Front Suspension 101 - Third Generation F-Body Message Boards

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Front Suspension 101

Old 08-07-2005, 05:27 PM
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Front Suspension 101

1: ball joints - connects control arms to spindles

2: center link - connects inner tie rods to idler and pitman arms

3: control arms (A-arms) - supports springs, houses endlinks, ball joints, and control arm bushings

4: control arm bushings - connects control arms to frame

5: endlinks - connects control arms to sway bar

6: idler arm - connects center link to frame

7: pitman arm - connects center link to steering box

8: spindles - connects control arms to wheels and struts

9: sway bar - controls body sway

10: sway bar bushings - connects sway bar to frame

11: tie rods, outer - controls alignment and steering, connects to spindles. Outer tie rods have the grease fitting on the bottom of the pivot.

12: tie rods, inner - controls alignment and steering, connects to center link. Inner tie rods have the grease fitting on the side of the pivot.

13: tie rod sleeves - adjusts alignment, connects inner and outer tie rods
Attached Thumbnails Front Suspension 101-front-suspension-101.jpg  

Last edited by CaysE; 05-16-2011 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 08-07-2005, 05:39 PM
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Asterisks denote grease points.
Attached Thumbnails Front Suspension 101-front-suspension-101-.jpg  
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Old 08-07-2005, 07:40 PM
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that should answer any and all questions, good post
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Old 08-07-2005, 09:10 PM
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while it may not be the best thing for the balljoint or swaybar endlink... IF you are careful then sometimes putting the jackstands underneath the a-arms works out much better and gives you more room to work on underneath. It's possible to set it up so the jackstands don't break anything there, Just an idea.

Otherwise great post.
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Old 08-07-2005, 11:20 PM
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True, I do occassionally jack up the car from the spring perch itself.

Sticky?
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Old 08-08-2005, 07:27 AM
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This should be a "Sticky" at the top of this forum for sure.

Excellent post with great information everybody should know.

Thanks CaySe!
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Old 08-08-2005, 10:23 AM
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I went to your website and saw your car - did you realize you live 1 block away from me and I never knew it was you (until I saw your car)?
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Old 08-08-2005, 10:50 AM
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LOL, oh great, so you're one of the few that actually knows what a piece of crap my car is. I'll send you a PM, I don't think I've ever seen your car around here.
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:00 AM
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Don't worry - your car looks good from the outside.

Not counting this year, i have had my Camaro on the road during the April to November period - I'm surpirsed you haven't seen it.
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Old 08-17-2005, 02:31 PM
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why is this not a sticky yet?
This is by far the best post i've ever read, (espescially related to suspension...)
I regularly use the spring perch as a stand point, it gets the car much higher as the front suspension doesn't unload and "drop" as when you use the frame for example.

Thanks Cayse! (now where's the rear suspension one?)
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Old 08-19-2005, 12:18 AM
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another vote for a sticky, delte a couple of the chit-chat posts and its good to go
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Old 08-19-2005, 08:16 AM
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Endlinks question answered!

In various other threads, the question has come up on what size the endlinks should be when lowering a car. I was able to determine through some (rough) measurements, that the FRONT endlinks should be about 1/4" shorter for every inch the ride height is dropped. (It's actually a little under 1/4" for a little over an inch of drop, but these numbers will suffice). So for the Prokit springs, 1/4" shorter, and the Sportlines 1/2" shorter.

And wouldn't you know it, the Prothane endlinks that Spohn sells are about 3/8" shorter. This means they are perfectly fine for both Prokits AND Sportlines.

Again these numbers are approximate, but the swaybar position can be off a bit and not affect performance, so I don't see it being a problem. I haven't taken a look at the rears yet.

Stock vs Prothane:
Attached Thumbnails Front Suspension 101-endlinks.jpg  
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Old 08-21-2005, 07:32 PM
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Excellent post on front end parts. I got the front end kit from Spohn and I think they use heavy duty tie rod adjust sleeves. Thanks again for the class.
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Old 02-09-2007, 11:09 PM
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Why was this never turned into a sticky? I learned a lot after reading this post
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Old 02-11-2007, 01:00 AM
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another vote for sticky... great info and thanx for taking the time!
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Old 02-11-2007, 12:25 PM
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OK, OK I hear you. I have not seen this thread, as it is a couple of years old now. When I started looking through it, I thought wow, how did this one get by. Thanks CaysE.
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:24 AM
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Well, a few things:

You really shouldn’t jack under the sway bar bushings. If you’re lucky you’ll just crush them slightly causing them to bind, if you’re unlucky you’ll bend a preload into your bar.

