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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks, I am getting ready to replace my original stock upper rear trailing arms with new adjustable ones. Was just wondering what sort of issues I might run into? Seized bolts I know. What else? Do I need any special tools? How do I remove the bushings?

thanks.
 

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Bolts rusted into the bushing sleeves is the biggest problem. Lots of high quality penetrating oil. I find that it can be useful to put a floor jack under the nose of the center section to help get the bolt holes aligned when installing the new arms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bolts rusted into the bushing sleeves is the biggest problem. Lots of high quality penetrating oil. I find that it can be useful to put a floor jack under the nose of the center section to help get the bolt holes aligned when installing the new arms.
Is it safe to cut the bolts with a reciprocating saw between the arm and the frame if needed? I don’t even know if I can get one in there but figured something like that might be necessary.
 

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Shoot the nut and the other side of the bolt at least a day before you start with penetrating fluid. Set your impact to Tighten and tighten the bolt a few hits. Then loosen then tighten again. Don't bother with a wrench on the backside till the bolt starts to spin freely. Once it does turn freely you can use a second impact socket and a 1/2" breaker bar to hold the socket on the bolt. This avoids you pinching fingers and makes holding the impact and breaker bar at the same time a lot easier under the car.

I work on a lot of 20+ year old junk and I am from Michigan. About 50% of the time this works and the bolt comes out.

Other times the bolt breaks off outside frame mount. If the bolt was turning before you broke it you may be able to drive it through. But often this is just a waste of time as the bushing holds it. You can cut the bolt by placing a saw saw blade in there. But the rubber clogs up and heats up the blades fast. I don't mess with a saw saw anymore.

What you can do that works is take a cutoff wheel and cut the center of the bushing(your often destroying things to get to these bushings). Now take a MAPP (yellow) propane torch and torch the outside of the bushing rubber so it starts to smoke but focus the heat on the center of the bushing. You want the center of the bushing rubber to expand and come out the sides. You dont want to heat up the outsides any more then you need to because it will just burn off leaving the middle rubber alone and your bolt stuck.
The rubber is going to take a bit to start burning and once it does it will "pop" as the rubber expands. At some point the rubber will start expanding forcing rubber out on it's own. At this point you can often drive the bolt through and it will drop. Or just keep giving it heat if you don't have a body or fuel tank nearby and you will get a nice 6" flame that you can just let go for 10 minutes while you drink your favorite beverage watching it. Once it cools take a screwdriver to knock any remaining rubber out and the bushing should flop around. The bolt should come out easily now(right).

Sometimes the bolt will still be stuck in there at this point even when there is no bushing. Using penetrating fluid on both sides of the bolt usually avoids the bolt seizing against the frame. But it has happened to me. Get your impact and turn that bolt right and left until you round off the head. There is no nut on the other side and you will have a WTH moment. Grind off the bolt head and then shoot both sides with penetrating fluid. Some times bolts only want to go one way due to threads etc holding them in so you need to drive it through towards the side that had the nut. Then grind the part that is sticking out and you should be able to drive it back and then it should drop.

At some point you may consider removing the old frame bushing mounts and simply welding in some new mounts. This is not an option on all rides. There may be some fabrication required. But if you get to the point the bushing is flopping around and you have grinded on that frame mount a bit more then you should have. Starting fresh might make sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What about removing the bushing from the rear axle? Can I do this with home made tools or do I need to buy a ball joint press? Or is there a special tool for this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I’ll be replacing them “on the car” and without a lift. Figure it will be hard to get to things so I found and ordered a bushing removal/installation tool from Summit. Also ordered an angle gauge. Thanks for the tips. Mostly worried about the connection to the frame. This car does not have any rust to speak of so I’m hopeful that nothing is stuck. I will soak the bolts good with penetrating oil the day before and maybe even drive the car afterwards to help the oil get in.
I’ll tackle it this weekend, let you know how it goes.
 

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It gets pretty tight in there, especially if you have full exhaust.
I'd be mentally prepared to just removed the whole rearend.
Remove driveshaft, shocks, one brake line, two bolts on lower control arms... done.
Get new rubber insulators for the springs while you're at it.

I'd suggest replacing your lower control arm bushings while you're at it, if they've never been replaced.
My lower bushings had compressed 3/8", even though they looked fine... had to have my new driveshaft re-cut, since replacing the lower control arms changed the measurement. $$$
Are your lower control arms boxed?
If not, some inexpensive tubular control arms can be cheaper than boxed factory ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow, didn’t see that driveshaft problem coming. I thought the shaft had a sliding splined connection on the transmission end to allow for “some” movement? That’s going to stink if I run into that problem. I am planning to replace the lower arms too but at a later date.
Im putting QA1 arms on the back all around. Probably going with some uppers on the front from Global West combined with tall ball joints.
 

