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Upper control arms

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Hi, 

 

I realized that both upper control arms (on both front tires of the car ) of my 1971 Monte Carlo completely need replacing. 

 

I've been trying to find a decent quality one, only for driving, nothing serious. 

upon looking, i found this, 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/64-72-Chevelle-Monte-Carlo-GTO-Heavy-Duty-Tubular-Upper-Control-Arms-A-Body-/171893287040?fits=Year%3A1971%7CModel%3AMonte+Carlo&hash=item2805a36880:g:JGEAAOSwal5YLsM4&vxp=mtr

 

and this

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/68-72-Chevelle-Monte-Carlo-GTO-Heavy-Duty-Tubular-Upper-Control-Arms-A-Body/162336295690?_trksid=p2047675.c100623.m-1&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D38530%26meid%3D245cd7c00b5344049ac936573a0a8cb6%26pid%3D100623%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D171893287040

 

I wanted someone to tell me if this a good part to buy. I also been looking up online that the tubular kind is better and lighter for the car 

rather than the original ones.

 If the post was supposed to go to a different section, tell me so i can change it.

 

Thank you.

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Hi, carguy,

 

Your post is definitely in the correct section of the forum (although probably no one would get upset if it wasn't).  It is very common for both upper and lower ball joints, as well as, the control arm bushings to be shot in a Monte that has already been driven a good many miles without a front suspension rebuild.

 

If you are sure the upper control arms need to be replaced (or rebuilt), there is a good chance that the lower control arms are in a similar condition so you won't achieve a stable front end condition unless the lower control arms are also replaced or rebuilt.  I don't know if you have the time, skills and tools to do either a replacement or a rebuild of the front control arms, but I have done it on each of my '70s and it is a major (and somewhat dangerous) task.  Here's a link to a photo journal for one of my projects if you want to get an idea of what is involved (whether you do it or have it done): Front Suspension Rebuild

 

I noticed the parts you are looking at recommend professional installation so it is going to cost you if you can't do the work yourself.  If you are going to have it done, it would be wise to have all of the bushings (upper/lower control arms and anti-sway bar), ball joints, tie rod ends, travel stop bumpers and possibly the idler arm replaced at once.  The other things to consider are replacing include the shock absorbers  and/or the front coil springs if they are sagging since it requires no additional time or effort while doing the other work.  Any rebuilding or replacing you do in the front suspension will likely require a new wheel alignment job so it's best to do it all at once, if possible.

 

There are several quality (i.e. Moog) complete front end rebuild kits available from classic car suppliers like The Parts Place Inc, Year One, Original Parts Group (in a pinch), as well as, Summit, Jegs and many others.  Of course, complete parts kits are also available on ebay but they are often sourced out of India or China so beware of the quality.  You pretty much get what you pay for.

 

Lots of our members have experience with the tubular after market control arms that you are looking at and they can advise you better than I.  One consideration is how original you want to keep your '71.  You can still buy new original style upper and lower control arm assemblies (i.e. from The Parts Place Inc.) if you want to replace them rather than rebuild them.  If you don't care about keeping your '71 more original, the tubular ones will work for you although you probably don't need them for a daily driver.

 

As you can tell, a project like replacing upper control arms can (and probably should) "snowball" into a complete front suspension rebuild.  To keep the snowball rolling, this would also be a good time to service or replace front wheel bearings and front disc brake pads (and possibly rotors).

 

Well, others may give you different/additional advice on this but that's my 2 cents worth.  Good luck!

 

 

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Dennis is correct, if the uppers are bad it is best to do the lowers. I also agree it is a good time to do a front end rebuild of front end including the springs, tie rods, stabilizer buswings, idler arm etc.

 

If you don't and do it one piece and have to do multiple front alignments. It can be dangerous but if done properly, and carefully it can be done by most backyard mechanics. It makes a world of difference in the handling. I went with rebuilding my stock arms.

rob

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I've been reading up on the Haynes manual and your post helped connect the dots.

My dad is a mechanic said that the lower control arms were fine and the only thing replacing were the upper control arms.