Jacking and jackstands under the control arms is sometimes the best way of doing things, just make sure you’re very careful to place them in a way that they can’t move/slide off.

Finally, the end link lengths would be a lot more useful with actual lengths, rather the x shorter than stock, since I doubt many of us could come up with a stock endlink at this point anyway and I’d bet that most “stock replacements” are all sorts of different lengths..
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Old 03-26-2007, 02:54 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

do they make lowering spindles for 3rd gens? if so where can I find them? if not why?
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Old 03-28-2007, 05:09 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Not that I know of… the reason is that it will move various suspension points outside of the wheel lips making the car extremely dangerous if you had a flat tire.
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Old 04-05-2007, 02:29 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

now all you y rneed is a sticky of where to find good quality replacements for cheap...
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:53 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Originally Posted by 83 Crossfire TA View Post
...the end link lengths would be a lot more useful with actual lengths, rather the x shorter than stock, since I doubt many of us could come up with a stock endlink at this point anyway and I’d bet that most “stock replacements” are all sorts of different lengths..
The only part of the endlink of concern is the spacer sleeve in the middle. The Prothane spacer is 1+3/4" long, while the stock spacer (on a '92 RS) is ~2+1/8" long. As long as there's enough thread on the bolt, you can continue to shorten the sleeve about 1/4" for every additional inch the car is dropped to keep the swaybar flat (1+3/8" sleeve for a 3" drop in front, for instance).
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Old 06-20-2007, 03:45 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Very useful tips. As far as a good place to find stock replacemnet parts, Moog offers high quality replacement parts that are much thicker and beefier in most cases that stock.
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Old 09-19-2007, 11:16 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

i got some REALLY NICE 1LE endlinks off of TDS awhile back... i think they were like 40 bucks apiece, but they're zinc-coated and really beefy with some stiff nylon bushings that's lasted a year and a half now and still look great. they were at least a 1/4" shorter than the ones i took off the car, but work fine on my stock height car. nothing but a 36mm sway and wonderbar up front.
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Old 09-29-2007, 07:24 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Saw a post requesting a picture with the IROC replacement springs installed. I bought the springs from NAPA for a bit under $70, other new parts installed but the ride height was not affected by that. The springs raised the car at least an inch too high, I'm hoping it will sag an inch or so pretty quick. (Poor picture, poor digital camera)
Attached Thumbnails Front Suspension 101-newsprings.jpg  
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Old 11-06-2007, 01:09 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Originally Posted by 83 Crossfire TA View Post
Well, a few things:

Finally, the end link lengths would be a lot more useful with actual lengths, rather the x shorter than stock, since I doubt many of us could come up with a stock endlink at this point anyway and I’d bet that most “stock replacements” are all sorts of different lengths..
I read in "How to Make Your Car Handle" that the spacer length is determined by keeping the sway bar parallel to the ground at ride height.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:24 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

tips on removing coil springs without the factory J-23028 tool, and should i go with stock z28 coil spring or go iroc springs?
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:47 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Originally Posted by Mr.Wolf View Post
tips on removing coil springs without the factory J-23028 tool, and should i go with stock z28 coil spring or go iroc springs?
Warning you can kill your self. If at anytime you feel unsafe or something is going to slip STOP.


With the car on jack stands. stand placed on frame rail inline with door hinges.
remove sway bar links.
remove nuts for the a-arm to frame bolts. Then put a floor jack under the spring perch. Lightly jack up perch untill tension of off the a-arm bolts. Remove the bolts.
Carefully lower the jack. The springs should be loose.
loosen the top nut for the strut. make sure there is no spring pressure on the strut.
remove the nut.
remove springs.
If your putting the sportline springs in. You can install the strut nut. And then put springs into the sub frame. The stock springs are longer and will not fit, unless the strut is off as well.
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Old 04-26-2008, 07:43 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Any input about air vs. gas struts(front, of course) on an 87 iroc z28.i put air shocks on rear end. how is the ride with air struts, bouncy?
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:54 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

That's more like Front Suspension 404, not exactly beginner's territory.
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:45 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101



Too bad I just greased everything two days ago, it would have been easier if I saw this first! ...

