BADASS of New England

An automobile club for the enthusiast who enjoys the last of the big GM cars. The rear wheel drive B and D bodys. Chevrolet Impala SS, Caprice, 9C1, Buick Roadmaster, Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, Cadillac Fleetwood
 
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 Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)

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bfurches



Posts : 1061
Join date : 2010-04-20
Age : 29
Location : Springfield, MA

PostSubject: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:37 pm

Ok guys...

I am piecing together the components for my cars new suspension setup and I came up with some suspension info that you all may want to know (or already know).

As you guys probably know...tubular control arms are very far and few between for our chassis. The B-Body has been neglected in the front suspension department, so I started doing my own research.

The reason I am personally looking for a good tubular control arm, is because I plan on running the QA1 "R" series coilovers. For those of you no familiar....these coilovers eliminate the OEM spring sitting on the lower control arm (but maintains the OEM upper spring perch on the frame). The way these coilovers mount puts additional stress on the shock mount of the lower control arm, or also reffered to as the t-bar off the bottom of the shock (since the weight of the front spring is now held on the shock vs being held on the actual spring perch on the control arm).

...here is an example of the coilover to give you a better idea...
http://static.speedwaymotors.com/RS/SR/Product/72146711_L.jpg

Now...the rest of the aftermarket has a solution to this "addded stress." (by "rest of the aftermarket," im referring to camaros, firebirds, chevelles, montes and etc.) However, the b-body is left high and dry....until now.

Through my research and interchange manuals, I have found that the lower control arms from the 1978-1981 camaro/ firebird are interchangeable with the 1977-96 b-body. Again....this is for the LOWER control arms ONLY! Global West has an assortment of lower control arms for these chassis that will bolt right into our whales we call cars...

http://globalwest.net/70-73-camaro-front-control-arms.html

...more specifically part number: TLC-71H which I will personally be using in my Drag setup in conjunction with the QA1 coilovers.

This opens up a lot more cost effective options for lower control arms on b-bodys. The 70-81 camaro/ firebird chassis has a lot of performance parts in demand, therefore the savings on production costs can be passed onto us Smile

I have verified this interchange through several different sources. I do not have the time nor interest in sharing this info on multiple websites, so if you wish to do so...feel free.

One last interesting fact is that the 1987-1990 caprice 9c1 package used the SAME upper control arms as the g-body and s-10, however used our lower control arms. This has lead me to believe that tubular uppers from a g-body could easily be adapted to our chassis. I have a set of Speedway uppers being delivered on thursday, I will let you know what I find Smile

If the interest is there...I will post pictures as I install all of the suspension components here in this thread!
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No Moa



Posts : 3871
Join date : 2009-02-21
Age : 44
Location : Midcoast Maine

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:41 pm

Funny thing is, one of my cars has camaro upper tube arms. He said he got them from global west 15 years ago.
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bfurches



Posts : 1061
Join date : 2010-04-20
Age : 29
Location : Springfield, MA

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:31 pm

Today I measured the upper control arms between a g-body and b-body and they are very similar with the main difference being the location of the bolt holes. (roughly a 1" difference. I will see if I can get some pictures up this week.
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mean ss



Posts : 648
Join date : 2009-02-25
Age : 58
Location : Nashua NH.

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:36 pm

Speed Tech make them for B Bodys
http://www.speedtechperformance.com/index.cfm/page/ptype=product/product_id=60/category_id=188/home_id=188/mode=prod/prd60.htm

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=240269
"The QA1 setup is not a true full coilover. It's more of a "hybrid" coilover setup. You can't get enough spring rate out of it to get optimal performance with a B-body. You want a front spring in the 750 lb/in range"
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bfurches



Posts : 1061
Join date : 2010-04-20
Age : 29
Location : Springfield, MA

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:59 pm

speedtechs the ONLY company I have seen...and there price is HIGH
I dont know about you guys...but I like options...

If you read through that thread on the other forum...its kinda funny...
....you want 750lb of spring rate in the front of a caprice/ impala?!
Really?!

How much does JUST the front weigh in at....3500lbs??? Because thats a TON of spring rate.

QA1 offers a 550lb spring which supports between 2101-2300 lbs...which is PLENTY of spring rate...

Who cares if its a "hybrid coilover." Its a HUGE improvement over stock...
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mean ss



Posts : 648
Join date : 2009-02-25
Age : 58
Location : Nashua NH.

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:04 pm

that might be ok for drag racing but not for handling
Camaro parts are allways cheaper look at their prices for other cars at Global
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bfurches



Posts : 1061
Join date : 2010-04-20
Age : 29
Location : Springfield, MA

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:36 pm

...yes correct, firebird/ camaro parts are WAY CHEAPER.....THATS THE POINT!

This is a cost effective alternative for lower control arms, whether you are planning on using the coilovers or not.
Just because im using the coilovers for a drag race application, doesent meen im selling it to everyone. And if you go to QA1's website it clearly state that there coilovers are for DRAG use.

