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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I finally got the parts installed on my front end.

Everything was purchased from rockauto AS an ACDelco item. (see notes below)

Upper and lower control arms with bushings and ball joints. (made in USA)
Urethane sway bar bushings and end links. (note end link bushings were made by MOOG in the USA, 4DoorSS this is your calling ;))
Inner and outer tie rods with new adjustment sleeves. (3 made in USA and 1 in taiwan, thanks rockauto)
Center link and Idler arm. (made in USA)
Shocks. (COO unknown)
Bottom out rubbers. (apparently the old shocks were so bad that I bottomed out the thing and split the passenger side rubber, hmmm)

In all, I pulled the car in the garage on monday morning, and drove it off the ramps today at 1045. So it took me 4.5 days. Should have been about 3, but my endless trips to harbor freight and autozone (both are a mile away) really added up. Oh and I stripped the castle nut for the upper driver side ball joint, that was a 2 hour ordeal.. Basically it was a lot of me learning a lot of crap and making wayyyy to many mistakes.

One thing I wish I did was purchase new springs as the current ones SAG. Outside of that, it went really well. Got everything torqued correctly, lower control arms bolts torqued once car was under its own weight!!!, and it drives frikin nice. There is no more dead spot in the steering. Which was originally caused by a center link/steering gear joint, but all the seals were blown out on the tie rods and ball joints because I SWEAR they would put like 15 or 20 pumps of grease in them at each oil change. I have pictures to back this claim up. I really did save this car from hell, seriously, nobody would have gone this deep into this thing. She should be a good one for a while now!

So anyway. I have like 30 pictures that ill post up here soon. Figured it was worth posting about. Pics or didnt happen, I know. lol
 

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..... because I SWEAR ---> they <--- would put like 15 or 20 pumps of grease in them at each oil change. .....
Strong start, but lost all creds here.... What in the ever livin' hell you doon lettin' "they" touch your car? And especially oil changes? (plural?) Pay 100% over cost for suspect undocumented materials, plus opportunity for collateral damage - especially stripped bolt, and those special stupid discussions over having the tranny 'serviced'....

Pics of new manly jacks and stands and tools to do more of your own work may salvage your rep. ;)

Seriously, replacing the entire bunch of parts at once provides impressive handling improvement and feel.
 

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Seriously, replacing the entire bunch of parts at once provides impressive handling improvement and feel.
Yessir...always nice to do it all if you can and get a Good Alignment.

Smelonas - On your 2 Hr. ordeal with a stripped Castle Nut on the Ball Joint...what actually happened? Did the just Spin and not want to come off? If so, been there myself but there is actually a real easy, quick inexpensive fix....Just cut your Nut Off. >:) Sounds painful I know but that's why you have 2....one of the other Balljoint. :surprise:

Anyway, I have had some where the Ball Stud just spins in the housing and the Castle Nut wont come off. Time to get out the (since it's the Season)....NutCracker. Really, its a Nut SPlitter.



Pretty inexspensive and Harbor Freight has them dirt cheap. If you break it, just take it back for replacement. This tool has got me out of a few messes over the years. Cut the nut from 1 side, spin it 180* and cut the nut in half....EZ PZ
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I just used my dremel to cut through one of the corners on the nut then before I cut through to the threads on the ball joint, just hit the part I ground down with a screwdriver and hammer and that allowed the threads in the nut to grab and it spun right off. One way to do it. Saved me another 30 minutes versus going to some store to get a tool. Which is also more money..

It stripped the nut and it would just spin. Tried a couple other little things, but it wouldn't come off. Out came the dremel and in 10 minutes it was coming off.

I do all my own work. I bought this car a year and 6 months ago with 147k. Plenty of damage had been done at that point. I have done nothing but FIX things on this car. I pay no one to work on any vehicle I own.

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....
I do all my own work. I bought this car a year and 6 months ago with 147k. Plenty of damage had been done at that point. I have done nothing but FIX things on this car. I pay no one to work on any vehicle I own.

