You can tell a lot about the condition of your Camaro by inspecting certain parts. Many of the suspension pieces and the alignment of the components tell a story of the life your car has led up to its current state. It’s important to perform a detailed inspection before removing parts. You will be flying blind and be surprised with problems after assembly if you don’t perform these checks ahead of time. If you follow the steps in this chapter, you’ll have the easiest sequence of disassembly and you won’t miss any important steps to preserve key data.
This Tech Tip is From the Full Book “HOW TO RESTORE YOUR CAMARO 1967-1969“. For a comprehensive guide on this entire subject you can visit this link:
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Examining the alignment shims in the upper control arm mounts is the easiest way to determine the condition of your subframe, control arms, and body. If one side has a significant number of shims compared to the other, it’s a good indicator of some sort of previous trauma. For instance, an alignment shop had to compensate for some sort of accident, which could have knocked the frame out of alignment, bent the frame, and/or bent the control arms.
The least expensive problem is severely deteriorated body bushings and body-to-frame alignment, which can be fixed by replacing the bushings and re-aligning the frame to the body.
A bent control arm can be difficult to recognize without the arm off the car and sitting right next to another good arm on your workbench. If your frame or body is bent enough that an alignment shop had to compensate, you’ve got some serious work ahead of you that should be done by a frame alignment shop. If it’s only the frame, you can always purchase a replacement frame from a wrecking yard or an aftermarket frame from sources, such as Detroit Speed and many others.
To check the alignment of your frame to the body, simply take a peek under the car to confirm the alignment holes in the center frame mounts line up with the corresponding holes in the body right above them, next to the body bushings. Even if these holes line up, that doesn’t rule out a bent frame, but enough force from an accident typically shifts the frame a little bit.
To further check the frame for straightness, you can take your car to a frame alignment shop and have it perform all the checks with its highdollar equipment, or you can spend time with plumb-bobs, string, a completely flat and level surface such as a garage or shop floor, and the alignment specs listed in the Fisher service manuals, which are available at Year One and other parts suppliers. Always take time and common sense into account before spending many hours performing all the checks yourself—if you find a bent frame, how are you going to straighten it at home?
Your time and money may be better spent on having a shop equipped with the tools to fix your frame if it finds a problem; you can spend your time working on another part of your project. Before a frame alignment shop is able to determine and/or fix a bent chassis, you’re going to need good body bushings. Aligning a frame with bad worn-out body bushings is like throwing your money in the trash.
Check the condition of your suspension components before you start removing any parts. There’s no reason to replace a perfectly good part. For about 98 percent of the cars being considered for a restoration, you’ll probably end up replacing most of the wearing parts, but there are exceptions. At least being armed with the following information, you can make your own judgment.
Visually inspect the six rubber bushings holding the frame to the floorpan and radiator support for cracking, deterioration, and abnormal bulging. Check the upper control arm bushings for the same signs of problems that would require replacement. Inspect the rag joint between the steering column and the steering box for cracking and deterioration.
In order to perform a true “frame-off restoration,” you must complete the big task of separating the subframe from the body. A common misconception is that you need to have a lift in your garage to separate the two. Using a 4-post lift does simplify the process, but it’s not a requirement. The following is a way to perform this step with some common materials you can purchase or may have sitting around your garage.
This step can be performed with a complete Camaro. You simply drop the subframe out the bottom of the front clip, so you can rebuild the frame, or you strip the car down to just a frame and body shell. It’s much safer to do this process without the engine and transmission because you can handle the subframe much easier. I’ve seen the following process done with a complete car by lifting the engine and transmission up in the engine compartment before dropping the frame out the bottom. If the front sheetmetal is still attached to the body shell, you must remove the wheels, tires, and all the front suspension before the frame will slide out from under the car.