Plain and simple the info is there....if you want an alternative to the ONLY company that makes expensive overpriced control arms for our cars because they have the market cornered....heres your chance. Very simple.
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bfurches



Posts : 1061
Join date : 2010-04-20
Age : 29
Location : Springfield, MA

PostSubject: UPDATE!   Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:34 pm

Hey guys...

for those of you who care...I did a little more research and it turns out that the 70-81 camaro/ firebird also used the same upper cross shaft mounting points (7 3/4 from bolt center to center), which means that the tubular UPPERS will also fit. As a matter of fact, the spindles are the same as well as the coil springs (granted there are many options for front springs based on w/ or w/o ac as well as suspension packages and etc).

Regardless...I believe it is safe to say that any aftermarket package produced for the 70-81 camaro/ firebirds (f-body), are interchangeable with the 77-96 caprice/ impalas (the only exception I have found to this is the 87-90 9c1 uppers).

So whether your building a drag car or a full out road race/ auto-x machine, global west offers a TON of front suspension options to suit your needs Smile

Not only global west....a quick search will come up with quite a few companies manufacturing tubular uppers and lowers that are an excellent alternative to the, in my opinion, overpriced speedtechs.

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sdstick



Posts : 4278
Join date : 2009-03-20
Location : Revere, MA

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:14 pm

Good to know, thanks

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bfurches



Posts : 1061
Join date : 2010-04-20
Age : 29
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PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:02 pm

I found a guy on Yellowbullet that had some brand new TRZs for sale. They are full chromeolly and setup for coilovers. Supposedly they shave 15lbs per side, so I will hopefully have some installed pics VERY soon cyclops
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toomanytoyz
Club President


Posts : 6870
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 40
Location : East Hampstead, NH USA

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:08 pm

That's very interesting information. Try it and let us know how it works out! Smile

Can we still use the B-specific spindle to retain our bolt pattern and ABS?

_________________
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bfurches



Posts : 1061
Join date : 2010-04-20
Age : 29
Location : Springfield, MA

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:12 pm

Yes, It appears that the spindles are interchangeable. I found a part number that listed the front spindle as interchangin with the 70-81 f-body's, but I have yet to find it again to be 100% I will keep looking!
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mean ss



Posts : 648
Join date : 2009-02-25
Age : 58
Location : Nashua NH.

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:50 pm

bfurches wrote:
Yes, It appears that the spindles are interchangeable. I found a part number that listed the front spindle as interchangin with the 70-81 f-body's, but I have yet to find it again to be 100% I will keep looking!

yes but they are for 11" rotors
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bfurches



Posts : 1061
Join date : 2010-04-20
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Location : Springfield, MA

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:36 pm

mean ss wrote:
yes but they are for 11" rotors

Regardless, you should have no problem using the uppers and lowers on the 12" brake spindles (asuming the balljoints are the same, which they would have to be since they share the same upper/lower part numbers).
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Machine-De-Zine



Posts : 512
Join date : 2010-11-16
Age : 60
Location : Wrentham

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:52 am

bfurches wrote:
mean ss wrote:
yes but they are for 11" rotors

Regardless, you should have no problem using the uppers and lowers on the 12" brake spindles (asuming the balljoints are the same, which they would have to be since they share the same upper/lower part numbers).
There is one manufacturer that I know of (SPC) that makes killer front arms that work on the B-D-bodies that also solve one more issue. I wont go into all the front control arm interchangeability options or even list who makes sets that will bolt right up. However, although these are not available with the coveted late 95 & 96 taxi-9C1 large lower ball joint as of recently, that deficiency can be more than offset by the use of Howe modular adjustable billet ball joints. . . . http://www.howeracing.com/c-510-howe-precision-ball-joints.aspx . . . The really COOL thing about the SPC Performance control arms is that they move the lower ball joint location forward approximately 3/4" which when combined with their "also very killer" upper adjustable control arm, you can finally achieve a very good 8 to 10 degrees positive caster for WAY better handling! . They do this so that your wheel-base is NOT affected & the tire won't hit the wheel-well. I have both sets of these control arms with Vari-Shocks (single adjustable version). I feel they are discernibly better than QA1s. . . . http://www.scandc.com/varishocks.htm . . . Racers whom I know and whose opinion I respect have switched from QA1s to the Vari-Shock brand. Additionally, you don't have to use these spindles, but because I wanted insane brakes, so I got the ATS/AFX C5/6 forged aluminum front uprights . . . http://www.t56kit.com/FAQ/ . . . with KORE3 supplied Z06 brakes at all four wheels. . . . http://www.kore3.com/proddetail.php?prod=10336-03 . . . You can for much less coin, use a pair of the abundantly available used, non-large lower ball joint "12 inch rotor specific" spindles and you also have the option to upgrade to taller than std Howe upper ball joints for even better handling improvements and tunability. All of this stuff, except the KORE3, can be sourced from Mark @ SCANC. com. Another interesting thing to note: If you go to 12" rotors on stock sta-wag spindles, you don't have to end up stuck with 5 on 5" B/C. Just order the standard Camaro 1LE rotor from 88-92? and you can use your 5 on 4.750" B/C wheels! This is because it IS the same rotor, only drilled for the 4 3/4" bolt pattern. You gotta love GM sometimes.
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Machine-De-Zine



