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Cameo Ivory 1967
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
GM A Bodies/ Pontiac GTO's have a ton of room for improvement in their suspensions. Putting aside personal preferences for ride height and quality, if you want a car that:
  • Handles better
  • Brakes better
  • Steers better
  • Has no wheel hop
  • Has increased traction
  • Recovers quickly from burnouts and loss of control
Then yes, upgrading to tubular arms will make a huge difference in the way your car feels and acts. Also, they're all completely reversible, for those of you who are worried about originality.

It's important to note that there are two ways tubular control arms accomplish these improvements:
  1. By eliminating flex. Most welded, tubular control arms will eliminate the flex of the factory arms.
  2. By changing geometry. NOT ALL tubular control arms have corrections built into them.
Pay attention to foot notes and make sure to buy what you need. Don't assume that all of them will be an improvement.

I'm always going to recommend Global West, because they're a USA company using USA parts, they answer the phone, and the owner is a GTO owner, who tests his products on GTO's. That being said, I also use and love UMI... and there are many other terrific companies out there, who I dont personally have experience with.

CRITICAL: YOU WILL FIND LOOK-ALIKE TUBULAR CONTROL ARM SETS ON EBAY AND AMAZON, AND ALTHOUGH THEY MAY BE CONSTRUCTED WELL, THEY USE DANGEROUS AND INFERIOR HARDWARE. THEY ALSO MAY NOT CORRECT GEOMETRY. THESE KITS WILL LIKELY IMPROVE A STOCK CAR, BUT YOU MUST REPLACE THE BALLJOINTS AND HARDWARE WITH QUALITY PARTS BEFORE USING THEM.

Even with having to replace the balljoints and hardware on the no-name kits, they'll still be cheaper than the big name stuff, so this option shouldnt be ignored if it fits your budget. Many of our forum users have gone this route and they are happy with the results.

What kind of bushings do you need/ want:
  • Rubber = OEM style, best ride quality, worst feedback and response.
  • Poly = Harsher ride, improved response and feedback.
  • Delrin Bearing = Zero bind, firm ride, best handling, traction, and feedback there is.
  • Spherical Bushings = Maximum articulation for centering the diff and keeping things square to the road. Can have spherical on the rear upper and lower arms but only on one end of the arm! Consider spherical for the frame side of the lower and the diff side of the upper.
NOTES:
  • Most of the Global West stuff will work with stock or lowered springs and spindles, but I cant speak on the other brands.
  • Yes, you will need an alignment afterwards.
  • You will need a coil spring compressor.
  • There is a hole in the front-upper-coil-spring pocket. You can drop a bolt though it and rotate the new coil springs to stop at it. Remove the bolt after the job is completed.
  • Rear frame supports, such as those used on factory GTO's, can be purchased VERY CHEAP, and since they use the control arm bolts to mount them, you should seriously consider this option, if replacing the rear control arms. They dramatically improve handling and reduce wheel hop by traingulating the rear frame section.
  • If you have headers, you may have trouble installing the front uppers. This will require you to either lift the engine, or remove the factory pressed in alignment bolts.
  • If you have headers, you will likely have to wrestle with the front-lower-driverside, rear bolt.
  • If the car sits too high in the front after replacing everything, you may need to add a 1" spacer to the rear springs.
  • Although not part of the control arm swap, you might also consider No Bind Rear Shock mounts and new sway bars.
  • Coil Springs and Shocks should be changed.
  • The entire job can be done on your back in the driveway, with a floor jack. It will take the day to do an entire car, but if you have good stuff and are prepared, it's easy, straight forward work.
Here are links to the parts that I used. Im not biased, but Ive done several cars using these parts and I can vouch for their quality. I wouldnt hesitate to use many of the other brands, if they suited my budget better.

You will need to verify year specific parts and fitment.

 

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Fantastic information! I'm not far from digging into this with my 67, further than I'd like and probably further than I realize.

I have to wonder what the UMI kit that has adjustable upper AND adjustable lower rear control arms is used for?


