99 Grand Am aluminum control arms - Page 10 - Suspension and Brake Forum

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Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Friday, November 03, 2006 10:23 AM
Who pissed off speedracer?
(If it was me, sorry, never mean to piss anyone off).




Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Saturday, November 04, 2006 10:20 PM
Listening....


Misnblu

hows the progress on your control arms?
Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Saturday, November 04, 2006 10:55 PM
I'll be working on them tomorrow.
I should have the bushings out by tomorrow and finish cutting the ends, drilling the holes next week.
The Prothane bushings should be coming this week so need to have all this done so that on Thanksgiving weekend, can redo the suspension system.

Here are the stock control arms, ready for the bushings and new ball joints. I got the rivets drilled last week and finished these up.



Here I got a basic idea of where to drill the holes but won't be doing the final marks until I have the ends grinded to stock length, measure the spot for the holes, and make those final marks for drilling.
I've scribed the length I've got to grind and should have this done by next weekend.


On a sidenote, MSD DIS-2 is on the way with the MSD 8224 coils already installed.
Lots to do on Thanksgiving weekend and hope I've got enough days to do the work. lol

Misnblu



Misnblu.com
Newbie member since 1999
Thank you Dave and JBO!





Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Sunday, November 05, 2006 4:37 PM
Update.


If your doing the control arm bushings remove the old bushings, the big bushing remember you have to remove the metal sleeve on the ouside of the bushing, the poly bushings will not fit untill that sleeve is removed. Once you get the rubber out you can take a hacksaw blade and slit the sleeve in 2 spots and hammer it out with a screwdriver and a hammer. Also there is a top and bottom to the big bushing so pay attention to the dirrections with the kit. The smaller bushing you press out and pop in the new ones, new ones are 2 piece, top and bottom.. Always lube suspension bushings or they fight you going in and squeek like crazzy while in use.


The big bushing doesn't give you the choice but to destroy it as this is your only means to remove it from the control arm. Take a long 3/8 inch extension, a razor knife or large exacto knife like I did and pry the bushing as much as you can, cut around the metal sleeve (on both sides)using the exacto or razor knife until the bushing comes right out of the arm. You should have nothing more left than a minute amount of rubber and the iron sleeve.
Here are the tools you'll need.




Now you need to remove the metal donut and that's not hard.
Take a metal hacksaw to cut a path (slit the sleeve) into the metal ring ( be carefull to not damage the control arm) and cut only one cut through the metal sleeve and no further, and don't make two cuts like I've seen on some projects for this mod. Now take a hammer and a heavy screwdriver to push out the metal ring from the control arm. Make sure you do both sides when you're hammering out the metal sleeve as this makes it just a bit easier.






The finished big bushings removed from both the stock and aluminum control arms.



The smaller bushing can easily be removed if you buy an exhaust adaptor, 1.5 inner diameter to whatever size you want. It's the 1.5 o.d. that you need to remove the bushing from the arm. You'll also need a 3/8 inch drive allen of any size as long as the allen part goes in the hole of the bushing. Lastly, you'll need a long 3/8 extension like was used to remove the larger bushing and a deep well socket not too long as to not let it fit into the bench vise you'll be using. I've been using a 4-1/2 inch bench vise and has worked great.




Insert the allen drive into one of the holes of the bushing and the cut 1.5 inch exhaust pipe (about 2 or so inches) onto the opposite end making sure that the bushing fits inside of the pipe and pipe fits the control arm. It should so no worries there.
Inserting it into the vice, press out the bushing as much as you can with the allen socket, then when you can't press it any further, open the vice and substitute the deep well socket in it's place to continue pressing the bushing out. You'll only be able to go so far so once you've gotten this far, remove everything from the vice, insert the long 3/8 extension into the bushing according to the pictures and simply pry it out. It's that easy to do these and don't need a machine shop to do this.





The finished product with all bushings removed.
Again, this was so simple and not complicated at all.



With the tools above and a bench vise, you should be able to do this (excluding drilling the rivets for ball joint removal) in a couple of hours or less.

I'll again update this when I press in the new bushings to the arms and will be doing the grinding next week on the aluminum arms. I'll also drill out the aluminum units next week too.
I actually enjoyed working on these today.

Misnblu



Misnblu.com
Newbie member since 1999
Thank you Dave and JBO!





Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Tuesday, November 07, 2006 6:43 PM
Karo (Car Customs) wrote:

18025875 and 18025876

Looks those up, it might help you out even more with other things.......


I looked 'em up with GM... the part number isn't valid....

Karo, what are you getting at??





Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Monday, November 13, 2006 7:00 PM
Update.
Once the bushings were removed from the control arms, I made a template of the original, cut it to where it would fit inside of the control arm and then set in where I thought it would need to be for measuring.


