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View Full Version : Upper Control Arm Bushing and More!


del
01-03-2017, 09:16 PM
Happy New Year Everyone!
So the irritating squeak from the right-front turns out to be a bad control arm bushing, and since a disc brake conversion has been swirling in my head for at least a couple of years, looks like I will have my work cut out for me come spring when the 'Bird comes out of winter hibernation.

I'm getting my shopping list together now and will be going with the scarebird bracket / ABS 9787 setup on my 352 No A/C set-up. This is a pretty big job (for me ;)) and the info being shared here on this site is what has given me the confidence to take it on so thanks to Dave Ray OX1 Randy and the many many others who have left a trail for me to follow. I will try to do the same for those who come after.

Here are my lead-off questions, thanks in advance...
1) Has anyone been able to use the S-10 calipers with the 75-80 Granada 14" wheels and NOT have to grind the calipers to fit? Does it matter if they are for 2WD or 4WD?

2) My car has the original upper ball joints and 65k miles. I'm confident that I can make the 2 bolt/coupling nut tool and separate the ball joint (without the pickle fork and that potential damage) to get at & remove the upper A arm to do the bushings. At this point, other than the control arm bushing,the front end is solid. So - do I just put it back together as is or bite the bullet and replace the ball joints for no apparent reason other than that they are apart.

Here's a couple of pictures.

simplyconnected
01-03-2017, 10:53 PM
...1) Has anyone been able to use the S-10 calipers with the 75-80 Granada 14" wheels and NOT have to grind the calipers to fit? Does it matter if they are for 2WD or 4WD?Summitracing.com offers wheels that fit. Howard Prout and Ray Clark both used 14" wheels that fit without any grinding. Others used wheels that required very slight grinding of the caliper corner. Remember, GM used many vendors to make millions of calipers, to fit just about all cars across GM's car line and for many years. The numbers will boggle your mind. So, each casting may be very slightly different, and I mean slightly because sand cores shift and no two are identical.
I use 4WD calipers while others use 2WD. The difference is, 4WD has the bleeder facing the inside while the RWD has the bleeder facing forward. Either caliper works equally well. Look at the pictures on Rockauto.com for a S-10 pickup.

2) My car has the original upper ball joints and 65k miles. I'm confident that I can make the 2 bolt/coupling nut tool and separate the ball joint (without the pickle fork and that potential damage) to get at & remove the upper A arm to do the bushings. At this point, other than the control arm bushing,the front end is solid. So - do I just put it back together as is or bite the bullet and replace the ball joints for no apparent reason other than that they are apart...You can do this job, 'once and done' OR you can tear into it many times, replacing just the components that go bad. If you love wrenching, the choice is yours. Personally, I want to lift my car once, do as much bench work as possible, relieve front spring pressure ONCE, then put it back together with new components. Bushings are about $8/each (times eight). Ball joints aren't expensive. Replacing brake lines is much easier than you think if you use proper tools and conifer brake line. Yes, you may use your old lines to practice the learning curve before doing the real thing.

You are lucky to have a booster on your firewall (If I'm looking at the right picture). You can save some money by cutting and drilling two square tubes, then you can re-use everything from that bracket back to your pedal. If your booster is OEM, it will have six rivets on the firewall bracket. Simply grind them off and dump the booster as shown in Marcelo's pictures. Then buy a dual diaphragm 8" booster and a 1"-bore M/C from Pirate jack for under $200 (http://piratejack.net/universal-8-dual-diaphragm-booster/). You will need a clevis pin and combination valve, too. - Dave

OX1
01-04-2017, 03:04 PM
I debated ball joints as my parts car had them done pretty recent. They really are not that much money and I did them, if for any other reason, the boots on mine were slightly cracked/dry rotted.

I did lose (yes lose) one of my upper control arms and had to get a replacement. The replacement had the original ball joint and it was a bit of fun to try and grind off rivets while not grinding the control arm. I was using a 4" grinder, so something smaller would probably be more appropriate.

Also, the ball joint "tool" that goes between the ball joints left me with one side having the upper disconnect, and the other side the lower. Not sure what if anything I did different to get one result vs the other. If you get the wrong one (lower), you will still need a decent ball joint tool (unless you are replacing them anyway, then hack away with the pickle).

del
01-11-2017, 06:14 PM
The replacement had the original ball joint and it was a bit of fun to try and grind off rivets while not grinding the control arm. I was using a 4" grinder, so something smaller would probably be more appropriate.

