1970 Cutlass W-31 Frame Off Restoration

Old July 30th, 2018, 03:09 PM
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Looking good!!! Wow!!!
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Old July 31st, 2018, 05:57 PM
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Looks Great !!!! I agree EXCELLENT work!!!!!
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Old August 3rd, 2018, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by WTHIRTY1 View Post
I picked the car up late Jan 2018. My initial plan was to pull the engine, detail it, and drop it back in. The domino effect kicked in big time for me, and now I'm in the process of pulling the body off the frame. I'm learning along the way, and I'm looking forward to leaning on the experiences of the forum to help get me through this.

The W-31 is numbers matching, factory twilight blue / white stripe, blue bucket interior. Per the previous owner, the car ran when put away. I didn't make an attempt at firing it and started in on the disassembly right away.

Since I took delivery of the car in January, I've removed the entire front end, pulled the engine and trans, removed the entire front end suspension, removed the gas tank, along with a ton of other pieces.

Quick timeline so far.

1/25/18: Took delivery of the car.



1/26/18: Hooked a battery to the car and tested the electricals. Surprisingly, the lights worked with the exception of those connected to the front harness.

1/27/18: Started removing the front end.



1/28/18: Flushed cooling system. The last time the car was out, it was tracked, and the owner ran water only. After years of sitting, the water created a rusty mess.



3/16/18: Pulled the engine and trans. Thanks Luke (83hurstguy) for letting me borrow the hoist a time or two!

3/18/18: Pushed the car out for its first bath in years. Also attempted to de-grease the front end.



4/30/18: Removed the suspension.

As of 6/3, getting ready to lift the body off the frame.
Your grills look like they were black. I have a 70 Supreme I've had since the 80's and the grills were black just like in your pics. Everyone I've talked to say somebody must have painted them before I got the car. Do you know the history on yours?
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Old August 3rd, 2018, 08:12 PM
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Original owner painted the grilled black as part of his ďday 2Ē efforts.
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Old August 3rd, 2018, 08:24 PM
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Update

I soaked the original fuel line clips in paint thinner for a week to clean off the old black paint. They came out just okay so I decided to have them blasted. The metal is a bit pitted, however, I have yet to see a reproduction fuel line clip for a W-Machine that comes close to the originals.

As for the clips towards the rear (also used on the brake line), I opted for the Inline clip. It’s a really nice reproduction piece with only a subtle difference pictured below.

I completed the removal of the ball joints and bushings on the front upper and lower control arms. They arms really look bad and pitted so it’ll be interesting to see how / if they clean up after blasting.

Finally, I had a chance to swing by the shop rebuilding the rear end. The car has a dealer installed 4.33 gear and they just looked okay. Very cool to see the original paint daubs on the gear and the white marks on the original axles in the background. I worked with Greg @ Supercars to get the correct rear end rebuild pieces. The kit is really nice and has all US made Timken bearings. I should have the rear by end of next week.








Last edited by WTHIRTY1; August 13th, 2018 at 05:58 AM.
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Old August 4th, 2018, 05:26 AM
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I kind of figured that. I might just keep two sets. I have an OE set that are in good shape and thinking of getting a second set since I like the black with the Sherwood green black top so much
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Old August 4th, 2018, 01:05 PM
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Parts finished

Picked up the motherload of parts from the shop today. Somewhat stuck until the control arms for the front and rear are completed along with the rear. I expect to have all of it by next weekend.

For the parts that had that natural steel look, we blasted and adjusted the clear to get a more “raw” look. I think it turned out better than expected.






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Old August 13th, 2018, 07:31 PM
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Not much to update from the weekend. The fuel lines have been installed with the original clips. The bend at the front before the rubber hose needed some gentle massaging to get it in to the right place.

I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed for a thrash when the control arms are done so I put the hardware where itíll be going. Iím glad I did because I realized I was missing rear shock hardware. I used the original idler arm bolts and washers but opted for the new zinc nuts. Also, for those looking for the correct nuts for the engine mount pads, AMK has them as part # B-12789.

Had a mishap removing the cross shafts from the upper control arms. I scored an NOS shaft kit with correct washers, nuts, and bushings.





