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Tech Area => Knowledge Base Articles, Submissions, and Comments => Topic started by: Charlief1 on March 31 2012, 12:33:17 PM

Title: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on March 31 2012, 12:33:17 PM
Well I asked once before and didn't get a lot of response but I figured I'd go ahead and post it anyway. This is most likely the only place it will be posted so if anyone want's a copy PM me or just copy it off here. :D
 
______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ___

For the upper control arm you can get the same basic one that Brian sells at G body, from speedway motors. You need 2 of these. The stock control arm is a little under 8.5" from the center of the shaft to the center of the ball joint so you either need to use a longer upper ball joint with stock lower which will give you a 1/2" taller set up and correct some of the camber curve issues that the G body has, or you can use a stock upper and a longer lower ball joint, or longer both top and bottom .

That last statement may sound a little confusing but you can do a lot of different combos with ball joints depending on how you want the car to sit. With the taller upper and stock lower it will sit at roughly stock height. With the taller ball joint in the lower it will sit either 1/2" lower or 1" lower depending on which ball joint you use. A longer ball joint changes the relation of the steering knuckle axis point and changes the way the tires move in relation to going around a curve. The taller spindle height will keep the tire on the outside of the curve from knuckling under (going positive camber) and help on the inside tire from going the other direction. It will keep the tire flatter on the ground in a corner. Prefered is no more than 1" difference in height from stock or it can really change things more than you want.

Upper tubular control arm part number  910-34394 R
1/2" longer upper ball joint part number 721101041. QA-1.
1/2" longer lower ball joint part number  721101091.  QA-1.
1" longer lower ball joint part number    0011277100. Howe.

The G body chasis has bump steer built into it from the factory which means that as the tires hit something in the road and the tires move up and down the toe of the wheels change. This doesn't help handling and it also can create some tire wear issues if the tires are wider than stock. An easy way to correct this is a bump steer kit. What this does is replace the outer tie rod with an adjustable set up. You can get these from several different sources but I've found them for less than Hotchkiss and others have offer them. If you want to understand how this works do a search on youtube for bumpsteer and there are several vids that show the corrections and how they relate to this kit. Once again you can get these from speedway motors. The kit tie rods has both inner, outer, and a sleeve that uses lock nuts instead of clamps on the tie rods. You will need 2 of each.

Bump steer correction tie rod kit part number 910-32800, 18.5" long
Stud kit for bump stop correction kit part number 916-36055GM
Seals for outer tie rods available from speedway 910-01504

As far as a tubular lower, unless you are planing to do a lot of road racing it's not needed, but if you go this way  you'll be happier with heim joint ends instead of poly bushings. If you want to save a little money and make it handle better then you can replace the lower control arm bushings with a greasable steel and teflon bushing. This will give you the advantages of a bushing that won't flex but move up and down much easier. Not a lot of bling factor but you don't have to put out a chunk of cash for something that's not needed. You will need 2 of each bushing for the lower arms since the front and rear bushing aren't the same. You can also get brand new arms without bushings or ball joints in them from speedway if you want something a little better looking.

Lower control arm buishings part numbers:  Front-106-20069LW, rear-106-20076LW

If you plan on changing the rear bushings or arms you'll be much happier with a heim joint type rather than a stock type bushing. The rears have a design that binds them up since the rear sway bar is attached to the lower control arms. To fix this you can get a bushing housing that has a heim type joint in it so the control arms actually move rather than being held in the chasis by the center of the bushing.  I suggest that you box the control arms before you replace the bushings. You can also change the IC of the car with an offset bushing in the axle. These bushings are offset 1/8" which will bring the IC down and rear ward which will give you better traction on the rear. These need to be installed in the car so that you get the position of the right because they're offset.

