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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I ordered some Astro lower control arms from O'Reilly Auto Parts so that I can install 5/8 balljoints. Ran into a problem during installation. The tabs behind the bushing extend too far. The tab on the rear of the control arm specifically is causing the problem. Because of the extended length of the metal, as compared to the stock control arm, the new control arm will not go back into the pocket in the frame. So, my primary question is, would it be safe to grind the metal on the tabs of the new control arm so that the amount of metal surrounding the bushing is equal to the old control arm? If I grind the tabs down I will be using a 4" grinder with a wheel made for grinding and cutting metal, not a cut-off wheel. I am worried about the heat exposure having a negative effect on the strength of the control arm or bushing. Any input or advice appreciated.
 

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Any chance of posting some photos? If I understand the problem correctly, it should be OK to remove the material you're having an issue with.

What I've found is that most aftermarket control arms do not have standard bushing shell dimensions that allow replacement with standard-spec bushings, such as Moog. OE arms, no problem.
 

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Hey all, I ordered some Astro lower control arms from O'Reilly Auto Parts so that I can install 5/8 balljoints. Ran into a problem during installation. The tabs behind the bushing extend too far. The tab on the rear of the control arm specifically is causing the problem. Because of the extended length of the metal, as compared to the stock control arm, the new control arm will not go back into the pocket in the frame. So, my primary question is, would it be safe to grind the metal on the tabs of the new control arm so that the amount of metal surrounding the bushing is equal to the old control arm? If I grind the tabs down I will be using a 4" grinder with a wheel made for grinding and cutting metal, not a cut-off wheel. I am worried about the heat exposure having a negative effect on the strength of the control arm or bushing. Any input or advice appreciated.
I was thinking the same thing as Bill....can you post up some pics and point out the area you are talking about?

As far as the Arms not going up into the "pocket in the Frame", I ran into this problem as well with my 9C1 arms. Even though the 9/16" arms just dropped right out, the 5/8" arms were difficult to install in the pockets. I just made up a tool with a Bolt, some nuts and washers to act as a "reverse Turnbuckle" to spread the frame ears out a bit and they slide right in place. Take a look at my "5/8" Ball Joint" install thread to get an idea of what I'm referring to.

I also noticed the steering stops were designed slightly differently on the 2 arms and looked like they would be a problem.....but they weren't. Is this maybe the extra metal you are referring to? Again, a few pics will help to clear this up.

EDIT - Here is the thread I mentioned and it may give you some idea of what I was describing. All things I've read about the astro Van Arms is that these require little work to fit.

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=351769
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bill, I hope you can see what I mean in the images. I plan to trim the area I am pointing to in the first picture so that it is similar to the stock arm in the second picture. Again, this is the front LCA.
 

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Great write up 4DoorSS. I had read your step by step before I began this adventure, great work. I am not having the same problem that you had. The LCA fits in the "pocket" with a little persuasion from a block of wood and a hammer (don't have to beat on it just a little tap). Where my problem lies is the excess material that is on the backside of the bushing. If you notice, the metal behind the bushing on the new LCA is at least twice the length of the stock part. This is preventing the new LCA from going back into the pocket all the way. I got the front part of the LCA in its place good, even got the bolt in but when I was trying to get the back side (toward the rear of the car) in the pocket, it seemed as if it was getting stuck and I could hear a metal on metal tap when I was coercing the part into place. So, I got under the car and noticed that the excess metal was the culprit. The pocket is too shallow to accommodate all of the extra metal on the new LCA.
 

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Oh, I kinda see what you are talking about now. Is it that amount of material that follows the prerimeter of the Bushing? In looking at the 9C1 arm pics and the old arm you have pictured, there is a lot less metal there and also a little tang or point that sticks out on the stock arms. It almost appears like they kept the tang portion and just wrapped that amount of metal behind the entire bushing.

In looking at some pics online of the Astro arms, it appears like this "extra" material is only on the outer edge of the Control arm. Is that the case or am I seeing that wrong in the online pics? Sometimes those are not a true representation of the part. If that is the case, maybe you could just grind down the outer edge to match what you see on the inner edge.

If you take some measurements and find from the center of the bushing bolt hole to the the Ball Joint is a match to the stock arms, I would have NO Problem with just gringing away the extra material to better match the Stock Arms that were removed and fit the frame. Just be sure as once you do that, you may not be able to return them for a refund. Let us know what you find out.

EDIT - I KNOW there is another thread here "somewhere" where the Astro arms were installed and had a writeup for the install. It doesnt mean that Dorman didn't change the part they supply now but it may be worth searching for that thread and contacting the OP of that thread and see if he ran into the same issue. I just don't have time to search for it now. Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, I am referring to the extra amount of metal surrounding the perimeter of the bushing. I have cut it with a plasma cutter. I will post pics tomorrow. I have the driver's side LCA in place and bolted up.
 

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Sorry guys I got too wrapped up in the installation before I took pics. A buddy trimmed the outer perimeter of the control arm bushings (the place I was pointing to in the previous pics) with a plasma cutter. They install went fine but the rear end now sits noticeably lower than the front, especially on the driver's side. The springs are Eibach. I got them aligned properly but the front is still higher. Is this common with the eibach springs?
 

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If you torqued the control arm bolts with the car in the air, that could cause your issue. Loosen them up and bounce the car as much as you can, then retorque them with the car on ramps.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I did not torque the bolts while it was on jack stands. I waited until it was on the ground. I'm not a very small guy so that took some doing LOL.
 

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I did not torque the bolts while it was on jack stands. I waited until it was on the ground. I'm not a very small guy so that took some doing LOL.
It is a struggle to work on these cars sometimes. :( Especially without a lift but I just used some car ramps under the Front wheels and jack stands under the rear to keep the car level. At least with the front wheels "loaded" sitting on the car ramps, I could still slide under the car and torque down everything correctly.

Sorry guys I got too wrapped up in the installation before I took pics. A buddy trimmed the outer perimeter of the control arm bushings (the place I was pointing to in the previous pics) with a plasma cutter. They install went fine but the rear end now sits noticeably lower than the front, especially on the driver's side. The springs are Eibach. I got them aligned properly but the front is still higher. Is this common with the eibach springs?
Run the Eibach Pro springs on my car and just to give you an idea of stance, this is how the car sits when the springs were installed and suspension torqued correctly....






With the Stock Caprice Springs the car sat much higher. If your car is sitting higher than it was when you took it apart and everything was torqued correctly, I would suspect you may not have the Springs seating correctly in the upper or lower Spring pockets.

One of my first Spring replacements was on an old Camaro years ago. We didn't know any better and when the car was dropped on the ground it sat way too high upfront. We had to take it all apart again cause we did not have the springs up in the Frame pockets correctly. That's about the only other thing I can think of, maybe the incorrect part number for the springs? I think I have a pic somewhere of the spring with the part number on it. How high does it sit from where it was before you started? Maybe post some pics.
 

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You may not have the springs seated properly. Very easy to get them caught up on the tangs that located the upper end of the spring in the upper pocket. That will cause the car to sit an inch or so high. You will need to make sure none of the tangs were bent over if this is indeed the cause of your issue.

Been there, done it, have the t-shirt.
 
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