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Wow, didn’t see that driveshaft problem coming. I thought the shaft had a sliding splined connection on the transmission end to allow for “some” movement?
If you still have a stock driveshaft you shouldn't have an issue.
My problem was that I had already converted to a 4L60e trans, and had a driveshaft custom built, with the measurements with the stock lower control arms on it.
Just after that, I put in tubular upper and lower control arms, and the driveshaft wouldn't fit.
So my advice to everyone is... if you're going to have a driveshaft custom built, make sure you have new bushings, control arms, whatever you're going to do with the rearend, before you take the measurements for the driveshaft.

Edit: My problem wasn't caused by the control arms, it was caused by the fact that my original bushings, although they looked fine (no cracks or anything), they had actually compressed to the rear about 3/8", so my measurement for the driveshaft was about 3/8" too long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you still have a stock driveshaft you shouldn't have an issue.
My problem was that I had already converted to a 4L60e trans, and had a driveshaft custom built, with the measurements with the stock lower control arms on it.
Just after that, I put in tubular upper and lower control arms, and the driveshaft wouldn't fit.
So my advice to everyone is... if you're going to have a driveshaft custom built, make sure you have new bushings, control arms, whatever you're going to do with the rearend, before you take the measurements for the driveshaft.

Edit: My problem wasn't caused by the control arms, it was caused by the fact that my original bushings, although they looked fine (no cracks or anything), they had actually compressed to the rear about 3/8", so my measurement for the driveshaft was about 3/8" too long.
Well my story is the same as yours. We put a 4L65e in ours and the drive shaft was shortened. I also put 1.5” spacers under the rear springs. All of this seems to have resulted in a pinion angle problem. That’s why I’m putting adjustable arms on the rear. Plus I wanted to upgrade the rear anyway to get rid of some slop in the suspension. If I had known about all of this I would have changed the rear arms when all the other work was being done. Oh well, I hope I don’t have the same problem you did but at least now I won’t be surprised.
I am still confused though, I thought that the driveshaft had a sliding connection on one end to accommodate the movement of the rear axle. A four link axle configuration has movement forward and reverse when body roll occurs and also when the rear of the car bounces up and down due to the trailing arm design which has the axle moving in an arc. If the driveshaft cant slide on either the transmission shaft or on the pinion shaft then how can it tolerate the movement of the rear end? I would think that the sliding connection could easily handle 3/8” unless maybe yours was already pushed all the way to the end. I don’t know. Maybe I’m totally wrong. Now I want to go look at my car, lol.
 

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Yeah there are other caveats to driveshaft measurement, but the guys that did my driveshaft wanted to get it so that it has as much contact as possible on the splines.
So another thing that I learned along the way is that you need to have the car jacked so that the car sits on the same angle as it sits on the ground. Otherwise, the springs will be compressed differently, and it can lead to an incorrect measurement.
My driveshaft is an aluminum racing shaft, so the guy I talked to was really adamant that he didn't want to leave any more "play" than necessary, as he's looking at it from a racing perspective and doesn't want me breaking the splines due to using nitrous and/or boost and maxing things out. He wanted maximum surface contact on the splines.
In lower HP situations, I'm sure you can allow a little more play without issues, and maybe you did.
For anyone doing driveshaft measurements, it's worthwhile to check the measurement with the axle at different heights, and find the point within the normal spring travel that has the shortest driveshaft length measurement. Go with that, and you won't have issues.
 

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As far as the "play" goes, you need enough to push the driveshaft inward enough to clear the differential yoke for installation/removal. That is also enough for differences during axle travel. That's why they have you measure from the end of the trans tailhousing, to the surface of the yoke... because it needs to just clear that yoke. If it just clears that yoke, then you have enough play for axle travel.
But if they make it to just clear that yoke, any changes that change that distance means it won't clear the yoke, therefore it won't install.
If I had installed those control arms without removing the driveshaft, it probably would have worked, but when I went to remove it later on, it wouldn't have come out...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As far as the "play" goes, you need enough to push the driveshaft inward enough to clear the differential yoke for installation/removal. That is also enough for differences during axle travel. That's why they have you measure from the end of the trans tailhousing, to the surface of the yoke... because it needs to just clear that yoke. If it just clears that yoke, then you have enough play for axle travel.
But if they make it to just clear that yoke, any changes that change that distance means it won't clear the yoke, therefore it won't install.
If I had installed those control arms without removing the driveshaft, it probably would have worked, but when I went to remove it later on, it wouldn't have come out...
If there is one thing I have learned in life it’s that NOTHING is simple. If something looks simple then you are not looking hard enough!
Thanks for the info. If my tools arrive tomorrow as expected then I’ll be set to work on this over the weekend.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
DId I mention you have excellent taste in cars? :ROFLMAO: :cool:
Well, this car was given to us by my wife’s father. And it was originally a Malibu and butternut yellow like yours I think. We restored it as an SS to “drive“ it with a new power train. While I’m supposed to be a Ford man I think most of the best looking so called muscle cars were produced between 67 and 69 and I like them across all brands. I think if there was one brand that produced the coolest cars in the 60’s it was Dodge / Mopar. But the 67 chevelle was / is a fine looking machine.
My first car was a 68 Ford Fairlane. My all time favorite car is probably the 67 Ford Fairlane.
 
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