I recall that you used non-adjustable uppers and my initial thoughts were to get the adjustable uppers for fine tuning the pinion angle as cheap insurance, but what is the adjustment on the lowers for? I ask because I am strongly contemplating using a more robust rear end (12 bolt, 9" etc). I have a Pontiac drag racing friend who may encourage me to push the HP past the 8.2 rear. 馃お
 

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Cameo Ivory 1967
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would imagine that adjustable lowers could be used for alignment, although that's a guess.

Yes, adjustable uppers are great for pinion angle, but unless youre doing something nutty with your drivetrain, like I did with the TKX, or drag racing, then there's no point.

One thing is for sure, on your back in the driveway, I'd only do it once.
 

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Cameo Ivory 1967
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For the record, the GW arms that I posted have spherical joints at the frame and are much beefier. I know it's tough to justify the money, but they arent the same arms. I was happy with UMI uppers though.
 

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Cameo Ivory 1967
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not far from digging into this with my 67, further than I'd like and probably further than I realize.
IMO, the suspension and steering are often grey areas of a car. You can own one for 20 years and have no clue how they work. Everyone knows the basics of engines, tuning, and mechanics, but they stay away from this stuff.

I can tell you, garage kept with 70,000 miles, original owner, my car was missing 3 of the 8 front control arm bushings. I actually enjoyed doing this job and I learned a lot about the unknown areas of my car.
 

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IMO, the suspension and steering are often grey areas of a car. You can own one for 20 years and have no clue how they work. Everyone knows the basics of engines, tuning, and mechanics, but they stay away from this stuff.

I can tell you, garage kept with 70,000 miles, original owner, my car was missing 3 of the 8 front control arm bushings. I actually enjoyed doing this job and I learned a lot about the unknown areas of my car.
I should have been more clear, I meant that I will be digg'n into the suspension further down the road compared to sooner and probably not as soon as I think or would like. My body is up in the air and will take the rest of the year to get it in primer and the firewall & under belly painted, then the rolling chassis will be disassembled and rebuilt with most all new parts given the project economy doesn't collapse. I hope to be putting new fancy suspension on this time next year (you know how that goes). I really like the idea of tubular suspension. I do remember driving the old car pretty hard and the front end wanting to slide off the road in a curve. All that weight pushing the front tires to lose traction. "Understeer", I think it's called...all I know is that it was scary!

I'm in for digging deep into some suspension mods. Thanks for this thread!

A little research and it seems that an upper adjustable rear control arm makes changing the pinion angle possible where an adjustable rear lower allows for the axle and wheels to be centered in the wheel well. Both of these adjustable arms are critical for cars that have been lifted or dropped a fair amount. As the car is lifted, the wheels and axle move forward and they move back when dropped. The pinion angle changes in both scenarios too.

I am strongly considering going with the adjustable uppers, but, like you, I want a stock to slightly higher stance...I doubt that small change will require the adjustable lowers.

Did you verify your pinion angle with the solid uppers along with your transmission conversion?

I'm sticking with the 400TH, but may do the Gear Vendors OD...given no budget collapse..:oops:
 

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What an absolutely outstanding article. You should be a technical writer--if you aren't already!

I am in pursuit of a suspension setup and you have zeroed in on what i want. It appears most aftermarket products cater to individuals who want to lower their cars--I do not. For reference, the below image is what my car aspires to be. I do not believe that is stock rake, maybe spacer in the rear?

Automotive parking light Car Wheel Tire Vehicle
 

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Cameo Ivory 1967
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What an absolutely outstanding article. You should be a technical writer--if you aren't already!

I am in pursuit of a suspension setup and you have zeroed in on what i want. It appears most aftermarket products cater to individuals who want to lower their cars--I do not. For reference, the below image is what my car aspires to be. I do not believe that is stock rake, maybe spacer in the rear?

View attachment 156176
Thanks for the compliment!

That car is EXACTLY how I love a GTO to look! Yeah he likely added a spacer for those BFG's in the rear. Mines a bit more level, but still up there. I can change my oil without jacks.
Car Wheel Tire Land vehicle Vehicle
Sky Wheel Tire Cloud Vehicle
Automotive parking light Car Tire Wheel Vehicle
Automotive parking light Sky Vehicle Car Tire
 

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The three of us are after very similar stances. armyadarkness , share your tire and wheels sizes you have, if you would. And, how much more room you think you have. The blue car's rear tire/wheel combo may be a bit tall for my tastes, but not by much...

Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Hood


Unfortunately, the Mecum page does not give the details on the wheels and tires.
 

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Cameo Ivory 1967
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The three of us are after very similar stances. armyadarkness , share your tire and wheels sizes you have, if you would. And, how much more room you think you have. The blue car's rear tire/wheel combo may be a bit tall for my tastes, but not by much...

View attachment 156181

Unfortunately, the Mecum page does not give the details on the wheels and tires.
Agreed. From the sides, it's too much. I suspect that he has a 3" rear spring spacer to clear 275/ 60/15's. Which look cool, but arent needed when the suspension is corrected.

The BIGGEST, yet always overlooked, benefit of these suspension mods, is traction. Sure everyone knows that handling is improved, but steering, braking, and traction are going to improve by leaps and bounds. Its not like were talking about a platform that was already performance oriented and it just needed a few tweaks... the A body was ever, at best, a grocery getter, so expect to be blown away.

I run 235/60/15s in the back and I have a ton of room for more. But with the Auburn posi and the Tremec, my car hooks and goes! This suspension eliminated wheel hop and just plants the rear!

However, since I like drifting, I have to say that my favorite improvement was the ability to now regain control when the car goes sideways. That was never an aspect of an A Body.
 

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1964 GTO, Tri-power, 4 speed, manual brakes & steering, black ext. red int., dog dish caps, T.I. ign
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Great info Armyadarkness! I didn't know about the UMI product line-up. Good stuff for sure at a more affordable cost.
I think Global West is the leader among many companies out there and I have been following them since the mid-80's. They helped us immensely with Mustangs and Shelby's in suspension developement.

With that said, I thought I would post a video from Doug Norrdin. His video's (video's on all his products) (go to GlobalWest.net) are most informative and very simple to understand. This item is a rather cheap upgrade at a very affordable cost and many don't even realize they have this problem.

I will be diving in soon with a set of upper control arms GW for a start.

Tom

A-body 1964-72 steering knuckle arms for correcting bumpsteer
 

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Cameo Ivory 1967
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Great info Armyadarkness! I didn't know about the UMI product line-up. Good stuff for sure at a more affordable cost.
I think Global West is the leader among many companies out there and I have been following them since the mid-80's. They helped us immensely with Mustangs and Shelby's in suspension developement.

With that said, I thought I would post a video from Doug Norrdin. His video's (video's on all his products) (go to GlobalWest.net) are most informative and very simple to understand. This item is a rather cheap upgrade at a very affordable cost and many don't even realize they have this problem.

I will be diving in soon with a set of upper control arms GW for a start.

Tom

A-body 1964-72 steering knuckle arms for correcting bumpsteer
I never saw those! Looks like I need to do an update (and spend more money)! Thanks Tom!
 

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Spend that money Army! 馃挵 You can go down an expensive rabbit hole when looking at suspension stuff. I have myself talked into everything they have to offer, but the time to actually get the money out will be next year. I bet I dial it back some.

Bump Steer is certainly something to look at. I think it's best to figure out what you need after the car's suspension is all set-up otherwise. Some bump steer kits are adjustable to a small degree.

Global's $110 kit (SS-6472GSKB) looks the best. Looks like it was born there, but it's not adjustable.

UMI's $200 kit (4061) makes the correction by replacing the outer tie rod and a longer stud. It is adjustable with spacers.

Spohn's $180 kit (BS-2AB - all USA made too) does the same thing as UMI's, but its adjustment is made with two nuts...no spacers and the adjustment can be made without taking any nuts off.

Spohn's my favorite right now. That could change a few years from now when the car is at it's full weight if the Global kit fits the geometry of where the car settles in.

I am about half way through the book by Mark Savitske called "How to Make Your Muscle Car Handle". If you are in the mood to mess with the suspension...get the book! Most of it reads pretty easy. It does get a into some geometry that's hard to visualize, but I hope it makes more sense when I am actually working on the parts themselves.
 
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