Any words of wisdom before I start my front end rebuild?

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering and Chassis' started by hula, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. hula

    hula Well-Known Member

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    1972 Dart with a 340 and using a PST OEM rubber kit and pitman arm and not messing with the torsion bars. Any caveats or wisdom to pass, best manual? Obviously doing wheel bearings and brakes while I'm at it. The frame shop I go to wanted 1000.00 in labor to do it and that seems a wee steep.
    IMG_4936.jpg
     
  2. purplehazenils

    purplehazenils Well-Known Member

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    Use Moog offset bushings for the upper control arms. Pretty sure you want more caster no matter what you use the car for.
     
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    • hula

      hula Well-Known Member

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      I can’t find the bushings or a part number for them.
       
    • doogievlg

      doogievlg Well-Known Member

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      Will you be pressing the bushings out yourself? If you are then get ahold of some pipe big enough to go around the bushings and ball joints. I just did this last weekend. We had to do a little grinding on the pipes to get them to sit flat but both control arms were knocked out in a couple hours.
       
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      • RedFish

        RedFish Well-Known Member

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        If you'll replace lower arm bushings or strut rod bushings, you'll have to mess with the torsion bars.
         
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        • grimreaper

          grimreaper Cross Member

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          Moog K7103 inst.jpg Moog K7103. Install them so the rear of the A arm is moved closer to the frame, front moved away. As mentioned, make the upper bushing press from a piece of pipe and all thread. Lower arm is most easily accomplished with a press.
           
          Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
        • Mopar Tim

          Mopar Tim FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          K7103, times 2 of them.
           
        • snate66

          snate66 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          You can make some tools for all the bushing changes... I did my first rebuild like that. With that said.
          The last time I used the tools from Mancini. You can get the set or a'la'cart the tools as needed.
          Front Suspension Tools
          Yes they can get pricy. But they made a couple of the jobs so effortless. .. and I'm a tool Whore.
          Factory manual of course but I liked the Performance Handling for Classic Mopars by Tom Condran . If ya can still find a copy. Although Laysons has had them in the past for double what Tom used to sell them for.
           
        • halifaxhops

          halifaxhops It's going to get stupid around here! FABO Gold Member

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          Most parts stores have loaner bushing presses and front end tools also.
           
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          • Murray

            Murray FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            If you don't want to mess with the torsion bars, what bushings do you plan on replacing? You should really plan on doing the lower swing arm bushings.
             
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            • RedFish

              RedFish Well-Known Member

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              That install instruction, although correct, tends to be confusing to some. The hole in the bushing will be located opposite the way you want the arm and ball joint to move. What your doing is relocating the hole to increase adjustment travel ( hole forward lets that side of the arm travel farther rearward ). Having the drawing with arrows at your workbench is advised. If my memory serves, The drawing you want to follow is different from a drawing you might find in the box with the offset bushings. Lets hope someone will post that drawing for you. Good luck
               
            • j par

              j par Well-hung Member

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              Yeah the torsion bars made me nervous too. But come to find out they're extremely easy to pull out and put back in. And likely that lower control arm bushing is a major culprit in your bad suspension. It's the one that everything rides on. The way I did it was just get the Moog upper and lower bushings and then just cheap tie rod ends and cheap ball joints. Again that's just the way I did. it I'm not saying it's better than any other way. But there's one thing I didn't want to deal with pressing in and pressing out those bushings again. I took this opportunity to spend the $99 on a cheap Harbor Freight 12-ton press. I called the shop and they told me $250 if I brought all the parts in and they just pressed them in and press them out. They said $50 each for the uppers and$75 each for the lowers? Actually I think it was 350 they wanted. Either way that was too much for what could be done in a half hour with a cheap Harbor Freight 12 ton press.
               
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              • hula

                hula Well-Known Member

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                I’ll order the offset bushings and it’s my first time to do a torsion bar front end, but sounds like it’s not an issue. I have a machine shop I’ve used to press bushings at a fraction of what J Par was quoted. I’ll take my time doing it and repaint etc. The PO installed gas adjust shocks and they feel pretty stiff. Any shock suggestions?
                 