Make sure all the parts are bolted to the body and frame. For instance, the fuel lines and brake lines are bolted to the body and the side of the subframe. Remove or unbolt all the shared components that link the two together. The brake lines under the master cylinder and combination valve are attached to the subframe and the front bumper and its brackets. These brackets are attached to the front of the frame. The emergencybrake cables are attached to the subframe hooks and the intermediate cables on the body, and they run through the driver’s-side frame rail. The steering box is attached to the steering column with the “rag joint.” The engine connects to the body through the exhaust, heater hoses, electrical wiring, ground straps, andtransmission and engine mounts, which should be disconnected.
The subframe is bolted to the body in six places. Two bolts mount to the radiator support with nuts; two bolts thread into two “cage nuts” captured in the mounting pad in the lower part of the firewall; and the last two bolt the subframe to two cage nuts which are located directly under the front seats.
In cases where the car has a substantial amount of rust, the body bolts seize to the cage nuts and no amount of WD-40 or penetrating oil will loosen the bolts from these cage nuts. In fact, if you strip the cage nuts from the cage that keeps them in place, you have to cut out the cage and cut the nut loose from the body bolt. It’s major surgery and quite a mess, so this is something you want to avoid.
Going through the access holes in the front side of the firewall is the easiest way to get to the cage nuts in the lower firewall, but you may have to remove the inner fenderwells so you can easily work on the cage nuts. The rear-most subframe bolts that are threaded into the cage nuts under the front seats can also break loose and cause problems; these cage nuts are much harder to work on because they are located under the seat frame-support panels. If a rear cage nut breaks loose, you have to perform some major surgery to repair it. Therefore, before attempting to remove these two bolts, it’s a wise precaution to remove the front seats, pull the carpet back, and squirt some penetrating oil on the tops of the body bolt threads and the cage nut.
Jack up the rear to allow enough space to work, clean, or paint the floorpan. Even if a floorpan is in good shape, it needs a thorough cleaning and some new rust-preventive paint. (This treatment provides many more years of protection against moisture and other deteriorating elements, and it doesn’t require more than 20 inches of clearance to do the job.)
Support the rear frame with sturdy blocks of wood or jack stands. The car shown (on page 113) still has its rear axle, so we lowered the rear axle onto the jack stands. Then we moved the floor jack to the front of the subframe and jacked up the frame, which raised the body high enough to slide large sturdy blocks of wood with a couple of 2x6s (about the length of the rocker panel) to distribute the body weight across most of the length of the rocker panels. We positioned the 2x6s against the pinch weld on the bottom of the rockers. The front of the boards are about 1 inch forward of the front of the rocker, to distribute the weight on the strongest and flattest parts of the rockers.
Then, we lowered the car onto the wood and confirmed that nothing shifted. Once the body is supported on the wood, stop lowering the jack. You don’t want to let the jack all the way down because the extra weight of the tires, wheels, and suspension mounted on the subframe is enough to cause the body to tilt forward and slide off the wood, which you want to avoid. We’re trying to keep the body level on the wood and drop the frame out from under it.
You need a second floor jack placed under the transmission crossmember to hold up the rear of the frame while you remove the bolts. Remove the center body bolts located at the base of the firewall and then remove to the rearmost body bolts. Carefully lower both jacks at the same time to lower the subframe evenly—you’ve accomplished the “frame-off” portion of the job.
If your car is in the same configuration as the Camaro shown, the frame can be rolled out very easily because applying a little downward force on the front of the frame raises the rear of the frame.
Front Suspension Tools
Whether you’re removing the front suspension from a complete car or a bare frame, you’re going to need some specialty tools, such as brake spring pliers, a brake spring washer tool, an internal coil spring compressor, and ball joint removal tools. Pickle forks/ball joint separators are decent tools if you are going to replace the ball joint. The most elegant tool you can use to break ball joints loose is a pitman arm puller. They come in a couple different sizes, so they can be used for the ball joints and the tie rods as well as the pitman arm. Used properly, they don’t damage the components or rubber dust boots.
