PST Front End Kit install, dialup warning - Chevelle Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions & more.

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post #1 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 1:15 AM Thread Starter
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Tom Terrific II
 
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PST Front End Kit install, dialup warning

One of our new sponsors, Performance Suspension Technology (www.p-s-t.com), wanted to get a little exposure for their products. They offered to trade a Polygraphite® Super Front End Kit for a write-up, I volunteered. My 70 Chevelle is a daily driver, complete with dirt, old grease, dented headers, etc. I did a complete frontend rebuild back in '89 when I added the big 1 5/16" bar and disc brakes. It had about 130K on it then, I've put
another 160K on the car since then, for some reason some of the parts installed in '89 seemed to be a little worn.

On this build I'll point out a couple pitfalls a guy might run across and a couple differences between my car and others.

Upshot is that my car now handles like about like a good Gen 2 Camaro/Firebird which is pretty good. Responsive, stable, sticks like glue. It has that solid feeling I've been looking for. I did a DIY alignment, it has about 1° negative camber, 4-5° caster, 1/16" toe-in. Yeah, I realize it still has a below ground level roll center because I didn't change to a tall spindle setup, but I'm mostly concerned about how it drives, not what it pulls on a 200ft circle.

For the purposes of this write-up I rounded up another set of A-arms since my originals had the oval bushings in the lowers and I wanted to get rid of them. We installed the upper and lower ball joints, upper and lower bushings, upper A-arm crosshafts, inner and outer tie rods and adjusting sleeves, idler arm, center or drag link, stabilizer bar mount bushings and end links. The car already has a fresh steering box.

I'm glad to report that there no problems with any of the PST parts, everything just fit. This is a link to the kit: http://www.p-s-t.com/p-3786-chevrole...o-1964-88.aspx along with the centerlink http://www.p-s-t.com/p-523-chevrolet...o-1968-72.aspx


Here's the car: (green cars live forever)



Jacked up and on heavy duty stands



Here's the stock worn out front suspension:



Stabilizer bar dropped:

Tom Terrific or Terrible Tom, depending on the phase of the moon, passing cosmic rays or other factors not fully understood except by my wife.

Last edited by Tom Mobley; Jun 2nd, 09 at 6:39 PM.
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post #2 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 1:28 AM Thread Starter
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Tom Terrific II
 
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

dropping the steering linkage: left



right



hanger-downer?



idler arm removal



bolt heads are inside the frame. Don't be a doof like me and drop the socket off inside the frame, it's a PITA to get out.


Tom Terrific or Terrible Tom, depending on the phase of the moon, passing cosmic rays or other factors not fully understood except by my wife.
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post #3 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 1:42 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

off the Pittman arm, notice the Pittman arm has no wear parts



jeez, whatta mess



start on the ball joints



safety first, guys have lost fingers and hands losing control of a coil spring. notice the shock is still in and the ball joint nut is still on, just loosened while I break the taper



also notice the jack is under the lower control arm supporting the weight of the car

Tom Terrific or Terrible Tom, depending on the phase of the moon, passing cosmic rays or other factors not fully understood except by my wife.

Last edited by Tom Mobley; Jun 2nd, 09 at 2:35 AM.
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post #4 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 2:01 AM Thread Starter
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Tom Terrific II
 
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

here it is loose, nothing flew apart


here's a place where I cheated. notice the upper A-arm bolts hanging loose. they're supposed to be firm in the holes in the mount on the frame. problem is that there's not near enough room to get the arm off that way. I'd have to pull the steering shaft and the header. When I rebuilt this front end back in '89 I hit them with an impact wrench, knocked them loose. Kosher? Probably not. However, I spent 20 years beating the he!! out of these chassis on dirt oval tracks. There can be really nasty ruts and chuckholes being hit at high speeds. Never had a problem related to this. However, the downside is that a guy has to hold the bolt while tightening up the self-locking nuts while doing an alignment. Not a big deal. Also, the rubber bumper seems to be a little worn



pop the caliper bolts out. on this install the caliper stays on the car, wired up so as not to hang by the hose.


wired up, hang it from about anything handy


pulling the spindle and hub assembly. notice the jack and shock still in place

Tom Terrific or Terrible Tom, depending on the phase of the moon, passing cosmic rays or other factors not fully understood except by my wife.
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post #5 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 2:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

popping the spindle off the lower ball joint


the mighty Snap-On air hammer strikes again


free at last. nasty cheat here, hardly visible. as assembled the lower opening in the dust shield has the LCA tip poking thru it. If everything is as new you can have trouble getting the spindle off the ball joint as it hangs up on the dust shield. You're supposed to pull the rotor and shield. Somehow, during the previous rebuild that hole got enlarged slightly, just enough to allow the spindle to come off easily. I think it was a passing space alien that did it.


lowered the LCA all the way down, took the pressure off, popped the shock out, spring falls out on the ground. Depending on your springs, you may have to use a spring compressor. I usually get by without it. just be careful, the shock is your last line of defense


pulled the LCA bushing bolts, LCA falls out on my finger. Dang.
there will no snide comments about that spring. obviously it's been heated. back when the left side sat higher than the right, it got "fixed". It's been that way over 20 years, I'm not changing it now. I get away with a lot of stuff because it's a daily driver.

