Chevy Impala SS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 68 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Not sure really where to start with this. I was really hoping to do a "How to" guide but yesterday I had 3 other GRAIL members help my noob self and between my phone dying and just blur of 4 people working on the car not many "action" pictures happened. Hopefully the putting on with all new parts goes better than the taking off all the rusted pieces.

I'll start off by talking about the parts.

I order power performance/Proforged Front end Rebuild Kit --> http://www.proforged.com/parts/1978-96-Impala-SS-Caprice-Front-End-Kit from a group purchase on the forum.

I went with Monroe Severe Service shocks.

Moog Sway bar links

Moog upper control arm shaft kits (Sleeve actually was rusted to through rod) ---->http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/MOO0/K6210.oap?year=1994&make=Chevrolet&model=Impala&vi=1049688&ck=Search_02938_1049688_892&pt=02938&ppt=C0106

I'm also replacing the wheel bearings and seals while I'm in there along with the rotors and brake pads. Haven't determined which ones I'm going to use yet. (EDIT: Decided to go with stock rotors and EBC Redstuff brakepads)



I'll try to explain the pictures as best I can but as I mentioned I had 3 other people working on my car at the same time and I was trying to put in my wrench work time while still absorbing as much wisdom from them while not getting in their way.



1. Read. Read. Read. Thanks for the good birthday present by the way Dad!





2. Lift, jack stands, Knock the wheels off. Make sure the jack stands are secure cause your gonna be beating on the car pretty hard. Safety first!





3. Remove the shocks. I started with the lower bolts.



Then the top was a real Pain In the butt till I was turned on to this little tool. It is SSweet.



The inside piece is shaped like an oval just like the top of the shock is. This allows you to hold on to the shock while you turn the nut.


It's also tall enough to get out of the control arm through the top so your not fighting it in that little hole.





4. Remove the sway bar links






5. That's as far as I got by myself. The next step was to to take off the braking system and rotors. I just installed the stealth bolt so I really didn't want to flush the brakes again so we just took a metal coat hanger and hung them out of the way.





6. Sometime during that we started taking off the steering linkage and busting the ball joints loose. Wasn't too bad only had a ball joint or 2 that took a beating. Sorry don't have pics of this only the whole linkage out.


It's important to keep this together because you are probably going to try to drive it to the alignment shop when you are done and so you want to build the new linkage system as close to the old one as possible. Always measure nipple to nipple and DO NOT count threads. threads on replacement parts may not be the same size or length as OEM.

7. remove the Spring(Carefully). We used the coil spring compressor tool from O'Rielly's and it worked out okay. If anything I wish the rod was a little bit longer (don't we all) but it went okay. I remember we loosened the nut on the ball joint by the spindle a little bit and used the spring to help bust it loose. Then we pressed the spring up from under the hood with an impact and broke the lower ball joint loose and kicked the lower control arm out of the way and brought the spring back down.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
8. With the spring out that only left the upper control arm to get out. Those nuts are a pain to get out and I recommend chasing them down once you get the nuts off. Both sides sucked to remove. On the passenger side you are fighting the AC lines and it's just hard to see what you are trying to do. On the driver side you have to remove the bolt on the steering shaft but even then trying to get the arm past it take a certain kind of pushing in an upward movement and getting lucky.






9. With the control arms out you get to pushing the rods and bushings out. I'm not really sure what the name of the tool us but I'll call it a big ass C-Clamp so maybe a press tool? Not sure. Either way we did a combo on the uppers to heat up the bushings with a torch and pressing them. Between the 4 of us we came up with a combo of ideas that worked. On the lowers we torched the other side of the metal of the bushing evenly until the bushing started to bubble while pressing with a pry bar from the inside OUT. The bushings are tapered to shoot OUT ward so keep this in mind because they often are on fire when they pop out. We used an old rotor to contain the rubber bushing from flying into the garage or yard.





10. If your car is a rust bucket like mine is this is a good time to do some touch up painting on your frame, control arms, spindle, spring, and anything else you want to touch up. Some people like to go crazy with this but I maintain that unless you are going to never drive the car again, it's going to get dirty within 2 weeks and your drive yourself nuts cleaning the underside. So I'm just going with Black. This is also a good time to do other things while your this far along such as brakes, rotors, wheel bearings and I'm sure a lot of other stuff.







That is it for now, I'll be removing rust and dirt from the control arm and other pieces and repainting for a couple of days while I wait for a few parts and then start putting things back together again.

