1981 Camaro Z28

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by MP81, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

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    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    Yup, that's the plan.

    I'm very familiar to the sleeper look - that describes my Cobalt perfectly.

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  2. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

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    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    I started yesterday, but didn't have the pickle forks until last night. I was able to get out there for a little bit today, and that did the trick - amazing how much better the right tools for the job work! I still had to beat the ever living shit out of the pickle fork, but I'm okay with that.

    Passenger side upper control arm out. I sprayed the frame off a bit with some brake cleaner, as there's quite a bit of grime. But then it turns all shiny, so I stopped. Maybe I'll POR-15 this in the future, maybe not. Not too concerned.

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    Old versus new. Big difference!

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    Bushings weren't in great shape.

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    Ball joint didn't seem too bad, other than having no interest in being removed.
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    Installed the new upper control arm - still need to put the shims back in, but I wanted to fully seat the knurled bolts back in.
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  3. Zspoiler

    Zspoiler Veteran Member

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    173
    May 6, 2012
    Federal Way, Washington
    I bet you have fun when someone decides to "play" with some old beater Camaro...
     
  4. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    225
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    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    Especially once the engine is swapped!

    Did anyone ever come up with a firm number for the torque value on the nuts that secure the upper A-arms to the frame? I've seen about ten different torque values.
     
  5. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    225
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    I was hoping to get more done today, but it turns out I have external (strut) spring compressors, not internal ones. I was able to disassemble them and actually fit them in between the springs, but then it was very apparent the spring would have to me inside out for the profile to work. Given we're talking about ~1500 lbs of force, I'm not really willing to take my chances.

    Anyway, I got the shims back in between the control arm and the frame, and "torqued" the nuts down as best as I could. No way there's any way to fit the torque wrench in there, but tightening a 3/4" wrench as much as possible should be about 73 ft-lbs. They're going to be loosened during the alignment anyway. Got the ball joint back into the spindle and torqued down. Removed the shock as well in preparation for compressing the spring.

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  6. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    225
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    Got back to work on the car this afternoon - got the lower control arm and coil spring out...what a pain in the ass. I got a new internal spring compressor, but then realized there was no way to use the bottom set of "fingers' because then the threaded shaft would try to exit out the shock hole up top, as it was then too long. So I thought back to the other kind of internal compressors I've seen, and used a pickle fork under the shock hole to allow the top fingers to compress against something. That said, that spring had no interest in being removed and fought me for at least an hour. But eventually, I emerged victorious - I hurt like hell, like usual, but I won.

    Getting the control arm out wasn't too bad - except the front bolt which runs right into the steering linkage if you try to remove it, so I got to inconveniently go clean my hands, so I could turn the wheel in the car to allow the bolt clearance to come out. Just was one extra thing I didn't need.

    Almost done with this side...hopefully I'll have it done tomorrow, and then I can do all this over again on the driver side, albeit with the knowledge that I've gained on this side...and a lot less room to work (though I don't have to be as careful with the wall as I have to be next to the Cobalt).

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    Old versus new - going to be quite an improvement, even just visually.
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    Bushings (front and rear, respectively) on the old LCA. Fronts are pretty much shot.
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    New and old springs. I'm pretty sure the stock springs could be used on a monster truck.
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  7. budro6968

    budro6968 Veteran Member

    2,602
    358
    Apr 2, 2016
    Jax Florida
    Great Car Lots of pic's too. That was Kind of a Time capsule. Original shocks and ball joints. The front look like they took a beating. Did the top washer and rubber just rust off? What is that paint code? My 81 looks like the same color or close to it but not original. The original was 84 Charcoal. I think. That car deserves a nice paint job. It looks real solid.
     
  8. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    225
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    That's what I don't know - but the nut is still there, and the top hole isn't damaged from where the nut would have pulled through. It really looks like someone simply didn't put the top washer on, put the nut on, and then just put it in from the bottom...but I don't think those have ever been out of the car. It's quite the mystery!

    Mine is maroon (paint code 77), well, where paint still exists haha.
     
  9. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    225
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    Got the passenger side lower control arm installed, along with the new spring, so that is it for the passenger side!

    I was removing the new spring just to double check it was indexed properly in the frame, and managed to crush my thumb between it and the control arm when it shifted as it was still slightly compressed towards the bottom of the control arm travel - I'm glad my thumb wasn't about 1/4" further in, or it'd likely have been broken and/or I wouldn't have been able to pull my thumb out at all. This only peeled all the skin off below my thumbnail, so...that's great.

    Due to that, I got the driver side jacked up and on a stand, and the tire off, PB Blasted all the nuts/bolts I'll be removing, and called it - I can't get enough force with my thumb like it is. Oh well, one corner is finally done, so I am happy!

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    The shock finally isn't the only new/clean thing in there!
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    Driver side is ready to be started on now.
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  10. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    225
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    Amazing how much easier it is (and how much quicker it goes) when you know what you're doing and have the right tools. Got the old upper control arm out and the new one in, then I started prepping for the lower control arm swap. Got the sway bar endlink out as well as the shock and figured that was a good stopping point for today.

    Control arm removed. This site had a lot less room to work up top due to the brake lines - and that damn AC compressor, both of which made knocking the bolts out a bit more of a task than the passenger side. Oh well - I eventually got them.
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    Comparison of new versus old. Bushings didn't look too bad, but definitely in need of replacement. The bumpstop, however...well, I found the lower portion (that actually contacts the frame) sitting in the lower control arm after I removed it, so...that's a good place for it.
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    New upper control arm all installed
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    Sway bar endlink and shock both removed.
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