Front suspension????

D

Doug Chahoy

G-Body Guru
Nov 21, 2016
720
284
63
#1
I've got the Blazer spindle/F body brake conversion coming for my 79 El Camino . Figuring to only do one dismantle I want to get the rest of the front suspension and steering parts at one time. Is there a negative to using stock ball joints? I'm going to buy tubular upper control arms, mostly for header clearance. Replace lower bushings. And all the steering arms. Already did the GN steering box and Jeep shaft. Figuring on stronger stock height springs. So where's the best place to buy ( lowest price, good quality) As said before, the car ISN'T going to be doing any form of racing, just want better ride and handling.
 
fleming442

fleming442

Comic Book Super Hero
Dec 26, 2013
4,123
2,054
113
#2
Spohn sells an entire Proforged front kit for the steering with ball joints optional. The price is actually a little less than individual Moog components.
 
86judge

86judge

Greasemonkey
Dec 27, 2012
147
38
28
Indiana
#3
I’ve just got done doing some of that to the front of mine. I used all blazer parts for now. And as far as the ball joints the taller ones are supposed to help some of the bad geometry from the factory. Haven’t got mine together enough to drive it yet. So don’t have experience on how well it works but there’s a lot of information saying it’s a good thing to do
 
86judge

86judge

Greasemonkey
Dec 27, 2012
147
38
28
Indiana
#4
You can see the taller upper ball joint in this pic
ee651b9d-13e5-47eb-b29c-e9b2943d1883-jpeg.85844
9be8df26-0980-49ce-b767-6b9deeff5204-jpeg.85845
 
D

Doug Chahoy

G-Body Guru
Nov 21, 2016
720
284
63
#5
So a taller upper bj is a good way to go?
 
melloelky

melloelky

G-Body Guru
Oct 22, 2017
717
587
93
mass
#6
yes.in a nut shell seeing you're gonna spend your time and money changing your upper arms go with one that has something to offer.most of the tubular stuff out there looks nice but there's no alignment/geometry change to speak of.they're tubular versions of the stock parts.and there's nothing wrong with that if that's all you're looking for.if you upgrade to some arms that offer a change in alignment along side the taller bj's-a better alignment is possible and the the car will drive and handle better.
 
UNGN

UNGN

Comic Book Super Hero
Sep 6, 2016
2,595
1,051
113
Southlake, TX
#7
So a taller upper bj is a good way to go?
Tall lower works with all cars, lowers the front end 3/4", reduces bumpsteer and will work with any wheels. Brake dust shield and LCA lip may need a little trimming but its minor.

Tall uppers can cause interference with smaller diameter wheels, especially 8" wheels. Even 16" wheels can have UCA interference when turning. 17" wheels and larger should be OK

Tall balljoints keep the wheel relatively vertical during suspension travel, and not have the backwards factory camber curve (negative camber on extention/Positive camber on compression).

All sports cars and most modern cars have camber curves similar to a tall baljoint G-body. I can't think of a car built in the last 25 years where the tires go to full negative camber when you jack up one side, like the factory geometry on a G body does.

This is my Tall balljoint 2+2 at full suspension droop. Note it has 1.0 degree negative degree of static camber so it should have even worse negative camber than a factory car when jacked up:

20170628_210818-jpg.69456


Jack up a factory ball joint car and let the wheels droop and they won't stay vertical (or be slightly positive) like this.
 
M

mystre71

Apprentice
Apr 7, 2018
66
56
18
#8
yes.in a nut shell seeing you're gonna spend your time and money changing your upper arms go with one that has something to offer.most of the tubular stuff out there looks nice but there's no alignment/geometry change to speak of.they're tubular versions of the stock parts.and there's nothing wrong with that if that's all you're looking for.if you upgrade to some arms that offer a change in alignment along side the taller bj's-a better alignment is possible and the the car will drive and handle better.
Hi, Not sure if I'm posting in the right place, and not trying to hijack this thread. But I'm restoring (frame up) my 78. Of course starting with the suspension. I want the best possible handling. I'm not looking to race this car. I have been looking at a few kits this one http://umiperformance.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8_265_425&products_id=1117 and a piece together kit from spohn Sry it is a long list.. Can someone with more knowledge than myself 1-Which kit is a better one to go with, and 2- if I lower with either 1 or 2 inches will I have alignment/handling issues ? Thanks and here's the 2nd list.