I was wondering if the grinder I have would do the job...see pic...sounds similar to what you used. Appreciate the tip about the separator tool, too. I am going to try not to undo any the the lower arm / lower ball joints if I can help it, but I'll see what things look like once I get to it in the spring. This project is taking me a little beyond where I've ever gone before - never have done any front end work. I'm trying to eliminate as many variables from the equation as possible, to balance my inexperience. The planning for the disk brake conversion alone has caused me to mentally revisit stuff I haven't done for 40+ years, and I didn't do much of it back then to begin with ! Luckily my next door neighbor has lots of experience and tools I can borrow:) and I'm sure that I'll get quite the education as I go.

del
01-11-2017, 06:38 PM
You are lucky to have a booster on your firewall (If I'm looking at the right picture). You can save some money by cutting and drilling two square tubes, then you can re-use everything from that bracket back to your pedal. If your booster is OEM, it will have six rivets on the firewall bracket. Simply grind them off and dump the booster as shown in Marcelo's pictures.

Thanks, Dave and yes you are looking at the right picture. I'm a not much of a photographer, and a worse mechanic! I did revisit Marcelo's thread and I admire his ingenuity but fabrication is unfortunately not in my wheelhouse, so I'm going to go with the ABS set-up to hopefully keep things as simple as possible.

As for wheels I'm going to try the bone yard route first for 14" wheels of the proper vintage and bolt pattern. I am not that crazy about the new wheels with the double set of holes. The cracking I read about in another thread is troubling and the load rating is not great. IMHO

simplyconnected
01-11-2017, 09:46 PM
Thanks, Dave and yes you are looking at the right picture. I'm a not much of a photographer, and a worse mechanic! I did revisit Marcelo's thread and I admire his ingenuity but fabrication is unfortunately not in my wheelhouse, so I'm going to go with the ABS set-up to hopefully keep things as simple as possible.

As for wheels I'm going to try the bone yard route first for 14" wheels of the proper vintage and bolt pattern. I am not that crazy about the new wheels with the double set of holes. The cracking I read about in another thread is troubling and the load rating is not great. IMHODon, I appreciate your position and I understand your degree of skills. Even so, I'm trying to make this as easy and inexpensive as practical.

Kits you buy will assume your car needs 'everything' so they need to include all hardware. If you can use your firewall bracket, that means all hardware from that point to your pedal will remain stock. New boosters come with a long input shaft. Marcelo didn't want to cut his so he made those 2" extensions on his table saw. An angle grinder like the one you show works just as well.

If this job is too much, look for someone who can help you. Brake line will need to be bent and mounted and adjustments will need to be performed to make things work.

As a side note, we normally drill rivets before grinding them so most of the metal is removed. This will relieve (collapse) the rivet for extraction. I believe the Shop Manual covers the drilling part in the ball joint replacement section. Unlike screws, nearly all rivets are the same story, they tend to hang on after being 'decapitated' because rivets are staked.

What ever your role is in this retrofit, we have many members who can answer your questions because their Squarebird now has power disk brakes. I still say that suspension work is NOT for the faint-hearted. It requires bull work and big hammers (as Randy Harsha found out). We're here to help. - Dave

dgs
01-12-2017, 10:32 PM
Regarding the front end rebuild, I took lots of pics when I did mine almost 10 (!) years ago, they might be of help to you. You'll find them here (http://www.salguod.net/gallery/squarebird-suspension-rebuild/gallery/).

del
01-22-2017, 01:22 PM
Those are great pictures thanks for the link! I see you replaced the upper control arm shafts as a kit and not just replace the bushings. I've got a couple of questions about that, Did you decide to replace the whole thing before or after you got it apart? Did you seek out NOS kit, if no, are you happy with the fitment and quality of the aftermarket kit ala MAC's?

I've just got one bad bushing as far as I know so far and the shaft kits are not cheap...

Thanks!

del
01-22-2017, 01:37 PM
New boosters come with a long input shaft. Marcelo didn't want to cut his so he made those 2" extensions on his table saw. An angle grinder like the one you show works just as well.


Dave you've got me convinced! Thanks for the nudge. I'm going to make those brackets. I did not get the connection between Marcelo's brackets and the length of the upgraded booster shaft until I went back to that thread in the TRL again...I somehow got confused with the Jeep bracket part of the discussion??? Anyway do you think 1/8" thick tubing would do the job or is that too thin. Marcelo use 1/4" but that because it was ready and available. What's your view?

Yes I understand about there will be some bending, flaring and swearing! involved in getting it all connected and working and I think I'm OK with most of that, at least here at the keyboard :D

dgs
01-22-2017, 07:15 PM
Those are great pictures thanks for the link! I see you replaced the upper control arm shafts as a kit and not just replace the bushings. I've got a couple of questions about that, Did you decide to replace the whole thing before or after you got it apart? Did you seek out NOS kit, if no, are you happy with the fitment and quality of the aftermarket kit ala MAC's?

I've just got one bad bushing as far as I know so far and the shaft kits are not cheap...

Thanks!

It was a while ago, but I think I bought the kit first. I went in assuming that everything needed replacement, my front end felt pretty loose.

I bought my kit through Kanter, but I'm not sure I would again. I've heard others question the quality of their parts, although my experience has been positive.