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1969 Chevelle 2 Door Sport Coupe Malibu COPO clone
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
:cool: I searched, but didn't find anything. Crazy question here. I'd like my 1969 Chevelle Malibu (BBC engine) to handle much better in "everyday" driving, but my budget is very limited (i.e. I can't afford to buy a decent aftermarket handling-type suspension system). I recently read that for the 1970 model year Chevrolet engineers changed the Camaro's A-Arm geometry to produce better handling qualities: "...the new [Camaro] had larger control arms that swept to the rear, improving the ball joint angle and providing tastier caster and camber geometry. (Car Craft Magazine, March 2017 Issue)"

Does anybody know if the 1970 Camaro A-Arms (Upper and Lower) can bolt onto the 1969 Chevelle's frame? These would be the same arms as used in the 1973 through 1977 Chevelle...
If they fit, would there be any point in swapping them onto the 'Bu for improve handling?
Anybody have a better, yet cost effective (i.e. Cheap) fix for improving handling (other than lowering the car)?
 

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Boldly procrastrinating
66 El Camino 57 Chevy pickup 2004 Tahoe
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29,330 Posts
no they won't.

anyway, the biggest difference between the two suspensions is the height of the spindles. the A-arms are secondary.

Using the .5" taller upper ball joints will help with the roll center issue. make sure the car is at stock ride height or lower. The taller lower ball joints will help with the short spindle problem too, but the will also lower your car in the front. Personally, I don't like the tall lower ball joint deal because it cantilevers the load on the most heavily loaded part of the chassis. I'm just not comfortable with that although I know I know they're being used in serious autocross competition.

There are also .9" taller upper ball joints which will really help, but you need to run a special aftermarket A-arm with those as they are likely to bind the studs in the slot with the stock A-arms. A stock replacement aftermarket A-arm won't help as the duplicate the kink in the stock A-arm, which is the problem. UMI has these, I'm sure there are others like BMR.
 

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I looked into all that and by time your done, you would of been better off saving for the new arms with tall ball joints that were engineered to work together.. The top companies that people recommend on here don't just slap that stuff out, they plot dynamic camber curves thru the cycle.. Lot of R&D work!!

I also tried switching the stock uppers side to side, it yields about 10 positive caster better then stock but its still way off.. Ramey said the ball joint pad is all off for that swap and he was right.. It still feels weird and goofy..

I'm doing either the UMI or SC&C control arms this winter.. You would be better off working some overtime and getting modern upper and lower control arms with .9 and .5 tall ball joints..

Putting .9 tall ball joints on stock uppers is a bad idea from what I've read.. That and you can maybe get +3 degrees positive caster out of stock arms in the stock position but they will be cockeyed as hell with the rear passenger side bushing 1/4" from the exhaust manifold.. At least that's been my experience with the stock manifolds on my 454 in my 69 El Camino... In other words, it still feels weird and goofy.. haha

The 72 down A body cars were set up for negative caster for a Bias tire trail.. The uppers and lowers need replaced along with tall ball joints to work optimally with a modern radial tire trail..
 

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Back in the early 90s I installed the H-O Racing suspension parts on my GTO. I didn't go all out, kept the stock spindles, installed poly bushings in the control arms, 550lb front springs, and a big sway bar. It made a dramatic difference.

If I was doing something simple today, I would use the Global West delrin bushings, add stiffer springs, use the biggest OEM (1"? ) sway bar, good shocks, and call it a day.

Andrew
 
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Boldly procrastrinating
66 El Camino 57 Chevy pickup 2004 Tahoe
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you can use the 2nd gen f-body front bar if you get longer endlinks. these are easy to find at any of the suspension vendors. I've had a 1.25" bar on my car since the early 90's. that and the power disc brakes are the best things I ever did for the car. well, up till the 406 and 200-4r tranny. :)
 

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Make sure you suspension components are up to snuff.

Ball joints, bushings, sway bat linkages, tie rod ends.

If so the biggest bang for you bucks is a good set of matched sway bars.

Glenn
 

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Try and find some of the threads by Taved. He has run the road courses at Sonoma raceway and Laguna Seca multiple times in his 71 Malibu. It has basically stock suspension and disc drums. His post generally include several minutes of helmet cam video which show how well the car works. He's is the only one on this site that I have ever seen or heard of actually running a road course, his experience should disproportionally weigh in on your decisions.

Steve R
 
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