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Discussion Starter #1
I will be replacing the front shocks, springs, brakes, and bearings before the end of August. As of right now the only problem I have with the front end is that the bearings are shot. I am replacing the shocks and springs to get ready for the big block swap in September. Other than the brakes being old and the springs being too soft the car handles very well.

The existing bushings do look like 35 year old pieces of cracked and frayed rubber though. Should I go through the trouble of tearing out and rebuilding the front end now before I do the swap or wait until something wears out. At this point the cost of the bushing set is not an issue.
 

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Here's what I did when I dropped the Rat in my 70.
I took the a-frames to a shop and had new bushings installed. I thought It's all apart so why not. Do it all at once instead of one a part at a time. I also replaced all the ball joints. If you do take the a-frames off count the shims and reinstall them in the same place as this will get your alignment close enough to drive it to a shop and have it set.
 

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X3- do it while it's apart. I used Poly-graphite on the front, due to the heat from the headers. I thought they would stand up better than rubber.
 

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Check your control arms for cracks and nicked edges that can lead to cracks!

Doug
 

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it all depends actually.

If you like taking things apart more than once, then I'd wait. :poke:

otherwise, do it all now while it's apart. don't forget new ball joints too. and do as OTS says and check for cracks and other problems with the A arms while you have them out. those cracks can be real hard to see then the A arm is imbedded in a tree!! :???:

(I got lower ball joints and polyurethane control arm bushings from speedway for $62 incl shipping!)

btw, it took a guy at a local shop (he had 18 yrs experience) 7.5 hrs, using press and torch, to get the original bushings and lower ball joints out of the control arms for my 83 elkie.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Keyser thats more the point I was getting at. Personally I dont want to do it. But I also don't want to pay someone to do it. The problem with my car is that it has been undercoated 10 times and using an open flame around it is a real no go. I have a 5lbs extinguisher under my seat for a reason.






I am going to talk about it to the shop swapping in the motor for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Also OTS I did see fauxrs' post about his A arm snapping. I'm guessing that it put everyone who has not rebuilt their suspension on edge.
 

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Actually, I bought a book by Mark Savitske (How To Make Your Muscle Car Handle) and in chapter 4 (pg.74-75) he talks about broken lower A-arms, some of which are caused by nicks in 40-year old A-arms. Fauxrs' post was a real time eye openner though!

Doug
 

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allow me to be more clear.....

I pulled the control arms off of the car (keeping each set of alignment shims labeled and separated), then took the control arms and new lower ball joints and new poly bushings down to my local shop. They took the old ones out and put the new ones in.

I had cleaned them up as much as possible before I took them to the shop, then cleaned them again and painted them before reinstalling them. The shop checked them for problems, and made sure not to bend them at all during the whole process, they were just SERIOUSLY rusted in there!!!

the shop told me they would do it for $35, but they added another $25 to that because it took one guy all day (on a friday) to do it. Also, I went back the following Monday, and took them 3 large pizzas for lunch to show my gratitude. We all agreed that I would still be beating on them today if I had tried to do it myself.

:buttkick:

btw, once it was all back together, I took it and got it aligned, and it had 1/8" too little toe-in on the pass side, all the rest was dead on. I replaced everything that moved or got pivoted on under the front end except the steering box itself
 

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70 El Camino

My son (16 years old) and I (old and out of shape, well round is a shape isnt it?) started on Saturday at 8:00 am and finished on Sunday midnight. We re-built the front end including upper and lower ball joints, all control arm Bushings, coils, rotors, brakes, bearings, shocks, center link, tire rod ends, drag link, sway bar bushings and end links. The only thing we kept was the sway bar. Had the toughest time removing and re-installing the bushings. When all said and done the vehicle runs straight with no pulling. Off to get a professional alignment.

It was a job. Glad it is over.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Alright, well that is a pretty convincing percentage of people in favor of me replacing them now. I'm going to the store tomorrow so I will see what they have available.

Now another possibly more split decision question. If the local shops are going to charge me $100+ just to press the old/new bushings(that was the low quote, did a little calling around today), and I can get a cheapy 12 ton hydraulic press for $200. Does it make more sense just to buy the press?
 

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yes, get the press!

you will find a use for it about once a month, including this kinda work for friends that you can charge $50 for doing. 4 friends and the press is free

:poke:
 

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Another option is to rent the tools from your local Autozone. Or you could make your own out of 7/16 all thread (Acme thread is better), some large sockets and some big washers/nuts. That's how I did mine.
 

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My shop charged me $60 for the A-frame bushings and lower ball joints. Just sayin':beer:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The shops up hear charge out mechanics at $75-100/hr. Usually with a $50 base charge on all work.
 
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