Bad News at the Alignment Shop

Old September 4th, 2014, 08:57 AM
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Bad News at the Alignment Shop

So maybe the guy just didn't want to align the car, but he questioned one balljoint (okay, there was the slightest amount of play) and gave me a speal about the control arm bushings, and how they only have two shims left, and as part of the alignment they remove shims and he doesn't want to remove anymore.


This is all old school tech for me, but If I wanted to replace the control arm bushings and ball joints, is there a kit available with everything in it? It'd rather buy everything from the same brand, all in one package so I know it's right. The only thing that definitely looks okay are the stabilizer links. The idler arm where it connects to the frame on the passenger side, there's two grease fittings there, one looks a little wet. So those are probably worn. I'm guessing those can be replaced without replacing the whole arm?

I looked at Autozone and Napa and they list the parts separately, (Napa being much more expensive for some reason???).

I really wasn't planning on doing a front end rebuild here, but I don't want to leave a bunch of worn parts in with a couple new ones and have the car be all over the place. Where's a good place to stop?
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Old September 4th, 2014, 09:08 AM
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Front end parts are pretty much always sold individually. The shims can be added and removed as needed to obtain proper camber and caster. Try another alignment shop and bring your CSM with the specs.
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Old September 4th, 2014, 09:15 AM
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There's no good place to stop lol. If you have one/ some worn bushings you prolly have more. A while ago I replaced all my ball joints, upper and lower control Arm bushings and added a big sway bar in the front, then a fast ratio steering gear and new springs. After that i did the rear uca and lca bushings along w a new sway bar and new springs in the rear. All the stuff I replaced was original or worn I think there was 1 newer bj but now it's all set and it handles much better as well.

Bushings, ball joints And springs I got from rockauto ( moog) steering gear from rock auto too. Sway bars from parts place
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Old September 4th, 2014, 09:17 AM
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The price difference is likely the quality of the parts and country of origin. Napa generally provides the better quality USA made parts. Yes kits are available from OEM to road course parts. Do some googling.
IMO I would go through the whole front end if all the parts are aged and worn. With new bushings, joints,shocks and steering linkages. This car will handle like new. Up grade the stabilizer end link and frame bushings with greasable or graphite poly.
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Old September 4th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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I don't think anybody can beat this price that's on Ebay. I got this kit for my 69 Chevelle.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Moog-GM-...b17a79&vxp=mtr
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Old September 4th, 2014, 09:32 AM
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One thing I will add, have them align it with as much caster as they can get in it not to the OEM spec.
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Old September 4th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 70cutty View Post
I don't think anybody can beat this price that's on Ebay. I got this kit for my 69 Chevelle.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Moog-GM-...b17a79&vxp=mtr
Wow, that's a bargain.
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Old September 4th, 2014, 10:24 AM
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I prefer to avoid "kits" because the brand of ball joints is typically not widely advertised. Lower CA bushings may be round or oval. Be sure to check before ordering. My preference is to order name brand parts. Kits may have lower quality pieces in my opinion.
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Old September 4th, 2014, 11:07 AM
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I checked, all moog parts, all good quality, all individually packed in moog boxes with moog PN's. Like I said I installed this in my Chevelle. I prefer to save money when possible on good parts.

Last edited by 70cutty; September 4th, 2014 at 11:09 AM.
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Old September 4th, 2014, 01:14 PM
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Only thing missing on that kit is the centerlink.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 12:20 AM
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If you want crisper handling go for poly bushes, if you want a cushy ride, stick with rubber.


Roger.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by jpc647 View Post
... he questioned one balljoint (okay, there was the slightest amount of play)...
You can't see play in your ball joints. Even when they're worn.

If you can see "the slightest amount of play," they're totally shot.

Replace that crap before you end up in a ditch.

As for the control arm bushings, if they're worn, they will have play, but the rubber can just be rotten and even though they don't have play, they may still need to be replaced. The number of shims used should have nothing to do with the condition of the control arm bushings - if they're so far gone that you're compensating for them by removing bushings, that's pretty bad, and your car would be impossible to align, because every time you moved something, the alignment would change, because they were so loose.

Do what they guys above said and get a good set of brand-name parts, and you'll be very happy with the result.

- Eric
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Old September 5th, 2014, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by RetroRanger View Post
There's no good place to stop lol. If you have one/ some worn bushings you prolly have more. A while ago I replaced all my ball joints, upper and lower control Arm bushings and added a big sway bar in the front, then a fast ratio steering gear and new springs. After that i did the rear uca and lca bushings along w a new sway bar and new springs in the rear. All the stuff I replaced was original or worn I think there was 1 newer bj but now it's all set and it handles much better as well.

Bushings, ball joints And springs I got from rockauto ( moog) steering gear from rock auto too. Sway bars from parts place
Thanks for the info. What large sway bar did you add in the front? Diameter wise?
For the fast ratio steering gear, what'd you use, and what else had to be replaced to get it to work. I know theres been quite a few on here to use Monte Carlo setups.

Originally Posted by droldsmorland View Post
The price difference is likely the quality of the parts and country of origin. Napa generally provides the better quality USA made parts. Yes kits are available from OEM to road course parts. Do some googling.
IMO I would go through the whole front end if all the parts are aged and worn. With new bushings, joints,shocks and steering linkages. This car will handle like new. Up grade the stabilizer end link and frame bushings with greasable or graphite poly.

