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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, I swore I wasn't going to do anything more to this car, but with the amount of time I spent at home because of all the covid BS the last couple month's - I managed to convice myself that I needed to lower my Impala and while I was at it, center the rear wheels and upgrade the shocks too. Staying at home all day, every day, with nothing to do but surf the internet - a person can convince themselves of just about anything... :mad:

Finished buttoning everything up a couple weeks ago and have been driving the car every day since. Thought I'd post up some pictures, part numbers and a brief review of what I think of the car now that the upgrades have been performed.

I'll start off by saying that the point of these upgrades (other then the shocks) was strickly cosmetic. I really didn't care how fast this car can go around corners. It's a full-size, 4400+ pound boat - not a Miata.

I just wanted to lower the car to give it the stance I was looking for. None the less, I have to admit - the upgrades made a pretty dramatic improvment in the car's handling...

It wasn't super obvious when I first took the car out for a nice slow drive around the side streets. Initially, I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.

Once I felt confident that nothing was about to fall out from under the car, I made my way to the freeway to see how the car drove at higher speeds. This was when things got interesting...

The moment I hit the on-ramp - it was obvious just how much more planted and secure the car felt with the new upgrades. Entering the long winding bend in the road to merge onto the freeway, there was virtually zero body roll. The car felt completely planted and went around the bend easily and effortlesly.


I found myself merging onto the freeway at a much higher rate of speed then usual because I no longer had that "swaying" sensation of the body rolling to one corner.

Once on the freeway, even simple things like lane changing, it was apparent just how much better the car drove and how much more "immediate" the steering response felt.

Although I wouldnt describe this car's handling as "sports-car-like" - it defintely handles a lot better than any car this size has a right to. :p


Of coarse - there were/are drawbacks. Along with the new-found handling ability is the obvious increase in suspension firmness. The car no longer "floats" over the imperfections of the road as it once did.

You can feel virtually every nook and cranny you drive over. I wouldn't describe the ride as being "harsh". Instead, I think a more accurate description would be that it feels like a "modern" - vehicle. Anybody who drives a car 2000 or newer will know the feeling...

You basically feel everything underneath you as you drive. You CAN feel the suspension doing its job, its just that everything can now be felt through the chassis. No more floating over bumps like it used to.

Having said that - it really depends on the roads themselves. Out on the freeway - the roads are pretty smooth and the ride is barely firmer then stock. But when you hit the city streets where the roads are bad, the ride can get pretty ugly. Unfortunately, most of the roads here are bad. That's the main problem.

Not too sure whether it was the shocks or the springs that had the biggest effect on the firmness of the ride - but truth be known - the Bilsteins were not my first choice - it's just that there was literally nothing else I could get my hands on at the time and the shocks I really wanted are not in stock anywhere and probably wont be for some time.

More than likely - I'll probably be changing out the Bilsteins once I can get a hold of what I really wanted. Whether or not thats this year or next, remains to be seen.

In the meantime though, cars still perfectly drivable so I'll leave it as-is.

The only other drawback is the deeper transmission pan I installed a few years back when I upgraded my converter. It sits about 1" off the ground with the new springs. I'm scratching it up pretty good, even on "mild" speed bumps. I'll have to go back to the stock pan or a lower profile aftermarket pan.

Below are some pictures I took of the parts as they arrived. Some showing part numbers in case anyone's interested.

Totally forgot to take pictures of everything once they were installed - but I'll get some eventually and post them here.

Overall - I'm happy with the upgrades. Car definitely handles better, that's for sure. The rear wheels look much better centered in the wheel wells and the overall stance (after some minor alteration) is much more to my liking.

The Hotchkis stuff is crazy expensive, but at least the quality is there.



Hotchkis Impala SS Spring set delivered:

Part Number Hotchkis #1922
Wood Packing materials Shipping box Font Packaging and labeling



Everything that comes in the box. Front and Rear springs. Bump Stops and Rear Isolatiors.(Front Upper Isolators aren't included and must be bought sepperately)
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Font Automotive design Rim



Spring Weights if anyone wants to know...

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Close-Up of the included Rear Isolators (top and bottom)

Art paint Paint Wood Art Gas



Close-Up of the Front and Rear Bump Stops (Cone shaped for the front/Triangular for the Rear)

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Automotive tire Finger Triangle Wood Font



GM Front Upper Isolators (The Hotchkis kit doesnt supply factory replacments becuase they've been discontinued. However, AC/Delco part no. 15737908 - (also discontinued) - can be used as a replacement and is actually an upgraded design over the originals. You can still find them on fleabay if you're lucky.

Food Orange Finger Ingredient Rangpur



AC/Delco Front Lower Control Arms and Upper Ball Joints

(This was one of those "since I'm already in there, may as well..." scenarios. Nothing was wrong with what I had, but figured I'd buy new control arms and upper ball joints - just because. I'll keep the originals and eventually take them apart, powdercoat them and rebuild them and keep them as spares.

