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Old 09-10-2007, 12:34 AM
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1972 El Camino Control Arm question

Recently, due to time constraints, I had the front end bushings and such replaced on my 72, within a few weeks the passenger side control arm bushings had come off and the rear bolt was missing, I had this fixed, and a few weeks later, again the same thing. The shop I then took it to said that it looked as though the upper control arm was warped/misshapen (from 35 years of who knows driving it) to the point that the bolt would no long hold the stuff togethor, and that normally they would tack weld it in such an instance, but that had already been done and undone so they thought it would be better if I replaced the A-arm.

Currently, its the stock stamped steel control arms, I would like to know if there is sufficient benefit to a daily driver/fun ride/not-serious street-strip vehicle to go with tubular control arms, and can it be done safely/effectively with just tubular uppers and the stock stamped lowers, or would that cancel any benefits the tubular uppers/negative roll or what not would provide.

Unfortunately I am very unversed in suspension, and would like 2nd/3rd and 4th opinions from a group of neutral parties.

Also, any suggestions on specific vendors to go with for whatever I buy would be grand.. as I ought to do this in short order so I can get back on the road! Money is a concern, but quality and use of the money is as well.

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Old 09-10-2007, 06:01 AM
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I had to use tubular uppers on the 59.
Not enough clearance between the #1 Exhaust and the stock upper arm.
454 in a car that was not designed for a BB.
Should be no problem---many are doing it.
I have the arms from Airride----were about $300 when I bought em.
Seems the range is from about 300 to 600 for these.

I have noticed that the uppers are available for the A-Bodies now.
Not sure if it is Year-One or NPD (national parts depot) that has them.
I think about 129 each.

Might want to look into a damaged cross shaft as well, this would be the part that the bolt actually threads into. Perhaps it is stripped or wallowed out to the point it cannot retain the bolt.

Remove the control arms one at a time and mark the sides they go on. They look very similar and getting the sides mixed is too easy.

Last edited by Bryan59EC; 09-10-2007 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:56 AM
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The thing that concerns me is the fact that the bolt came out in the first place, i'm wondering if they were torqued in the first place properly. If the threads weren't good to tightnen to spec, than the shafts should have been replaced. The replacement shafts i've seen and also there are 2 differant styles from the factory, but instead of the 5/16" bolt it uses like a 7/8" or so nut. Of course the control arms are probably elongated now, thats because they came loose. I would get another control arm from a junkyard and get new bushings and ball joint installed, IMO I like the looks of a factory car when I look under the hood. And maybe get away from the shaft style with the 5/16" end bolt and use the one with the larger threads and nut.

Btw if you decide to do this yourself this time, make sure the suspension is on the ground before torquing the end bolts/nuts on the shaft. It will put the suspension in a bind if they are torqued with the wheels off the ground.

Edit: IIRC the end bolts are 3/8" not 5/16"

Last edited by chieftain; 09-10-2007 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:25 PM
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Awesome, thanks for the quick replies.

Yeah, the more I see the more I like Old, stock looking enginebays and the such, but my 72 already has aluminum heads, a different pan, and is about to get an aftermarket AC, so its pretty well messed up already

I think when I steal I mean, work on my dad's 65 with him, I'll push for a more stock look (and... pull the 455 thats in it..)
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:39 PM
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It should have a 3/8 bolt holding the washer on and the bushing in place.
I have never seen one with 5/16.
If it has the nuts that screw on the ends of the shafts instead of bolts Some Buyer at GM bought off on nuts that were not lock nuts and did not have lock washers in the early 70s. There was a major recall at that time and I spent a lot of time replacing those nuts and washers with a locknut and new washer.
If it happened to be one that didn't have the nuts changed they would back off.
This is also the reason that you see nuts tac welded on the shaft of the early/mid 70 GM cars. That was the factory fix after they discovered the problem.

Cheifton's suggestion to wait until the car is settled on the wheels to tighten/torque the bolts/nuts is a good one that will help prevent squeaks and help the bushings last longer.
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