Replacement rear heim bushing part number 916-34048
Offset axle bushing part number 916-3447

As far as springs go I don't like progresive ones. The reason is because you can't really adjust the chasis for a spring that starts at one rate and then increases in rate as it's compressed. I also don't like the Ebach springs. They're a little to heavy for a V6 car. I do have some numbers that are moog parts that are close to the same rates of the DSE that Scott W (GNS Performance) is using on his car. (575 lbs/in Front and 125 lbs/in rear) For the front of the car a rate of 530 lbs per inch or 598 lbs per inch. The lighter spring will give you a smoother ride but the heavier ones will help the car go around the corners a little better. On the rears I don't increase the rate a whole lot because it's the front that has the most. The rates I chose are either 141 and 133 lbs per inch or 167 lbs per inch. The springs may not look like a stock spring but they will fit in the upper spring pocket the right way. I'll list them as pairs somewhat matched so it doesn't confuse you any. The part numbers are MOOG so you will get a quality spring. These springs will lower the car at least 1" overall from original stock height.

Lighter spring combo part numbers  5658 Front and 6377 or CC617 Rear
or
heavier spring combo part numbers 5660 Front and 5413 Rear.

The other option for the front spring is the 5608 (1" lower at 424 lbs/in) and will stiffen up the fronts some without giving a really harsh ride. The stock spring has a rate of 355 lbs/in and this will give you some options as to what you want to do with the car.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: daveismissing on March 31 2012, 12:47:50 PM
This is good stuff. Thanks Charlie.
Would a taller ball joint in stock arms improve geometry?
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on March 31 2012, 02:40:31 PM
Just going with a taller ball joint in the top or the bottom will help with the camber curve on the car. If you do a little research on the dirt car tech as well as hard track they've been doing it for qite a while. Granted that most of those guys are setting up to run only one way but it helps with the cornering effects if you apply it to both sides. The best option for the steer is a total difference of 1" taller. You can do it with .5" top and bottom or you can do just 1" on the bottom. That's up to you to decide.
 
If you look at the list you'll also see the bump steer correction kit is listed. One of the other issues these cars have is bump steer in the corners or just going down the road. You can get one of these kits from other places by you will pay roughly $100 more for the same parts but they will look prettier. :rolleyes;  If you do a little searching on bump steer on youtube you can get a better understanding of how to correct this problem as well as what kind of issues it can cause.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Top Speed on September 11 2013, 07:26:39 PM
Good info.  Nice write up.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: 1KWIKSIX on September 11 2013, 07:57:00 PM
I recently installed GBody Parts upper tubular control arms (with the greasable spherical steel bushings), also installed 1/2" taller upper ball joints & at the same time installed some UMI lower tubular control arms with Delrin bushings.


All I can say is WOW.  What a difference. Car handles alot better. Seems much tighter & responsive steering.
The instructions from UMI on the lower A-Arms says that their A-Arms feature alignment settings that cannot be achieved using the factory A-Arms.
My car was set up using their  recommended settings for "Street Performance"
-1/2 degree Camber & +5 degrees Caster -Driver Side / +5.5 degrees Caster - Passenger Side


Not sure how these number compare to the factory recommended settings ?


Haven't installed the bump steer kit yet though.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 11 2013, 10:11:53 PM
The factory parts can do a lot more camber and caster than after market manufactures are willing to admit. The factory settings for caster is supposed to be at 2.5 degrees with a +.5 degrees of camber. These are not performance specs by any means but are for the average grocery getter car. A good alignment tech will know the better specs from seeing a bunch of cars over the years and seeing how the tires wear.


You should've done the bump steer kit before  you did the alignment because once you do it and set it right then you'll need another alignment.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 13 2013, 07:37:56 PM
Do you have a similar write up for A bodies?
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 13 2013, 07:40:32 PM
I could probably do something for you if you want David, but I don't have one written up for them.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Steve Wood on September 13 2013, 07:52:25 PM
additional caster sure helps the stability at speed.....

This is an old trick that we have done for years

One can also install the Moog problem solver bushings in the uppers, but, reverse one from the normal way of install and increase the caster if the stock range of adjustment is not enough
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 13 2013, 08:14:24 PM
Offset axle bushing part number 916-3447
this number is NFG at speedway
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 13 2013, 08:29:55 PM
Sorry about that David, I fixed the number. It's 916-34047 that's the offset bushing. :icon_redface:
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 13 2013, 08:50:40 PM
I could probably do something for you if you want David, but I don't have one written up for them.
please do.
ill start a new thread for my car.
 
