New upper control arms installed - wow!

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering, Brake & Wheel Topics' started by ULTM8Z, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. ULTM8Z

    ULTM8Z Veteran Member

    8,780
    196
    May 19, 2000
    Los Angeles
    Christmas gift to myself... lol. I had found a used set on ebay for about $250. They're from Performance Online. Not the most well known brand, but I figured for the money, I'd give them a shot (they're $350 new).

    https://www.performanceonline.com/1970-81-Chevy-Camaro-Tubular-Upper-Control-Arms/

    Just installed them today. Haven't done the wheel alignment yet (basically just stuck the same shims back in that were in there before).

    But all I have to say is WOW!. I was (I guess I'll say) "cautiously optimistic" about how much of an improvement UCA's would give me since the car already handled really well. But even without the alignment done yet, they've exceeded my expectations.

    Everything about the front end feels far more precise... the steering feel (even with my worn out rag joint), the tracking down the road (better resistance to "tramlining"), the way the car handles bumps, etc.

    I guess the increased caster, the greasable delrin bushings, etc, all add up to much better performance.

    I'll be doing the alignment tomorrow morning.

    The only complaint I have is that their ball joints suck. I stripped one of them with the castle nut just at the minimum torque value. Almost couldn't get the damn thing off. So swapped in my old ball joints (which were only a couple of years old anyway).

    But overall, so far, very very happy with the results. These UCA's seem to compliment the G-braces very nicely. I can imagine someone doing G-braces and UCA's at the same time feel like they've gone from a model-T to a Ferrari (very tounge-in-cheek, I know, but these two items are a phenomenal improvement over the factory setup).

    Once I get my rag joint swapped out, it should be like a brand new car.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  2. NOT A TA

    NOT A TA Veteran Member

    197
    52
    Feb 12, 2009
    Delray Beach Florida
    If/when you replace the upper joints try the "tall" ones from Pro Forged. They help the camber curve especially when using lowering springs but you need to do alignment after install. I've been using the Lares rag joints the past several years and they seem to work fine.
     
  3. ULTM8Z

    ULTM8Z Veteran Member

    8,780
    196
    May 19, 2000
    Los Angeles
    Alignment is done.

    I got 6.5 deg of caster. It was actually really close when I went in. Just some minor adjustment. So not really any improvement after alignment... it was all realized right after the initial install. But all in all, yeah extremely satisfied.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  4. badazz81z28

    badazz81z28 Veteran Member

    14,957
    191
    May 4, 2001
    Las Vegas, NV
    Cheap china ball joints are out there. The set I got from PTFB did the same thing! They were AFCO brand. I have used Pro-Forged (made in Taiwan) and I was actually impressed by the quality. I wouldn't hesitate to use them again.
     
  5. NOT A TA

    NOT A TA Veteran Member

    197
    52
    Feb 12, 2009
    Delray Beach Florida
    PTFB currently sells the Pro Forged. I got a set recently from Dave.
     
  6. woody80z28

    woody80z28 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    5,524
    38
    Sep 8, 2004
    walton, ny usa
    I got the tall ProForged as well. Good stuff. I'm patiently waiting to see how my car handles with all the new suspension. Hoping it's a huge improvement like you noticed.
     
  7. ULTM8Z

    ULTM8Z Veteran Member

    8,780
    196
    May 19, 2000
    Los Angeles
    Took the car out today for a lengthy test drive. Very impressed with the performance benefits of these UCA's.

    The front end seems markedly more "planted" on the road at high speed- mostly in terms of rebound going over bumps.

    As I was pushing down on the front end in the garage, I noticed a major improvement in how the front end rebounds. Before (even with the Bilstein shocks and Hotchkis springs), I'd push down on the front end and it would rebound a little past the neutral point before settling back down (far better than it was with the stock stuff, but not as good as I would have liked). With the new UCA's, it rebounds right up to the neutral point and stops IMMEDIATELY.

    That same "sharpness" in response shows up in how the car drives. With the stock arms and rubber bushings, at high speed (over 70 mph), the car felt "ok" with the Hotckis springs and Bilstein shocks, but it still had that feeling of "floating" a bit going over uneven road surfaces. I'd go over a bump a certain way and the front end seemed to rebound more than desired before settling down. Not any more... the suspension response is razor sharp.

    I'll admit it's a little more of a harsh ride (not at all unacceptable, but noticeably more firm probably due to the non-compliant nature of the delrin bushings), but I'll probably reduce the tire pressure a little to compensate (I always ran about 32 psi, so I'll lower it to probably around 27-28). I'll take the minor ride quality loss any day with the handling improvement I've seen.

    I'm very much amazed at the "extra" benefits I got out of these UCA's besides just the added caster benefits for the on-center feel of the steering. I wouldn't have expected that....
    Took the car out today for a lengthy test drive. Very impressed with the performance benefits of these UCA's.

    The front end seems markedly more "planted" on the road at high speed- mostly in terms of rebound going over bumps.

    As I was pushing down on the front end in the garage, I noticed a major improvement in how the front end rebounds. Before (even with the Bilstein shocks and Hotchkis springs), I'd push down on the front end and it would rebound a little past the neutral point before settling back down (far better than it was with the stock stuff, but not as good as I would have liked). With the new UCA's, it rebounds right up to the neutral point and stops IMMEDIATELY.

    That same "sharpness" in response shows up in how the car drives. With the stock arms and rubber bushings, at high speed (over 70 mph), the car felt "ok" with the Hotckis springs and Bilstein shocks, but it still had that feeling of "floating" a bit going over uneven road surfaces. I'd go over a bump a certain way and the front end seemed to rebound more than desired before settling down. Not any more... the suspension response is razor sharp.

    I'll admit it's a little more of a harsh ride (not at all unacceptable, but noticeably more firm probably due to the non-compliant nature of the delrin bushings), but I'll probably reduce the tire pressure a little to compensate (I always ran about 32 psi, so I'll lower it to probably around 27-28). I'll take the minor ride quality loss any day with the handling improvement I've seen.

    I'm very much amazed at the "extra" benefits I got out of these UCA's besides just the added caster benefits for the on-center feel of the steering. I wouldn't have expected that....
     
  8. Jon Randolph

    Jon Randolph Member

    63
    1
    May 22, 2017
    Barrington, IL
    For those that bring up PTFB. Dave at PTFB can and will supply different ball joints per what the customer needs or requests.

    Like NOT A TA says, I currently have the tall Proforged upper ball joints from PTFB. I just received them a couple months ago.

    One thing to note, PTFB, Hotchkis, Customworks and most other "pro-touring" suspension vendors don't actually make the poly bushings, ball joints or springs they supply to us. Many of those items are reboxed pieces. They do, however, make things like the control arms, subframe connectors and other pieces.
     

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