I like the color coded diagram...
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Old 10-03-2008, 03:30 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

i have a 87 berlinetta... i know sorry. but i have 245/55/16 mounted on WS6 wheels on the back and 215/55/16 up front. now when i pull outta my drive way or where evere with my wheels turned it rubs.
Now i was wondering if IROC's had different contorl arms?
My friend has 245's up front on his and they dont rub
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:09 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

here's my thoughts. 1st, are your front struts good? they can get week and lower front end a little bit. after that i'd say, my 87 iroc rides on 225/55/16 on front and 255/55/16 on back. i have original rims. my front right only rubs cause i need to screw/secure the wheel well liner back down. this means i only have 1/4 inch clearance. so really my tires don't rub. i don't know about other makes like rally or berlinetta being different. i'd say sell it and get a Z28 3rd gen. ha ha ha. good luck...
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:52 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

lightwolf - Your car is probably a coupe as the Berlinetta was discontinued in 86...... More to the point: Are the 16" wheels on the front of the car marked "FRONT". The 16" wheels have different offsets for the front and rear wheels. Factory 16" wheels should NOT be rubbing.

If the correct wheels are installed on the right hubs than it's possible there is some damage somewhere causing the rub. The control arm, fenders or even the frame might be "tweeked' just enough to cause the tires to rub when cornering. It could also be a problem with the internal "stops" inside the steering box or improperly installed tie rods. On some F-Body's I'v owned the front wheels will SLIGHTLY rub on the plastic fender well - but that is usually the result of the plastic fender well being a bit warped or installed wrong.

Take a good look at the front end and find out exactly where the rub is occuring......it might help lead you to where the problem is originating !

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Old 02-04-2009, 07:36 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

i know this is an old post, but im kinda new to this forum. I have a 87 camaro that im trying to get the factory front coil springs back into. do i just un bold the a-arm to put the spring back in? or will i need some kind of compressors? the inner type? THANK YOU so much!! I really need help!!
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:16 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Originally Posted by redmaro173 View Post
i know this is an old post, but im kinda new to this forum. I have a 87 camaro that im trying to get the factory front coil springs back into. do i just un bold the a-arm to put the spring back in? or will i need some kind of compressors? the inner type? THANK YOU so much!! I really need help!!
Lol good question to end on?? How did u do it then?
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:34 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Unless he unbolted the a-arm and then used a jack to compress the spring using the weight of the car, he would have needed to use the inner type spring compressor.
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:53 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Unbolting the A-arm is a piece of cake for drop springs, but putting stock ones in takes some struggling since they're pretty tall.
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:01 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Originally Posted by CaysE View Post
Unbolting the A-arm is a piece of cake for drop springs, but putting stock ones in takes some struggling since they're pretty tall.
I have a parts car almost down to the shell. I had taken the drivers sd spindle off , but never dropped the A arm bolts (just at the ball joint). It wasn't pretty. As I dropped the jack down and the A arm started to swing towards 90 degrees the spring still had some tension. So I pry it out till it shot like a bullet. It did hit my hand but dint hurt too bad. Funny thing was that I learned thats not the best way to do it lol.

I got 200k on my set up, & thought struts would be good but reading on, springs are recomended a lot. Darn it. So one inch lowering springs will give me stock ride till they are broke in, and sag some???

Last edited by STRIKER911; 10-23-2009 at 02:03 PM. Reason: Wrong
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:39 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

I would do dampers and springs at the same time and make sure they complement each other. For example, KYB GR-2 or Koni reds would match well with Eibach Prokit springs, but would wear out faster if matched with Sportline springs which are lower and softer.

If you only have money to do one or the other, I would do struts and shocks first.

Springs don't settle THAT much. The issue is that stock springs have sagged over time so they're already lower than they were when new, so lowering springs sometimes don't look like they lowered the car. Handling will be greatly improved though.
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Old 10-23-2009, 11:23 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Originally Posted by CaysE View Post
I would do dampers and springs at the same time and make sure they complement each other. For example, KYB GR-2 or Koni reds would match well with Eibach Prokit springs, but would wear out faster if matched with Sportline springs which are lower and softer.

If you only have money to do one or the other, I would do struts and shocks first.

Springs don't settle THAT much. The issue is that stock springs have sagged over time so they're already lower than they were when new, so lowering springs sometimes don't look like they lowered the car. Handling will be greatly improved though.
Thanks for the info. Helps a lot since I was thinking that the one inch lowering springs would be the way to go. Since I did put the kyb gt2's on it this summer That would have not been a good match. So ya, thanks.