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
More Weight Measurments for anyone curious...

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Front Lower Control Arm and Sping assembly (because I was bored)...

Purple Paint Magenta Electric blue Human leg




Bilstein "Sport Shocks"

Part Number 24-011044 (Front)
Part Numbers: 24-009294 (Rear)

Take note - These shocks ride pretty damn firm...

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Gesture Finger Font Thumb Electric blue

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hotchkis "Extended" Rear Control Arm Set

Part Number 1309 (Lower)
Part Number 1209A (Adjustable Upper)
Kit Part Number 1811

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Finger Wood Font Thumb Gesture
Watch Finger Font Auto part Electric blue




Close-Up of the Adjustable Uppers:

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Close-Up of the Lowers
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Global West Rear Spring Spacers:
Part Number 1621

These were later installed after the springs were upgraded. Long story short, after I installed the Hotchkis springs - I wasnt thrilled with the way the car sat. The front looked great.

Not too low.

Had a nice, even fender gap side to side.

The rear on the other hand - well, something looked a bit off. The wheel/fender gap was smaller then the front, making it look like the car was raked backwards. Like I had something really heavy in the trunk.

Most of the Impala's I've seen look this way as well, stock or aftermarket springs. It just didn't make sense to me. The Hotchkis springs were supposed to be slightly raked forwards (lower at the front) - yet here I was with the ass end of the car, sitting lower then the front.

I measured the height from the floor to the bottom of the frame. Sure enough - the rear was in fact, higher then the front (the way it should be). But the gap was still smaller in the rear then the front! This left me scratching my head. What the hell?

After staring at the car for a while, it eventually dawned on me and I felt pretty stupid for not having noticed it to begin with. The top of the rear wheel arch on these cars is lower then the the top of the arch at the front wheel...

Thats why the gap was smaller in the rear.

Basically an opticle illusion. The car was indeed higher in the rear, but looked lower then it really was, due to the height of the wheel arch being lower.

Lower wheel arch in the rear = smaller gap above the tire.

I resolved the problem by ordering a set of Global West 1/2" aluminum rear spacers. They replace the poly lower isolators and raise the back end about 1/2" overall.

Boom. Problem solved. Car has a nice clean rake to it. The old-school, muscle-car stance I wanted from the get-go.

Bonus is, I can put all the weight I want in the trunk or carry passengers in the back and never have to worry the rear tires rubbing. That's definitely a good thing because I have larger wheels coming in...


Watch Adhesive Adhesive tape Wood Packing materials
Automotive tire Finger Automotive wheel system Rim Gas




$$$

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Finally,

I picked up a full "Pro-Forged" steering component replacement kit. Everything needed in one box. Figured I may as well since I was already going to be under the car anyway...

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Finally, the finished product.

Note the before photo showing the rear "sag" look - even with the stock (40k mile) springs. The hotchkis springs lowered the car exactly as described - 1-1/4" Front & 1" Rear - but due to the design of the wheel arch's - the car still looked lower in the rear then the front. The Spacers solved the problem.


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Car as it sits now

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Nice write up, nothing beats that stance.

You located in Toronto? I'm in mississauga.

I lucked out and found a pair of cannuck springs on kijiji for like 75 bucks which had the front sitting lower than the rear without any other adjustments, though my rear springs will unseat when lifted by the frame with the wheels off the ground, need a strap to resolve that.

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The ride for me was pretty bad in terms of quality but the car just looked so much better than it was on the moog springs.

First thing I did was get ZQ8 bump stops and trimmed them down and that helped a bunch going over the bigger potholes.

But I just did the body bushings and by far that was the most significant change (put in the missing lower bushings). Just the frame being held with the body you don't feel like you're riding waves going over bumps. Car feels really firm now and honestly the ride is not as harsh as some have said with the poly set though you can do some digging and find the part numbers for the rubber ones.
 

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Very nice write up. I have almost the same set up--almost. But you better get rid of that trans pan or the road will. Ask me how I know.
 

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I hope you took it in for an alignment. You will have some negative camber in the front. The new bushing and ball joints will cause some changes, but the springs will cause a substantial camber change.

Did you tighten the new bushings with full weight on the suspension. I usually jack the suspension arm (or rear) up until I can get under the car with it sitting just off of jack stands. You can also drive it onto a set of ramps and then tighten them. If you do not do it that way, you are stressing the rubber, and it will produce premature failure of the rubber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
You located in Toronto
- Yup.

Pretty cool to see another Impala SS owner so close by. I've only ever seen 2 Impala's over the last 4 years. o_O


you better get rid of that trans pan or the road will. Ask me how I know.
- I know.

Definitely going to change it sooner rather than later. It's the lowest part of the car. The stock pan will give me another 1.5" clearance at least, over the deep TrickFlow pan I'm running now.


I hope you took it in for an alignment
- Sure did.