Q-GS401-10450C QA1 Pro-Coil System - 18 Way Single Adjustable - 1973-1987 GM G/A-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $465.95 $465.95

Q-7888-110
Spanner Wrenches & Spring Bearings: Add Spanner Wrenches & Spring Bearings
$40.95
$40.95

Spring Choice: 450#
614B-4130 Rear Upper Control Arms - Tubular with Polyurethane Bushings - Adjustable - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $179.00 $179.00

902
Bushing Grease: Add 14 oz. Bushing Grease Cartridge
$15.00
$15.00

981
New Mounting Hardware: Add Mounting Hardware
$11.95
$11.95

HF-34214
Angle Finder: Add Angle Finder
$9.95
$9.95

610U
Rear Housing Bushings: Add Poly Housing Bushings
$39.00
$39.00

Color: red
Material Type: 4130N Chrome Moly
$40.00
$40.00
736-G-QSA Rear Coil Over Kit - QA1 18 Way Single Adjustable Shocks - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $580.00 $580.00

(2) Q-14HT150
Spring Rate: 150#

A-770305 Double Hump Transmission Crossmember: T-56 Swap From 93-97 F-Body - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $299.95 $299.95

A-770307
Vehicle Year: 1978-1983
$56.95
$56.95
971B LSx Swap Motor Mount Bushing Adapter Stands - 1970-1992 GM F-Body: Camaro & Firebird | 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $89.00 $89.00

LSXSMM1
LSx Motor Mount Bushings: Add Solid Motor Mounts (Pair)
$129.00
$129.00 Color: red

970
LSx Motor Mount Bolts: Yes (Pair)
$9.95
$9.95
E-FRTKIT-G Spohn Precision Front End Rebuild Kit - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $235.00 $235.00

K6145T (2)
Lower Ball Joints: Lower Ball Joints - Qty. 2
$51.90
$51.90

K5208 (2)
Upper Ball Joints: Standard Upper Ball Joints - Qty. 2
$59.90
$59.90
GAKit Tubular Upper & Lower A-Arms Package - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $764.00 $764.00

902
Bushing Grease: Add 14 oz. Bushing Grease Cartridge
$15.00
$15.00

K5208 (2)
Upper Ball Joints: Add Standard Upper Ball Joints
$59.90
$59.90

973G
Upper A-Arms Hardware: Add Mounting Hardware
$29.95
$29.95

755-DELB
Upper A-Arms: 755 - Delrin - red
$20.00
$20.00

980G
Lower A-Arms Hardware: Add Mounting Hardware
$12.95
$12.95

782-G-DELB
Lower A-Arms: 782-G-DEL -red
$75.00
$75.00
919-300R Pro-Touring Adjustable Rear Sway Bar - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $399.00 $399.00

Rear Axle Tube Diameter: Stock Rear
Rear End Type: OEM 7.5" 10 Bolt Color: Bright Red

925GT-Front-SELR RRx Series 1-3/8" Diameter Tubular 4130 Chrome Moly Front Sway Bar with Spherical End Links - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $306.50 $306.50 Color: Bright Red

Thanks!
Joe
 
UNGN

UNGN

Comic Book Super Hero
Sep 6, 2016
2,595
1,051
113
Southlake, TX
#9
Hi, Not sure if I'm posting in the right place, and not trying to hijack this thread. But I'm restoring (frame up) my 78. Of course starting with the suspension. I want the best possible handling. I'm not looking to race this car. I have been looking at a few kits this one http://umiperformance.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8_265_425&products_id=1117 and a piece together kit from spohn Sry it is a long list.. Can someone with more knowledge than myself 1-Which kit is a better one to go with, and 2- if I lower with either 1 or 2 inches will I have alignment/handling issues ? Thanks and here's the 2nd list.