You also need an internal coil spring compressor to safely remove and install the front coil springs. (Spring compressors with external fingers will not fit because of the limited space). You can rent these spring compressors from some auto parts chain stores, or you can purchase one to have around for future projects.
Front Suspension Removal
To completely remove the front suspension, you need to follow these procedures:
First, disconnect the brake line, being sure not to get brake fluid on painted surfaces. It’s much easier to disassemble all the brake parts from the spindles before removing the spindle from the control arms (if you’re going to replace the spindle and drum brakes for a new spindle and disc brakes, you can leave all the brake parts together).
If you have drum brakes slide the brake drum off the hub and get out your camera or a pad of paper and a pencil to take notes of where the springs and the brake hardware are attached. You can remove all the springs and parts without having the right tools, but you are much better off spending a few bucks now because you need brake spring pliers and a brake spring washer tool if you are going to re-install your drum brakes.
Remove the dust cap, cotter key, and large nut. Then pull the hub off the spindle, but be careful or the outer wheel bearing will fall on the ground and get dirty. Expect to see a lot of grease. Pop out the inner wheel bearing and stick both bearings, large nut, washer, and cotter pin in a plastic bag for later inspection. Put a plastic bag over the spindle pin or clean it off, or the grease will get all over the place during the rest of the process. Remove the backing plate from the spindle.
If you have disc brakes, remove the brake caliper first, then remove the dust cap, cotter pin, and large nut. Slide the hub off the spindle, but don’t allow the outer wheel bearing to fall off because it makes a mess. Pull the inner bearing off the spindle and place both bearings in a plastic bag with the nut, washer, and cotter pin for later inspection. Place a plastic bag over the spindle pin or clean off the grease or it’ll get all over the place during the rest of the process.
Loosen the large nut that holds the pitman arm on the steering box, but don’t remove the pitman arm yet. Use your pitman arm tool to remove the outer tie-rod ends and then remove the outer tie-rod end from the steering arms on the spindles.
Now use the same process to remove the inner tie rod ends from the center link/drag link, then separate the drag link from the pitman arm and idler arm. Remove the last bolt holding the steering arms to the spindles and remove the arms. Remove the caliper bracket and backing plate from the spindle. Remove the idler arm from the frame and the pitman arm from the steering box.
If you haven’t already done so and have power steering, remove the power steering lines and drain the power steering fluid into a container for recycling. Unbolt the steering box from the frame. Be careful during this process because it weighs about 50 pounds (a little lighter for manual steering boxes), so you need to support it and be careful not to let it fall on you because it can maim you, or worse, if you’re under it.
Remove the brake line tabs from the side of the frame and put them in a bag marked “right” and “left.” Now remove the sway bar end links, then the sway bar. Unbolt the shocks and slide them out the bottom of the control arm. Slide the internal spring compressor through the lower control arm where you removed the shock from. Install it on the compressor and compress the spring enough to where the spring is a little loose.
Place your floor jack under the lower control arm and compress the arm a little bit. Remove the cotter pins from the upper and lower ball joint and loosen both nuts a few threads, but don’t remove remove them yet. Use your larger pitman arm tool to break the lower ball joint loose from the spindles, and then use your tool to break the upper ball joint loose from the spindle. Since the jack is holding up the lower control arm, you can remove the lower ball joint nut.
Now you can let the jack down slowly, making sure the coil spring doesn’t pop out, which it shouldn’t do if you used the right tool. If you didn’t compress the spring, it can fly out of the lower control arm when you let the jack down and possibly maim somebody. The compressed spring should fall out onto the ground as you lower the jack.
Perform the same process to the other control arm.
Remove the upper ball joint nuts and the spindles. Take a picture and note all the alignment shims between the subframe and upper control arm shaft. Loosen the nuts and pull the shims out. Wrap some tape around the front pack and then the rear pack to keep a record of what was in the car. Then place them in a plastic bag marked which side of the car they were removed from. These are good notes for later assembly and the alignment shims also tell a story about possible bent frame or control arms from a previous accident.
