the drivetrain such that the mods would be minimal or none.
Question - Would it be possible for you to construct a frame using a Mustang ll crossmember so I could use Mustang ll suspension components ( spindles,upper and lower control arms,rotors,calipers,steering rack,coilover shocks as well as Ford 302 with t-5 transmission. Would be using Nissan rear end and cv shafts.
Answer - The 302 and T5 is no problem, we have built this before, see our website. The crossmember sounds possible but will involve some engineering. We typically charge for engineering time, and it’s difficult to predict how many hours it will take until we get into it. In some projects we see future potential and are willing to share in the engineering cost in order to have a new product to offer the market. It's not clear if this fits that criteria. The engineering charge would also include any materials such as new brackets we might need to fabricate. My assumption is that you would provide the crossmember, and there would be a minor charge for getting it cleaned and shot blasted so it’s ready for welding. Feel free to call if you would like to discuss it further.
Question - Could you give me an estimated weight difference between your frame and the original TR4a IRS frame? Yours appears to be heavier. As I continue putting my plan together I really want to make the car as light as possible while still being able to put up with the rigors of rallying. Not heavy cross country rallying, but on paved roads, maybe pot holed, some gravel, but nothing too wild. Your thoughts would be helpful.
Answer - Funny story…. A few years back at road Atlanta, I was in the pits when a driver returned from a test run and said to the crew Forman that he wished he could shave pounds from the cars weight. He explained that the had been trying for some time at reducing weight by shaving bits a pieces off the chassis and eliminating non-essential parts. He said he wanted 50lbs less weight. The crew manager turned and said he had an easy solution for that. ” what!!?” Said the driver. The forman said…. Go on a diet! You can afford the 50 lbs. ”…… and believe me he could.
We get frequent questions regarding our suspension upgrades, This customer is an acquaintance of Tony's and visited him to install the complete RATCO suspension package. The customer wrote a nice piece for his clubs newsletter and shared it with us.
The Art of Installation of new TR6 Suspension with a Master!!!
After a lifelong passion for cars that started when I was around 6 years old growing up in England, I reminisce on my first cars. (Morris Minor, Austin Healey Sprite, Ford Cortina 1600E, Hillman Hunter GLS). When I came to US, this passion continued and the fun of buying and enjoying classic cars also continued. I had built engines, took gearboxes in and out, changed suspension components etc. but as time passed, I did not do too much of the heavy lifting.
While in US, I have owned a myriad of classics, mainly British (TVR’s, MG’s, Triumphs etc.) and currently have four Triumphs (’62 TR4. ‘66 TR4A, ’69 TR6 and ’73 TR6). I bought the ’73 TR6 about 10 years ago and was attracted to it as it had a 5 speed gearbox conversion (early HVDA Toyota edition), custom interior, hardtop and some other tasteful items such as Panasport wheels.
A couple of years ago, I had a new engine installed due to the old one having some issues. The engine had some Richard Good stuff in it, primarily the road cam that give it a little more performance. It then came down to the suspension that operated but never felt good and seems that some previous attempts to improve it had been made but not too successfully.
I called a friend of mine who is well known to all Triumph enthusiasts, Tony Vigliotti of RATCO fame. I wanted to get Tony’s opinion on the work I should do on theTR6 suspension. In his usual welcoming way, he suggested I bring the car to his Windham paradise and we should take a look and see. So, I loaded the TR6 on my trusty tow dolly and off I went on the 150 mile trek to his house.
After Tony drove the TR6 and said he thought it wasn’t as bad as I had described, he felt it best to check the chassis first to make sure we had a good candidate for a suspension makeover. As the chassis master that Tony is, he tapped all along the chassis listening for any evidence of rust and compromised chassis but fortunately it was sound, probably due to its California heritage.
Tony then went into action putting together a shopping list for replacement polyurethane bushings, new springs (lowering by 1”) and new sway bars, including the introduction of a rear sway bar that was not original equipment.
When the work day arrived and I was privileged to assist Tony. He methodically went through the suspension, starting with the front suspension where he also checked the condition of the steering rack, which was sound. On went the new springs and all the new front bushings/suspension/tie rods were installed.
We then moved on to the rear suspension, removing the axle shafts for examination and then replacing the rubber boots before reinstalling. The new springs were installed too.
Next was the new front upgraded sway bar, increasing the size from the stock ¾”to 7/8”. This was straight forward. Then on to the new rear sway bar that necessitated some precise drilling of holes in the chassis to accept the new U bolts that secure the sway bar to the chassis. The ends of the sway bar were then secured to the trailing arms.
After securing the wheels, we lowered the car back to the ground and we prepared for the test drive.
The car performed very well in Tony’s hands. The ride was comfortable while stiff enough to provide the enhanced handling Tony predicted. Tony was delighted with the results and then it was my turn to drive.
I was amazed at the ride improvement, as well as the tight feel, the ability to absorb uneven surfaces mid corner and sustain the improved handling. What an exciting transformation!!! No question…Tony is a master in his field and he takes on the challenge as an adventure and arrived at the best result.
I now cannot wait to get into my TR6 at any opportunity and enjoy the ride and handling.
I cannot thank Tony enough for his guidance and expertise, not to mention the heavy work needed to accomplish this suspension upgrade.
Thanks a MILLION, Tony.