Control Arm Upgrade
Follow along as Speedway Motor's employee Steve L. takes a look at upgrading his control arms on his Laguna project.
One of the best suspension upgrades a person can make to their car is tubular control arms. The main advantages are weight, strength, and appearance. Weight is a huge factor when it comes to a performance vehicle, the lighter the vehicle the less horsepower it takes to move it. Let's face it anything that looks better is an obvious bonus too. Besides a stock control arm is bulky and not an attractive part in the first place. The geometry from the factory was a compromise between performance, and drivability. With any compromise there can always be improvement. This is where the Speedway Motors 1970-1981 Upper Control Arm, P/N 910-34397 comes in. I'm using these on my 1976 Chevrolet Laguna S3 that I'm building for autocross competition. The 1970-‘81 Chevrolet Camaro and the 1973-‘77 Chevrolet Malibu, Laguna, and Monte Carlo all share the same upper and lower control arms. This is a huge benefit for the owners of Generation III GM A-Body cars. The Stock GM upper control arm weighs in at a hefty 10 pounds per side.
The Speedway Motors 1970-1981 Camaro Upper Control Arm, Speedway P/N 910-34397 is not only a very nice looking piece, but it's also very strong and lightweight as well. It weighs in at only 6 pounds each, that's a savings of 4 pounds per side and 8 pounds total off the front of your car. This is very important when building an autocross car to help reach the optimum 50/50 weight percentage. This control arm is designed for race applications, so the stock ball joint will not fit. It comes as the control arm only, and does not come with ball joints. There are several ball joints available that you could use for these control arms. Most ball joints are referenced by the MOOG style number; these use a K6136 or a K6024 style ball joint. If you're building a competition vehicle, it would be wise to look in to using a performance ball joint that is rebuild-able and offered with extended studs in various lengths to optimize your front suspension geometry. These control arms also do not have bushings, they are steel against steel construction, but are serviceable. So they are not recommended for street use, since without bushings they will wear out rather quickly on the street. The following pictures are the GM and the Speedway one side by side and then fitted with a QA1 ball joint installed on my Laguna.