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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been lurking for a while, reading up on some of the posts here. Great info, lots of knowledgeable people on this site. I'm in the process of a B-Body buildup, but a little older than most on this board. I just want to make sure I'm heading on the right course, and see if anyone sees a problem, or from what they've done in the past if I should go a different direction.

Since this is mostly suspension related, I figured I'd post it here, but there'll be a dabbling in other areas too. Hopefully that's Kosher with the moderators?

The basics -
I've got an '82 Caprice, similar underpinnings to the later bubble Caprices and Impala SS's. Apparently similar enough to have suspension parts interchange. A few months back I've swapped in a 350/700R4 combo in place of the small 267 V-8 and 3-speed auto. Once I had that in there, it became obvious that I'd need a regear since the 2.41's in there are just too tall with the overdrive. I was surfing e-bay, and found a rear end from a '96 Impala SS (which'll bolt in apparently). It was local enough for me to pick it up, and the price was right. So now I'll have 3.08's, posi (stock one still feels tight) and something much stronger than the 7.5 ring gear that's in there now.

I saw the UMI control arms advertised on e-bay. I was going to get them and a rear swaybar, but nothing too stiff (it'll be an upgrade over nothing that's there now). Will the 91-96 swaybars work on the earlier Caprices? Since the rear is from a '96, and the control arms say they'll fit 77-96, I don't see why not, unless I'm missing something.

Also, I was hoping to get a set of Impala SS springs for a little drop, and a little stiffer suspension. Is there a big difference between the box and bubble Caprice weights? If so, I may go with a stock Caprice spring, 9C1 springs, or something completely different.

I'm also using 96 9C1 control arms and spindles in the front, with the larger ball joint. Same question about the Impala SS springs, is that too much drop or not the right spring?

Once I had all those parts together I realized I had the ABS sensors in the front wheels and rear differential. If I get the pump and ABS controller out of an earlier 90's Caprice with the stand-alone ABS system, would there be any reason it wouldn't work if I gave it power in the right places? What years Caprice had the standalond system, I've read 91-94, but don't want to dig apart a car at a junkyard and find out it's not what I need.

Since the older Caprices had the 5x4-3/4 bolt pattern, I'm going to get bigger wheels. Since I'll have disc brakes on the rear I don't want to get a set of wheels that won't fit. I was hoping to stick with 15" steel wheels, like what comes on the 9C1 cars with disc brakes in the rear. Would any 15" 5x5 steel wheel fit over the rear discs? Might go with the 17" Impala SS stock rims in the future, but this conversion is enough of a budget strain right now.

Also, along with the disc question, I've read that the Impala SS used the same proportioning valve as the drum brake Caprices. True? If so, would I need to change my valve, or should I just get one from an Impala SS and be done with it (which I was planning on doing anyway).

With the brakes comes the different type of flare fittings. Are the bubble flares everywhere (proportioning valve, distribution block above rear axle, ABS pump, etc.) or is it only on the caliper end? Are the front brakes using the metric bubble flare too? I was hoping to get a set of the Rustic Racing braided stainless brake lines, and really want to know what I'd need before taking my daily driver off the road for a few days/weeks.

Thanks in advance for any information you can offer!


Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Control arms and bars : correct.

Weights are similar, box is a little lighter. SS springs would be a good start.

ABS : I guess "in theory" you could add it...I personally think it'd be quite the wiring project though!

SOME 15" steel wheels will clear, some won't. Issue is usually caliper clearance on the REAR brakes. 9C1 wheels clear (obviously), beyond that it is a lot of trial-and-error. The vast majority of 16"+ wheels should clear.

Not sure on the brake flare issue. For proportioning, a "bolted" (i.e. gutted and stealth bolt) proportioning valve should do the trick.

Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Originally posted by AutocroSSer:
SOME 15" steel wheels will clear, some won't. Issue is usually caliper clearance on the REAR brakes. 9C1 wheels clear (obviously), beyond that it is a lot of trial-and-error. The vast majority of 16"+ wheels should clear.
Ed is correct... but I would say MOST insted of SOME. If you can post up what wheel you're thinking about using... I'm sure someone around here has tried it ;)
I run the Diamond Racing 15" steels with my drag tires. There was slight scraping on the rear caliper (aluminum)... but nothing a few minutes with a sanding wheel on a die grinder wouldn't take care of.

The factory 94-96 Impala SS wheels can be had pretty cheap and would be a nice look on a boxy.

Please post some pix up as the project moves along. I have sold some front control arms to boxy owners... but I've never gotten pix back of the finished projects.

Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. The rims I've been planning on using were 15" steel wheels, I'll try and stick with the 9C1 wheels to make sure I have the clearance. If a set of Impala wheels comes up cheap and local, I'd jump at the chance, but 15's are more in budget.

For the ABS, I was planning on pulling the computer, pump, wiring harness and sensors from the donor. Should be almost a plug-in swap, but I'd like to take a look over a wiring diagram first. I figure all it needs is 12V power, and inputs from the three speed sensors. Oh, and the ABS logo on the trunk

I've already got the Rustic Racing 5/8 ball joints to go in the 9C1 arms, and will be placing an order for other parts soon. Do the later steering components interchange (tie rods, center link, etc.) or should I stick with the older style parts? Would the later parts be stronger or an overall better upgrade?

Will keep an eye out for Impala SS springs now. Are there any direct replacements still available new, or is my best choice used ones?

I'll be sure to post up some pictures when I get a little further. Not much to look at right now, typical Caprice with 25 year old paint. Mechanically it's a little better though!
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