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Old August 15th, 2018, 07:52 AM
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Very nice work
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Old August 18th, 2018, 08:17 PM
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Saturday night disappointment

The control arms are taking a bit longer than had hoped, but I was able to work on a few other items. I passed on $300-$400 NOS upper ball joints for the rebuild, but Iíll make another post on the ball joints and bushings I will be using.

As I wait for my parts to be blasted, I started putting hardware where I know itíll go to ensure Iím not missing anything. The first part up was the rear shocks. I picked up new rears from one of the vendors, and needless to say the shock inside the box was a bit messed up. The top part is out of alignment and the welds (or whatever holds the tubing to the shaft) had broken off. Iíll be calling Monday to get a replacement.


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Old August 18th, 2018, 08:19 PM
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Front sway

Continuing with my hardware process, I pulled out an NOS set of sway bar bushings and brackets. I would have mounted the sway bar, but I wanted to spray the brackets with a coat of flat clear. Iíll get that in place tomorrow. Hoping to also get the steering in place after I restore the original idler arm.


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Old August 18th, 2018, 08:36 PM
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Rear suspension bolts







Need help sorting through the rear bolts used on the W-31 (and Iíd have to assume the W-30 is the same way?).

The PIM calls for three unique bolts. The original bolts donít quite align with the PIM so let me try my best to break this down for the group.

9421430 is the long pointed tip bolt used on the front lower control arms. According to the PIM itís also used to hold the rear upper control arms to the frame. The bolts I removed were the shorter flat ones. Iíve seen this on a few other W-31ís currently under restorations.

Per the PIM, 942130 is also used on the boxed lower control arms to the brackets on the rear axle. The bolt head is on the inside and the nut is towards the ďoutsideĒ of the car.

9427318 is the bolt called on to connect the rear upper arms to the rear axle. Is this the shorter flat bolt? I canít find this number on AMKís site.

402568 is supposed to be the bolt for the lower control arm to the frame. What is this bolt supposed to look like? The ones I removed from the car look identical to the 942130 with the pointed tip. I have to assume the longer bolt is needed because the support arm goes through there, too. Thereís also a washer required.

So who can tell me what bolts go where for the rear suspension?!

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Old August 18th, 2018, 08:54 PM
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The bolt that holds the Rear LOWER Control Arm to the frame is unique (402568)....not like any other used on the rest of the suspension (shown in 1st pic below). The head of the bolt has a "flange" on it - with the bolt head going in from inside the frame. And yes, there is a thick washer used as well on THIS BOLT ONLY.

You said - " 9427318 is the bolt called on to connect the rear upper arms to the rear axle. Is this the shorter flat bolt? I can’t find this number on AMK’s site."

Yes - I believe that is the correct bolt/location for the two shorter flat tipped bolts. I'm fairly sure these two bolts are 1/2" x 3-3/8" if I grabbed the right one out of a bin to measure. I don't see any bolts in AMK's paper catalog that match this bolt. The front lower control arm bolts aren't quite the same - they have a partially pointed tip and are 3-3/4" long.

You may have to find good used versions or possibly shorten the 3-3/4" AMK #13749 front control arm bolt- 2nd pic below shows what I think is the correct bolt next to a front lower control arm bolt.
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Last edited by 70Post; August 18th, 2018 at 09:11 PM.
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Old August 18th, 2018, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by 70Post View Post
The bolt that holds the Rear LOWER Control Arm to the frame is unique....not like any other used on the rest of the suspension. The head of the bolt has a "flange" on it - with the bolt head going in from inside the frame. And yes, there is a thick washer used as well on THIS BOLT ONLY.
Thanks, Patton. Iíll have to go searching through my hardware and see where the bolts with the flange ended up! Are these bolts and washers available from any of the vendors? I didnít see either number available on AMKís site.
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Old August 18th, 2018, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by WTHIRTY1 View Post


Thanks, Patton. I’ll have to go searching through my hardware and see where the bolts with the flange ended up! Are these bolts and washers available from any of the vendors? I didn’t see either number available on AMK’s site.

I'll look in their catalog again BUT I don't think they offer the REAR LOWER CONTROL ARM - to -frame bolt either (the unique one with the flanged head - in my first pic above). I've never tried finding any of these so don't know if anyone offers this unique bolt. Do you have your thick washers??? If so I would need dimensions to try to match up with AMK's paper catalog. O.D., hole I.D, and washer thickness.

