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Technical welding ball joint cups in place of kingpins?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by bet on black, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
    Member

    has anybody welded ball joint cups in place of kingpins on their control arms for the front suspension.

    maybe its the peyote, but i had a crazy idea about welding ball joint cups where the kingpin bolts to the lower control arms on the factory front suspension on my '53 Buick special. the arms are forged, so they should take the weld just fine.

    the goal is to update the front suspension for more caster, anti-dive, and eventually it will be bagged. i want a driver, and you will get run the F over if you can't do 80 mph on the freeway here. i was looking at welding ball joint cups to the stock lower, so i can keep the front crossmember and my straight eight (for now) to try to not affect too many things at once.

    by using the stock lower control arms, i don't have to fabricate an attachment method for new lower arms. i can use a m2 spindle and associated brake kits, and i found an upper for a 70-81 camaro that uses the m2 style ball joint (correct taper for the spindle). the upper CA mount would need to be fabbed, but that is easily made from some angle iron with gussests, welded where the stock upper arm/shock is mounted. then i would have to fab the steering rack mount, but that isn't that difficult, really.

    i do eventually want to go to a nailhead 401 engine, so not sure if this gets me anywhere. doing a mustang 2 now will prompt the nailhead install (don't have that motor yet) as i don't want to fab straight 8 mounts if it isn't staying long term, and also the whole drivetrain swap, as it is a closed driveline, so changing motors, means pulling the trigger on the new rear suspension, axle, and tranny.

    is this foolish, and i should just m2 the car and be done with it?
     
  2. You want to weld the little ring on that takes a press fit ball joint? It will need machining after os if you do make it a little smaller and then bore it.

    If it were me and I had enough meet and wanted to go with ball joints I would look for GM ball joints that bolt on, I don't recall what they came in but they have a 3 bolt outer flange.
     
  3. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,103

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    86 Pontiac Parisienne was one that had them :)
     
  4. Thanks then '86 Caprice would also be that way.
     

  5. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,046

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Mustang II spindles are quite short and are probably not well suited for this application. A much taller spindle will work better. What it is easy to run into is a spindle pin that is closer to the lower pivot than stock Buick (Olds and Pontiac) of the era and you end up raising the car rather than maintain stock height, much less lowering it. I discovered this when investigating using the '58 Pontiac upper/lower arms, they are one year only with ball joints ('59 is a lot different) and using '63/'64 Pontiac spindles. The best alternative for that setup appears to be the '65/'70 full size Chevy dropped spindle that CPP sells. I also agree with other posters that adapting a bolt on ball joint is worth looking into.

    Your basic idea is OK if executed properly.....I am just suggesting that the parts required may differ from your current thinking.

    Ray
     
  6. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
    Member

    i was looking at screw in balljoint cups. like these:
    http://www.speedwaymotors.com/AFCO-...960-66-Chrysler-Lower-Large-Thread,40904.html
     
  7. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    thanks. i didn't consider the spindle height. 2" drop spindles are available for the m2, but not sure if that helps with ride height enough, and that doesn't address the spindle height.
     
  8. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,250

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    Theres a lot to this, although you say its simple to add the rack and mount new upper arms etc....which it physically is, given the availability of the required clearance.
    However, there are a lot of additional considerations...
    Upper arms need to be a particular length and at a particular angle...the rack will need to match the original inner tie rod locations in width apart and height.
    SAI of the new spindles will also need to be considered as will tie rod clearance, due to the potential for the built in steering arms being in a different location.
    You need to know exactly how one change will affect all the related parts around it.
    This isn't something to just jump right into without some careful thought.
    You may eventually find yourself backed into a corner with no easy way out.
    Now...don't get me wrong. NOT saying you can't do it...not saying you shouldn't do it.
    Simply saying it will require careful planning 4 steps beyond at all points in the conversion.
     
    Frankie47 likes this.
  9. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    Steering arms will absulotwly be in a different location. Isn't a mustang 2 a 'front steer' spindle? '53 spindles have a steering arm facing the rear of the vehicle.

    Totally agree with the careful thought part, that's the propose of this post. I have a couple suspension design books for reference as well.
     
  10. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    As for the upper arms, my selection of uppers is also influenced by the availability of many different lengths for those to be able to tweak the design if something is off.
     
  11. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,250

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    Yeah...thats right...you're using MII spindles. Guess I forgot. ;)
    Carry on....
     
  12. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,990

    BJR
    Member

    Why not grab the upper and lower A frames from a 60's Buick and bolt on to your frame. Then you get rid of the upper front A frame shocks that are always bad.
     
  13. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    That's what I'm using to plan around unless I come up with something better at least. Not married to the idea. Just trying to avoid the full on mustang 2 route or a crown vic sub, that may be inevitable if I cannot come up with a viable plan. Also it seems that front steer spindles have less steering linkage interference issue that rest ones when the motor swap comes up
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  14. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    I was lookin at some later buick stuff that appeared to bolt to the frame the same as mine (appearance only, have no clue on dimensions) but use bj's. I guess I could buy a pair of those and see if they are workable also.
     
  15. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    Does anybody have dimensions for the 65-70 full size spindle? What I found it is 7.25" tall, and a m2 is over 8" tall. It is that bad info?
     
  16. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,046

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Given the swept back, boomerang shape, of the front cross member, I do not foresee it being practical to convert your present frame design to front steer, even with a rack & pinion.

    If your reference to a "Crown Vic" front end means the 2003 up aluminum cross member used by some
    pickup truck guys, be advised it is waaaay too wide for your Buick. Not to mention (but I will) the frame rails on your Buick, having coil spring pockets, is a whole different ballgame than the average truck chassis rails.