I then took a digital caliper and measured at the center indentation to the template a half inch, from the bumps to the template, and then side measured to make sure that everything was centered. It's not hard to do this and can use anything that is about 1/2 inch to measure it through.
Once measured, used the template to draw out the new end that I would then cut. Again, it's quite simple to do.


On shortening these control arms from the'99 Alero or '99 Grand Am, I didn't have any power tools or grinders so had to do things kind of old school.
I went ahead and used a standard hacksaw using an 18tooth metal cut hacksaw blade.
I basically cut across the control arm end to where the new ends would be.
I then corner cut the ends as you can see by the picture.

And for the middle section, cut a "v" into the center so that things would be very close.



The near finished product and is now ready for some minor filing with a flat file to bevel the edges and a round file to take care of the excess metal in the center of the arms.

I'm hoping that I'll have all of this finished by next week.
Also, there are easier ways of doing this with power tools, tools that I don't have so am doing it the old school way.
Yes, I'm actually enjoying this by doing it the hard way. lol

Misnblu


Misnblu.com
Newbie member since 1999
Thank you Dave and JBO!





Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 7:00 AM
Looks good, Dremel tool would do a great job at cleaning that up.





Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 6:31 PM
Thanks man.
Here are the pictures of the finished arm I did yesterday.
I did all this by using simple hand files to achieve what you see here.
I'm old school and don't have alot of powertools so have to do with what I have.

I still have the other to do and will probably do it tomorrow.

Here is the before picture of the arm before filing it down.


Here is the finished product, all done by hand. It took about an hour.




Not perfect by machining standards but perfect by me.
I'll be finishing both arms by drilling and buffing out the arms with a wire wheel for that finished product, ready to be installed.

Misnblu




Misnblu.com
Newbie member since 1999
Thank you Dave and JBO!





Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Wednesday, November 15, 2006 8:49 PM
John Lenko wrote:

Karo (Car Customs) wrote:

18025875 and 18025876

Looks those up, it might help you out even more with other things.......


I looked 'em up with GM... the part number isn't valid....

Karo, what are you getting at??


Try these (I don't know if they've been posted in this thread at all...):











Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Sunday, November 19, 2006 11:22 AM
Ok, question... anyone know how much extra thread is hiding in the steering arm? I'm wondering if there's an extra 1/2" hiding in there to be able to adjust the stock steering rack to the un-modified aluminum control arms... Or if I'll need a 99 N-body rack...

It's too cold outside for me to bother to check on my own





Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Sunday, November 19, 2006 5:30 PM
Update.
I polished up both of the control arms with a wire wheel attachment to a drill for the best results.
They came out good and rather shiny but didn't want too much bling as they're control arms, meant to get dirty.
Here's the pictures of the arms done and some comarison pictures.



Here, you'll see that I had to remove the extension that was on the ball joint that usually goes into the factory arms.
This extension (you'll know what I mean when you buy the ball joint) has to be removed so that the holes can be lined up for the drilling process.
Keeping the extension will put the holes of the ball joint too far to the ouside edge of the now shortened control arms and could cause serious problems as far as strength is concerned. I used a hacksaw with a course 18tooth blade to quickly remofe the tongue off the ball joint.



Once the tongue was removed from the ball joint, I used the ball joint to make a template of the holes for drilling. I made sure that the holes were in far enough to have proper support on the arms.
I predrilled each hole with a small bit and then stepped up to a larger bit finalizing the holes with a 1/2 inch bit.
The 1/2 inch bit worked perfectly for the holes and hardware used by the ball joint manufacturer.




Here's a picture of both arms that are now done with the holes and ready for the ball joints.
I've only got one ball joint so am waiting until payday to get the other three I need to install them all to both sets of control arms.


All I'm waiting for now are the Prothane bushings.
One set was ordered a month ago and another set last week.
I'll have the how to on their installation when they arrive.

Misnblu


Misnblu.com
Newbie member since 1999
Thank you Dave and JBO!






Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Sunday, November 19, 2006 10:46 PM
mr lenko, how to do plan to account for the camber difference if using the n-body front arms. its going to push out the bottom of the wheel and cause camber issues. can that be adjusted back in?


farmerz24
Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Wednesday, November 22, 2006 10:00 PM
^^^ all you have to do is slot the strut to make up for the camber.. its normal alignment procedure and not that difficult.




Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Thursday, November 23, 2006 4:02 AM
anyone have any decent drive time one these arms yet or any idea on how they will hold up?



many changes in the making
my favorite part about doing bodywork,.......... bondo bugers
Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Friday, November 24, 2006 5:50 PM
this is the oe of my favorite forum posts ever. Lenko for president
Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Friday, November 24, 2006 10:35 PM
John VanCuran wrote:

anyone have any decent drive time one these arms yet or any idea on how they will hold up?
No, we only figured this out a month ago. Should hold up well, never heard of any problems with the GAMs that use these. Really not sure why GM dropped the Al CAs. Most likely a cost issue, Al costs more than Steel for the most part.



Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Saturday, November 25, 2006 7:04 AM
I'm still waiting for the Prothane bushings to arrive.
The first order was a month ago and should've been here and ordered another set from Gravana and am waiting for the bank to straighten out it's b.s. so Gravana can ship them out.

I should've had these control arms on this weekend but am now relegated to finishing this all up at the end of January.

No biggie though, I've waited this long so might as well start on the next project.
I'm hitting the junkyard next weekend and pulling the 2.3 h.o. manifold.

Misnblu



Misnblu.com
Newbie member since 1999
Thank you Dave and JBO!





Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Saturday, November 25, 2006 6:47 PM
Anyone need a driver's side Al arm? I'm going to the yard tomorrow (1/2 off day ) to pull front and rear N-body suspension, and there are two cars (but someone already got the pass side off of one...)
Also, I'm going to start a search now, but are the 3 and 4-speed axles the same by any chance?



fortune cookie say:
better a delay than a disaster.
Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Saturday, November 25, 2006 6:55 PM
OHV notec wrote:

Anyone need a driver's side Al arm? I'm going to the yard tomorrow (1/2 off day ) to pull front and rear N-body suspension, and there are two cars (but someone already got the pass side off of one...)
Also, I'm going to start a search now, but are the 3 and 4-speed axles the same by any chance?
I know they're different. What the difference is, I don't know.



Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Sunday, November 26, 2006 7:33 AM
I would like to know the difference too, what is the difference between the 3spd and 4spd axles?








Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Sunday, November 26, 2006 12:00 PM
I could use a second control arm...... my other one is still in the junk yard

3spd axle vs. 4spd axle...... different lengths on the pass side for one....




SPD RCR Z - '02 Z24 420whp
SLO GOAT - '04 GTO 305whp
RACER X - '78 Opel Kadett W41 Swap


Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Sunday, December 24, 2006 10:36 PM
Last update on these control arms.
The bushings have been in and decided to get busy and finish the project.
I'll be installing the aluminum control arms in mid January along with the rest of the suspension goodies.

First, the Prothane bushings have a two piece bushing for the longer tube on the control arm. This makes it easy to install these and there's not much to show you there. It should be pretty explanatory.

Second, if you get the RKSport bushings or Energy Suspension bushings, I'd recommend not to.
They have one piece bushings for both the small tubular hole and for the flat hole. The flat is no problem to install but the long tubular hole with the one piece bushing is a real bitch.
I've given up for now on doing it because of the time consumption and will finish it later on the stock control arms I'm also doing.

Believe me, the Prothanes are the much better made units and easiest to install.


Get out your vice, an L bracket or anything that will help hold the bushing in place while you press these on.
Remember to grease the inside of the hole, the outside of the bushing and the ramp part to help it slide onto the arm.


Here you see the L bracket holding the bushing while I press the bushing onto the arm.
Remember to have the radiused part to the top of the control arm and not reversed. The instructions will help you with how to make sure.


Now as you press the bushing onto the arm, this is going to happen. I tried it several times to see if the bushing would stay straight and it didn't.
Now it's time to break out a set of channel locks once you've gotten this far and don't lose hope right about here. It's quite easy to finish.


Here you see me using the vice grip to literally help squeeze the bushing into the arm. With the pressure of the vice and you squeezing with the channel locks, should come together nicely. You may have to do this in a couple of places that are trying to be stubborn but it's quite easy to do.


Here's the bushing almost completely on and with the help of the channel locks on the top of that spot that isn't in, basically popped in with little struggle.


There you can see the bushing finally seated.
Again, it really took no strenuous effort to do this with a little manipulation of the channel locks.


The finished product and was actually the easiest to do in this whole project.

Now it's time to install this onto the car and will make my final report on how it handles.

Misnblu



Misnblu.com
Newbie member since 1999
Thank you Dave and JBO!





Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Monday, December 25, 2006 7:59 AM
Very nice. Good writeup. I think I'm going to have to do this too while the front suspension is ripped apart...



Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Tuesday, December 26, 2006 12:52 PM
as soon as I get my arms, I'll do this when I swap my transmission out.

Very nice write up Misn, the pics are great.




SPD RCR Z - '02 Z24 420whp
SLO GOAT - '04 GTO 305whp
RACER X - '78 Opel Kadett W41 Swap

Re: 99 Grand Am aluminum control arms
Tuesday, December 26, 2006 1:15 PM
Thanks Brian and CTS.
I'm just anxious to install these and reep the benefits of lighter aluminum.
I'm also glad it's done as all of the other information was vague and not to the point so this article is a bit more precise in now to do these.
Geez, if I can do these, anyone can.

Maybe Dave can take this information and put it in the Library.
It's too good to lose.

Misnblu



Misnblu.com
Newbie member since 1999
Thank you Dave and JBO!





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