Thanks. I've gotten questionable parts from Napa before, and the local store is tough to return stuff to. If I end up going through the whole front end, I don't want it to handle like new, I want to upgrade things to make it better. I can't fathom spending all the time and money just to replace 40 yr old tech. I want improvement.

Originally Posted by 70cutty View Post
I don't think anybody can beat this price that's on Ebay. I got this kit for my 69 Chevelle.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Moog-GM-...b17a79&vxp=mtr

Thanks for the link. I've just gotta check which bushings I have, the round or oval!


Originally Posted by chadman View Post
One thing I will add, have them align it with as much caster as they can get in it not to the OEM spec.
Thanks. I read that in a few places, when I get back to alignment, I'll have to do that!

Originally Posted by MDchanic View Post
You can't see play in your ball joints. Even when they're worn.

If you can see "the slightest amount of play," they're totally shot.

Replace that crap before you end up in a ditch.

As for the control arm bushings, if they're worn, they will have play, but the rubber can just be rotten and even though they don't have play, they may still need to be replaced. The number of shims used should have nothing to do with the condition of the control arm bushings - if they're so far gone that you're compensating for them by removing bushings, that's pretty bad, and your car would be impossible to align, because every time you moved something, the alignment would change, because they were so loose.

Do what they guys above said and get a good set of brand-name parts, and you'll be very happy with the result.

- Eric
If you can't see play in your ball joints, how come to check them you use a bar and 'pry' to see if they move? That's an honest question, I don't mean for that to sound sarcastic.

Thanks for the information on the control arms.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jpc647 View Post
If you can't see play in your ball joints, how come to check them you use a bar and 'pry' to see if they move?
Yes, you can see it if you go through all of that trouble. I thought you meant he just had it up on the lift and could get some play out of them that way, or you meant the uppers.
That would be B-A-D.

But it's still the same thing: If you get the wheel a couple of inches above a flat, paved floor, and you jam a 6' pipe under the tire, and your buddy prys up and down while you stick your head under the car, and you can see ANY play in the lower ball joint, it is shot.

And if you have the front end apart because you're replacing parts to make it handle better than new, you MAW change the ball joints...

- Eric
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Old September 5th, 2014, 09:18 AM
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The fast ratio steering box from rock auto comes w a new rag joint and works w your stock hoses and pitman arm, it's about $180 it needs nothing else to install and enjoy.

The fr sway bar is 1.25" the rear is 1" it got them in a kit from parts place w boxed rear LCAs Iirc the it was about $ 400

These changes made a big diff I handling ,but it would be a waste w out replacing any other worn parts.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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Seems to me the alignment shop did not know how or wanted to bother to align your car. A small amount of play in ball joints is acceptable, and a wet idler arm does not mean it's bad. If your bushings still have rubber in them they are also good.

Bring it to a reputable alignment shop, usually somewhere that specializes is heavy trucks is a good place. don't bring it to a franchised place like pepboys, muffler places, sears, etc.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post

Bring it to a reputable alignment shop, usually somewhere that specializes is heavy trucks is a good place. don't bring it to a franchised place like pepboys, muffler places, sears, etc.
X2 what old says.
Or if your lucky you have an old school shop in the area as we do. This guy does all the vintage and new stuff. But hes been around since 1975 so he knows how to dial in our old rides.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 01:57 PM
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I like Moog and I go to a frame shop that also does alignments for the alignment.
If I have to pay I like to go were the techs are skilled. A good wheel alignment cost $ I find they don't try to up sell you on parts if you are paying for there time to do a proper wheel alignment.
It was great when I had access to the equipment so that I could do it my self and get it perfect.

Last edited by Bernhard; September 5th, 2014 at 02:03 PM.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 02:40 PM
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As long as the box says Moog on it they will be good replacement parts. I found the cheapest place to buy them was off Amazon. If 1 ball joint is getting bad then the other isn't far behind, if the car is 30-50 years old, even if the control arm bushing look good they are probable hard as wood, I had 2 bad ones but when I took them out every one of them was shot both in the front of the car and in the rear of the car. Idler arms are a high wear item all you have to do to check it is grab it on the center link end and push up and down on it, if it moves it's shot.
Fill out your statistics page so we can at least see what you drive.
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Old September 13th, 2014, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 70cutty View Post
I don't think anybody can beat this price that's on Ebay. I got this kit for my 69 Chevelle.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Moog-GM-...b17a79&vxp=mtr

Did everything fit right on your chevelle? I've looked up the part numbers on the parts, and the ones for the inner/outer tie rods ends don't match for a cutlass.

Everything else seems right though... I mean the kit is a deal, especially considering it has both the oval and round control arm bushings...

But I only have a 7/8 sway bar on my plain-jain cutlass, so I'll have to buy those separately. Or upgrade my bar.

Anyone got 1 1/4 bar they want to sell, cheap!?
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Old September 13th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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If you go on Rockauto.com, buy all the parts individually (Moog brand), you can't go wrong. Even with shipping it will be less expensive than buying it at your local parts store delivered to your door.
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