 

Plus I'm planning on using it for college next semester and I don't have much money either.I'm probably planning on doing a front suspension rebuild during the summer. I was just wondering if anyone here ever bought these parts and were good quality.

 

Thanks you guys are really helpful

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If your dad is a mechanic a rebuild of the arms should not be an issue.  When you say the old upper arms are bad and need replacing what do you mean.  For the most part,, unless they are bad due to rust, the only thing other than the bushings and upper ball joints having wear there is little that can go bad on the original ones.  The bushings and ball joints can be replaced, which is the least expensive way to do it.  I did a write up for one of our newsletters on how to do a front end rebuild, after I did mine.  

rob

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He's not that great in health (he knows that its something of the upper control arms but hasn't taken it apart) so i think he just wants the whole thing replaced so its easier.

Ill take it apart and check the condition of them tomorrow to see exactly whats wrong and see if can make the fix cheaper.

 

ill also upload the pictures of them so you guys can see them

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He's not that great in health (he knows that its something of the upper control arms but hasn't taken it apart) so i think he just wants the whole thing replaced so its easier.

Ill take it apart and check the condition of them tomorrow to see exactly whats wrong and see if can make the fix cheaper.

 

ill also upload the pictures of them so you guys can see them

When removing the upper control arms be sure to use a spring compressor to relieve the pressure of the spring on the arms. The major danger in this job is of that spring being under so much pressure and flying out and injuring or killing someone.

rob

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Question for the group, is there a place / places that rebuild upper and / or lower control arms?

I remember doing mine years ago and the hardest part was pressing the new bushings in.

It would be cool to remove them, ship them out and get them back all powder coated or painted and ready to install!

I should GOOGLE that........

Bruce

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if you go with the tubular a-arms the very first thing to do... is to toss the ball joint in the garbage and get any name brand one to replace it...they save money by putting crappy overseas ones in....just sayin...many many other forums will say to do this also

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if you go with the tubular a-arms the very first thing to do... is to toss the ball joint in the garbage and get any name brand one to replace it...they save money by putting crappy overseas ones in....just sayin...many many other forums will say to do this also

This is excellent advice. I have heard and seen these cheaper parts fail and cause a whole lot of damage.

These cars are heavy. You better have a quality product when it comes to suspension parts.

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Bruce, I don't know of any place that rebuilds control arms but you can buy stock replacement upper and lower control arm assemblies (including new ball joints and bushings) from The Parts Place Inc for $129.00 each.  The upper left control arm is part number SU4840A and the upper right control arm is part number SU4841A.

 

Carguy, if you decide to rebuild your current control arms, removing the old bushings and ball joints may be more challenging than installing the new ones.  The original ball joints will almost certainly be riveted in place so an air hammer with a chisel point will make quicker work of the removal process.  The old arm shaft bushings can be driven out with an air hammer with a blunt point.  If you use a regular big hammer to remove (or install) the bushings, be sure to support the arm well so you don't distort the bushing opening or bend the arm.

 

Step39.jpg

Step41.jpg

 

New ball joints bolt right on and new bushings are easy to install with a large vice and/or large hammer.  After installing the first bushing in the upper control arm, be sure to put the arm shaft in place before installing the second bushing or you will get to do it twice.

 

Step46.jpg

 

If you don't have a ball joint/bushing removal & installation tool set (see photo below), you can rent them or even borrow them from parts stores like Advance Auto (especially if you buy your new parts there).  These tools make the job easier and safer so it's worth your time to rent, borrow or buy one.

 

Step52.jpg

 

You may well be money and time ahead to buy complete control arm assemblies (whether stock or tubular) but it will still be a big and somewhat dangerous job to replace your current upper control arms.  Be careful and good luck!

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After mutilating some control arms removing and installing bushings, I found a great simple tool from Ridetech they call Bushing Installation Remval Tool, part number 85000009. It's $100 but removes and installs pretty easily. Lower ball joints remove easily with tool from your local parts place and the uppers are just some time and effort to remove the original rivets (quite a few posts on that process). Make sure you look the control arms over carefully so you don't spend time on something that is worn or cracked.

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