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 13 2013, 09:04:06 PM
Send me a PM with what's in the car now if you know or at least what engine and tranny came in it before you put everything together. Have you scaled the car yet to see where the weight sits yet?
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 23 2013, 05:18:17 PM
I already have the Tubular upper control arms and new upper Moog OE ball joints.
If i go with these
Quote
1" longer lower ball joint part number 0011277100. Howe.
and leave the rest of the steering components OE, What cons could i be facing?


Yes eventually everything is going to be changed but not yet.
Thanks for your help.
David.

BTW i checked Speedway and summit and none have this part number listed. :013:
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 23 2013, 08:08:15 PM
Do a search for that specific part number anywhere other than speedway. Speedway lists the parts in different ways than other sites David. I believe if you contact Jegs or one of the other speed shops they should be albe to look that number up.



You shouldn't have any problems if you don't use the bump steer correction kit. Everything else stays the same but using a 1" longer lower will drop the front of the car 1" rather than 1/2" in the front.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 23 2013, 08:57:31 PM
Do a search for that specific part number anywhere other than speedway. Speedway lists the parts in different ways than other sites David. I believe if you contact Jegs or one of the other speed shops they should be albe to look that number up.



You shouldn't have any problems if you don't use the bump steer correction kit. Everything else stays the same but using a 1" longer lower will drop the front of the car 1" rather than 1/2" in the front.
I tried an internet search and nothing.
i will eventually get the bump steer kit but not now.
i'll keep trying
Thanks
     
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 23 2013, 10:57:42 PM
I know I got that part number from speedway but they may have changed the designation. :013:  Now I'm going to have to look up a new number all over again. :068:
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 24 2013, 06:33:14 PM
 :rock: :rock: :cheers:
I know I got that part number from speedway but they may have changed the designation. :013:  Now I'm going to have to look up a new number all over again. :068:

yeaup 
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 24 2013, 09:42:49 PM
And I'm still working one one for your cheby David. :player:
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 24 2013, 09:55:29 PM
And I'm still working one one for your cheby David. :player:
Cool
BUT please get the info for the G-Body as that is only one of two parts that i am missing to get the car on the road for the first time since I've owned it.
BWT Thanks for all of your help.  :rock:   
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 24 2013, 10:13:10 PM
You can get different length ball joint studs for the Howe ball joints David. Call speedway directly and see what they say. You could also call Jegs and Summit with the same question.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 25 2013, 12:04:49 AM
You can get different length ball joint studs for the Howe ball joints David. Call speedway directly and see what they say. You could also call Jegs and Summit with the same question.
I called speedway today, The guy said that I have to call back in the AM to speak with a tech guy about this stuff.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 25 2013, 10:01:57 AM
i just ordered this from Speedway
Lower ball joint
1/2 taller Stud 7219037
Housing 72110509
Tool 72191103
they did not have a 1" taller set up.
       
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 26 2013, 08:51:49 AM
Charlie -- Help me out here
I got these 910-31134-R upper control arms not so long ago
this is what Speedway says about them in their description
 
Quote
When using on a drag race or S-10 application, consider using RH arm for both sides as both will be 8" long; arm can just be flipped over for LH side (RH arm is 8").
You listed this one 91034394  = 8.5 long. 
The one you listed is closer to stock and will keep the wheel closer to stock location?,
the one i got will pull in the top of the wheel. Isn't this the same thing that you would be trying to do with the the taller BJs??
My understanding (remember i am an idiot) is that the Taller ball joints push UP the upper control arm getting it close/closer to LEVEL so that in a bump the upper control arm JUST pulls the top of the wheel in towards the car. Instead of first pushing the top of the wheel out to then pull it back in once it passes the level point?
Would this be accurate? >> The way i see a the upper CA in a stock suspension-- Below level its short and as it gets closer to level it gets longer and once it gets passed the level point on its way up it gets shorter again.   

SO if one is trying to eliminate the top of the wheel from being pushed out why would one use the longer upper control arm VS. the shorter upper control arm??     

i also get that the taller bottom BJ also helps lower the ride height. 