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Ah So, then the same previous owner who did all the damage was the same mentality to use oil change places. Check. As you say, good to bring one back from being doomed to the scrap pile. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I work my ass off to bring things up to my standard. My paychecks get stretched really far to buy tools and parts

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That's cool....whatever works. >:) Nothing wrong with the Dremel, but if you ever see those Nut Splitters cheap enough, you'll be glad you have them handy. Cutting like you said worked fine but no Sparks or metal filings on the suspension if you use the splitter. I've used a Dremel before for other stuff and it can get tedious at times. Not knocking your method at all just sharing a different way and for $10ish, it's a great little helper. I've done it both ways myself, just find that when the situation requires it and I can get a splitter on it....it's way easier IMHHO.

With the splitter, it just takes a few cranks of a wrench/ratchet once you get it on the Nut and they usually "Pop" when you cut through 1 side or just cut the other side and it falls off. It's worth mentioning that you can sometimes just crimp down on the nut a little before splitting it and THEN try to wrench it off. I've had some success with this too where the nut just spins but when crimping the nut "just a little", it may get the threads to bite again and come off.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I will consider! I have a cordless Dremel and it worked awesome. I just got right in there and got it done! Here are some pics to show you guys what I meant in my first post.



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I have never been out against grease that was hard that it refused to come off no matter what. It was on the hub, it was on the spring, it was on disc shield. This stuff was everywhere and it was hard, full of grit and impossible to get off. Well, it's all gone now! I don't have any pics of it done... I was sooooo frikin excited it was ready to drive I forgot to do that.

So there ya go. A kind of time line of how things went.

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
So... I am back from vacation, so all this bad boy needs is an alignment. I got it pretty close just with my eyes. But the camber looks pretty off and it doesn't really steer perfectly straight. I'm sure my tires will thank me.

Next and last thing to do to the steering is the steering box itself. It needs to come off and be bench set. Once that is done it will have new everything and should be good for another 100k plus.

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That's some righteously crapped up parts you dissected there! Considering the bad aim and waste I wonder if the guy with the grease gun ever got anything INSIDE.
 

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Very very nice. Curious, did you use a spring compressor? I'm gathering up all the parts now to do my front end. The UCA bushings are shot to hell and I was getting a clunk in the passenger foot well while driving. Any tips? lol.

The UCA pivot shaft end nuts need to be tightened at curb height as well, no?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Very very nice. Curious, did you use a spring compressor? I'm gathering up all the parts now to do my front end. The UCA bushings are shot to hell and I was getting a clunk in the passenger foot well while driving. Any tips? lol.

The UCA pivot shaft end nuts need to be tightened at curb height as well, no?
The UCAs can be done whenever. They rotate freely about the pin that runs from bushing to bushing. NO NEED TO LOOSEN THE BUSHING NUTS ON THE UCAs, leave them be! The LCAs need to be done at ride height.

You will need a spring compressor to do what I did. But if you are just doing UCAs you won't need to remove the spring. Thankfully. A ball joint remover from harbor freight works wonders, or rent autozones.

The upper control arm ball joint nuts only need to go to 70 or 80 ft lbs. Not the 125 that the FSM calls for. Else you strip the nut and get it unnecessarily tight.

The other thing that you will need to remove the pitman arm joint on the center link is one of those press things that uses the claws. I tried the tie rod press and a pickle fork with zero luck. Get the claw press. Autozone has it for rent as well. Space is tight, but you can do it.

The you don't need to do anything crazy to do the front end. It's relatively straight forward honestly. If you rent tools from autozone, rent more than you need though. You never know when you might need something for some goofy reason. I if I recall I rented three tools from autozone and bought 3 or 4 from harbor freight.
Autozone was a spring compressor, tie rod remover, (get claw press as well!) And a 2X mm socket(for pitman arm nut (not necessary!!!).

Harbor freight I bought a standard SAE wrench set(I have basic tools right now), ball joint press, and an impact socket set(That I didn't really need). You only really need a few sizes of wrenches/sockets to do this. I kinda went overboard and most of you probably have 5x more tools than me to start with.

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh and I forgot to mention...

GREASE YOUR BALL JOINTS WITH 4 TO 6 PUMPS OF GREASE BEFORE YOU PUT THE HUB IN!

I didn't and now I have to lift the car to grease the UCAs. Which apparently is always the case (whoops), I keep getting better at this car stuff everyday!