Again just want to give out shout out to my GRAIL friends who helped me out thus far and in the future. Dana & Chris, for help with the wrench work and bringing over the tools I didn't have. David for his help over the phone and picking out parts. And like most things in life, wouldn't be possible without dear old Dad. Hope this helps someone and more pics will come in a few weeks. (hopefully looks cleaner too!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Good post, I have accumulated all the parts and will be doing it soon. Still too damn hot here to spend a day under the car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,040 Posts
You need to press out the lower control arm bushing casings also ;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,358 Posts
a suggestion, pop the pushpins out and remove the inner fender rubber skirting so you have better access and the alignment guy will also thank you.
if you dont drive much in rain you can even leave them off like I did.

iirc the same press you used for the control arm bushing should also do the lower balljoint r and r.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,058 Posts
You are welcome (HBD).

Good post!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
738 Posts
I hate to be a naysayer, but I bet you're gonna hate those shocks. I have them on my '96 RMW and they suck. High speed damping (which affects comfort) is too stiff, so bumps shock the whole car. Low speed damping (which affects handling) is too loose, so the car sways, bobs and weaves under cornering.

My '94 SS wagon has Bilsteins on it, which are hugely better. Comfort and handling are significantly better than the Monroe SS shocks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,358 Posts
I hate to be a naysayer, but I bet you're gonna hate those shocks. I have them on my '96 RMW and they suck. High speed damping (which affects comfort) is too stiff, so bumps shock the whole car. Low speed damping (which affects handling) is too loose, so the car sways, bobs and weaves under cornering.

My '94 SS wagon has Bilsteins on it, which are hugely better. Comfort and handling are significantly better than the Monroe SS shocks.
its been noted before the fronts do not have enough rebound dampening, especially with firmer springs.
I may try bilsteins on the front, the rear ss's work fine I think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
From a retired racing engineer who drives a buick roadmaster

"i had the monroes and then switched to bilstiens. I ll get the monroes next time. Save your money for something us" may have seen this guy at Nationals too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
more painting

Things are going slower than I wanted but really taking my time with the prep work. I'm sure I'll thank myself for that later.

This is after a little bit of prep. I've been taking them down till they are almost rust free.




Got one arm done today.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I've been putting in about 2-3 hours a day this week on this took yesterday off, arm was killing me from all the wire brushing.

Got the first coat on the arms. They were looking okay.



Got the springs done.



And got part of the wheel well done.










Please note that the painting is more to keep the rust somewhat under control more so than to look pretty. and yes I know about the spot in the wheel well. That's going to have to get patched.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Got the other side of the frame done.



And the spindles


Picked up some more parts.





Just have the brake calipers to paint and pick up some new rotors and brake pads and I'm ready to put it back together again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
No updates still waiting on parts to come in... I was hoping to do a little bit this weekend but work had other plans.

Had a major F up on a job in Iowa so I actually drove up here to look at it today and I'm actually sitting in a hotel room right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,855 Posts
I avoid the coil spring compressors. I prefer to bolt the spindle to the lower control arm and then use a floor jack to press the whole bottom arm and spring back up enough to get the nut on the upper control arm and spindle.

Just recently did this on my car as well. Took a bit to get all the parts cleaned up and painted. Don't forget to paint the all the new pieces too. They come in bare metal.

-Brian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I wasn't planning on replacing all of this but I already had all these parts off and figured now was a good time.

This isn't so much a suspension item as much as a "while I was here and it needs to be done" item.

Got some new stock rotors, mine were not so much thin as they were just severely rusted. $62 a piece from AC-Direct.com. Got the part # off RockAuto.






I also noticed my caliper slide pin sleeves had a lot of play in them. On one side it took almost no effort for one of them to fall out. bought this kit from RockAuto.




I removed the old ones.



And installed the new ones.





Now I want to talk about these little O-Rings and sleeves... On the passenger side it took me 5-10 minutes, was very easy and ran into no problems.
The driver side probably took me about an hour and half. Why, I don't really know. The O ring kept wanting to pop out of the little groove that it sits in. (See below picture)
I suspect, the reason was that the old gasket had actually bonded to the metal and that there was still some stuck in there after removing the old one so the new gasket couldn't "seat" properly. After about 45 minutes of frustration I took a dremil tool and stuck it up in there cleaned her out real good. That made it better but still ran into problems.
I ended up put the caliper sleeve on the caliper bolt to help align it so that I was pushing exactly down the center of the gasket and that is what eventually got it on. Again, I had no problem with the passenger side so I don't know why it was such a PITFA but hopefully my explanation makes that easier on someone someday.





Hoping to get the front end back together this weekend if I can get my buddies back to help out.
 
1 - 20 of 68 Posts
Top