WAGON all new suspension... - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2004, 05:09 PM
cc rider
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...just got the Cruiser back from the mechanic.

The original suspension and front end had 190,000 miles on it, so we figured it was due. Her rear end was bouncing more than......uh, it was bouncing a LOT.

He put HD truck springs on the rear, GW Impala springs on the front, Bilsteins all around, and Zack's Extreme Front End Rebuild Kit. OEM front swaybar with new Energy Suspension links. Energy Suspension poly spring isolators.

Tires are 255/50R17s. Bridgestones I think, but they are pretty new.

Ride height within 1/8" of previous height. I assume the old springs had sagged a bit, but the new ones made the height virtually identical. Interesting considering the springs are shorter (but much stiffer of course.) Perfect for me, but if you want yours lower this is not your setup.

Ride is, uh, FIRM. Very firm. It may 'settle' a bit, but it is definitely not for those seeking a plush ride. I like it just fine, but my other two cars are a sport-tuned Mazda Miata with 215/40R16s and a Chevy 3500 CrewCab, so I'm used to a very firm ride. If the tires were lower profile I think I'd need a kidney belt on some roads around here though.

Steering feel is excellent. All slop is gone. The mechanic was impressed with Zack's kit, especially the grease fittings on the swaybar mounts. We don't plan on having to do anything else to it for quite some time.

Also mounted new Hawk brake pads, but the jury is still out on them. They seem to create a LOT of dust, and the feel doesn't seem right, but to be fair, they only have about ten miles on them.

If you're interested I can post P/Ns and vendor info, but most of it I found here anyway.

FYI the labor was $1100; I brought all the parts to him. I wanted to do it myself but don't have the time or facilities right now. I know it's a lot of cash, but he also cleaned and painted everything while it was off, including the frame rails where they are accesible at the wheel wells. And had it aligned at the local guru's place, so it was ready to roll when I picked it up. It was well worth the expense though; she finally rides the way I want it, and looks just the right combination of handling and appearance.

Happy Motoring!

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2004, 06:02 PM
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Sounds awesome.
I always liked your wagon- I almost bought it from Mr Green in Bastrop before you snapped it out from under me. (Just kidding, my wife wouldn't let me get another wagon, and my son insisted he didn't want one. He has Impala SS now and wishes he had a wagon, go figure.
Anyway, I've had about 5 sets of springs on my wagon now. I think I liked the GW best but they were a tad high, so I took a half coil off and it was close to being right height for me.
Problem I had was too much horsepower and too little traction and stiff front springs didn't help the launch.
I have Eibach in front now with the QA1 adjustable shocks and I really like both of them, but I do miss the GWs sometimes.
Oh yeah, your wagon is really great; let me know when you want to sell it. I love the blue leather and climate control and the compass mirror adds a nice touch.
Oh yeah, I would have helped you with the install if I'd known.
You going to Impalafest? I'm leaving in the wagon tomorrow, but I have business meetings in Dallas Weds-Thursday.
Hope to see you there.
Far South Bubbaville Austin.
post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2004, 06:13 PM
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What steering parts did you replace?

When does the Steering shaft and steering box go on these cars?

Both the truck and wagon have sloppy steering.

I have hawk HPS pads on my Custom Cruiser. They dont dust alot.

My Wagon rode REAL bad with 255/50/17s. Pulled all over... Very harsh ride.

That makes me think something is a miss.
post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2004, 07:37 PM
cc rider
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hey Rich!

I had Alex Benites do it. He owns Allstate Brake and Automotive on Pickle Road next door to An Honest Mechanic. Just across South Congress from Expose, which (I've heard) is a fine entertainment establishment. Alex is great. He's currently trying to get his 6.6L Pontiac running strong again; what a machine!

My garage is currently undergoing demolition, so it's completely out of commission. But when I get it finished, ALL my cars are getting some TLC. I'll keep you posted on the progress; I can always use extra hands to help drink beer and look at car parts strewn around the garage! I'm right off MoPac at Lake Austin, so I'm central to everything.

I'm too busy with other stuff right now to make it to any events. Sounds like fun in the future though.

I should send some photos to Mr. Green. His wife loved that car; she had to leave the house when I came to pick it up. Now she has to drive the Lexus...

95, Zack's kit comes with idler arm, drag link, a bunch of bushings, balljoints, the works. Basically everything that wears out. I got the Extreme version because I plan to keep mine forever, but he has regular kits for the budget minded.


Not sure about the lifespan of the shaft and box, but expect they don't wear out like the other bits. If you're having steering troubles I'd suspect the linkages first. If it's wandering I'd get the alignment checked; mine ran straight and true even before the repairs, but it did vibrate a bit at highway speeds. Probably due to the slop in the worn-out linkages.

Thanks for the tip on the Hawk pads. I don't recall which flavor I got, except they're carbon-metallic. I'll order a set of Performance Friction pads if these don't perform well.

Happy Motoring!

post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2004, 12:38 AM
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Generally a steering box is only rated at 200,000 miles(but I have seen cars with 300+& still as tight as new) before needing to be replaced with your standard steering items needing to be replaced at 100,000(175 max IMHO). If the car/truck is lighter though it can wear faster/ if severly abused.
post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-21-2004, 06:22 PM
cc rider
Posts: n/a

An update and a question. The Cruiser still rides FIRM, and I'm getting used to it. I can drive it more like my Miata now; forget braking around corners. Speed bumps suck though; when the rear goes over it comes down with a thump. Otherwise I'm diggin' the new setup. BUT I still have a vibration!

Not a good vibration, sadly. It is most evident at highway speed, feels like it's coming through the steering wheel but I can't pin it down. Car feels a bit 'twitchy' on the highway; I find myself constantly working to keep her in the lane. Braking does not seem to make it worse, although it's definitely twitchy when braking. But it doesn't seem to pull to one side consistently, it's just twitchy. I did notice a slight dent in one rim, can't remember which wheel right now. I just had the wheels balanced, but I don't think balancing will 'fix' a dented rim.

The problem might not even be in the front end. Worn U-joints maybe? It's hard to pin down the source.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks Y'all!

post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-29-2004, 05:39 PM
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Put the wheel with the dent in it on the back and see if it makes a difference. WIth al your new parts it probably is it. Those people who balanced probably didn't care to tell you that they couldn't balance it right.
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-29-2004, 06:35 PM
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If he did all the bushings (upper and lower front control arms)you got a decent deal on the install, along with springs and everything else.
How are your front wheel bearings?
Everything else is new so you might want to go there.
What are your tires like? Maybe check out some of the tire sites and see if the reviews have issues. Wandering does seem to be a trait that some tires acquire as they wear.
Also, you may need to tweak the steering box adjustment a 1/4 turn, that always stirs people up.
Switch back and front tires and see if vibration goes to your butt.
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