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Right on. Perfect, thanks. Yeah I'll be doing the LCA's as well as the end links and sway bar bushings. I won't be touching the center link or tie rods though. Might save that for a little later.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The steering parts are easy enough to do even with the tires still on. As you can see though. The parts I got from rockauto come from all different interations of ACDELCO parts. Different boots, different forgings, different countries of origin...

NOTE: proforge has their kit that comes with the billet adjuster sleeves. I think that's actually not such a good idea now that I have thought about it. You want the adjuster sleeve to bend of you hit something, especially in a street application. Otherwise your steering box and other components get beat to death. Use the OEM adjuster sleeves if you aren't autocrossing, your car will thank you.

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So... I am back from vacation, so all this bad boy needs is an alignment. I got it pretty close just with my eyes. But the camber looks pretty off and it doesn't really steer perfectly straight. I'm sure my tires will thank me.

Next and last thing to do to the steering is the steering box itself. It needs to come off and be bench set. Once that is done it will have new everything and should be good for another 100k plus.

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Coming along nicely and sure it will handle like a different car once you get it aligned. Look up the info for the "improved specs" to give to your alignment guy. It has updated info from the stock that is better to use. Bet the car is 20lbs lighter without ALL those clumps of grease all over. 0:)

BTW - I noticed your stack of 2x4's used to support the Caliper. Good idea to not just let the Caliper hang from the hose. But I just use a piece of heavy gauge wire or Coat hanger and just hang the Caliper from one of the holes in the frame or spring. At least you will have a little more wiggle room under the car now.

Very very nice. Curious, did you use a spring compressor? I'm gathering up all the parts now to do my front end. The UCA bushings are shot to hell and I was getting a clunk in the passenger foot well while driving. Any tips? lol.

The UCA pivot shaft end nuts need to be tightened at curb height as well, no?
You may need a spring compressor "just to get the spring out" if they are stock springs. With the Eibach Lowering springs, just support the lower arm, disconnect the spindle and let the lower arm "slowly" come down with a jack under it and they just about fall out. IIRC - when removing the Stock Springs which are longer, I had to push down the Lower Arm with my Foot to get a little more clearance and MAY have had to pry them out of the Spring pocket a little. But most of the tension is already removed from that dangerous spring at that point so you should be OK. If you still have trouble getting the spring to finagle out of there, then rent a compressor so you can compress the spring just a little and then remove it. You will need the "internal" type of compressor.

On the Upper arm bushings, they are pretty easy to do but you WILL need to remove the arms from the car. This thread should help walk you through what I did.

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/269317-replace-upper-ctrl-arm-bushings.html

The arms will come off if you fight them a little and maybe move/bend some parts out of the way. But honestly, it is so much easier and less frustrating if you just take your BJ Press (Mine is from Harbor Freight and works great) and remove the Shaft bolts from the Frame.

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/343858-remove-frame-bolts-upper-control-arm-shaft.html

Also be sure to keep the Shims as they were (assuming none fell out) and also be SURE to replace the 4 Nuts that Secure the Upper Control arm Shafts to the Frame Bolts. these will lose their holding ability, come lose, you lose shims and cause other issues. They are cheap and the dealer still has them....usually in stock.
 

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Thanks a lot for the tips. I've been looking for an all inclusive DIY for this simple job but could only find scraps of info here or there. I will gather up the info I have as well as what the manual states and do my own write up. I appreciate the links, they do help out a lot. I've already bought the spring compressor but they are the two piece clamp set. Fred and I were talking about how to get the coil out- and he mentioned using the jack to compress the spring, then applying the compressors on them that way so I'm not just wrenching away for hours on end getting them to compress. Lower the LCA back onto the stand, kick it down- the spring should come out- remove the two bolts to the LCA, install the new LCA and reinsert the spring back into place, jack the car up to compress the spring then remove the compressors. Does this sound feasible? I'm trying to lay out the procedures in my head so I'm not wasting time there figuring out how to do it.