Disclaimer -- I am NOT trying to know better or more than you. I am JUST trying to learn and hopefully understand how this crap works by asking questions.
Remember i am the resident dummy.
Thanks Dude.             
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 26 2013, 04:09:05 PM
The stock arm is 8.4" long and if you're doing drag only with stock joints then you'd be correct because the camber (amount the top of the wheels leans in or out) would move further in using an 8" arm. By using the taller ball joints this brings the length of the arm closer to stock so you can use stock alignment specs or reduce camber for better handing. Did that help David?
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 26 2013, 08:46:57 PM
The stock arm is 8.4" long and if you're doing drag only with stock joints then you'd be correct because the camber (amount the top of the wheels leans in or out) would move further in using an 8" arm. By using the taller ball joints this brings the length of the arm closer to stock so you can use stock alignment specs or reduce camber for better handing. Did that help David?

It helps a little
How do you think my set up (1/2 longer lower BJ and 8" arm) will work on the street?
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 26 2013, 11:20:08 PM
Shouldn't be an issue David. Any improvement in steering geometry helps these cars since they were set up originally as a family car rather than a high performance one.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TURBOPOWERED68 on September 27 2013, 07:33:28 AM
What do you suggest for shocks?

For now i am going to stick with these worn to shit springs as the car sits perfect.
i hope that a GOOD shock can help me extend their life.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on September 27 2013, 10:46:22 AM
Bilstien (sp) will give the best ride overall David, unless you want to get some adjustable ones. Adjustable ones will give you the chance to talor the ride the way you want but they are more $.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on August 04 2014, 10:59:22 PM
Updated all the part numbers and info guys and gals. :rock: Jason (good2win22) has most of the parts on his car and it handles well but doesn't ride rough. Best description I can give is firm but smooth. I'll let Jason tell you how it feels to him if he posts here. :cheers: There's a few other tricks in my bag and I'm working on the car again so I can hopefully get it together for the next Texas Buick Nations this spring. :player:
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: good2win22 on August 05 2014, 08:58:37 AM
Charlie is correct.  I do have most of this poor man's suspension recipe installed on my TB.  I went with a 1/2 inch longer upper ball joint and ended up only lowering the front of the car about 1/2 inch.  I also decided on the lighter set of springs.  That being said, the rear spring that is part of the lighter set, Moog 6377,is no longer available from Moog.  I went with a rear Moog spring 5379 that had similiar numbers.  The rear of the car sits about a 1/2 inch higher than the front.  Not that big of a deal but I do notice the rake the car has and I don't really car for it.  Would prefer that she sit level.  I removed the isolators from the rear springs and it brought it down to where she is sitting now.  Still need to work on the rear ride height.
 
I also intalled the S10 Blazer steering knuckle and brake setup at the same time as well as the bump steer kit.
 
As for the ride...  Night and day.  I had original 27 year old components in my suspension on the front.  In the rear, I had already purchased UMI upper and lower control arms with poly bushings.  I did keep the lowers arms but replaced the uppers with the baseline suspension kit.  Shocks all around are the Bilsteins that I ordered from Oreilly's.  Saved about 48 bucks on the shocks compared to other vendors
 
I owned, sold about a month ago, a 1989 Pontiac GTA optioned with the 350 and the WS6 suspension package and I can honestly say that my TB now handles as well if not better then the GTA did and doesn't give as harsh of a ride as the GTA did.
 
Now I just need to get to the track and see if this thing will hook up...
 
I've attached a list of what parts I used and where I got them from.  Keep in mind that this didn't come together in a day or week for that matter.  I don't do projects unless I have everything(or at least think I have everything) needed to complete it.  Took about a 4 months to get it all together and another month waiting to get over to Charlie's shop for an alignment.  Big thanks to Charlie for putting this recipe together!
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: jonasterg on February 25 2015, 10:54:40 AM
I followed this thread and the "Rebuild for Beginners" thread on TB.com to rebuild my suspension and steering.

Everything is going well, except I tweaked / bent my front passenger LCA when I pressed out the rear bushing.  If I can't straighten the LCA & bushing hole, I may replace the LCAs with new ones.