    No offense intended....honest.... but I don't think you have done near enough homework on this subject.
    If low cost is a primary consideration, along with a safe and proper driving vehicle, I would suggest you look to a front frame section swap (aka "frame clip"). Their are several potential donors, mostly GM, and probably rear steer, although a front steer like a "G Body" might work well.

    You might want to look at how far ahead of the centerline of the front wheels the radiator core support is located. That is often a point of interference with front steer setups. But the Buick may have sufficient room. Only a tape measure will tell that story.

    Ray
     
  17. bigdog
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 663

    bigdog
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    if you get into a swap-think about Jaguar
     
  18. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    I Did a nova clip on my '59 apache, but I'd rather not clip this one like that.
     
  19. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,046

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Certainly worth consideration, but will require some modification of Buick frame rails to eliminate the coil spring pockets.

    Considering all the complications involved, there may be better way. '54 up Buicks eliminated the integral shock absorber in the upper A arm. Its not all that difficult to use the later A arm on the earlier chassis, certainly no different than what you are already proposing to do with the upper arm in you original plan. A tube shock can be fitted inside the coil or brackets made to have the shock outboard. Adding bags to the stock frame pockets is no more difficult that with most other such conversions.

    With all suspension components in good condition and correctly aligned, those cars drive pretty decent.
    A disc bake conversion is also not terribly difficult.....but the Roadmaster 12 x 2" (or 2 1/4"- 2 1/2", whatever, they are BIG) drums do a pretty good job of hauling those puppies down too.

    Ray
     
  20. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,271

    sunbeam
    Member

    You might look a 1973 up chevy 1/2 ton spindles disk brakes and 5 on 5 wheels like the Buick.
     
  21. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    I already have the scarebird front brake kit on mine...but a spindle change makes that irrelevant.

    You might want to do some more homework on the 03+ crown vic ifs. I have done mine. The wider track is taken up by the higher offset wheels. The whole package is not wider than the fenders of my buick.
     
  22. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,046

    Hnstray
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    from Quincy, IL

    I already have thoroughly researched the '03 up Crown Vic front end, including measuring them carefully, both in and out of the car. In addition, I owned an '03 Marauder for 7 years and am very familiar with the wheel offset on them. I also have owned several, and still have two, Buicks.

    The CV front end is 65" WMS to WMS....the Buick is about 59", as I recall. Even with deeply backspaced wheels, that is a LOT of difference to accommodate and still have full turning radius within the somewhat shrouded wheel openings on your Buick.

    But the fact remains that mounting the CV front cross member will require considerable reconstructive surgery on your Buick chassis. Same for the Jaguar mentioned in another post, but at least it is the right width.

    Differing opinions aside, I wish you well on your project.

    Ray
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
  23. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    As will a clip job...or a mustang 2 suspension. The spring pockets will need to be deleted, or boxed out for the m2 or crown vic setup.

    Anyways, I was just asking if anyone had experience welding on old control arms.
     
  24. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,046

    Hnstray
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    from Quincy, IL

    Yes, that has been done many times. Some examples have been shown in threads here on the HAMB. JAMCO modifies Ford and Merc A arms in that manner, although I think they now build all new arms.

    My initial post was in support of what you want to do in that regard, I only suggested the spindles you were thinking of using (MM II) may not be a good choice for several reasons.

    Again, best wishes.

    Ray
     
  25. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    If you know of a taller spindle, I'd love to hear. I can run down a rabbit hole designing for that one. I'm not planning on just diving into this...trying to see if it is viable before taking the car apart, as it is driveable as is. The affinity to the m2 for me is parts availability for drop spindles, brake kits, and upper control arms in many different lengths. Also the bolt pattern as the rear is going to be a ford 8.8 from a 95 mustang (it's about 60" wide ;-) ) with an offset 3-link rear suspension, designed for close to 100% anti-squat and a decently long SVSA to minimize pinion angle change throughout travel. That also gets me rear discs, an axle that can handle power and the lca mounts on the axle are already there and in the right place.
     
  26. James Curl
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 370

    James Curl
    Member

    At www.hotrodders.com is a bulletin board called "Hot Rodders Bulletin Board” which has a thread titled "Build Hot Rod How To Articles". In there is a thread called 37-57 Buick, Olds and Pontiac front suspension up grades where they adapt later upper and lower "A" frames and ball joint spindles to the original frame. You can make an adapter to fit in the lower "A" frame to hold a Chrysler screw in balljoint and a 3/8"x3"x4" angle iron upper "A" frame adapter that bolts into the original upper mounting holes. Look at the article, lots of good ideas and all better than a MII or a Camaro clip.
     
  27. bet on black
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 57

    bet on black
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    That article started this whole mess for me! Those '58 pontiac lowers are tough to find!
     
  28. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,046

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Reread my post #5......I indicated a source for a taller spindle. Also, I have both upper and lower '58 Pontiac A arms. I, too, read the article referred to above. Many times. That article is where I learned about the CPP Chevy spindles.

    Ray
     
  29. James Curl
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 370

    James Curl
    Member

    You can adapt screw in ball joints to your existing lower A frames by making an adapter that slips between the opening for the original upright with the ball joint ring welded to it then welded to the A frame or you might check on a MII bolt in lower ball joint bolted to a plate welded on top of the lower A frame, there many possibilities with a little thought. Look at 60's Chevrolet front spindles as they are about the same length as your original uprights. You will have to ream them for the taper to be on the bottom of the spindle as the existing ball joint mounts on the top side facing down the same as the upper do.
     
  30. ...could of had it clipped by now....jus sayin.
     

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