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K

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Discussion Starter #1
hey all,
i'm having major steering problems with my 94' 9c1. this car drives like it's on ice. the steering never has a "rest" feeling to it, what i mean is, when driving in a straight line the wheel always feels like there is pressure on it. the wheel has a bit pf play, but nothing to drastic. it just never feels like other impala's or caprices i've driven. almost like there is no power steering at all. kinda drives like my dad's 54 studebaker. it never feels like it's centered. ruts in the road pull and push this thing all over.

the only suspension mod done is a set of intrax springs on the front with 95 roadmaster springs on the rear.(the rear intrax's were too low for me)
the front sets a bit low but also sets uneven. the left tire tucks the right sets flush. measurement from ground to fender is 26.5" on the drivers side and 27.25" on passenger side. measurement from the center of the tire on front is 62 15/16ths and rear of tire is 62 14/16ths.

i've had it aligned 3 different times with no improvements. the only thing that is not within spec is the camber. they all say all the shims are out and that it is as good as they can get it.
-1.1 degree is it's measurement. the caster and all the other measurements are within spec.
i was told the steering box was bad, so i replaced it with a new gm box,... no difference. still drives the same. all the ball joints and tie rods are good. haven't changed the idler arm (sp?)
what do you guys think could be wrong? bad springs, too low,car is a p.o.s.? i'm starting to really hate this car. i'm not opposed to raising it back up or anything, i only wanted to bring it down to stock impala height anyway, but i have seen other b-bodys lower than this one.

any suggestions on what i should do, or mabye shops in the dfw area i should take it to? i'm ready to toss a match into this thing!!!please help me out .
sorry for the long post.
 
J

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Discussion Starter #2
You probably won't believe this, but find an alignment place that will give you a readout sheet showing what the readings were before they tweaked it and after they tweaked it. I had my ride aligned at one of the local Chevy dealers that say they specialize in comercial vehicles. No improvement. All over the road. Took it to Belle Tire (a big chain here) and they gave it a full check with readings, but only charged me $35 because they only had to adjust the tow-in. Night & day. Handles like a new car. You might just need a tow-in adjustment, but you have to find a place that will DO IT & not screw you. Have fun. - Jim
 
L

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Discussion Starter #3
From your Front Spring Height description, sounds like an unmatched pair of springs were installed on your car[or one spring is not seated in spring pocket correctly]. Don't know for certain, but would imagine this would effect tracking? You need to find the best Wheel Alignment tech in your area! Keep asking Gearheads for the right man.
 
K

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Discussion Starter #4
i checked the springs to make sure they were seated properly, and both are in their pockets. i have always suspected the springs though.
i bought them from summit, but i'm not sure how much of a drop they really are. 1.5-2.25?
i had 9c1 factory springs on it before so it seemed to have dropped quite a bit. is it possible that the front end is so low that it is not able to be aligned? it really doesn't seem that low, but the tires sure do look weird from the front. they lean in at the top, and seem to point outward, but the measurements only show a 16th" difference, from the center line of the tires front and back.
the new steering box has given it a better feel, but on bumps and uneven lanes, the car feels as though it is hydroplaning.
mabye i should hunt down a set of factory ss springs, or would i be able to get this thing aligned with a set of hotchkis 1.3's? the prices seems right, but i don't wanna shell out more dough for something that won't fix my problems.
anybody else got any ideas?
 
L

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Discussion Starter #5
Also may be something as simple as a bad Tire. At a Tire Shop take them off & spin each one, & look for bent rim/distorted O.D.(defective steel belt). If this is negative, you need to find that Wheel Alignment Guru!
 
K

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Discussion Starter #6
larry,
it did this with the factory pv41's and then with some old 245/50/17's and still with the new 255/50/17 kdws's. i keep thinking it's the dang springs, mabye i'll look for a set of factory ss's.
thanks for your input,though.
matt
 
F

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Discussion Starter #7
Replace that Idler arm with the Moog one.
That should help some.
 
