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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy all -

My frame-up rebuild of my Custom Coupe has hit a snag. I bought a set of upper control arms from Global West, and picked up a pair of Jegs branded lower arms; More on that later. This is to be paired with suspension kit from Performance Online - lowered (2") coil springs for a SBC and shocks.

Things were going okay - stripped the passenger wheel down to the spindle, yanked the shock, and got the internal spring compressor set, then yanked the spring. No drama

From there I stripped down control arms, gave the frame some TLC, mounted the new upper (so nice), mounted the new lower (Hrmmmm this piece just keeps making me think twice about using it....) and then did a dry run on reversing the whole spring installation process, because frankly, coil springs make me nervous.

That's when I hit my first problem - the shock opening/hole in the bottom of the lower arm isn't big enough to get the hooks and block through it, except for one way. At this point, I figure out how to work it in and out - but the hole on these Jegs lowers is about a cm smaller than stock.

So I set up the compressor, smash it down till most of the coils are touching, and get it into the frame spring pocket. Taking care to make sure it's indexed in the pocket, I swing up the lower arm, get the spindle hooked up, and start to decompress the spring. At the point that compressor can be freed, 2 problems hit me: 1) The hooks are stuck between the coils in the top 2) The fork on the bottom of the compressor is stuck between the coils.

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(Well... Damn.)

Basically, 2 of the three parts are stuck in the spring. Long story short (too late!!!) I've gotten the spring out using the tried and true Jack w/ tie-downs trick - however my current problem is...

How can I compress the spring, which is bowed and compressed between the control arms, without a spring compressor?

If I was using the factory arms, the official 1968 repair manual instructs you to use a steel bar and a wood block on a jack... which works great with a stock arm. It won't work with the geometry of the tubular arm. In fact, without compressing the spring first, you can't even align the spring between the two control arms correctly.

What I've done to help solve my own problem:
  • Those Jegs arms just creep me out. I bit the bullet and bought the Global West Lowers - I'm hoping they get here before June.. but between the odd geometry, smaller holes, lack of bump stops, and craptastic welding... Nope, they aren't going back on.
  • I've ordered a new internal spring compressor, what doesn't use the fork-plate. I'm hoping that the tolerances will be a bit smaller, and it won't get stuck.
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So, has anyone else here put on new tubular lowers and springs at the same time? Did I just hit the lottery of incompatible parts? Is there a "trick" to getting the tubular lowers and springs in - or is trying a new spring compressor the way to go?

Just for conversations sake, has anyone actually put the Jegs Tubular Lowers on their 4th Gen Impala and live to tell the tale? (I did just see a post on the comparison of GW and "Chinese" arms; It sums up my feelings on the cheaper parts completely. Too bad I didn't see it sooner.)

Thanks in advance for your second-hand knowledge and clues for the clueless.
 

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I left a partial answer on the other thread...

The front springs are just a difficult job in general. I've only used the "dual hook" internal spring compressors and can see why the other one doesn't work. Aside from unbolting at the upper pivot shaft to position everything, I did have to try a few different positions with the spring compressors to get everything to assemble. You need to hook on the last open coil of the spring when it is in the compressed position. It's easy to find if you are removing a spring. Not so much with new springs and it may take you a couple of passes. A trick I leaned from a garage that does work for me is to use an impact wrench on the spring compressor.
One last thing on the spring compressor - this is not the tool to cheap out on and I would pay a little extra. The one the shop was using allowed the hooks to "walk" back down the coils of the compressed spring. Not good if you value your fingers. I have one the locks on the coil and I ended up giving one to the shop since they were having so much trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks John, appreciate the insight, really. I’m more used to working with coil-overs - which seem to be easier to work with in every way from coil springs.

(Below, from other thread)

Compressing the springs is always a pain. I usually feel like I'm holding on to an undetonated bomb.
[\QUOTE]

No joke - I had my motorcycle helmet on, and hide behind my new Gas Tank when I decompressed them spring after the compressor got stuck. 🤣

Since I had access, I ended up unbolting the upper pivot shaft to easily move the spring into position and put everything back together.
Even with the new lowers, this is going to be my plan too I think. Since you’ve clued me into the compressor actually fitting through the lower on the Global West arm, it makes sense to take advantage of my off-frame condition as well.

Still crossing my fingers that Summit ACTUALLY had the GW part in stock; I’ll post more on this once I get them.
 
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