Tom Terrific or Terrible Tom, depending on the phase of the moon, passing cosmic rays or other factors not fully understood except by my wife.
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post #6 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 3:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

start the clean-up and rebuild of the A-arms. Philip (AKA 64elcamino) a brother mod who lives a couple hours south of me invited me down to do some of the work. He also donated the round bushing A-arms. Whattahelluvaman u are Philip.



ugly



portable sand blaster. actually used stuff called "Black Beauty", it's ground up coal slag. rough stuff, just right for rough suspension parts



ready to rock



rocked, or Black Beauty'd. this stuff leaves a pretty noticeable rough finish on the metal, just right for primer. knocked the old bushings out with an ait chisel. plan is to collapse then so they come loose and can be pushed out.



these are a little tougher. used a cutoff wheel to cut the welds. I've heard of the bushings being welded in but these are the first I've seen.



who let that fatty in?



tried to do a reasonably neat job

Tom Terrific or Terrible Tom, depending on the phase of the moon, passing cosmic rays or other factors not fully understood except by my wife.

Last edited by Tom Mobley; Jun 2nd, 09 at 4:14 AM.
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post #7 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 4:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

nice finish on the ball joint hole. found a flap wheel the right size. maybe made it a little easier to get the ball joints in.



one of the most important pics of the bunch. see the spacer between the 2 walls of the control arm? this keeps it from collapsing as you press/pound/whatever the bushing in. it's just a piece of steel tubing cut to length and and cut in half the long way. just right.



the hammer method. doesn't really matter how it's done, what really matters is the little spacer.


the ball joint press method. ball joint presses can be rented at a auto parts chain store

Tom Terrific or Terrible Tom, depending on the phase of the moon, passing cosmic rays or other factors not fully understood except by my wife.
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post #8 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 4:31 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

the life saver: my good old buddy pal Philip owns a press. I was down at Harbor Freight (AKA cheap China junk sales corp) looking at buying one when I talked to Philip and discovered he had already done the deed. be careful, there's not much of anything square, straight or parallel on these A-arms. This can be done with the ball joint press also but the real press was more fun.


mask off and squirt a little paint. Philip had a couple cans of old NAPA self-etching primer. between the surface finish left by the Black Beauty and this primer the stuff really bonded good.





it's easier to mask off and paint than to paint first and try to keep from scratching the paint working on the parts.



Tom Terrific or Terrible Tom, depending on the phase of the moon, passing cosmic rays or other factors not fully understood except by my wife.

Last edited by Tom Mobley; Jun 2nd, 09 at 3:39 PM.
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post #9 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 4:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

start on the uppers. more nice new parts.



This is the upper A-arm version of the little spacer keeping the lowers from collapsing while the bushing was installed. piece of steel tubing cut to length and hose clamped into position. critical: the cross shaft must be in place first. EDIT, got a message asking how to get the piece of tubing out? It's split lengthwise, loosen the hose clamp. BTW, Philip did that split with a hand held cutoff wheel on a die grinder. Straight and clean, some guys are just talented.



special high-dollar ultraviolet baking oven for curing the paint



install upper ball joint. no big deal but don't be a doofus like me again. put the bolts in from the bottom, otherwise there's no room to turn the nuts


notice the relief cut out of the boot. this goes to the inside always. it's to let grease that accumulates squeeze out to the inside. If you put it in backwards it squirts grease on your brake rotor. Ugh. this little relief means the boot was properly made, I've seen cheapie ones that didn't have this.

Tom Terrific or Terrible Tom, depending on the phase of the moon, passing cosmic rays or other factors not fully understood except by my wife.

Last edited by Tom Mobley; Jun 2nd, 09 at 3:48 PM.
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post #10 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 5:02 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

finish up tomorrow, 2am, have to be up at 6. ugh again.

Tom Terrific or Terrible Tom, depending on the phase of the moon, passing cosmic rays or other factors not fully understood except by my wife.
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post #11 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 7:12 AM
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

Tom,

I did this conversion about 2 yearsa ago. It really improved my cars handling quite a bit. I don't feel like I am going to fly off of the road all the time. I am sure you will like the end results.

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post #12 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 7:23 AM
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

I've used PST's kit on numerous cars including the '70 Chevelle I just finished. I'm glad they've become a sponsor.

Dan


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post #13 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 9:13 AM
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

Tom, thanks for all the pics, makes the post much better. Hope to do the same this summer. Jb

Jerry Briggs
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post #14 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 9:45 AM
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

Tom,

Great writeup and pictures! We're glad to hear that you're happy with the kit and the results.

Tom is obviously a very experienced mechanic who has done this type of work before. Some customers are not as experienced, so PST always recommends a spring compressor and chaining the springs to be on the safe side. Springs store a lot of energy and if removed improperly can be very dangerous.

We are very excited to be a part of the Chevelles.com community and hope that we can provide some tech input and tips we've picked up over the last 25 years.

For any of you members who are planning a front end rebuild, we are currently running a 10% off promotion for Chevelles.com members. The discount code gives you 10% off your total order for any and all A-body products - front end kits, sway bars, springs, disc brake conversion kits, and much more. Just give us a call and mention code CK09F.

For a listing of our Chevelle products, please visit this link:

http://www.p-s-t.com/chevelles.aspx

Any questions, send us a PM, email, or give us a call at (800) 247-2288.

Last edited by PST; Jun 2nd, 09 at 5:03 PM.
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post #15 of 120 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 09, 10:09 AM
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Re: PST suspension kit install, dialup warning

looks familiar. I've done that swap several times. Good to know about the bushing press at the auto store. I had to make my own press with fat washers and grade 8 bolts the last time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpete, Dean, Derek69SS, hoffbug, rubadub, Grandsport, Thomas Jefferson, 1badss396, MEJ1990TM, and mrdjc99
As usual, Andy is right
If it doesn't fit, force it. If it breaks, it needed to be replaced anyway.

I have to keep reminding myself this isn't a Z16 convertible, Evening Orchid Camaro, or factory 1966 SS427 and get on with it.


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