Q-GS401-10450C QA1 Pro-Coil System - 18 Way Single Adjustable - 1973-1987 GM G/A-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $465.95 $465.95

Q-7888-110
Spanner Wrenches & Spring Bearings: Add Spanner Wrenches & Spring Bearings
$40.95
$40.95

Spring Choice: 450#
614B-4130 Rear Upper Control Arms - Tubular with Polyurethane Bushings - Adjustable - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $179.00 $179.00

902
Bushing Grease: Add 14 oz. Bushing Grease Cartridge
$15.00
$15.00

981
New Mounting Hardware: Add Mounting Hardware
$11.95
$11.95

HF-34214
Angle Finder: Add Angle Finder
$9.95
$9.95

610U
Rear Housing Bushings: Add Poly Housing Bushings
$39.00
$39.00

Color: red
Material Type: 4130N Chrome Moly
$40.00
$40.00
736-G-QSA Rear Coil Over Kit - QA1 18 Way Single Adjustable Shocks - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $580.00 $580.00

(2) Q-14HT150
Spring Rate: 150#

A-770305 Double Hump Transmission Crossmember: T-56 Swap From 93-97 F-Body - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $299.95 $299.95

A-770307
Vehicle Year: 1978-1983
$56.95
$56.95
971B LSx Swap Motor Mount Bushing Adapter Stands - 1970-1992 GM F-Body: Camaro & Firebird | 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $89.00 $89.00

LSXSMM1
LSx Motor Mount Bushings: Add Solid Motor Mounts (Pair)
$129.00
$129.00 Color: red

970
LSx Motor Mount Bolts: Yes (Pair)
$9.95
$9.95
E-FRTKIT-G Spohn Precision Front End Rebuild Kit - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $235.00 $235.00

K6145T (2)
Lower Ball Joints: Lower Ball Joints - Qty. 2
$51.90
$51.90

K5208 (2)
Upper Ball Joints: Standard Upper Ball Joints - Qty. 2
$59.90
$59.90
GAKit Tubular Upper & Lower A-Arms Package - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $764.00 $764.00

902
Bushing Grease: Add 14 oz. Bushing Grease Cartridge
$15.00
$15.00

K5208 (2)
Upper Ball Joints: Add Standard Upper Ball Joints
$59.90
$59.90

973G
Upper A-Arms Hardware: Add Mounting Hardware
$29.95
$29.95

755-DELB
Upper A-Arms: 755 - Delrin - red
$20.00
$20.00

980G
Lower A-Arms Hardware: Add Mounting Hardware
$12.95
$12.95

782-G-DELB
Lower A-Arms: 782-G-DEL -red
$75.00
$75.00
919-300R Pro-Touring Adjustable Rear Sway Bar - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $399.00 $399.00

Rear Axle Tube Diameter: Stock Rear
Rear End Type: OEM 7.5" 10 Bolt Color: Bright Red

925GT-Front-SELR RRx Series 1-3/8" Diameter Tubular 4130 Chrome Moly Front Sway Bar with Spherical End Links - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc. $306.50 $306.50 Color: Bright Red

Thanks!
Joe
For a good handling G-body and cost was no object, I would buy a Schwartz Chassis.

For most of us, cost is an object, so i wouldn't recommend ordering a bunch of shiny, mismatched parts.