Any recommendation for some inexpensive LCAs?  I've already got bushing and ball joints, per the recommendation s earlier in this thread.  I'd rather get some empty LCAs and use the bushings / ball joints that I got from Speedway and Rock Auto.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on February 25 2015, 05:00:22 PM
All of the GM S series pickups have the same lower arm as well as the 3rd gen F body's.
Any of them will replace the lower arm and you can also find them from speedway motors. To the best of my knowledge no one is reproducing them so far. When you press the new bushings in you need to support the arm with a brace in the middle so you don't crush the mounting area.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: good2win22 on February 25 2015, 07:58:03 PM
Hit the junkyard!  If not able to due to weather or location, let me know and I'll snag you one out of my local treasure trove
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: jonasterg on February 25 2015, 08:51:31 PM
Charlie, thanks for the info.  I'm going to see if I can use a mallet and flat backing-plate to straighten my tweaked arm.  While pressing out the bushing, I had a brace in the center of the C-channel but I obviously didn't line things up correctly.  I'll be more careful on the driver's side, and when pressing in the new parts.


Jason, I'll see what I can do here before I bother you.  Thanks very much for the offer.  There aren't many yards around me (DC suburbs) so I'll keep trying to fix what I've got.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on February 25 2015, 10:17:54 PM
I use an air chistle to get the bushings out Jon. A little noisy but it's faster and doesn't damage the arm as easily as a press can.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: jonasterg on February 26 2015, 08:10:55 AM
Good advice.  Unfortunately I don't have access to any air tools so I'm stuck with my press.  I'll drill out the rubber first, for the driver's side bushing.  I'll also use a healthy dose of Kroil to loosen things up.
 
I also found some LCAs from a Chevy S10 Pickup (RWD) that look like they'll fit nicely.  If I can't get my arm flattened, or the driver's side gives me trouble, I might go that route instead.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on February 26 2015, 03:34:01 PM
If you have access to a torch you can burn the rubber out and then collapse the sleeve to get it out.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: good2win22 on February 26 2015, 03:35:06 PM
If you have access to a torch you can burn the rubber out and then collapse the sleeve to get it out.
That's how I got mine out
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: jonasterg on March 05 2015, 05:50:47 PM
A 2lb sledge, some scrap wood (as a backing plate), and patience... the control arm looks much better now.  I'm going to CAREFULLY press in, then out, the old bushing to see if the hole is in good shape.  If so, I'll put in the new parts tonight.  If not, I'll pick up an S10 control arm from Rock Auto and see how that goes.


Thanks everyone for your input and guidance.  I'll be much more careful when I tackle the driver's side suspension.


A special thank you to Charlief1 - between my Navy engineer salary and my wife's med residency, this is a very affordable way to rebuild my front end.  I sincerely appreciate the guidance here and on the "other board."
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Charlief1 on March 06 2015, 01:33:17 AM
Oh crap!!! :O I helped a squid? :chin: I may never live this down. :rofl: Glad I could help and if you feel like driving to Texas we'll show you a good time at the Texas Buick Nationals on May 9th. :cheers:
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: jonasterg on March 06 2015, 08:52:36 PM
Not a squid, I'm a civilian - someone's gotta do the lab work.  (...nerd!)  I try to make the ships survivable, so every squid that goes out comes back alive.

I'll actually be in Austin at the end of March for a vacation, but won't make it down in May.  Enjoy the May meet!  :cheers:
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: Handyman on June 09 2018, 05:20:50 PM
I was reading similar info on a S-10 forum and I believe someone indicated that if you use a longer lower bj it helps the bumpsteer and raises roll center which has more positive effect than just doing the extended upper. They also said if you do both extended bj's a tubular upper control arm is a must.

Is this true? Has anyone tried this?
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: TexasT on June 10 2018, 05:24:18 AM
Maybe jason/good2winn22 will chime in as he had a car with most of the mods including the fancy arms. I was just gonna do the longer upper 1/2" in the stock arm but haven't done it yet.
Title: Re: Poor mans suspension upgrade info.
Post by: good2win22 on June 10 2018, 12:48:02 PM
I was reading similar info on a S-10 forum and I believe someone indicated that if you use a longer lower bj it helps the bumpsteer and raises roll center which has more positive effect than just doing the extended upper. They also said if you do both extended bj's a tubular upper control arm is a must.

Is this true? Has anyone tried this?
You'll need to get at least a 1/2 inch longer upper control arm. If not, it really puts the upper ball joint at an extreme angle at normal ride height. I'm going from memory as I know longer own the car with all those mods. Good luck!