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Old 05-11-2008, 12:47 AM   #1
Kurt G.
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Default Trailing arm install

Any links to a step by step of how to install new trailing arms? With pictures maybe ?? Getting new ones this week.... Thanks
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:16 AM   #2
waynec
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It's been too long since I did that job (but as part of a full-scale restoration), so my memory is hazy. I often bookmark tech links, however, and I found one for the job you're facing:

http://www.corvettemagazine.com/content/view/75/

If you don't have a Corvette shop manual, get one!

I recall that removing the lower shock mount brackets was one of the tougher parts of the process I went through... you don't need to remove them (or the struts) if you are only doing the trailing arms, but it is, however, an opportune time to replace half-shaft U-joints, shocks, strut bushings, disassemble & clean & paint the spring, etc.

Often another tough part is removing the front T/A pivot bushing bolts, because the shims, sleeves, and bolts are often fused into a solid rusted mass... some have had luck in using a sawzall to sever the sleeve & bolt in several places, then they drive out the bolt stubs with drifts (luckily mine weren't all that recalcitrant).

Will the new trailing arms come with front pivot bushings installed? I re-used my trailing arms and had to make a compression tool to aid in re-assembly of the new bushing kits... I have a write-up on that process (but no pics) if you need it... get the arms with bushings already installed if you can. Another tough part, because it has to be done carefully and safely, was the removal (in your case of the ends) and re-installation of the rear spring; I used a heavy chain with bolts, wood blocks and hefty clamps to assist with safety. Some advocate you should loosen the spring center mounting bracket bolts a quarter-inch or so before you remove the spring end bolts, to avoid stressing the differential cover casting, and re-installing the spring ends before snugging the differential spring bracket with the car's weight on the wheels.

You might consider making some measurements of the rear wheel alignment setup (using strings extended from the front wheels for toe-in & protractors for the camber angles) before you start the job, then mark the inner strut rod camber settings so you can reassemble to that same spot, and measure the shims used on both sides of each T/A... try to match those measurements again as you insert the front trailing arm shims and adjust the camber struts (realizing you have to roll/move the car a goodly way after it's first lowered to the ground in order to let the wheels regain their normal camber position), so that you will be able to have the rear suspension nearly correctly set before driving off to get a professional rear alignment.

Good luck.

Last edited by waynec; 05-11-2008 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:28 AM   #3
JoeCool66
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I just got done doing the job and it wasn’t too bad. I did it in my garage by myself with the car on jackstands…it is definitely a right of passage. Removing the spring at first scared me (my Corvette mechanic warned me I would kill myself). It actually was very simple and you should have no issues as long as you take the proper precautions. Removing the pivot bolt was the most difficult part. My suggestion is if the bolt doesn’t come out in the first 15min, use a reciprocating saw (Sazall) and have plenty of blades. Keep track of the spacers on each side of the bolt and be sure to replace with the same size spacers. One caution, my new arm bushings came with the bushing installed and it was just a bit wider than what I removed. The same size spacers would not fit. I looked carefully at the old and new bushings and decided to equally remove spacers from each side of the bushing. That put the alignment close. I found instructions to check the alignment with string and measurements but I found it extremely difficult to make any adjustments (I have the early style shims that do not have slots). I just made it close, left all the cotter pins loose and took it to get aligned. I also removed the strut bracket and struts and a unit. Kept the camber setting close enough to get me to the alignment shop.

Check your u-joints and replace any that are tight or damaged. If you don’t have the proper jig to hold the u-joint mounting plate (to keep it from bending), take it to the right shop. Another caution, be very sure to check the clips holding the u-joints. If not set properly, they will come off and the u-joint will start to come loose (I took mine to a shop so ask me how I know )

Careful with the french locks. I used the SS set from Paragon and lubed the bolt head to keep from twisting the lock when you torque it down. I came close to the torque spec before they started to twist.

Make sure you torque everything to specs. Don’t’ torque the TA pivot bolt until you have the TA at normal ride height or the spring retaining bolts until you have a load on the spring.

Take your time and use the opportunity to detail everything underneath. I removed the differential, cross member, drive shaft... everything from the tranny back got cleaned and detailed. I also redid the spring with the correct paint and liners. New KYB shocks were installed.

I found a wealth of info on this forum. Search the archives and stickies. I downloaded a bunch of how-to’s and pictures, I don’t know how to post attachments so PM me with your e-mail and I’ll be glad to send them to you.

Good luck,

Joe

How to undo the spring:
Click the image to open in full size.

Finished results:
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by JoeCool66; 05-11-2008 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:29 PM   #4
roger newman
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http://www.duntovmotors.com/RearSpindleSchool.htm

I bought some of my parts from them. I found them to late in my process or I would have bought more stuff.
Good guys to deal with.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:10 PM   #5
63Corvette
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GREAT pictures, but trust me on this...This is NOT a project you want to try for the first time at home by yourself. This one is definitely for the pros. Please save yourself a lot of grief and pay a professional mechanic to do it right. You'll thank me.
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Old 05-11-2008, 09:17 PM   #6
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Kurt, 63corvette is right from the perspective that this is no easy job. It is doable but donít kid yourself, itís a big job and should not be attempted unless you are prepared.