Posts : 512
Join date : 2010-11-16
Age : 60
Location : Wrentham

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:48 am

bfurches wrote:
Yes, It appears that the spindles are interchangeable. I found a part number that listed the front spindle as interchangin with the 70-81 f-body's, but I have yet to find it again to be 100% I will keep looking!
If you can think it up, there is most likely somebody done made it happen already. Believe it or not, rumor has it, although those arms are a bit longer, you can make late crown/vic front lowers work in our B-body. Nail down what it is your trying to fix. Whats wrong or broken? The only advantage to coil-overs here would be quick height adjustments. The stock B-body's suspension strength, geometry, interchangeability, availability of replacement parts, handling and the ease of repairs is VERY good. Way better than the weak, sadly compromised G-body stuff. If deflection is your big worry, just box-out the lowers with 1/8" sheet steel, replace the "factory comfort bushings" with an inexpensive AcetronGP(Delrin) set, chose from the multitude of good to excellent springs where you can specify the wire diameter, coil diameter, # of coils, unloaded as well as loaded height, style of ends (open-flat-ground-pigtail), in progressive or linear rate. Get the appropriate shock absorbers for your needs and don't forget to "balance" your front suspension working set-up to your rear set-up. Any completed axle set-up will give you a bounce rate, or resonance. If the front and rear are not matched for each other, you could ride very quickly over a swell or dip in the road, and find that the car settles-down wildly different on the front and back of the car. Then you could loose control of the car. The point is, you don't necessarily have to spend lots of money. If you study how front coil springs really work, you could go to the junk yard & yank any spring out of anything at all, and armed with the knowledge that every spring of a known wire dia, coil dia, free length & # of coils will give a definite pre-determined result. Between all of you guys pulling, cutting & trying springs in basically the same bodies, we could easily have an excellent data-base. Determine, with a scale, the "sprung-weight" on each of your front springs, then measure the distance between the center of the pivot axis, center of the sring pocket and working center of the lower ball joint. This gives you the leverage multiplier. Properly place the subject spring into the car and raise the arm until you make firm contact, then measure the unloaded installed spring length. Now take the known spring rate in pounds per inch and calculate using the lower arm leverage multiplier to determine where your arm will be, when installed, at rest. The known weight of the car pressing down on it will mathematically predict the ride height. For example: A 12" tall "free-height" coil spring, with 1000 lbs weight pressing on it, will compress exactly one inch if its spring rate is 1000 lbs/in. It will now be 11" tall. As for spindle choices, watch out for tall 12" brake styles because there was a change in the diameter of the outer bearing, . . http://www.kore3.com/images/gmtsdia_450x488.jpg . The point here is to identify what it is you are trying to fix, and choose cheap stock used parts that achieve that objective. If such parts can not be had or modifed from stock parts, then look to the after market. I believe that a great number of admittedly well made, and often gorgeous to look at, suspension components being sold out there today are not much more than eye-candy. How much of it HONESTLY addresses a legitimate performance problem and ACTUALLY achieves that result for us at a fair cost. Many products absolutely degrade your cars performance and safety envelope! So in response to the original statement about 70-81 F-bods, If you want to use them, yes you can use those spindles. There are plenty of options to allow you to connect-up almost any combo. But why did you chose THAT particular spindle. Big vans, S-10s, F-bodies, B&D-bodies, astro-vans & others, they ALL can be made to function, but make sure you know what problem is being addressed and solved.
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No Moa



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Age : 44
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PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:34 am

^^^^ with all that info rattleing around in your head, you must get headaches often^^^^^
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Cadet57



Posts : 4476
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Age : 29
Location : Chicopee, MA

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:17 am

No Moa wrote:
^^^^ with all that info rattleing around in your head, you must get headaches often^^^^^

And idk about you, but I understand like every 5th word Laughing
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Machine-De-Zine



Posts : 512
Join date : 2010-11-16
Age : 60
Location : Wrentham

PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:06 pm

No Moa wrote:
^^^^ with all that info rattleing around in your head, you must get headaches often^^^^^
My expectation was that the "rattling info" might help to alleviate headaches while trying to improve my cars performance. I guess your telling me it's not working as I had hoped! lol. If its any comfort, these rattlng thoughts in my head are fading away much faster than they are accumulating, and at this rate, my head should be a vacuum very soon. It's an age thang! BTW, I HAVE noticed the headaches are dissipating, Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: Tubular Lower Control Arm and Coilovers :)   Today at 6:59 pm

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