The factory pick up points on the front of a G-body suspension is not optimized for coil overs. Ideally, the lower mount should be lowered and the upper mount raised to give a spring more room to work on a lowered car. For a Rallycross G-body, coilovers with beefed up lower control arms would be great. For a slammed G-body, the ride with shorter, stiffer factory replacement springs will be better than than you would get with coil overs. A Non-coilover set up would have more spring to work with. To get the same length spring (and ride Quality) with coilovers (vs $60 factory replacement springs) would require new LCA's with dropped spring pockets and /or drop spindles.

So $260 for new shocks springs for a non coilover setup turns into "over $1000" (coilovers/new LCAs/drop spindles) for a coilover setup with similar ride characteristics.

Most people that buy adjustable coil overs, crank them to one setting (as low as they can stand) and leave them there. Changing the ride height, especially with the factory geometry, changes the toe... a lot, so it isn't like you'll be cranking them up/down daily.

Rather than a one size fits all "kit", I would recommend changing key components to make the car drive better. Here is what I would recommend for a daily driver:

In Front you'll need:
Springs (Aluminum LS1 or V6): Moog 5658 (put in first measure ride height, then removed and cut to perfect ride height after everything else put on)
Springs (Iron SB/AL head Big Block): Moog 5660 (put in first measure ride height, then removed and cut to perfect ride height after everything else put on)
Springs (Iron BB): Moog 5662 (put in first measure ride height, then removed and cut to perfect ride height after everything else put on)
Shocks: Bilsteins
Control Arm bushings: PST polygraphite Lower Control Arm bushings (4) (uppers, too (4) if you re-use stock upper control arms)
Maybe Upper Control Arms: G-body parts UB Machine Tubular will work fine with 17X8's, could have interference with smaller diameter 8" wheels and tall ball joints.
Bump stop: ZQ8 GM 15956547, Dorman 31064
ball joints: Proforged 1/2" taller Lower 101-10048 and Upper 101-10020 (Summit Racing)
sway bar and Sway bar bushing: Hollow 3rd gen F-body - Junkyard (34-36mm doesn't matter)
steering improvements: fast ratio box, u-joint steering shaft: 12.7 Ratio Steering box (from F41 car)(Rockauto), '93-95 Jeep Grand Cherokee steering shaft or modified Astro Van Shaft (Junkyard or G-bodyForum Members), New Inner/out tie rods if more than 60K miles (P-S-T).
Front End Alignment: Target .5 Degree Negative Camber, 5 degree Caster (or as much as can be done) and 1/16 - 1/8" Toe in.

If you want bigger brakes in front:
Spindles: 1998-2003 2wd Blazer - Junkyard
Brakes: 1998-2003 2wd Blazer dual piston 11" - Junkyard

For the frame:
Jounce bars From a Cutlass: Junkyard.
Grand Prix bar: Junkyard
adding the missing lower Frame mounts: Replace any Flat washers with 457915 Pink Lower Bushings

In Back:
springs: I would leave the stock and see how it handles
sway bar: A "pro touring" style rear sway bar (Spohn or equivalent)
shocks: Bilsteins
control arms: Stock, with new bushings if needed

This would be for a driver. For something tracked/autocrossed I would do some things differently (like stiffer springs, solid lower (Ub machine) control arm bushings, etc), but the above wish list will make the car drive/handle good (better than every stock "classic muscle car I have ever driven) and with good tires, not be embarrassing at an autocross.

A '78 will have SAE lugs unless they have been swapped so if you go to Blazer brakes in front, you may want to swap the studs in the rear axle to M12-1.5 so you don't have 2 different lug nuts
 
M

mystre71

Apprentice
Apr 7, 2018
66
56
18
#10
For a good handling G-body and cost was no object, I would buy a Schwartz Chassis.

For most of us, cost is an object, so i wouldn't recommend ordering a bunch of shiny, mismatched parts.