It sounds like you are already into to it so please be careful. Read and understand the service manual and be comfortable with the procedure before you continue. A serious mistake here can cost you a lot more than a bloody knuckle . Research this on the forum and you will find a lot of info. I found a wealth of experience here so post any question you have but make sure you have the basic procedure first. Good Luck!!
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Old 05-11-2008, 09:33 PM   #7
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I have to agree it is a big job but doable if you have time,if you are in bind for time bring it to a shop.Be carefull and count on it taking more time then you may think,you will run into problem that you may not have counted on.Just taking the arms off ,if they have not been off before is a job in it self.You will need special tools to setup the bearing.I had to cut off the struts they were frozen in the shock support.I also replaced the leaf spring,be safe give yourself time and you will be OK........................Vince
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:28 AM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions. The trailing arms, struts, lines and spring all came off with very minimal difficulty. I'll buy the trailing arms complete and ready to install, that way I don't need the fancy bearing tools etc. I hope to have all the parts together this week to start re-assembly. Detailing the underneath b4 anything goes back on. I'll try to get a close alignment in the garage, then take it to a shop to get dialed in.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:02 AM   #9
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I found Van Steels Suspension DVD very usefull.
If you take it easy its quit ok to do for a first time.
Setting up the bearings is the tricky bit I found.
/www.vansteel.com

Ray
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:06 AM   #10
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It's not that bad. I did it myself using one of those project books and Corvette Fever article. My mechanic pressed in new bushings after removal. I went with poly bushings and find the ride too stiff. If I had to do it over I would go with rubber bushings. Used a sawzall to cut out the old bolts. Spent too much time trying to unscrew the old ones. Matched up the thickness of the old shims with new stainless steel shims. Set the car on jack stands and moved the leaf spring up and down with a floor jack. Probably not the safest way but take your time and it is straight forward. Good satisfaction when done. Good luck, it's not rocket science.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt G. View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. The trailing arms, struts, lines and spring all came off with very minimal difficulty. I'll buy the trailing arms complete and ready to install, that way I don't need the fancy bearing tools etc. I hope to have all the parts together this week to start re-assembly. Detailing the underneath b4 anything goes back on. I'll try to get a close alignment in the garage, then take it to a shop to get dialed in.
Kurt, I did the same job this past winter. I sent my arms to GTR1999 (forum member Gary Ramdia) who does great work and a fair price. Email him for the details.

IF you still can, leave the shim packs together. There are 4 of them, 2 per side of course. Also mic the bushing width. When you get your new arms, you can measure the bushing width and note the difference. Next mic the old shim stacks, and build new stacks if you are using new shims. This will help you keep the alignment pretty close, so you can get to the alignment shop.

I did my 4 wheel alignment this week, and only one rear needed to be adjusted, so it can be worth your time to put it back as close to how it came out.

Mark
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Old 05-15-2008, 02:00 PM   #12
Kurt G.
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Thanks Mark !!
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostrider20 View Post
I did my 4 wheel alignment this week, and only one rear needed to be adjusted, so it can be worth your time to put it back as close to how it came out.

Mark
I just took mine out a couple of days ago, and this is where I failed. Putting calipers on them did cross my mind but I got too focused. I'll just try to get them straight enough to roll and take it to my favorite alignment shop where the tires are going to be replaced anyway.
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostrider20 View Post
Kurt, I did the same job this past winter. I sent my arms to GTR1999 (forum member Gary Ramdia) who does great work and a fair price. Email him for the details.

IF you still can, leave the shim packs together. There are 4 of them, 2 per side of course. Also mic the bushing width. When you get your new arms, you can measure the bushing width and note the difference. Next mic the old shim stacks, and build new stacks if you are using new shims. This will help you keep the alignment pretty close, so you can get to the alignment shop.

I did my 4 wheel alignment this week, and only one rear needed to be adjusted, so it can be worth your time to put it back as close to how it came out.

Mark
I just finished installing new arms last week and I didn't think of measuring the bushing width. I did put the old shims back in same place. The job was easier than I expected. That's not to say I didn't hit a few snags here and there, but when doesn't that happen? And, the TA bolts were not frozen, so I dodged that bullet. I put in complete new arms from Duntov and new adjustable struts. Runout was well within spec (.003 and .005 IIRC). Took the car for a spin last night and it will be fine to drive to take to get rear wheels aligned.

larry

Last edited by redred65cpe; 06-18-2009 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt G. View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. The trailing arms, struts, lines and spring all came off with very minimal difficulty. I'll buy the trailing arms complete and ready to install, that way I don't need the fancy bearing tools etc. I hope to have all the parts together this week to start re-assembly. Detailing the underneath b4 anything goes back on. I'll try to get a close alignment in the garage, then take it to a shop to get dialed in.
If you are doing it yourself, the one thing that helps is to get some string run through the top shock mount and then around the lug bolts to hold the arm stable while you have it on a floor jack and are going to put the bolt in through the frame and trailing arm. And you only have to "bang" the shock mount in until it gets through the strut arm and you can catch a couple threads with the nut. Then you can pull it the rest of the way by tightening the nut (with a breaker bar). Don't forget to get new french locks.

larry

Last edited by redred65cpe; 06-18-2009 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:34 AM
 
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