Remove the nuts holding the upper control arm shafts to the subframe. If the engine is still in the car, knock out the knurled bolts that are pressed into the frame tower in order to get the control arms off the subframe.
Remove the lower control arms. Get your deepwell socket, extension, and ratchet and stick it through the access hole in the front of the frame. Remove the nuts on the rear-most lower control arm bolts. Be careful not to drop the bolts or your socket and extension into the frame. Remove the nuts from the forward lower control arm bolts. Pull the rear-most bolts out of the frame. Use a hammer and a brass drift to tap the bolts out, if they won’t easily come out of the frame.
Now remove the forward bolts and drop the lower control arms out of the frame.
If you’re going to perform a fullrestoration of the subframe and the engine is out, remove the engine “stands” from the frame. There are access holes in the bottom side of the frame to get to the back side of the bolts. Clips that hold the front brake line are bolted to the subframe in multiple locations, which are easily removed.
If your car was equipped with a manual transmission, you’ll have to remove the clutch linkage bracket on the outside of the frame. Depending on the year of your frame, there may be some additional brackets attached to the frame that you need to remove.
Chevrolet changed the subframes a little bit each year from 1967 to 1969. In 1967, the lower control arm didn’t have a rubber bump-stop to limit compression of the suspension.
Instead, the bump stop was located on the subframe, and it was designed to contact the top of the rear side of the control arm. In 1968 the bumpstop was moved to the top of the rear side of the control arm and a contact pad was welded to the subframe. In 1969 the bump stop was moved to the front side of the control arm, and the contact pad was moved to the front side of the coil spring pocket.
The subframe had other design changes over the course of the three years of the first-generation F-body. One of those changes is to the center body-bolt towers that attach the frame to the bottom of the firewall. (I understand why Chevrolet changed the design after personally seeing the deficiencies of the structural strength when an early 1967 subframe was subjected to big-block power.)
The 1967 frame tower was welded to the subframe’s outside face and was not as strong as the redesigned version of the tower. The revised tower featured a gusset welded to the top of the subframe and attached to the early 1967 tower. Some time in 1968, the mounting tower was changed again and the downward leg to the side of the frame was deleted, but the new tower was still welded to the top of the frame. My personal opinion is that the first revision was probably the strongest design due to triangulation.
Another noticeable subframe change is the number of mounting holes on the top of the front frame rails where the radiator support mounts meet the frame. The 1967 subframe had two holes on the top of each rail, and the 1968 and 1969 units had three holes on each side. In 1968, Chevrolet had completely redesigned the Nova and used the same subframe as the Camaro and Firebird. The new center hole was where the Nova radiator support mounted. Mid-year in 1967 the factory added a large, round access hole to the inside face of the front frame rails.
Subframe and Control Arm Problems
The following is a list of common problems with subframes and control arms that you should be aware of while performing a restoration or considering purchasing a car or used parts for your own Camaro project. Educating yourself with these issues helps you identify possible problems that may or may not be obvious.
It’s a good idea to separate the subframe from the body since it allows access to the top of the frame for inspection of the welds and condition of the metal without everything getting in the way. Subframes suffer from rust around the bodybushing mount locations because after years of movement the bushing removes the paint and leaves an exposed metal surface. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to have serious rust around the six body-bolt mount locations. A few companies offer subframe repair plates, so you can cut out the damaged metal and weld in new sections.
If you’re a good fabricator, you can make your own plates and weld them in. Keep in mind that you’ll need to cut out the thin rusted metal before the new thicker metal can be welded to the frame.