The factory pick up points on the front of a G-body suspension is not optimized for coil overs. Ideally, the lower mount should be lowered and the upper mount raised to give a spring more room to work on a lowered car. For a Rallycross G-body, coilovers with beefed up lower control arms would be great. For a slammed G-body, the ride with shorter, stiffer factory replacement springs will be better than than you would get with coil overs. A Non-coilover set up would have more spring to work with. To get the same length spring (and ride Quality) with coilovers (vs $60 factory replacement springs) would require new LCA's with dropped spring pockets and /or drop spindles.

So $260 for new shocks springs for a non coilover setup turns into "over $1000" (coilovers/new LCAs/drop spindles) for a coilover setup with similar ride characteristics.

Most people that buy adjustable coil overs, crank them to one setting (as low as they can stand) and leave them there. Changing the ride height, especially with the factory geometry, changes the toe... a lot, so it isn't like you'll be cranking them up/down daily.

Rather than a one size fits all "kit", I would recommend changing key components to make the car drive better. Here is what I would recommend for a daily driver:

In Front you'll need:
Springs (Aluminum LS1 or V6): Moog 5658 (put in first measure ride height, then removed and cut to perfect ride height after everything else put on)
Springs (Iron SB/AL head Big Block): Moog 5660 (put in first measure ride height, then removed and cut to perfect ride height after everything else put on)
Springs (Iron BB): Moog 5662 (put in first measure ride height, then removed and cut to perfect ride height after everything else put on)
Shocks: Bilsteins
Control Arm bushings: PST polygraphite Lower Control Arm bushings (4) (uppers, too (4) if you re-use stock upper control arms)
Maybe Upper Control Arms: G-body parts UB Machine Tubular will work fine with 17X8's, could have interference with smaller diameter 8" wheels and tall ball joints.
Bump stop: ZQ8 GM 15956547, Dorman 31064
ball joints: Proforged 1/2" taller Lower 101-10048 and Upper 101-10020 (Summit Racing)
sway bar and Sway bar bushing: Hollow 3rd gen F-body - Junkyard (34-36mm doesn't matter)
steering improvements: fast ratio box, u-joint steering shaft: 12.7 Ratio Steering box (from F41 car)(Rockauto), '93-95 Jeep Grand Cherokee steering shaft or modified Astro Van Shaft (Junkyard or G-bodyForum Members), New Inner/out tie rods if more than 60K miles (P-S-T).
Front End Alignment: Target .5 Degree Negative Camber, 5 degree Caster (or as much as can be done) and 1/16 - 1/8" Toe in.

If you want bigger brakes in front:
Spindles: 1998-2003 2wd Blazer - Junkyard
Brakes: 1998-2003 2wd Blazer dual piston 11" - Junkyard

For the frame:
Jounce bars From a Cutlass: Junkyard.
Grand Prix bar: Junkyard
adding the missing lower Frame mounts: Replace any Flat washers with 457915 Pink Lower Bushings

In Back:
springs: I would leave the stock and see how it handles
sway bar: A "pro touring" style rear sway bar (Spohn or equivalent)
shocks: Bilsteins
control arms: Stock, with new bushings if needed

This would be for a driver. For something tracked/autocrossed I would do some things differently (like stiffer springs, solid lower (Ub machine) control arm bushings, etc), but the above wish list will make the car drive/handle good (better than every stock "classic muscle car I have ever driven) and with good tires, not be embarrassing at an autocross.

A '78 will have SAE lugs unless they have been swapped so if you go to Blazer brakes in front, you may want to swap the studs in the rear axle to M12-1.5 so you don't have 2 different lug nuts
WOW! Thanks for all the info! I really appreciate it! I'm not 100% sure I understand everything you posted but will go through it piece by piece and try and work it out. I may have more questions. I already started a parts list from your post though. One thing I don't think I posted is I'll be running 15 inch rims/tires. So tubular A arms won't work with 15s ? This is probably going to be my last build, so I plan on using all new parts (not a new chassis though :). ..On a side note, are 78-88 malibu frames all the same ? or is 78 all to itself ?

Thanks so much!.
Joe
 

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