Had it aligned the very next day after everything was installed. As you noted, the camber was definitely off. After the alignment, all is within factory spec again. Car steers dead-center even with no hands on the wheel.


Did you tighten the new bushings with full weight on the suspension
- All fasteners were torqued with the suspension loaded. Learned to do all that when I re-did the suspension on my Vette years back.
 

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I resetup the Facebook group for toronto area impala ss owners. Feel free to join if you'd like.

Facebook.com/groups/taisso

And sorry to put this thread of topic for a sec haha.

Did you do anything in terms of sway bars? I've been told that once the car is lowered the effectiveness of the stock sway bar diminishes, not sure how true that is maybe someone else can chime in on that.
 

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It's those bilstein's that are beating you up but do give that crisp feeling. They are the linear version that doesn't like rough roads. I ran the front ones for about a month in the 91 before I couldn't take all the new rattles developing with our NYC roads.

I'd suggest going to the bilstein crown vic police interceptor fronts if you want to tame it. I ran those afterwards and was very happy with them until one seized up. I got the cheaper at the time non warrantee 'off road' version. Identical except the warrantee.

I just put in the 710lb/in CVPI front springs in the 95 a few weeks ago. They ride great with the 1516 bilsteins for 95% of road conditions. The rest, they don't have enough rebound control when the front goes full jounce. So just this weekend, I installed the Gabriel Max Control Monotube fronts I had on the shelf for a while. A perfect match so far and a cheaper alternative than the CVPI bilsteins. I got them at just under 40 a piece on amazon. Their price there swings wildly. Rock auto is like 42 but have to add shipping.
 

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It's those bilstein's that are beating you up but do give that crisp feeling. They are the linear version that doesn't like rough roads. I ran the front ones for about a month in the 91 before I couldn't take all the new rattles developing with our NYC roads.

I'd suggest going to the bilstein crown vic police interceptor fronts if you want to tame it. I ran those afterwards and was very happy with them until one seized up. I got the cheaper at the time non warrantee 'off road' version. Identical except the warrantee.

I just put in the 710lb/in CVPI front springs in the 95 a few weeks ago. They ride great with the 1516 bilsteins for 95% of road conditions. The rest, they don't have enough rebound control when the front goes full jounce. So just this weekend, I installed the Gabriel Max Control Monotube fronts I had on the shelf for a while. A perfect match so far and a cheaper alternative than the CVPI bilsteins. I got them at just under 40 a piece on amazon. Their price there swings wildly. Rock auto is like 42 but have to add shipping.
What all do you know about using the Vic springs on our cars? How do they compare as far as performance and ride height? What about the rears?
 

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The pre 03 Vics have a very similar front suspension. What do want to know about them? Physically they are in the same diameter range that they are interchangeable. The base Vic's spring is in the 400lb/in range, much like our 'heavy duty' ones (non FE1) The PI version is a 700lb/in spring.

The front's in the 95 still don't have much mileage on them but last week quick height check and they were just a little over the 27.8" SS height. Right was at 28 and left was 27 7/8. Car just follows the road height now without excessive motion yet harsh roads don't feel any much different. The moog PI rear replacement is 160lbs/in. I use them in both the 91 and 95 now. Some question to what the actual CVPI rear rate was, but these add a touch of stiffness over our rated 154lbs. Without measuring lately, i'd say they just about SS height too. My calculations say should be about 3/8th's higher and is about right. Gives that touch of rake to it.
Since still 'new' with the fronts, i keep learning I can drive the car hard into the corners each time in my limited driving these days. While the theorists will say with such a much higher front stiffness, the car will understeer and be all 'out of bounce frequency control' I find none of that. While it may ultimately understeer, it would have to be well into the ludicrous speeds before it happens.
 

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Oh, and just to clarify, these are the results with Moog Vic replacements. If you intend to hunt for them in the JY, your results will probably show a much greater drop in height. The common complaint on the Vic forum is the Moog's raise the car too high. But would be a good data point if you want to try. For me, casual browsing finds me the springs in the 50-60 dollar range shipped over the years, and not worth searching and pulling from JY. YMMV
 

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I’m in Mississauga too..
Went with Proforged steering, Bilstein shocks hotchkis springs. For my extended arms went with UMI but the hotchkis rear sway bar apparently hangs too low The mechanic said so I had to run the stock bar. Anyone know how to solve that issue ?
 

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The HA bar in the 91 hung too low for my liking when I had the 9C1 springs (more angle downward on the lower arms being it sat higher). I used a stack of washers on the front bolts. Maybe like 1/2" worth. That swung the back of bar upward more than an inch.
 

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Full disclosure demands I let Mr. -95 and y'alls who've posted that I done dam Cntl A Cntr C Cntl V'ed dam near the whole thread into Word. For the 3-ring. My garage queen is setting jus fine as it is, but just like the OP's sig there's bound to be perfectly good money to spend on perfectly unnecessary things to pheuk with sometime down the road. Good intel all around.
 
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