Center Body Mounts
Of the three years, the 1967 unit was the most notorious for breaking the center body mounts. There was a change in the front frame horn design mid-way through 1967, but it’s not known if the center tower was changed at the same time. If it was, then the problematic design was an early 1967 problem. Either way, the tower was only welded to the outside face of the frame and mixed with the poor factory welds made the design susceptible to cracking at the welds. If you are going for an all-original restoration you can weld up the problem welds, and if you don’t mind improving the design you can add a gusset to replicate the later design for added strength. These problems can be repaired with some good fabrication skills.
Upper Control Arm Tower
The stock subframe was never designed to be put through 40-plus years of abuse and therefore often needs to be repaired and sometimes replaced. The area that gets the most abuse is the upper control arm mounting tower.
Flexing and jarring from years and thousands of hard-driving miles the upper control arm tower starts to show signs of fatigue and starts to crack in a few common areas. It doesn’t help that the factory welds left a lot to be desired, and fractures have been found on the top of the frame around the perimeter of the welds of the control arm tower.
The most common cracks are found in the weld between the top of the frame and the base of the shock mount plate. Humans (not computercontrolled robots) welded the the factory subframe, so the welding is not precise or clean and differed from frame to frame. Some welds burned through the metal and left very little material to rely on for strength.
A good fabricator and welder can drill the ends of the fractures to keep them from spreading and weld the problem areas. With some skill, this can be done with very little evidence.
Sway Bar Mount
The sway bar frame brackets are fastened to the underside of the frame rails using threads tapped in the steel. In some cases, the threads simply strip out from rust corrosion, and in other cases, the threads pull out. If this happens, you can drill out the hole and weld a nut up inside the frame, or you can use a long wrench to reach inside the frame rail to hold a nut in place while tightening the sway bar mount bolts.
When using larger-than-stock sway bars and driving aggressively, the frame often becomes fatigued from constant flex, and as a result, the metal around the mount simply cracks and the frame pulls apart. You should weld-in gusset plates to reinforce this critical area.
Lower Control Arm Holes
Inspect the lower control arm bolt holes. They should be round, and the bolt should not have excessive play. Accidents, deep pot holes, and striking debris at high speeds can impact the lower control arms and cause the lower bolt holes to distort and become more of an oval than a round hole. If this has happened to your frame, a good fabricator can drill out the frame and essentially weld a hardened washer into the frame.
Lower Ball Joint Pocket
Although the control arms aren’t really part of the subframe, they do have problems. If the ball joints have been replaced, the ball joint pocket in the lower control arm can be distorted/ stretched. The ball joint needs to be tight on the control arm. We’ve seen people use poor judgment and weld the ball joint to the control arm because it was loose. The fix for this problem is to ensure you’re using the correct ball joint, have a shop shrink or repair the ball joint hole, or replace the control arm.
Because the front leading edge of the lower control arm hangs down, it often comes in contact with road debris and cement parking blocks. As a result, the arm is bent from the contact. Just because the leading edge is bent, doesn’t mean that the arm is bent beyond its specifications keeping it from doing its job. If the rest of the control arm doesn’t look distorted, you may be able to compare it to your other control arm or another Camaro control arm. A competent mechanic can repair a bent leading edge with a vise and a good hammer.
In some cases, a couple of factory welds didn’t get good penetration, which can be touched up by a good fabricator. If you’re considering welding up every seam on the frame, be careful not to put much heat in the frame or you’ll end up with a warped subframe.
Don’t start on one end of the frame and weld the whole thing in one long bead. Take measurements from corner to corner in an X-pattern between the centerlines of the body bushing holes and lay the frame on four jack stands. This gives you an idea of how straight your subframe is before welding it. Stitch-weld the frame about 2 or 3 inches at a time and alternate from side to side, so you don’t put a bunch of heat in one area at one time.
Also consider that welding all of the subframe seams detracts from the originality of the car and once you start, there’s no turning back to stock.
