Alignment Questions/Ball Joint Failure - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Alignment Questions/Ball Joint Failure

I am on the verge of installing a disc brake kit in my non power brake '62 and thinking about lowering the front. I'm getting mixed messages about the use of the stock A arms vs. tubular. If I stay with the stock arms am I going to run into alignment issues using a 2" spindle (or 2" lowering springs)? Some say it's no problem others say you'll never get it into proper alignment.
Another option is to simply use spring clamps which I believe will give me between a 1" and 1.5" drop which is fine too. I've heard without changing the A arms it will cause early failure of the upper ball joints. Any thoughts appreciated. Also, if I were to do the tubular arms, do you need to do both upper and lower or could I get by with just the uppers and would that give me the desired result? This car will never see a lot of mileage if that has any impact on your thoughts. Thanks in advance for the advice! Bob
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 10:18 AM
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Lowering the car by means of the springs introduces alignment issues because of how the front suspension differs from other GM cars. Instead of two unequal length A-arms used by most factory cars the Full size cars from GM uses a trailing arm and strut for the lower control arm. There isn't enough adjustment in the stock parts to align the car when it is lowered. With the exception of using a dropped spindle has no affect on alignment as it just raises the spindle location on the steering knuckle with everything else staying as it was before the car was lowered.

Problem with the cheap tubular arms is the fact that they are cheap. Ball joints in them fail before you get the car back on the road if your lucky, if not expect to be involved in an accident.

The better made (American made) use Moog or Spicer parts and cost more. They also offer more adjustment than the factory arms which can be made as strong as the aftermarket parts by simply boxing them in (though you are still limited in your total Camber and caster adjustments.

If I had to recommend a company that offers safe parts I would start out with Hotchkiss, followed by RideTech. I have also had good luck with PST parts but I have never used their tubular arms preferring to box in the factory arms for a stock look.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dave....it looks from your response that dropped spindles are the best bet, then it appears I can leave the A arms alone and not worry about the alignment or ball joints. The spindles will give me a 2" drop. That being said can anybody chime in about the use of 235/35/17 tires on rims that have a 6mm offset to the inside, brakes that have a 1/8 offset to the outside (nearly cancel each other out), and potential tire/fender clearance issues??? Did this exact set up on a 67 Chevelle however the spindles were 1.5" no experience with the Impala. Thanks in advance for any thoughts! Bob
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 07:56 PM
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A couple of things to think about:

In my opinion, the drum brakes are just as good (if not better) than disc especially on a low mileage driver.

If you intend to change power steering from the stock system to a Borgeson type system, you must change the upper control arms. The stock stamped steel arms can not provide the ~4 degrees of +caster that steering box requires.

You might save yourself pain and money by staying more stock. Having said that, I'm a big fan of the dual master cylinder brake upgrade, and larger sway bars.

Your choice. Enjoy.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbwinston View Post
Thanks Dave....it looks from your response that dropped spindles are the best bet, then it appears I can leave the A arms alone and not worry about the alignment or ball joints. The spindles will give me a 2" drop. That being said can anybody chime in about the use of 235/35/17 tires on rims that have a 6mm offset to the inside, brakes that have a 1/8 offset to the outside (nearly cancel each other out), and potential tire/fender clearance issues??? Did this exact set up on a 67 Chevelle however the spindles were 1.5" no experience with the Impala. Thanks in advance for any thoughts! Bob
hey man i have a 62 impala and i installed a CPP disc conversion with 2 inch drop.I have 245 45 18 with no offset in.i probably could use a little offset.i sometimes rub a little in the front in a nice dip..I just hammered the **** out of my inner wheel well nicely.and its fine but i think i may change the fronts to 225
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