As far as "extrusions" - I think they are referring to positioning the rear LOWER control arm so the sway bar bolt holes are oriented correctly - so the sway bar is positioned under the rear diff. If you flipped the rear lower arms around the two sway bar bolts in the control arm would put the sway bar too far forward.

Last edited by 70Post; August 18th, 2018 at 09:25 PM.
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Old August 18th, 2018, 09:46 PM
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I'll check some notes here on the location/placement of the THICK WASHER used on the Rr. Lower Control Arm Forward Mounting Point. I thought those went on the bolt shaft before the bolt gets fed into the hole inside the frame rail...acting as a "support" under the flange on the bolt head against the frame metal. Seems odd they would use them on the other end when you already have the additional metal of the rear control arm braces acting as a sort of "washer".
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Old August 19th, 2018, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 70Post View Post
I'll look in their catalog again BUT I don't think they offer the REAR LOWER CONTROL ARM - to -frame bolt either (the unique one with the flanged head - in my first pic above). I've never tried finding any of these so don't know if anyone offers this unique bolt. Do you have your thick washers??? If so I would need dimensions to try to match up with AMK's paper catalog. O.D., hole I.D, and washer thickness.

As far as "extrusions" - I think they are referring to positioning the rear LOWER control arm so the sway bar bolt holes are oriented correctly - so the sway bar is positioned under the rear diff. If you flipped the rear lower arms around the two sway bar bolts in the control arm would put the sway bar too far forward.
The good news is that Inline carries the longer pointed tip bolt used on all the fronts. They also carry the shorter flat tip bolt for the rear pieces which means AMK likely carries them, too. As for the flanged bolt, I'll need to do some homework on that as well as the washer. Really appreciate the help, Patton!
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Old August 19th, 2018, 10:53 AM
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I have all the control arms bolts, nice used original ones if you need them.
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Old August 19th, 2018, 02:19 PM
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Here's the notes from my thread on the bolt subject. Car had not been previously diassembled - late January build '70 W30. All the bolt directions were as illustrated in the PIM - apparently Lansing did not use any of "optional bolt directions"

"Turned to removing the rear axle from the frame. Since I had already pre loosened the control arm bolts, this was rather uneventful. I did note that there are three different types of rear control arm bolts. The kits you buy sell you all the same bolts, and I am sure it will work - it is just not correct.

Type 1 bolt (2 only) These are the ones that attach the lower arms to the frame. They point to the center of the car, use a flat washer on the nut side and have a "pilot" on them. Most uniquely, the head of the bolt has a built in washer (think like a big valve cover bolt)

Type 2 bolt (2 only) These attach the lower arm to the rear axle assy. These point OUTWARD from the car centerline, and have no washer behind the nut. The head is normal and these also have a "pilot"

Type 3 bolt (4 only) These attach the upper control arms to the axle assy and frame. These have no pilot, no washers, and the heads are normal. Interestingly, the ones that attach to the frame point towards the car center line, but the ones that attach the arms to the axle assy. point out wards from centerline. May be way too trivial for some, but again found out how much the repo parts can be different from OE."

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Old August 20th, 2018, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by costpenn View Post
Here's the notes from my thread on the bolt subject. Car had not been previously diassembled - late January build '70 W30. All the bolt directions were as illustrated in the PIM - apparently Lansing did not use any of "optional bolt directions"

"Turned to removing the rear axle from the frame. Since I had already pre loosened the control arm bolts, this was rather uneventful. I did note that there are three different types of rear control arm bolts. The kits you buy sell you all the same bolts, and I am sure it will work - it is just not correct.

Type 1 bolt (2 only) These are the ones that attach the lower arms to the frame. They point to the center of the car, use a flat washer on the nut side and have a "pilot" on them. Most uniquely, the head of the bolt has a built in washer (think like a big valve cover bolt)

Type 2 bolt (2 only) These attach the lower arm to the rear axle assy. These point OUTWARD from the car centerline, and have no washer behind the nut. The head is normal and these also have a "pilot"

Type 3 bolt (4 only) These attach the upper control arms to the axle assy and frame. These have no pilot, no washers, and the heads are normal. Interestingly, the ones that attach to the frame point towards the car center line, but the ones that attach the arms to the axle assy. point out wards from centerline. May be way too trivial for some, but again found out how much the repo parts can be different from OE."

Thanks for the write-up, Joe. Based on what you listed, I need to locate two of the flanged bolts to connect the lower arms to the frame.

The PIM calls out 9421430 as the bolt that goes from the rear upper arm to the frame for the 35W31. 9421430 is also the SAME long pointed tip bolt used for the front LCAs. 9427318 is the first bolt called out for the rear uppers to the frame, however, it specifies EXC. 35W31. Remember, 9427318 is the same bolt called for connecting the upper arm to the axle. This is the shorter flat tipped bolt and I think it was commonly misused during assembly. The longer 9421430 bolt makes sense since the support pieces connect to the bolt, too.

402568 is the part # for the two flanged bolts used on the rear LCAs to the frame with the washer and nut. I just went through the entire AMK catalog and couldn't find an exact match for the flanged bolt.

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Old August 20th, 2018, 08:17 PM
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ILT's paper catalog shows the "402568" bolt kits - flanged bolts, thick washers and locking nuts. Approx $18 for the kit.
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Old August 21st, 2018, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by costpenn View Post
Type 1 bolt (2 only) These are the ones that attach the lower arms to the frame. They point to the center of the car, use a flat washer on the nut side and have a "pilot" on them. Most uniquely, the head of the bolt has a built in washer (think like a big valve cover bolt)
I may be wrong, but when I look at page 4-104 in the PIM, only the cars with the frame reinforcement Brace (3918061 and 3918062) would have the washer under the nut on the lower arm to frame bolt. Am I reading that correctly?
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Old August 21st, 2018, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jharsh View Post
I may be wrong, but when I look at page 4-104 in the PIM, only the cars with the frame reinforcement Brace (3918061 and 3918062) would have the washer under the nut on the lower arm to frame bolt. Am I reading that correctly?
Yes.
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Old August 21st, 2018, 03:21 PM
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Thanks, just wanted to make sure I was putting mine together correctly. Your Frame looks like it is coming along nicely.
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Old August 21st, 2018, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jharsh View Post
I may be wrong, but when I look at page 4-104 in the PIM, only the cars with the frame reinforcement Brace (3918061 and 3918062) would have the washer under the nut on the lower arm to frame bolt. Am I reading that correctly?
Yes, all my notes were in reference to my specific car. I believe all W cars, and all MT 442's had the reinforcement bars. Not sure about Rallye 350's.
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Old August 21st, 2018, 05:34 PM
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Just went back and looked at the PIM - note for the bars reads:

"Frame Reinforcement-455 CU. IN. Exc. 4800"

So per the PIM, only all the 455 A cars, except wagons, got the bars.
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Old August 25th, 2018, 06:17 PM
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Bolts

To bring the bolt conversation full circle, the flanged bolts are available through Inline with the washers and nuts. The bolts are a dead match to the originals. So in conclusion, there are three bolts for the rear suspension of the W-31; the longer bolt with the pointed tip, the shorter flat bolts for the rear upper arms, and the two flanged bolts for the lower control arms to the rear frame.
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Old August 25th, 2018, 06:18 PM
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Old August 25th, 2018, 06:27 PM
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NOS front shocks

I was fortunate enough to pick up a pair of front NOS / original take off shocks a few months back. The hardware is perfect, and you can still see remnants of the original parts tags. The date codes are a perfect fit, and supposedly these shocks were removed from a W-31 factory racer and stashed for the last 48 years. The silver paint was a bit faded so I did my best to sand them and shot them with a few coats of Inlineís grey shock paint.




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Old August 26th, 2018, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by WTHIRTY1 View Post
To bring the bolt conversation full circle, the flanged bolts are available through Inline with the washers and nuts. The bolts are a dead match to the originals. So in conclusion, there are three bolts for the rear suspension of the W-31; the longer bolt with the pointed tip, the shorter flat bolts for the rear upper arms, and the two flanged bolts for the lower control arms to the rear frame.
Did you mean to say, ". . . .and the two flanged bolts for the lower control arms to the rear end" (or differential)?




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Old August 26th, 2018, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Rocketguy View Post
Did you mean to say, ". . . .and the two flanged bolts for the lower control arms to the rear end" (or differential)?