Painting Suspension Parts
Please take into account that only a few parts on a stock Camaro are painted gloss black and none of those parts are the subframe or any part connected to the subframe. I think nothing looks more horrid than a Camaro pretending to look stock yet has a glossy black subframe or suspension parts.
Another common mistake made in Camaro restorations is the use of one color to paint all the parts; for instance, the tie-rod ends, adjustment sleeves, and all the other steering linkage were not the same color. Painting all the steering components the same gray cast-coat paint looks hokey. The suspension parts are all different colors because they all came from different parts suppliers. In fact, some of the parts weren’t even painted from the factory, and they were made from different materials. This made them different colors by default, but if you left components unprotected without paint they would rust and look horrible.
For greater effect, take a few extra steps with different cast-coat colors and different shades of black paint to make your restoration look a little more correct. Also, consider that black isn’t just black. Professional restorers recognize that there were different shades of blacks, including bluish-blacks, redishblacks, brownish-blacks, etc. There are also different black finishes such as flat black, semi-gloss black, matte black, etc.
If you’re going for a concours restoration to win shows, educate yourself on which colors and finishes came on the components corresponding to the year and model of your Camaro. It would also help to educate yourself on details that may have differed between the Norwood and Van Nuys Camaro plants. To start with, the subframe itself was semi-gloss black from both plants. Some rust-resistant paint companies (like KBS Coatings) make a durable semi-gloss black product that’s not exactly like the stock paint but it’s durable. The KBS topcoat is called Blacktop Chassiscoater, which goes over its rust preventative coating named Rust Seal. Eastwood and OER make multiple gray cast-coat colors that can be used in order to have different shades of gray to mimic factory restorations.
Getting just the right color and finish is not as easy as using a few spray cans. But even if you don’t have years of knowledge of finishes and how to produce them, you can now produce a much nicer-appearing restoration compared to the typical shop or hobbyist that sprays everything one color.
Rebuilding the Subframe
This can be done before or after bolting the subframe to the body. We decided to rebuild the subframe prior to mating it to the body. When you have all your parts painted, plated, and coated you’ll have to reassemble it.
Here is a brief overview of the procedures for reassembling the subframe:
Set the subframe on four sturdy jack stands. You can use rags between the stands and the frame if you want to protect the finish.
Bolt the control arms on the frame without installing any alignment shims in the upper control arms.
Use your spring compressor to install the front coil springs and assemble the spindles on the upper and lower ball joints.
Bolt the steering box to the frame. Install the idler arm, pitman arm, drag link, and all the tie rods ends.
Install the front sway bar now, or you could have problems installing it after you bolt the brake rotors in place, or you’ll scratch all of your good work.
Assemble the front brakes and the front brake lines.
Now you’re pretty much ready to bolt the frame to the car. The rest of the parts can be assembled after the frame is bolted to the body.
Replacing Body Bushings
If you’re performing a correct restoration, get some new rubber body-isolator bushings. If you’re going to add polyurethane body bushings you may want to get a new bushing kit like the one from Prothane.
If you plan on installing subframe connectors now or in the future, install solid body bushings from Detroit Speed. The rubber and polyurethane bushings allow too much movement of the frame and defeat the purpose of installing subframe connectors and can cause serious frame fatigue. Detroit Speed offers standard (same height as stock bushings) and half-height bushings, which are shorter than the stock bushings and lower the body on the frame and the ride height. Drawbacks to the shorter bushings are the reduced clearance between the body and the transmission and the increased difficulty of installing the transmission crossmember. It also changes the steering column angle and moves the engine a little higher, reducing hood clearance by about 1/2 inch.
Installing the Subframe
Hopefully you’ve already had the frame removed from the body to fully clean and paint the subframe and the underside of the body. Use extreme caution to not have the frame or body fall on you during this process. The body should be propped up with safe stands so it won’t tip, slide, or fall while installing the frame.
Before installing the subframe, install the full-length brake line and fuel line up against the body because it’s much easier to get it in now instead of trying to fish it through the gap between the floorpan and the frame.