L

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Discussion Starter #8
Doubt IA will resolve this type of handling issue, but doesn't hurt to have the Moog K6187T IA.
 
C

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Discussion Starter #9
have you tried adjusting the steering box? I did a few days ago because i had the same problems and it solved the problem.
 
T

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Discussion Starter #10
I have this exact same problem. Grooves in the road pull me around. My springs are stock I think but my car also slightly leans to the drivers side. I've just been thinking my drivers side springs were sagging but I don't know that much about suspension.
 
R

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Discussion Starter #11
-If I understand your notes correctly, your center-of-tire measurements indicate 1/16" Toe OUT. This would contribute to the "wandering".

Search the forum for specs. I used those recommended by Ed Runnion and have been very happy. I second the recommendation of a shop with print outs.

If you jack a front tire off the ground and grab the tire with a hand on top and one on the bottom, then forcefully try to wiggle the top and bottom in and out, there should be zero play. Lower ball joints are an issue with some of our cars and this will expose a worn one. I've had my trials.

-Jay
 
K

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Discussion Starter #12
ok,
i put on 96 ss springs, new lower ball joints, upper bushings on the right upper control arm. car drives 80% better. steering feels better, but still has the gangsta lean to the drivers side. it is exactly 3/4" difference from the right side to the left. after getting the front end rebuilt, the car feels as if the rear end is "loose" or like it shifts from side to side. i don't think it does, but still feels kinda squirrely. had my pop drive behind me to see if it drove dogged, he said it was straight, but it occassionally feels like it drives diagonally. mabye this is from the lean that i get this feeling, or mabye i need to seek a frame shop. i'm gonna put the rear on stands this evening and see if i have any play from side to side or front to back in the rearend.
mabye replacing the shocks will help the uneven feel in the rearend?
i know this car must sound like a basket case, but i think there are just a few little problems adding up to one big problem.
i'll post what i find out about the rearend.
matt
 
E

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Discussion Starter #14
Check your body bushings. You may have loose or missing bolts in the back which could make it feel like the rear end is shifting around. Also, check your control arms in the rear. They may be shot. On the lean, if all the front end components are ok, the springs are definitely the same height and each one is seated AND indexed properly, then the other thing you might check is the bushings for the radiator supports. These, and other body bushings, get shimmed up at the factory to make the body sit level. Maybe you lost some shims or it wasn't done right to begin with.

EDIT: It would be pretty hard to lose these shims, by the way, since they're just washers.
 
F

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Discussion Starter #15
There are three things that contribute to the wandering feeling you're describing, and you have at least two out of three.
1) worn out idler arm
2) toe-out
3) wide tires (with worn IA)

If there is any toe you want it slightly in. less than 1/16"

The other thing is, you got screwed by Summit. Take your 9c1 front springs if you still have em and cut them if you want to lower it. Fix your springs, do #1 and #2 above and I bet it will be 100%. Good luck.
 
F

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Discussion Starter #16
Forgot to mention, too, that the lower you make it, the more shims need to be taken out to align it, so it's possible it's as far as it can go. I lowered mine about 2" and had to take all the shims out of one spot to align it right. Any lower and there'd be nothing I could do.
 
B

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Discussion Starter #17
Fun 9C1,
You could go with offset upper control arm pivot shafts. Or with custom UCAs, I guess.
FBAF,
Just like the others said:
First check that all wearables are OK (ball joints, idler arm, etc.) and that you wheel bearings are adjusted correctly.
Then get a good alignment.
Are the tires good?
This may not be your problem, but I have play inside the steering column itself.
Please post what your problem was after you get if resolved.
Tim
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Matt,

Check your rear control arm bushings. I had a bad bushing and the best way I can describe it is the back end would 'rotate' when I would get on or off of the gas. Very annoying and unstable feeling. Replaced the bushing and it drove fine. Hope this helps.


db
 
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