I've never greased anything on a car before so I wasn't sure what you were talking about smelonas... until I opened up one of the boxes that contain a LCA. When I took a closer look I could see the screw in nipple for each ball joint. I will have to purchase a grease gun as well... 4-6 pumps fills it up? Will it come out if I put too much in?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Coming along nicely and sure it will handle like a different car once you get it aligned. Look up the info for the "improved specs" to give to your alignment guy. It has updated info from the stock that is better to use. Bet the car is 20lbs lighter without ALL those clumps of grease all over. 0:)

BTW - I noticed your stack of 2x4's used to support the Caliper. Good idea to not just let the Caliper hang from the hose. But I just use a piece of heavy gauge wire or Coat hanger and just hang the Caliper from one of the holes in the frame or spring. At least you will have a little more wiggle room under the car now.



You may need a spring compressor "just to get the spring out" if they are stock springs. With the Eibach Lowering springs, just support the lower arm, disconnect the spindle and let the lower arm "slowly" come down with a jack under it and they just about fall out. IIRC - when removing the Stock Springs which are longer, I had to push down the Lower Arm with my Foot to get a little more clearance and MAY have had to pry them out of the Spring pocket a little. But most of the tension is already removed from that dangerous spring at that point so you should be OK. If you still have trouble getting the spring to finagle out of there, then rent a compressor so you can compress the spring just a little and then remove it. You will need the "internal" type of compressor.

On the Upper arm bushings, they are pretty easy to do but you WILL need to remove the arms from the car. This thread should help walk you through what I did.

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/269317-replace-upper-ctrl-arm-bushings.html

The arms will come off if you fight them a little and maybe move/bend some parts out of the way. But honestly, it is so much easier and less frustrating if you just take your BJ Press (Mine is from Harbor Freight and works great) and remove the Shaft bolts from the Frame.

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/343858-remove-frame-bolts-upper-control-arm-shaft.html

Also be sure to keep the Shims as they were (assuming none fell out) and also be SURE to replace the 4 Nuts that Secure the Upper Control arm Shafts to the Frame Bolts. these will lose their holding ability, come lose, you lose shims and cause other issues. They are cheap and the dealer still has them....usually in stock.
I would have hung the caliper, but I didnt have any wire or anything I thought was good enough to hold it up. I have the S hooks for this exact thing in my amazon lists somewhere, just need to cough up the 2 bucks for them. Chastise me, I am cheap bastard sometimes lmao. Ill spend 150 bucks on a torque wrench, but not 2 bucks for hook. At least all my bolts are 'factory' tight LOL!!

Interesting observation about the UCA bolts. I noticed it too. I was wondering when the bolts would start spinning, but they never did. I just burped them with my impact back and forth a LITTLE BIT. They came right out and held when it went back together! My car was a west texas vehicle so it is mostly just covered in dust and dirt. It is starting to get rust though, need to Fluid Film the damn thing in the spring and every season thereafter.

I put everything back exactly how it came off. This was like a verifiable restoration of this thing, which is how I usually do everything on any car. All the shims are exactly in there how they came off. And I also gave them some oil when they were out because I noticed the surface rust on them and didnt want the alignment guy to swear me out when I went to pick it up. Guess the new arms are a bit different than the originals. Go figure, the template they originally used to make them has probably rotted through in the GM 'bad idea' box.

But I gotta say, it sits higher (probably from the reduced unsprung weight ;P), rides quieter, and seems to be smoother. It will need at least 500 miles to truly be 'broken in'. Going to be a real good vehicle thats for sure. Gotta do the rear in the same manner now too. Except replace the springs. I cant recommend doing the front springs enough if you are going to pull the springs out. If you have the junk stock springs still, get some better ones(aftermarket) or at least new. I have to tear this whole thing apart again to do this now because I wanted to save 100 bucks.

Also get new spring insulators, bottom out bumpers (for UCA and LCA!)... I didnt even think to get new UCA ones honestly. But for everyone else reading this, you get the pleasure of my experience.. lol

Im just excited to hopefully drive this thing soon as a DD again. Its really an awesome car.

For 650 bucks its definitely cheaper than a new car and probably better than a new car. It will be about 700 if you buy new insulators and UCA bumpers. Still worth it. Ill do another write up on the rear hopefully. Thankfully there are no zerks back there... Lmao!
 
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