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Discussion Starter #1
I'll be redoing my front end with the pst kit, and had a question about the control arm bushings. From what I've read, it's easiest & fastest to have a shop do the bushings. I would like to do it myself, but I'm looking to make this a two-three day project, some people have run into trouble. I want to paint the upper/lower arms with POR-15 too. Do I remove both the upper & lower arms, paint, take to shop, have them press out the old and press in the new? Thanks!
 
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Discussion Starter #2
Yes, have a shop do it. My buddy and I did it with a 12-ton arbor press, but it's scary. Those bushings POP when they let loose, and as you dive for cover you'll think something broke. One was actually seized and we ended up bending the upper a-arm because of it, despite having a spacer in place. Fortunately, a local junk yard had an arm in stock for me for $25. Also, the lower inner bushings are supposed to have a flair to hold them in place, which gets kind of funky but any competent shop should have the flairing tool. The lower ball joints are also somewhat of a bear, although Autozone will loan you a ball joint press that looks like a giant c-clamp that works OK. But if a shop would do all the R&R labor for $50 or $75 I would probably go that route next time. I would paint last since all the handling and pressing will leave nicks in the fresh paint.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply, I thought this topic would go the way of the Mohicans. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but to get an idea of what to ask the shop, I can remove both the upper & lower control arms, then have the shop do all the r&r'ing, bushings & balljoints?
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Yep... that's the easiest... just take all 4 of the arms off and carry them in. However... around here it seems it would be $100-$125 to get all 8 bushings and the 2 ball joints done. Call around to see who can do it and at what price.

With my tubular arms there is no worries about bending the arms... the bushing "housings" are tubular also and won't give. If I could only get the damn things into smooth production :rolleyes: :mad:
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I can't speak on the price having done it myself, although I might even consider $100 - $125 in light of the difficulty in doing it yourself. I don't think you can even get the bushings out without a good press. But for any competent machine shop it should be a cake walk -- just remember that this front suspension design was on every GM car from the 1950's up through the 1990's. If you bought a kit from PST you may have noticed that the same part number applies to 20 years' worth of full-sized Chevys.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
lOOse...

I'm in process of doing this exact same thing to my 95 SS. I paid a local guy here $85.00 to do my upper and lower arms. I think anything under $100.00 would be reasonable.

Let me know how you make out. I have family in Waterford, we're practically neighbors dude!

I'll be re-assembling this weekend if the weather permits...talk later and good luck!
 
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Discussion Starter #7
How much would the extreme kit with bushings cost to get installed you think? A reasonable price at a shop that is.

Those tubular arms look great...someday I might just get some =)
 
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Discussion Starter #8
To get the front end rebuilt, I would expect maybe 500 bucks at a good shop. That's 65*8hrs labor. That said, I just got off the phone with a shop, and they said expect 1.5 hrs to do the balljoints and bushings, at 65 an hour. But from what I've read, that's a worthwhile 100 bucks. The additional 4 or 500 it would cost to do the whole thing though I can spend on other things to make it easier to go faster and abuse the new suspension. :D
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Another question, since I'll be having a shop do the arms, what special tools should I pick up from Autozone. I'm not going to need a press anymore. I figure I'll need a spring compressor, what about a pickle fork, and a puller of some sort? Anything else? (besides bandaids)
 
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Discussion Starter #10
I'm leaving work in a bit to start the removal of my front end. Having read many conflicting posts, this is my last shot at getting advice. I hope to remove the front control arms, upper & lower tonight to take into a shop tomorrow to do the r&ring, any advice on how to do the removal and replacement? And as asked above, since a shop is doing the r&ring of bushings & balljoints, what should I go to Autozone for and rent as far as special tools? I'm doing everything, springs, shocks, tierods, idler arm, (centerlink is still pretty new), bushings, balljoints, swaybar, endlinks, the skin on my hands... Right, so, any takers on this? Otherwise, wish me luck, it's gonna be a long weekend. Also, most productive beers for this sort of project?
 
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Discussion Starter #11
OK -- putting aside the bushing R&R, here's what you'll need:

1. Removing front springs. Some use a spring compressor. Can be done on these cars with just a floor jack under the LCA and a block of wood to protect the LCA. Lower floor jack CAREFULLY once the shock is disconnected and the LCA to frame bolts are removed. Many posts on this technique. If renting a spring compressor you should get the kind where the threaded rod fits inside the spring. There is another type which uses 2 threaded rods on the outside of the spring, but I don't think it will fit / be useable.

2. Removing shocks. A shock bolt tool is useful for removing the OEM shocks. Some people just break or cut the shaft. That works too. Shock bolt tool is about $6 at an auto parts store. Hard to describe, but you'll see what it's for when you get in there. Installation may use that same tool (depending on type of shock) or a allen/hex socket head and a ratcheting box end wrench used together. Remember to turn the nut and NOT the shock shaft. Many posts on this too.

3. Separating tie rods. Use a "tie rod separator", also known as a pickle fork. There are also little mini screw presses for this job, but they're hard to find. The world at large seems to use the brute force approach with the fork, since they're going to replace the part anyway.

4. Separating upper and lower ball joints from the steering knuckles (also know as uprights). Unless you want to take the entire assembly to the shop with both control arms hanging off it, you'll have to do this. Techniques range from pounding the knuckle with a big hammer to shock the fitting loose, using the pickle fork (destroys the ball joint boot -- but shouldn't matter), or renting a ball joint press from Autozone, etc.

5. Removing upper and lower control arm bolts. Some big wrenches, a breaker bar, penetrating oil or an air impact wrench are good here. The UCA nuts can be hard to reach. Might need a crow's foot socket for some of these. Will need a punch to knock out the UCA studs, once you get the nuts off. Also, when you take the UCA cross shaft off, note the orientation and number of alignment shims. Tape them together with duct tape and label the side of car they came from and orientation for when you put it all back together.

I think that's about it. Someone else tell me if I forgot anything major.

-- Dan
'95 9C1
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks! My initial attempt did not go so well. The shock bolt proved a little difficult, and I didn't know if I could just break the shaft, stupid me, I should of known that you can sawzall everything. I also started off with one too many beer breaks. I'll go back to the hardware store now and pick up a pickle fork and a shock absorber tool.

Thanks again! Now for the second try.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Good luck. Send me an e-mail if you get stuck. I did this pretty recently, so it's all fresh in my mind.

-- Dan
'95 9C1
 
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Discussion Starter #14
How does everybody stop their rotor from falling to the ground when you disconect the final balljoint? I took the lower control arm off, and then was going for the upper, but securing the rotor presents a problem. Thanks!
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Lessons learned from disassembly:

Ancient chinese proverb says: If hitting with hammer does not work, hit harder with hammer.

Also, Midas asks for $430 to r&r bushings and balljoints!! Yikes! They then said they'd do it for $250, and I picked up my arms and said thankyou have a nice day.
 
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