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Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

Control Arm Replacement

5/8/2020

When choosing what upgrades to do to a car, one thing to take into consideration is that as power and braking performance increase, handling also needs to increase. One of the first most cost effective upgrades a person can do to the front of the car is the upper and lower control arms. By replacing the stock control arms with tubular, you are adding rigidity and strength to the suspension of your car. Rigidity is added by removing the one-piece, stamped steel control arms that can flex under load and replacing them with round tubes that won’t flex. Tubular control arms also add improved geometry for modern tire design and can make your car more visually appealing.

I went with the Speedway Motors Tubular Control Arms on the front of my 1972 Chevy Nova. These tubular control arms are sold in a set of four, which covers the uppers and lowers on both the driver side and passenger side. These tubular control arms come complete with polyurethane bushings, ball joints installed, and are powder-coated black. They also lower the car one and a half to two inches, which provides an improved and aggressive stance. These tubular control arms are compatible with coil springs and coil-over-shock assemblies, and come with the mounting holes for your sway bar.

A concern many people have with aftermarket tubular control arms is that the ball joints included vary in quality. To ensure you will have ball joints that meet your standards, we not only include ball joints, but offer additional high-quality replacements, like Standard GM Upper Ball Joint and this Standard GM Lower Ball Joint. These tubular control arms use factory style ball joints, but we do offer additional parts that may be needed, like:

When I first opened the package, I could not believe how good they looked. The quality is comparable to control arms costing three or four times as much, and the black powder coating was shiny with no blemishes or pinholes.

Installation was a breeze. I did mine one at a time, starting by jacking the car up, putting the sub-frame on jack stands, and removing the wheels. Then, I removed the cotter pins and loosened the nuts for the ball joints. Next, I used a floor jack under the lower control arm to hold the spring pressure, then removed the upper ball joint nut and stud. If the ball joint does not want to come out, use a hammer and tap on the spindle sideways to help loosen it up, then put the nut back on the ball joint a couple of threads and hammer it out. You can also use a Ball Joint Remover if you can get access.

Next, remove the two nuts holding the control arm to the sub-frame and the control arm. I replaced mine one at a time so that I did not have to remove my brake and hubs. They were supported by one control arm the entire time. Once you have the new top tubular control arm on, you can remove the ball joint nut and ball joint shaft from the spindle and slowly let the jack down to release the spring pressure.

Remove the two mounting bolts and replace the control arm. Then, reassemble in reverse order, repeating this process for both sides. Once you have completed all four tubular control arms, torque everything to factory specs with the cars weight on the ground, and don’t forget to get an alignment done!

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