Id love the car to handle better then stock, but shoot its so much better then the mustang I have with everything being worn. lol. So im good as long as its better then what it is now, with 200k on everything except the struts, and shocks.
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Old 10-25-2009, 12:49 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

I had posted this question elsewhere ( to no response ) so I thought I'd try it here.
What is the preferred camber setting for a typically driven OEM outfitted (a-arms, spindles,struts) street car?
I've read about an adjustment to the factory spec that helps reduce the excessive outside tire wear common with the 3rd gens.
Twice now I've rebuilt front ends on these cars, ALL componenets replaced right down to the a-arm bushings and strut mounts and gone to a reputable shop to have an alignment done. Both times I end up with premature outside tire tread wear. The vehicle does have a 2" dropped spring set. Could the problem be there?
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:51 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Originally Posted by skinny z View Post
I had posted this question elsewhere ( to no response ) so I thought I'd try it here.
What is the preferred camber setting for a typically driven OEM outfitted (a-arms, spindles,struts) street car?
I've read about an adjustment to the factory spec that helps reduce the excessive outside tire wear common with the 3rd gens.
Twice now I've rebuilt front ends on these cars, ALL componenets replaced right down to the a-arm bushings and strut mounts and gone to a reputable shop to have an alignment done. Both times I end up with premature outside tire tread wear. The vehicle does have a 2" dropped spring set. Could the problem be there?
Yep thats the deal dude. If u lower it then factory numbers wont work. I know at firestone they go by factory settings. I know cause I had to yell at the manager one day when i got mine worked on. Still pulled to the right. he said "well we get our info from the book" lol. U can also read this thread for more info.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:37 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

If you want truly proper adjustment with a 2-inch drop, it's best to get some LCA relocation brackets welded up, and do the whole package for the rear: adjustable LCAs, adjustable panhard bar, and adjustable torque arm. For the front, you probably need to modify your toe setting if you have outside wear. Typically, a drop will induce negative camber, causing more wear on the inside, but the steering arms will cause more toe-in.

Have you noticed if the strut mounts are at full negative camber when you have outside wear?

Last edited by CaysE; 10-26-2009 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:27 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Can someone list all the tool recomended to do this job? Further more I have had yet to find a front end kit that includeds a pittman arm. If I do this job myself i would have everything off and am wondering why wouldn't I replace the pittman while I was doing all this. Do they generally not go out?
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:25 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Originally Posted by rpred View Post
Can someone list all the tool recomended to do this job? Further more I have had yet to find a front end kit that includeds a pittman arm. If I do this job myself i would have everything off and am wondering why wouldn't I replace the pittman while I was doing all this. Do they generally not go out?
The pitman arm doesn't have a bushing or bearing in it, so there's no need to replace it.

This isn't just one job, really (unless you're replacing absolutely everything). Most of the time, people will replace the steering links or the swaybar, and you would need a few wrenches and sockets for either, and a grease gun for the steering links. A-arms are more involved, since you'll need a press to change the bushings and ball joints.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:02 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

I just pulled out my lower front control arms to replace the bushings.
The original 86 IROC GM bushings are the exact same as the MOOG replacements #K6253. They have the same 'cast in the rubber" ID number and the same markings & stampings on the outer metal sleeve.
Nice to know since the GM units are no longer made!
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:48 AM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Here's a nice and safe way to get the springs in and out without wrestling with a universal spring compressor. I fabricated a tool that fits up through the A-arm and spring into the 'key' up in the K member. The 'key' looks like a T cut from 3/8" plate with a threaded rod welded to the bottom of the T. The T goes up into the K member, turns 1/4 turn, then sits down into the formed recess.
I imagine this is how the factory does it. The threaded rod extends down through the A-arm spring pocket and through a flat plate (5x5").
Just tighten it up to compress the spring, remove A-arm bolts (use an air chisel), then back off the nut on the threaded rod. Works perfectly, and is SAFE! Allowed me to beat out the bolts that were a bitch to get out without having a jack in the way. Reverse to reinstall.

Here's the pics.

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...ompressor.html

I should have made the threaded rod an inch or 2 longer...so 16 to 17" long overall.
You can see how it fits into the K-member.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:38 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

How do you drop the whole front K member?
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:07 PM
  #49  
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Re: Front Suspension 101

thanks!!
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:23 PM
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Re: Front Suspension 101

Is there anything that can cause one side to sit higher than the other? Maybe a bent piece?

My car seems to squat in the back-driver side and the front-pass side has way to much gap between the fender and tire. I replaced the rear shocks and springs last week and it made no difference. It really seems like somethings got the front passenger side cocked up. I'm really hoping this isn't frame issue.
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