              • j par

                j par Well-hung Member

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                For the lower control arms and the torsion bars it was just easiest to Mark the torsion bar and its position. That's about all you want to make sure to do is put them both on the correct side both exactly the same way you took them out. If you pulled a little C clip that's at the very back of them first and then take the nut off the front of the lower control arm and washer I just took a brash hammer and pounded on the bolt a little to tap it through. It really comes out quite easy and goes back in just as easy. If you have everything apart anyways and everything off and that's the last thing and you have the means it would be almost senseless not to do it.
                 
              • Murray

                Murray FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                Just a side point- the upper and lower bushings- if you use polyurethane- the outer shells are not pressed out, you reuse them. Drill out the rubber and inner part and slide in the urethane and new center piece. I only used Moog bushings on the strut because it fit better, all the rest urethane. Be sure to lube urethane or they will squeak.
                 
              • RedFish

                RedFish Well-Known Member

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                The novice who doesn't know how to support a OEM type lower arm bushing can destroy it at the press. They have distorted upper arms at the press too. Then there's which hardware should not be tightened before the suspension is at ride height positions. We've seen most every mistake that can be made. I remember one thread about lower ball joints that I never would have imagined. Yep, he found a brand new wrong way to do it.
                Read, watch how to videos on YouTube, etc.., until you have a thousand dollars worth of knowledge. That's how you keep the money in your pocket.
                 
              • 1994redram

                1994redram FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                Lower control arm reinforcement plates are a good idea. An exhaust shop would probably weld them on for cheap if you don't have a welder. A bunch of my front end clunking noise was coming from the lower control arm. And the rest was the lower control arm bushings, they were toast.
                 
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                • Dartswinger70

                  Dartswinger70 Well-Known Member

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                  Not a bad job but you need to have a press for the lower control arm bushings unless someone knows a trick. I used a shop press. Taking the front end completely apart isn't bad. Use a shop manual, be sure to release the torsion bar tension etc, they are basically springs and springs can be dangerous. I think I used a ball joint press for the upper control arm bushings. The upper ball joints thread in and require a special socket, the lowers ball joints bolt on to the steering Knuckle. Tie rod ends, I believe they are threaded right and left hand so they expand and contract when you turn the adjusting sleeve( ask me how I know:)). Idler arm bolts on, Pitman arm you need a puller. Don't expect a front end rebuild kit to have 'everything". I know its a long winded post, but this is my recollection of rebuilding my A body front end.
                   
                • hula

                  hula Well-Known Member

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                  You guys have been great with advice. I've ordered the offset bushings, factory service manual and LCA stiffening plates. Any shock suggestions or sway bar upgrade? I have gas adjust now and they seem stiff.
                   
                • 70 DUSTER CRATE

                  70 DUSTER CRATE Well-Known Member

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                  Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
                • hula

                  hula Well-Known Member

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                  I've looked at videos etc and I can't believe it's that hard to get the LCA bushings out, but my first time on a Mopar. I have access to a press if I can't find someone to do it. You used a ball joint press for UCA bushings?
                   
                • grimreaper

                  grimreaper Cross Member

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                  Make a tool like this for the upper control arm bushings. Control arm tool.JPG
                  You can just use a piece of pipe and a pipe cap with a hole drilled or even the pipe and a large heavy flat washer. It makes the job pretty easy.

                  Control arm tool 2.JPG
                   
                • hula

                  hula Well-Known Member

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                  Simple enough. Removal?
                   
                • grimreaper

                  grimreaper Cross Member

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                  Removes and installs. Just change the size and orientation of the washers.
                   
                • BillGrissom

                  BillGrissom Well-Known Member

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                  This week's Car Fix show on Velocity does a suspension rebuild. But, read-up here because they did some unnecessary fussing. Your kit probably came w/ the original 1-piece strut rod bushings. Those are a pain to insert in the radiator support hole. The Moog "improved design" is much easier and should last longer. I used just 1 offset UCA bushing on each side of my cars, moving the aft side of the UCA in toward the frame. Ignore the instructions which come in the kit, since those are intended to correct a car which was hit on the side and had the frame rail pushed in. Search for the posts here w/ diagram showing how to orient the offset. The Energy Suspension polyurethane T-bar aft shield will last much longer than the factory rubber. Read-up on tricks to get it on over the hex end. Don't put vise grips or pliers on the T-bar or strut rod. All of above are why I prefer piecing together suspension parts than the packaged kits, and usually cheaper if you shop around. rockauto and ebay is best.
                   
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