1962 Biscayne Front Suspension Issues - Impala Tech
Brakes & Suspension Conversion Questions & more

 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
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1962 Biscayne Front Suspension Issues

Hey Gents,

Having a bit of a rough time trying to figure out some front end suspension issues with the 62' Biscayne and I could use some help. Awhile ago I ripped off the entire front suspension on the car, down to the frame. Wanted to prep and paint the frame, as well as update the front end components. The stock control arms were looking rough, and while cruising around the net I found some low buck tubular upper and lower arms from Southwest Speed. With the new upper and lower control arms on, new small block springs, and disc brake conversion kit, I find I have some issues, which may or may not be related to one another:

1.) Excessive negative camber. Front wheels are noticeably tipped in toward the frame. With an angle finder, I have about -3 degrees camber at the wheel. GM spec in 62' I believe was 0 degrees +/- 1/2 degree. The lower control arms only go on one way, you just need the sway bar attachments to face forward and the cross shaft holes to line up. Easy. The tops had a sticker on each that said "Driver Side" and "Passenger Side" I dry fit the driver side first and noticed the lower ball joint didn't line up with the upper ball joint. Way off (to the front). Same with the passenger side. When I swapped the two, the ball joints DID line up with each other, with the uppers just slightly behind the lowers as you look down. I assumed the factory goofed and swapped them. Can anyone verify if on these cars the ball joints line up vertically (more or less) or are they offset to the front? Was the manufacturer correct? Has anyone else installed the tubular arms and had either similar issues or success and can verify how they're supposed to go on? Quick measuring shows the tubular arm dimensions are pretty much the same as the stock stamped steel arms as far as length is concerned. I overlayed the stock OEM upper control arm I pulled off and found the new ball joint location with the tubular arms is about 1-1/2" to 1-3/4" back (toward the rear) from the stock location. Would this impact camber? I attached a photo. It is the passenger side, front of car is to the right in the photo. I did a quick measurement of the frame rail to frame rail width to check for cross member sag, the number was 1/16" shorter than factory.

2.) Shock fitment issues. I could barely get the shock in on the driver's side and I could only get one bolt in for the shock on the passenger side. The shocks appear to be hitting the inside of the springs. Looks like the shock mount holes are about 1" to 1-1/2" too far to the outside of the car than the mounting holes in the lower control arms. When installing the springs, I did notice the new springs were a bit longer than the ones I pulled out, but the wire diameter was different so I assumed they had the same spring rate. Can a spring that's too tall push down the lower control arm and cause the camber issue listed above?

Sorry for the long-winded post guys. Any help is much appreciated.

Mark
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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I should add, I have zero shims in at the upper cross shafts. If I shim, it will make the negative camber worse! I was thinking though, maybe I should shim the front to pull the ball joint back to the stock location?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 09:22 PM
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So whats it look like when u have the top a-arm bolted to the frame ??I just did the same on my 63 took it all apart and painted and installed all new parts but used my old a-arms. When I did take these apart I had odd shims on each side 1 in front and 2 in the back hole etc.So this pic. u posted is that your new A-Arm?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-08-2014, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaycee View Post
So whats it look like when u have the top a-arm bolted to the frame ??I just did the same on my 63 took it all apart and painted and installed all new parts but used my old a-arms. When I did take these apart I had odd shims on each side 1 in front and 2 in the back hole etc.So this pic. u posted is that your new A-Arm?
The photo posted is the new tubular A-arm all installed with the old OEM stamped a-arm sitting on top of it. I want to show how different the ball joint locations were between the two. The new A-arm ball joint location sits further toward the rear of the car as shown, about 1-3/4". Shimming both a-arm studs adjusts camber. Shimming the front or rear only adjusts caster. I can't put in any shims at all, as this will pull camber further negative. I can possibly install shims in the front only to get the ball joint back to the stock location. I'm thinking my springs are too long and they're affecting the angle of the lower control arms when the tires are on the ground and the weight of the car is on them. I measured from ground to lower ball joint boss and from ground to pivot point of lower control arm bushing. The difference between the two is about an 1-1/2" greater than what GM says it should be per my 1961/62 service manual.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-08-2014, 11:54 AM
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I am no susp. guy but it looks like your cross shaft is not seated on the arm correctly.Looks like it could go toward the front another 1" ,when the cross shaft is installed in the a-arm there should be no gap on the inner portion of a-arm.Have you put your new and old cross shaft side by side and compared them?If this is all you changed then I would suspect you were given the wrong shaft.I know my explanations are hard to understand but I'm more of a hands on type
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-08-2014, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaycee View Post
I am no susp. guy but it looks like your cross shaft is not seated on the arm correctly.Looks like it could go toward the front another 1" ,when the cross shaft is installed in the a-arm there should be no gap on the inner portion of a-arm.Have you put your new and old cross shaft side by side and compared them?If this is all you changed then I would suspect you were given the wrong shaft.I know my explanations are hard to understand but I'm more of a hands on type
I get what you're saying, I believe. Are you looking at the black stock cross shaft in the photo? That's not attached to anything, I just used it as a reference to make sure I had the stock control arm centered properly when comparing the two. The new A arms came with different cross shafts, pre-drilled and already installed in the control arm. I attached another photo of just the new control arm (driver's side).
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-11-2014, 01:40 PM
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I would call and ask the company u got them from,were your old ones bent or ??
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