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Discussion Starter #1
The passenger-side rear lower control arm snapped last week pulling in to the Wendy's parking lot across from ImpalaFest last week. If ever there was a good place to break down this was it.

The broken arm was swapped out in the hotel parking lot with the help of some truly wonderful folks:
Mark Michna - donated his old control arms
LeClair Kirby - use of his compressor and impact wrench
Steve & Misty Koinm - use of his jack, jack stands, tools & muscle
Ed Runnion - advice & muscle

Thanks again!! :D

Here is what the damage looks like:





I called Frank @ BMR on Monday and he was very helpful. He said all I need to do is send the old controls back & he would have a new set shipped out to me upon receipt - no questions asked. I swapped out the other control arm today so I will be sending them out tomorrow. I must say that Frank was a pleasure to deal with!

The only thing is that now I think I'm going to switch to GW lower control arms. Especially now that I know how to remove/install them thanks to Ed & Steve!! So, I'll probably have a set of new BMR standard length control arms for sale soon.

So far so good...
 
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Discussion Starter #2
db,I have GW control arms ,which are generally considered the best.BMR `s are considered the best budget arms for the money.I think you get what you pay for.I have been happy with my GW with no problems.When you see the construction of the GW arms you will see what I mean.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
How old are they and do you autoX? I had heard of some F-body guys breaking them and some b-body guys having bushing troubles but yours is the first breakage I have seen in a b-body. Heck I saw them on SSonics car and he has done some roadcourse stuff and runs low 12s. Just wonder if yours was a freak thing or something that will become more common with age.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
I can't get the pics to work. :(

Sorry to hear about the failure. Hopefully it's just a fluke...
 
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Discussion Starter #5
From the pictures it looks like some rust had formed first around part of the circumference. Like it was cracked for a little while before it broke.I was considering the same LCA and BMR's rear sway bar[1 1/2 inch] before I saw this. I'm trying to balance a 1 7/16 Hotchkis front bar with the larger rear bar. Did you use a large rear bar?
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Where you running the HA rear bar. I had the same thing happen to me. The break probably occurred from my HA rear bar. The upgraded bar will allow the bolt to pass completely thru the control arm and fastened with a nut at the top. Also switch to a larger washer to distribute the load.

Frank was also thinking the the weld around the mounting pad for the sway bar may have weakend the control arm itself. They have switched to a thick wall tube thickness also.

Glad it happened for you in a parking lot.

Hats off to fellow members that were able to give you a hand.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Originally posted by 96capriceMGR:
and some b-body guys having bushing troubles
I just replaced the front bushings in my lower BMR bars. They looked like partially ground up meat. One was coming out around the edges of the tube in pieces. You could feel the car wobble when you unloaded the suspension on the open road. BMR sent me a new set for $19, and its a completely new design. REALLY much better.

I'd say you picked a great place to have 'em break. What a star studded pit crew!! :D

Gerry-
 
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Discussion Starter #8
96capriceMGR - I have never autoXed - just some trips down the 1/8 mile strip and spirited driving on the highwayy:D Nothing that I would expect to cause this.

scot - Yes, it does look like there was a 'hairline' crack near the weld that was there for some time. That spot has quite a bit of rust/discoloration while the rest of the bar is shiny & new. And yes, I used probably the largest rear bar - the HA rear bar.

NeverFollow - Yep, I was running the HA rear bar on the old design BMR control (as you can see in the pics). Maybe the HA bar is too much for that design? Or maybe you & I were just unlucky :(

Gerry - I had that same exact problem about 2 months ago. The car handled horribly and it turned out to be a damaged bushing. The new bushings DID make a difference but I guess I'll never know how well they will hold up now!
 
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Discussion Starter #9
96capriceMGR - I forgot to answer your first question, they have been on the car for about 3 years.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Wow - I'd better keep an eye on my BMR arms :eek: Looks like the swaybar mount did a good job serving as a stress riser. It'd also be interesting to know what sort of post-weld heat-treat, if any, was applied to the part.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Originally posted by 96capriceMGR:
How old are they and do you autoX? I had heard of some F-body guys breaking them and some b-body guys having bushing troubles but yours is the first breakage I have seen in a b-body. Heck I saw them on SSonics car and he has done some roadcourse stuff and runs low 12s. Just wonder if yours was a freak thing or something that will become more common with age.
Err... I hate being first.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
I was wondering how much we could stiffen these cars and not break something.I have
mine so stiff that when I jack up the front on either side the rear tire on the same side
comes completely off the floor.It handles nice and curves are fun but can it stay this way
without breaking something,time will tell.I have G.W.control arms,Malibu rear bar with
9c1 springs on the rear,on the front I have G.W. springs,B.M.R bar and HAL shocks front
and rear.Any guess as to how long it will take me to break something?
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Originally posted by dbonser:
Gerry - I had that same exact problem about 2 months ago. The car handled horribly and it turned out to be a damaged bushing. The new bushings DID make a difference but I guess I'll never know how well they will hold up now!
Yep, the new bushings I ordered off BMR WEB ORDER PAGE were $19. They at first came with the incorrect size metal insert ( .500 versus .560 ), but BMR QUICKLY corrected that! The new bushings are a different design, and don't have that rubber lip that extends over the top outer edge of the tube. I like the new style better. Mine had about 30k miles on them, 2 years old, and probably 25 1/4 mile passes on them.

Oh, and the passenger side wasn't as bad, but still was torn inside. So I'm guessing that just because you don't see damage from the outside doesn't necessarily mean there is not a problem. I could FEEL mine on the open road, smooth driving at about 60 when I'd completely back off the throttle the back end of the car would wobble. Creepy feeling... :eek:

Wonder if your earlier bushing failure led to stress which ultimately caused the bar to break on you ? :(

Gerry-
 
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Discussion Starter #17
-Have you given any thought to the Metco aluminum LCA's ?

They are beast-like in size will not rust, and utilize a GW-type bushing assembly at each end.

I like mine.

-Jay
 
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Discussion Starter #18
They are beast-like in size will not rust, and utilize a GW-type bushing assembly at each end.
Just a note : they don't use the same type of bushings (or even remotely close!) to the GW arms. The Metcos still use what everyone else uses : Greasable poly bushings on both ends. In contrast, the GW arms use a Del-a-lum on the back and lined spherical bushing (neither of which contains any polyurethane OR rubber whatsoever!) in them.

In other words, the Metcos are decent but the GW arms are still nicer
.

Of course, if you meant something besides "Global West" when you said "GW" (Greasable W*** ?), then disregard the first paragraph of this reply.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Originally posted by Eric Bryant:
Wow - I'd better keep an eye on my BMR arms :eek: Looks like the swaybar mount did a good job serving as a stress riser. It'd also be interesting to know what sort of post-weld heat-treat, if any, was applied to the part.
Agreed, the abrupt section change plus the weld right across the tube in an area other than the ends is just asking for trouble in my book.

Judging by the blue heat mark on the inside there was zero heat treat or normalizing after fabrication.
I think I will stick with 2x3 rectangular tubing thanks. Round wall tubing is great until you start welding things in the middle.

Gerry
 
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Discussion Starter #20
-No Ed, you got it right. I mis-spoke. The poly insert encased in aluminum on the Metco's looks similar enough to the GW bushings in my front control arms that I was comfortable describing them as GW "type". I wasn't thinking about the misleading aspects of the statement. Just trying to describe the appearance of the pieces in this discussion about breakage - and rust as a possible contributor. There are no Del-Alum bushings on my Metco LCA's.

There is also no rust, or welds, or breakage.

And I agree, the Metco's are decent, but the GW's are still nicer.

-Jay
 
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