Global West vs the Chinese copies - Impala Tech
Brakes & Suspension Conversion Questions & more

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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Global West vs the Chinese copies

After a series of misadventures, I finally received my GW front lower control arms this week. I needed them to continue and had bought a set of the knock off arms in the meantime for mock up. I was curious to compare the two since they look identical in pictures and figured others might be interested in exactly what you're getting for about three times the cost.
First off, the GW control arms are US made. I'm not particularly opposed to import products in general but I try to keep this car as American made as possible just as a matter of principle.
Initial impression out of the box, not so different. The GW arms are on the bottom here and do come with an alignment dowel, which is very helpful installing these.

After I got to turning them over and inspecting, they began to look different. Overall weld quality is much better on the GW control arms. Also, they have more welds in more places. Inside of the spring pockets, both the outer and inner diameters are not welded on the Chinese parts.


But wait, it gets yet more interesting. These two control arms are not the same shape. The GW arms look like they are curved to clear the frame. Not sure what's going on with the Chinese parts. They reach the same point without being the same shape. Also, out by the ball joint, I had to grind material off the Chinese arms to get them to clear my steering arms. I took off about an 1/8" of material just to get everything together and would have had to remove more were I to actually drive on them.

After that I got out the tape measure. I picked a relative point for comparison, not something to use as a suspension geometry reference. The Chinese spring pockets are approximately 3/16" further out and the ball joints by the same amount. Technically the functional length of the Chinese control arms are 3/16" longer.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Reached my file limit on the last post...
After that I got out the tape measure. I picked a relative point for comparison, not something to use as a suspension geometry reference. The Chinese spring pockets are approximately 3/16" further in and the ball joints by the same amount. Technically the functional length of the Chinese control arms are 3/16" shorter. GW is on the top.

After that things got a little scary. I initially noticed GW had shimmed their lower ball joints to take up slack. Not cool, I thought, until I looked at the Chinese parts. They were missing steering stops and I really don't think the ball joint bolts are tightened. I wouldn't drive on them like this. GW is on the bottom.

Also, the spherical bearing on the Chinese arms rotated freely and had some slight play I could feel by hand. These are new parts and won't live long under the car. The GW joints could not be moved by hand. GW is on the bottom.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Some final notes. Neither of these will clear my Varishock double adjustable shocks. I'll have to clearance the through holes in the GW arms but not by much. Weld quality overall is not even a contest. Build and construction quality might actually put the Chinese arms into the "insurance liability" category.
I'd been curious about what possible difference there could be between these two parts given the appearance and price gap. I actually thought the Global West parts were just sourced in China and had a sticker slapped on the side. Having the parts in hand, there is no comparison. If I ran these Chinese parts, I'd be servicing something broken sooner than I wanted.
Another shot of the welding. I shouldn't even have to point at the GW part at this point.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 10:40 PM
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In most cases, there is nothing like US Made parts.

Well done report for anyone considering aftermarket.

-Parting Out over 75 '58 to '73 Full Size Chevy Cars-

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 08:35 AM
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I have pretty much all G.W. products on my 67 Impala and am very happy with the quality and would definitely recommend them.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 10:26 AM
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I have GW uppers on my '63. very satisfied.

The dimensional differences lead me to conclude that the 'Chinese' parts are for a different application. The differences are too large to be simply 'quality' issues. I'm not saying they were not advertised for your car, just that they are not.

Pete
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 02:49 PM
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I didn't think any one was still stick welding today (with the exception of under water repairs, and welding cast iron). But looking at the splatter, and inconsistent bead width, I have to assume the Chinese are still stick welding.

Big Dave
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2020, 10:18 AM
BA.
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Great pictures and write-up! Good stuff man.

I thought that the GW arms had a differnt BJ location compared to stock to help with the geometry while cornering. (better camber when turning?) Maybe the China parts have that baked in too, not sure.

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
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