.
No. Maybe I could have stated that better, however, the flanged bolts hold the rear boxed arm to the frame. Also, the frame reinforcements connect to this bolt as well.


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Old August 26th, 2018, 08:24 AM
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Shocks turned out decent. The spray from Inline was a nice match.

Also, I refinished the upper control arm cross shafts. I soaked them in a 5 gallon bucket of Evaporust for a few days, wiped them down, and shot them with a flat clear to prevent flash rusting. I thought the natural look would be better than trying to spray them with a cast blast.




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Old August 26th, 2018, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by WTHIRTY1 View Post
Maybe I could have stated that better, however, the flanged bolts hold the rear boxed arm to the frame. Also, the frame reinforcements connect to this bolt as well.
There is no rear arm, there is an upper and a lower arm.

All suspension arm bolts are flange bolts.

Thanks to everyone for helping to figure this out.

The #402568 pointed lower arm front bolt is longer to facilitate the frame reinforcement and the washer.

The #9424130 pointed lower arm rear bolt is the same as the front suspension.

The #9427318 flat tipped upper arm bolts are the same.



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Old August 26th, 2018, 05:39 PM
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Shafts

Cross shafts are ready to go. Iím going with washers and nuts from Inline and NOS bushings. Interesting to note that on the nuts for the cross shaft that run front to back, this car had two different widths. Assuming maybe they were changed at some point during the carís life?



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Old August 26th, 2018, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocketguy View Post

................All suspension arm bolts are flange bolts.

Thanks to everyone for helping to figure this out...................

.
No they are not....only the lower rear arm-to-frame bolts are. The rest are not flanged. They have a "shoulder" or wider area under the bolt head BUT these other bolts are not flange bolts like the rear lower arm-front-to-frame bolts.

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Old August 27th, 2018, 04:01 AM
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Referencing back to earlier posts on the frame reinforcement bars, I'm pretty certain that all 70 442's had them. The one that i just finished, as well as my other two cars, all 442 convertibles with automatics, all had them.. My latest purchase appears to have never been apart and it has them as well.
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Old August 27th, 2018, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by 70Post View Post
No they are not....only the lower rear arm-to-frame bolts are. The rest are not flanged. They have a "shoulder" or wider area under the bolt head BUT these other bolts are not flange bolts like the rear lower arm-front-to-frame bolts.
Thank you 70Post; you're right and wrong : )

Only #402568 lower arm front to frame bolts are flanged; they are the longest ones with the washer. This shows in the PIM illustration on page 4-102.



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Old August 30th, 2018, 07:38 PM
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Control arms finally finished!








Finally! The control arms and reinforcement brackets finished up this week. I expected the putting to be worse on the upper control arms, but surprisingly they werenít terrible. For the reinforcement brackets, they were sandblasted and cleared for the natural steel look.

Thanks to a good friend, I was steered towards vintage TRW ball joints. I couldnít spring for the $400/pair NOS upper ball joints, and the TRW ball joints look similar to the original ones. They also work with the rivet bolts from Inline. The shaft appears to be longer than the pieces available on the market today which is good.

For the bushings, I sourced some NOS pieces for the front and the rear. I need to take the dremmel and clean up the powder finish a bit or else the bushings will never go in. I donít think the original bushings would have had any paint markings, however, the over the counter bushings Iíve seen all have some type of paint marking on them.

Hope to have the bushings and ball ball joints in tomorrow so I can get another step closer to rolling.
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Old August 30th, 2018, 07:43 PM
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Soaked what I believe is a one of the original rotors with the julian date in Simple Green and then Evaporust for a few days. It came out looking great, and Iím going to see if I can find a shop to cut them so I can reuse them. Interesting marking on the rotor with a ĎD.í Anyone see something like that before?

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Old August 31st, 2018, 06:48 AM
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Really nice work on those upper shafts and shocks!

I have not seen that D before, but it is way cool. It is amazing how some things survive - especially where it is. Does it look like paint or some kind of marker or dye?

I THINK, but am not positive that the "longer" control arm nuts are OE based solely on the condition of what I have in my collection of fasteners. No new ones are long, only the old obvious take offs are - your results may vary.

Interesting coincidence - on Sunday I bought those NOS upper "Tower" style ball joints on eBay. Talk about unobtanium - I've never seen another set for sale.
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