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Old 01-21-2013, 08:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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2" drop spindle camber issue

I'm sorry for starting another suspension thread, but I'm trying to narrow in on a specific problem I'm having.

As some of you know, I had a 2" drop spindle/disc brake kit installed on my '65 Lemans, and have been having some problems since. I didn't install the kit, I had the guy who did my body work, a professional who works on classic cars (mostly GM) in his own personal shop for a living do the installation. He also happens to be my neighbor.

When he was done with the first round of body work, he installed the kit and I took the car back with intentions of driving it around a little bit and doing some light tinkering on my own, including finishing the spring/shock stuff on the rear to get the car leveled out. However, the first thing I noticed when he returned the car was it's obviously way too low front end, and the excessive amount of negative camber of the front wheels. I mentioned this to him and he said that the front springs are sagging and really need to be replaced. This would correct the issue. This made perfect sense to me.

After doing some investigation on front springs, I decided to go with Moog springs intended for an AC car in hopes that it would lift the front end back up as well as correcting the funny camber issue. When the springs arrived, I had decided on having a different mechanic install them. I did this for a couple reasons. The first is that I just don't have enough experience to be removing and installing front springs myself. It's fairly dangerous, and I was afraid of not getting the springs installed correctly. The second is that I really wanted a different set of eyes to look at the car. I also had this new mechanic install all of the new bushings and ball joints that I had previously purchased.


Today I went to pick the car up from getting the new springs installed and the first thing I noticed was that the camber issue is still there. The front end was lifted A LOT, like 2 inches at least, but the negative camber did not change at all. The mechanic who worked on it mentioned that it is shimmed as far as it can go to correct it and that he thinks it's the new spindles that are the problem. I wasn't able to bring the car home today because he had not straightened out the toe-in problem yet. I'll have pics of its current condition tomorrow.

This is the kit that the first guy bought using my money (I didn't buy it, as I don't trust ebay).

Chevy GM A Body Power Disc Brake Conversion Kit 2" Drop | eBay

It says it's fits 64 through 72 GM A-body cars. I have the receipt from the purchase, so I know for sure it's what he bought.

I've been screwed by car guys in the past who've said they knew what they were doing but didn't (I have a 1950 Chevy truck that's half built with an entire build story that reads like this post). Because of that, I'm pretty quick to think I've been screwed over again. I'm REALLY trying not to mess up this car with low quality crap, which is what I'm thinking this ebay stuff is. That said, it's also possible that it was installed incorrectly?

I don't know what to do at this point. Below are the best before and after pics that I have which show the front wheels. I'm hoping you guys can see the difference.

Before spindles installed:


Before spindles installed:


Before spindles installed:



After spindles installed:



After spindles installed (buddy in the background, not me):



After spindles installed:

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Old 01-22-2013, 08:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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I've grown tired of trusting "professionals" and getting screwed because of it.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ok.....I went thru this 15 years ago with a friend's '65 GTO. Only it was the then highly raved F-body spindle conversion. Same exact thing: Supposed to drop the front end and improve handling, etc, be alignable, etc. It took sooo many shims to try to get the caster and camber in spec that the A arm shafts ran out of bolt length, and were hitting the exhaust manifold on the passenger side. Here's what we did: we tore the friggin' F-body spindles off the car, threw them in the trash, and went to the boneyard and scored some spindles off of a '72 Cutlass with disc brakes. The car linged right up, and drove like a dream. I recommend you bite the bullet, remove those parts, return them for a refund, and install stock GM parts....from a '69-'72 disc brake A body. The parts are cheap, common, high quality, and they FIT THE CAR. Yes, I know you've been thru a lot, and it's a lot of bother, but do it now and do it right. You'll be very glad you did as soon as you drive the car.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Pics of how it looks now. Cost me $560 to get the bushings/ball joints installed. The spring installation was "free" he said. I'm now $1,500 into a drop spindle kit that I want to get rid of. Nice, eh?

Here are some pics:







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Old 01-22-2013, 09:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geeteeohguy View Post
Ok.....I went thru this 15 years ago with a friend's '65 GTO. Only it was the then highly raved F-body spindle conversion. Same exact thing: Supposed to drop the front end and improve handling, etc, be alignable, etc. It took sooo many shims to try to get the caster and camber in spec that the A arm shafts ran out of bolt length, and were hitting the exhaust manifold on the passenger side. Here's what we did: we tore the friggin' F-body spindles off the car, threw them in the trash, and went to the boneyard and scored some spindles off of a '72 Cutlass with disc brakes. The car linged right up, and drove like a dream. I recommend you bite the bullet, remove those parts, return them for a refund, and install stock GM parts....from a '69-'72 disc brake A body. The parts are cheap, common, high quality, and they FIT THE CAR. Yes, I know you've been thru a lot, and it's a lot of bother, but do it now and do it right. You'll be very glad you did as soon as you drive the car.

I really appreciate your input. Trust that I'll do some studying on this.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ghost, I'm giving it to you straight. Been doing alignments since 1983 on Hunter, Bear, and Snap-On equipment. You MAY be able to save this changover by removing the upper A arms and installing the offset shaft kits for the bushings. It looks like you have the regular straight shafts. The offset shafts MIGHT give you enough wiggle room to fix your negative camber. It's a ton of work, but the springs don't have to come out!
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I don't question your knowledge, I question mine.

I have no clue what an offset shaft kit for bushings is, and where or how it would install. The only bushings I can think of are on the control arm pivot points. If there is a method of adjusting their position, I can't think of how it would effect static camber. I can imagine the possibility of sliding them forward or backward a bit, which would effect castor settings. Otherwise I'm stumped.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The offset shafts are what the upper control arm bushings attach to, and what bolts to the frame of the car and holds the A arm on. They are offset about 1/4-3/8 of an inch, which adds up to a lot at the wheel. They are available from Moog. Google"off-set A arm shafts for GM A body" and go from there. They run about $20 per shaft and are as easy to install in the A-arms as the original 'straight' shafts you are now using. They are a direct replacement for your current shafts.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Offset shafts are a good way to go, but have you tried removing the shims to see if there is enough space to get you within specs.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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shims

Looks like he's only got two shims in there as it is. Ye olde manual states you MUST have at least one shim installed at each bolt. I'll bet even if he took all the shims out, it wouldn't make one scant bit "o" difference. (But is certainly worth a shot). Gotta be those drop spindles. Had a similar issue with mine, except 180 degrees opposite. Had too much positive camber, wheels pegged outward at the top, and fender was WAY high. Previous mechanic installed springs incorrectly. (I'm sure that's not the problem here, though). Just food for thought. P.S. They changed all that and didn't bother to clean and paint the control arms, et al ???? (I feel for you, dude).
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