In order to install the subframe you do the reverse of taking it out; just be careful with all your new paint. Be extremely cautious not to smash the brake and fuel lines. Make sure you drop the four floorpan body bushings into the proper holes in the subframe. If you have rubber or polyurethane body bushings, the largest part of the bushings with the metal faces upward and rides against the floorpan. Install as the accompanying kit instructions state.
Have the bottom half of your bushings ready to install (if they are a tight fit to the upper bushings, go ahead and assemble them). All types of body bushings install dry, unless otherwise instructed by kit directions.
Once the frame is in position and all the parts and hardware of the body bushings are in the proper sequence, you can temporarily align the frame to the body. There are two rear body bushings and two center body bushings that mount to the body at the base of the firewall. The frame pads for those center body bushings have corresponding alignment holes in the body at the base of the firewall. As long as your frame is straight and the body shell has not been wrecked, the holes should be in good alignment. If there’s any hint of possible trauma to the firewall area or frame these holes may not line up correctly. Temporarily align the frame to these holes as long as you confirm it later after the car is completely assembled and you’re ready to set up the wheel alignment.
If there’s a question of possible frame alignment issues, set the toe to zero by eyeing it before adding a single alignment shim. Use a plumb-bob, center the tires in the fenderwells, measure from the center of the rear wheels to the center of the front wheels, check side-toside positioning, and adjust the frame to the correct location. To align the frame holes you can stick a long ratchet extension or pry bar through the holes and move the frame into position.
Once the car is completely assembled, there will be a lot of tension on the body bolts, which makes them difficult to adjust. Don’t forget that if you’re doing this after the car is assembled, the two front body bushings at the radiator support must also be loose. The four main body bushing bolts’ final torque is 85 ft-lbs and the radiator support bushing nuts are to be torqued to 40 ft-lbs.
If you’re really creative, you can install the engine and transmission onto the subframe, but the additional weight adds a whole new level of difficulty. This isn’t suggested unless you’re working with an actual hydraulic lift to raise and lower the body onto the frame. It’s easy to accidentally smash the engine into the firewall and damage both in the process. Don’t take chances and be very careful.
Step-1: Subframe Installation
For the dimensions of your front subframe, you’ll find helpful photos diagrams like this in Chevrolet Chassis Service Manual and for more detailed specs of frame-to-body alignment pick up a Body by Fisher Manuals for the specific year of your Camaro. (Image reprinted with the express consent of Year One Inc, a licensee of General Motors Service Operations)
Step-2: Subframe Installation
When restoring the suspension back to original parts you can search swap meets and online auctions for NOS parts. For our projects we aren’t keeping originals we choose MOOG parts and so do suspension engineers like Kyle Tucker from Detroit Speed. Refinish the control arm before installing the bushings. This arm is shown before it was painted the correct semi-gloss black.
Step-3: Subframe Installation
The upper control arm tower and shock mount get a lot of abuse and they don’t get a lot of attention. The shock plate can be cracked where it meets the frame rail and can go undetected because it’s covered by the control arm. Hairline fractures commonly start around factory welds at the base of the control arm tower.
Step-4: Subframe Installation
The center mount pedestals on the subframe changed a little over the three years to increase strength. The 1967 mount was weak so it was redesigned to mount to the top of the frame, as shown in this design.
Step-5: Subframe Installation
The factory lower control arms changed each year to match the change in the subframe bump-stop locations. Starting in the 11 o’clock position and proceeding clockwise are the 1967 arm, the 1968 arm, and the 1969 arm. In 1967, the bump stop was located on the frame, and there was no hole in the control arm. The 1968 arm had the bump-stop on the rear of the arm, and in 1969 it moved to the front of the arm. Chevrolet sold a service replacement arm (shown at bottom) with holes for the 1969 and 1968 (arrow).
Written by Tony Huntimer and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks