167 posts in this topic

Slight delay in progress. With the front end still unable to hold alignment , those road trips finished eating the tread off of those used Continental tires. I was unable to find more used ones of the same size, but found a great deal on some new ones.

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I put the two new ones on the back, and moved the mismatched Michelin Pilots to the front. Maybe it's because one is a run flat and the other is not, but WOW, what a noticeable downgrade in cornering capability. My stability control activates regularly during my daily drive.

The rear tires are Velozza ZXV4 ultra high performance all season radials made in the USA by Cooper and sold under various sub-brand names. (One of which is Eldorado)

I'll cover more info about them in my tires & wheels thread later on.


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I never heard back from Energy Suspensions. I had hoped they would offer an alternative to PolyCadBushings. However, the expensive PolyCads arrived and it looks like that's my only choice other than measuring them and hoping I can find universal bushings from Energy Suspension.

The PolyCads:

The two piece design allows for use without the need of a machine shop pressing them in .

Thesame size D.O.M. (drawn over mandrel) tubing sleeves are used for horizontal and vertical bushings.

The sleeves fit well in the large Red vertical bushings with a flush slip-fit. So far so good.

However, the sleeves are between 1MM-2MM too narrow for the inside diameter of the Blue horizontal bushings allowing a visible air gap all the way around.

I called the manufacturer asking if either the sleeves or the blue bushings were sent wrong. I didn't like the answer......

" they'll tighten up when you torque down the bolts, just make sure the weight of the car is on them."

Well, 1. there's no way to tighten these bolts with the weight of the car on them since I have to remove the left transmission mount to get access to the left horizontal bushing and jack the motor up to get a wrench on the vertical bolts.

2. The blue bushings are VERY rigid; it would take head-bolt torque to squeeze them tight enough to fill that gap AND might take trimming the sleeves....

I didn't buy it; so I asked if I could fill that gap either with lubricant, a plastic slip over sleeve, or have a machine shop remake the sleeves so they would fit like they do in the vertical ones.... or would that mess up the engineered design causing a bind.

Again, I didn't like the answer. They told me I could fill the gap if I wanted and could use lube, a slip over sleeve or a larger diameter sleeve; whatever I wanted.

I immediately wanted to return the product for a refund, but these guys are seemingly the only choice.

So, visited a machine shop and left them enough pieces to create a sleeve set that is milled from a solid rod to fit the bushing exactly....... Now the cost goes up even more and I have to wait.

However, if Energy Suspension has what I need in their universal inventory AND if I can measure and order in time, then I can make the swap.... I have a few days to play with before the machine shop starts my project.


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First what a cool thread I had been following it previously , and just noticed you started on it again.

On a comment to those continetal tires, I had a set on my 95 Eldo and it ate them up in no time. I had and have not had the same problem with my Coopers , wich I ran before and after the Continentals.

I am not that well versed , or have the knowledge you have aquired on your build, but I chalked it up to the tires as an issue themselves. I do drive aggresivly in cornering etc. .

The question I have is I replaced my stock Eldo front struts with the Monroe replacements. I could not seem to get the ends of the strut rods loose out of the sway bars when wanting to replace them....

any tricks ? It looks like the same set up as the top mount on the front shocks - allen hex wrench insert.... ?

Thanks - great wrok - love this thread !

I was refering to the Continental extreme contacts - they worked supreme on a 95 Benz wagon, but I just felt they were not desingned for a front wheel drive app. maybe ??

thought yours are on different rims and a different size - mine were a stock size match and on stock rims and on an ETC Eldo.

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First what a cool thread!

The question I have is I replaced my stock Eldo front struts with the Monroe replacements. I could not seem to get the ends of the strut rods loose out of the sway bars when wanting to replace them....

any tricks ? It looks like the same set up as the top mount on the front shocks - allen hex wrench insert.... ?

Thanks - great wrok - love this thread!

.

Thanks; this build is a learning experience as well as an experiment in overcoming physics -lol. FWD cars aren't supposed to handle like this.

Removing the stabilizer bar end link from the strut is much easier than removing it from the stabilizer bar itself because ends are compression fit like the stems on tie rods and ball joints... Once the nut is removed, you can hammer the old end link out from the strut because you are accessing it from the back side. However, there is no easy way to get to the sway bar connection. You can rent the smallest "pickle fork" tie rod removal tool from AutoZone and hammer it in from the side, if you are replacing old end links.

NOTE: you may need to use an open end wrench behind te pickle fork as a spacer.

***** Don't use this method if you plan to reuse them as it will destroy the rubber boots. ****

If you need to reuse the end links, the way I have done it is to lower the engine cradle enough to completely remove the stabilizer bar. Then the back side can be easily accessed.

If you problem is getting the nut loose because the stem is turning in the hole, then use an impact on the nut. If the stem is turning then the link should be easily removed once the nut is off.

Edited by Cody

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On a comment to those continetal tires, I had a set on my 95 Eldo and it ate them up in no time. I had and have not had the same problem with my Coopers , wich I ran before and after the Continentals.

I am not that well versed , or have the knowledge you have aquired on your build, but I chalked it up to the tires as an issue themselves. I do drive aggresivly in cornering etc. .

I was refering to the Continental extreme contacts - they worked supreme on a 95 Benz wagon, but I just felt they were not desingned for a front wheel drive app. maybe ??

thought yours are on different rims and a different size - mine were a stock size match and on stock rims and on an ETC Eldo.

There are several factors to consider here; one point I'm glad you brought up was that the Cooper tires were used before AND after the Continental tires. That eliminates any alignment or suspension wear issues.

For the comparison to be accurate we would also need to determine if the driving style, speeds, locations, and seasons were similar.

Next we need to compare apples to apples. Continental and Cooper make tires in various categories from 50,000+ mile highway tires to barely street legal performance tires made with autocross in mind. As each category gets closer to the track tire, it will wear out quicker by design; this is because cornering traction is directly related to tread compound, tread design, tread depth, and sidewall construction.

A/S (All season radials) also have varying degrees of traction ratings within each category.

The Continental Pro Conti Extreme Contact Patch DW is an ultra high performance tire. That is a different animal than a high performance tire. If your Cooper tire's model is high performance, then it would automatically last longer than the Continental ultra high performance tire. However a Continental highway tire would last longer than a Cooper high performance tire.

The wear difference between FWD and RWD cars is more noticeable when the cars are driven in a spirited manor.

Most RWD cars have 53-60% of their weight on the front tires while FWD cars have 60-75% of their weight on the front tires.

(I have it written somewhere; I think our Eldorado is a 67/33 ratio and a 90's Mustang is about 53/47.). That automatically puts about 14% more wear on the fronts.

Also with RWD, acceleration wear comes from the back while steering wear comes from the front. In a FWD, the front tires do both.

And due to weight shifting during hard braking, the FWD car gets almost 85% of its weight pushing down on the fronts, which is much more than the RWD cars experience.

Yes, the Extreme Contact Patch tires are rated for a FWD car. However, spirited driving will wear them out much faster than on the RWD.

My wear issues are greatly exaggerated by worn parts and bad alignment.

If I was going to race on the same set of tires that I drive to work on, then I would definitely be in the market for another set. However, I will race on Max Performance summer tires, so what I want for the daily drive is something cheap and fun - a compromise between good cornering, decent wear and easy replacement cost.


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Thanks for the reply Cody. Yes it is the end of the links that are connected to the sway bar itself. The ends at the struts were easy , though the new struts did not have that stock spacer welded to them where the link attatches.

I dremeled it off and tacked it on the new strut.The top end of the strut where you use the torx bit were so rusted and worn on the old ones, I had to cut open the shock part and clamp on it with a large vise grip and use heat on the nut. Believe me , I had sprayed it for days with PB.Needless to say the old links are still on , and need to change them out now that better weather is here in NY.

Your comment on the wear of the Continental extreme contacts was just as I had summised , as they wore perfectly on the rear. I too am a spirited driver , and have been quite impressed with the handling of the Eldo.

I live near LimeRock , a road course track in Conn. , and have often wanted to just take it there and run it through the course a couple laps.When I had my 68 AMX I got the oppertunity to do a few laps around Watkins Glen on a Mark Donahue anniversary weeked event - it was awesome !

Thanks again and good luck and great enthusiasm with your build.

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Time to get rid of these sloppy rubber lower control arm bushings...

One of my friends made a press for BMWs. For the large vertical bushings, the receiver was the right size but we had to experiment with different things around the shop to find the correct diameter object to press through it. This worked well.

0426162006.jpg


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0426162002-1.jpg

For the horizontal bushing, we tried clamping on it, but this "ovaled" the opening which had to be repaired.

As a last resort, I burned them out with an acetylene torch. When the rubber was ready, it fell out in a sticky flaming ball.... camera battery died, so no pic of the burning bushing.


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We drove an impact socket through the damaged LCA's bushing mount tube to make it round again. I then cleaned them and applied a fresh coat of paint. The color contrast works well with the red and blue polyurethane bushings.

0427161556-1.jpg


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I was no longer able to wait on the machine shop to recreate thicker sleeves. In the meantime, I found a sheet of Teflon that was the right thickness. I cut and rolled the Teflon into a shim to solve the horizontal bushing's mismatched diameter issue.

0427161550a-1.jpg

This worked out very well. The sleeve now fits as it should.

0427161550.jpg


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These bushings have a good snug fit, but it wasn't too difficult to install the LCAs on the car. WOW! They look awesome!

0427161622a.jpg

The vertical bushings are so stiff that the arms sit parallel on a horizontal plane.

I stood on the arm and couldn't get it to go down. It's going to require a long pry bar and a helper to get the spindles reconnected to the struts.


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I'm still trying to find out if the HD wheel hubs from a non-ABS Impala police car will interchange. I know that physically they will, but I don't know about the compatibility of the wheel speed sensor. They are both 2 wire units and the non-police Impala in the 2010 year range is interchangeable.

0427161108a-1.jpg

That's my goal swap for the hubs.

However, I had both budget and time issues, so for now, these heavy duty WJB hubs get the honors. They came with both plastic and metal wire clip designs so that you could set them up either way. My car uses the second design plastic clip. Earlier models will use the metal clip.

0427161108.jpg

Edited by Cody

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I'm finally able to work on the project again. Over the next few weeks, I'll be upgrading the front struts to 04 Grand Prix GTP Comp G (FE3) with V8 T-Bird IRS springs, and adding C5 Corvette calipers on 14" Mustang Shelby GT500 rotors. 

Sure there will be a few bugs to work out as I make my through this, but the end result will be worth it.

Stay tuned......


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Good to see you back!  You aren't that far from having a fantastic autocross and general purpose track car.

CadVetteStang likes this

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One issue I was having that the Grand Prix struts will fix is this clearance problem between the strut and inboard sidewall of the tire. The Caddy strut's sway bar bracket is on the outboard side of the strut tube and has a lip that protrudes into the strut/tire gap. When this photo was taken, the car had somewhere between stock and positive camber (bad for cornering since it causes the outboard tire to roll onto the sidewall in hard turns.

0606162011a.jpg

 


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After making a slight camber adjustment in an attempt to at least get the outboard tire to remain vertical in turns, the sidewall would rub the bracket. 

0606162033b.jpg

Of course, I could use a spacer, or adapter, but I wanted to solve the problem without them because the total backspace of this wheel/tire combo (255/45ZR18 that bulge slightly on 8.5" wheels with 6.75" backspace) is equal to what my wider wheel/tire combo will be for the track (275/40ZR18 slightly stretched on 10" wide wheels with 7.21" backspace).

I want to lower the car 1" and still have room under the fenders for the 275MM wide tires, so I need to use all of the space between the struts and the fender. And I need some negative camber.

I can't get all of that just with the strut swap, so I intend to use smaller upper strut mounts pulled inboard to dial in MORE negative camber than I need, then use camber adjustment bolts in a negative adjustment to offset whatever is too much up top. This should result in a strut that leans inboard from the spindle that gives more room for the desired final camber numbers.


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Posted (edited)

0730171704a-1.jpg

Included are:

97. V8 Thunderbird IRS springs - used- (i've already cut the "dead coil" off of the bottom) (416 lbs./inch variable rate)

97 Thunderbird rear spring isolators - used

93 Deville (non-electronic sport suspension) upper strut mounts - new AC DELCO (and a used set to be disassembled for use as a jig to drill new holes)

04 Grand Prix GTP COMP G front struts - new- AC DELCO pro series (these are the FE3 option stuts and are stiffer than the FE4 option GXP V8 struts)

Homemade adapters to fit the Caddy upper strut mounts to the Grand Prix struts

Swaybar end links -new- MOOG problem solvers (longer than Caddy end links)

Camber adjustment bolts

Polyurethane swaybar frame bushings (Dana brand from NAPA - advertised as "synthetic materials") NOTE: I will have to enlarge the holes since my swaybar is larger than a factory bar - even though it is a factory bar.

C5 Corvette front calipers - Rebuilt- Power Stop brand (two piston aluminum)

C5 Z06 spec semi-metalic pads -new- 

KORE3 brackets & hardware to fot the calipers and space them out for 14" rotors (I will have to enlarge the spendle holes since the kit was made for a Grand Prix- but they included the Caddy-sized bolts and spacers by request)

08 Mustang Shelby GT500 14" front rotors -new-

Black lug nuts

Edited by CadVetteStang

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Wow, amazing work.  Thanks for the photos.  The pictures carry most of the information for me.

Are the MOOG problem solver swaybar end links capable of holding the compression forces?  They look thin for that.


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50 minutes ago, Cadillac Jim said:

 

Thanks. The MOOG problem solvers are upgrades over factory units. They have been designed to counter the design flaws of OEM equipment. They look thinner because they are longer. This is because the Grand Prix swaybar mount is higher on the strut than the Caddy making it more inboard and more efficient so there is actually les compression force than the Caddy's mounting location per given force unit. They are actually thicker than the aftermarket units I'm taking off of the Eldorado. Still, they must be mounted for vertical force only. They lose efficiency and strength per degree of angel, so I may have some custom bracket building to adjust the upper location since I plan to mount them aft of the Eldorado bar factory hole

 

 

 

Quote

Are the MOOG problem solver swaybar end links capable of holding the compression forces?  They look thin for that.

 


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The buckling strength of a long round rod with ball joint or bushing ends, as given by Euler's formula, is

    F  = (PI^3)*E*R^4/(2*L^2)

where F is the buckling force in pounds, E is Young's modulus (about 29 Mpsi for ASTM-A36 structural steel, quite certainly higher for the alloy used by MOOG for this application), R is the radius in inches, and L is the length in inches.

If you can get a good number for the Young's modulus E for the material that MOOG used, you can get the buckling force on the stabilizer link.  You can estimate the force that the suspension will put on it from the car's weight, with a torque applied to the suspension of about 1.5 g's times the car's weight times the distance of the roll axis from the CG, and set that equal to the stabilizer link torque on the chassis.  How much of that force you allocate to the struts is your call; I would use zero on first cut just to add safety factor.   Using the torque from just one side, that being the side under compression, will give another safety factor.

Quick web references:

Buckling strength formula:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckling#Columns

Moment of inertial of circular cross section:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_moment_of_area#Annulus_centered_at_origin

Young's modulus of steel:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young's_modulus#Approximate_values

A-36 steel:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A36_steel

Or, you could call MOOG and ask what the maximum compression force is on that part.  That should be in their geek information for people who call and ask.  Since they aren't likely to tell you the exact alloy, that is probably the best way to find out what you actually need.


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Thank you for the research work, Jim. I'll be sure and check for flexing or buckling when I get that far along in the build, and if need be, I'll have a machine shop reinforce the endlinks. The Grand Prix links are not taper-fit like the Caddy ones, so it's easy to remove and reinstall them. 

Note: a new rearward hole in the swaybar will properly mate the GP's endlink. Use of the factory hole would require a fill and re-drill or a tapered insert. There is some room to move rearward without compromising the strength of the bar. How much is yet to be determined.....


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Okay, before I take a dive into the front suspension, I need to revisit the rear suspension for a ride height adjustment. The rear already sits slightly higher than stock and is in need of lower isolators since I sometimes hear the springs catch on the lower lip of the A-arm when the suspension is heavily twisted as in entering steep driveways at a 45 degree angle. The rear suspension has performed well for 50,000 spirited miles and functions safely..... But that occasional pop is annoying. 

So, I had to cut slightly more than what I needed for the drop since the isolators would bring it back up. I guessed at 1/3 coil based on my last experience.

Gave them a fresh coat of Regal Red while I had them off.

0731171048_HDR-1.jpg


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The shape of the A-arm and the larger than stock diameter of the spring prevent a conventional doughnut-shapped isolator, so I chose to use 3/4" heater hose over the bottom coil and an extra piece as a pad inboard.

0731171451.jpg

Note that with the extra cut, I was able to avoid wrapping the coil around the outer end of the arm and allowed the coil to rest against the center locator.


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Posted (edited)

On the TOP SIDE, there is a "coil stop" that fits a factory diameter spring where I am pointing in the photo.

0731171124.jpg

My spring is too large to fit fully in the factory pocket and you can see from paint rubs where it locates. Just counterclockwise to the factory coil stop is an impression that functions the same way with my larger coils.

Although these springs work well, if I ever change them, I will use factory diameter springs. In order to get the rates I was shopping for, however, I would have had to buy expensive 79-04 Mustang lowering springs and cut to fit. These Dakota truck sport springs were an easy and cheap experiment that taught me a lot in what rates to use for the Eldorado IRS. 

No regrets here.

Edited by CadVetteStang
adding "top side" for clarity

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Perfection! Exactly what I wanted! The fenders are level with the top of the tires! This is now slightly lower than the front and as I bring the front down an inch or so, it will be level and low- but not too low.

0731171651a-1.jpg

Now, I can go to work on the front.


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