Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Fitting oversize tires, raising and lowering, suspension modifications...

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Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Horsehammerr » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:30 pm

In the week to come, I will be replacing everything that wears out, except the shocks. I have tried to search out answers about this project and can't seem to locate what I need. I'm changing upper and lower control arm bushings, going Moog Problem Solvers, new Hub Bearings-Synergy, complete Power Performance Steering Linkage Kit-Synergy. I can change all this but need advice to get it right enough to get to the alignment shop. I'm not real sure about dropping the Control Arms either. Would someone please lead me to the right information. All help is welcome ! 8)
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Postby HenryJ » Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:11 pm

You will need access to a press to remove and install the bushings for the a-arms. There is a portable C-clamp style kit that may do the job, although I have never used it. A 3 ton arbor press is what I use.

Mark the adjusters when you disassemble and you should be able to put things back to a point you can drive carefully to the alignment shop.
You can double check the toe with a tape if you want to go that far.

Be sure to check the idler and pitman as those are much more commonly replaced than the a-arm bushings.

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Postby F9K9 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:49 pm

HenryJ wrote:............................There is a portable C-clamp style kit that may do the job.......................
Get a loaner kit from whichever auto parts chain that you have. You basically buy it but, get your money back upon the tools return. Don't waste any money on the harbor freight POS. I spread one doing a couple u-joints and upper control arm bushings in a heep axle.
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Postby Horsehammerr » Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:59 am

Thanks. Changed the Idler to Moog couple of months ago.I may go ahead and replace it and save it. Just as well start with ALL new parts from the same package. Any advice on that Pitman change, seems a little cramped for access ? I'm thinking of just taking my C-arms to a shop and let them press out and in, couldn't be to much for a few minutes work. 8)
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Postby F9K9 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:25 am

Horsehammerr wrote:......... Any advice on that Pitman change................
No personal knowledge but, I have read allot about people breaking the cheap tools removing them and then buying a tool from snap-on. The one trick that I will try is to soak it with PB Blaster or similar product and then just tapping on the sides of the arm with a ball peen hammer after applying a little pressure with a tool. I've changed out several tie rod ends just by tapping on sides of the collar holding the tre and was amazed how they just fell off when the bolt was removed.
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Postby HenryJ » Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:57 am

Horsehammerr wrote: Any advice on that Pitman change, seems a little cramped for access ?
I changed mine with the box off when I made the swap to a ZQ8 box.
It took some "Heat-n-beat" along with the puller, IIRC.

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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Horsehammerr » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:03 am

Will the ES3462 MOOG problem solver bent end outer tie rod end work ? I think I ordered the wrong part.
Last edited by Horsehammerr on Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:

Postby paintballrocker » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:46 am

Horsehammerr wrote: Any advice on that Pitman change, seems a little cramped for access ?


i cant vouch for doing it wiht the ifs in there, as i did mine during my solid axle swap. but for me it took two days of PB blaster then it took a big tractor trailer style puller, impact air gun, and a torch. and it still faught after all that
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Jongo88 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:06 am

I tried a puller and gave up. I just used my 3 inch air cut off wheel and cut it on one side almost all the way to the shaft. Popped it with a chisel it the cut and it fell off.... Very easy this way...
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Horsehammerr » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:33 pm

Horsehammerr wrote:Will the ES3462 MOOG problem solver bent end outer tie rod end work ? I think I ordered the wrong part.

Does anyone know which tie rod end works and the part number ?
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Horsehammerr » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:47 pm

somebody has to know
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Horsehammerr » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:30 am

:panic: OK, I have finally finished my front end rebuild. Just to shorten this post , I will say that everything is new and higher quality than stock OEM GM stuff, except the center link is original. As stated before, my TBs are jacked to a 1 1/2 " front lift and the rear is lifted with 3 " over stock Daystar shackles for an even 1 1/2 " lift at the rear. My truck sits as dead level front to rear and side to side as anyone can measure. Now the problem : Before this rebuild of my steering, the alignment has always been a simple adjustment by my favorite shop. This shop has gone out of business and I can't locate the man who did my work. I have had my truck into two shops for a total of FIVE tries and neither shop can get caster, camber, or toe set right. :shrug: As far as anyone can find, everything is straight and true. What can I do ? The thing is a very uncomfortable drive, a little chase back and forth down the road.
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby _STUCKY » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:32 am

What control arm bushings did you use?

I'm of no use on answering your question, sorry.
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Horsehammerr » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:06 pm

_STUCKY wrote:What control arm bushings did you use?

I'm of no use on answering your question, sorry.

Energy Suspension 3.5207R Gm 4WD Front Sway Bar $30.95 and MOOG K6418 Control arm bushing Kit $45.73 AutoPartsEXPRESS.com The sway bar bushings are Polyurethane , control arms are Thermoplastic , a lot stiffer than rubber but a little less binding than Poly. Oh ! by the way, I got out my trusty string line and torpedo level and adjusted my camber to dead plumb and my toe in to 1/4 " all for free and it drives like a dream. My whole problem before was finding a flat level slab to do this on. As far as the caster goes its as far as I can get it while keeping the camber plumb. Caster don't wear out tires , Camber and Toe are the Wear Mothers.
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby _STUCKY » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:44 pm

Horsehammerr wrote: Energy Suspension 3.5207R Gm 4WD Front Sway Bar $30.95


Weird, the part number I put on was 3.5207G. It's black greasable bushings. I'm guessing yours are red non greasable?

Horsehammerr wrote: MOOG K6418 Control arm bushing Kit


Did this have everything needed?
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Horsehammerr » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:29 am

_STUCKY wrote:
Horsehammerr wrote: Energy Suspension 3.5207R Gm 4WD Front Sway Bar $30.95


Weird, the part number I put on was 3.5207G. It's black greasable bushings. I'm guessing yours are red non greasable?

Horsehammerr wrote: MOOG K6418 Control arm bushing Kit


Did this have everything needed?

The sway bar set is red greasable and came with new complete End Links. The control arm bushing kit is for upper arms and comes with complete bushing inserts for both sides. Nice firm positive replacements. I did not mess with the lowers since they showed no sign of wear or looseness. MOOG does have Thermoplastic bushings for lowers also if you think you need to change those too. These uppers really firmed up my front control, I guess my old bushings were more shot than I thought. I changed them because they were mashed to one side and could be moved side to side.
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby _STUCKY » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:52 am

Well I'm glad I asked, because I want to do all the control arm bushings. The uppers are what needs replaced, but I'd rather do them all and be done with it. Do you happen to know the part number for the lowers? I will be goooooogling it....

Also I found the uppers for a little cheaper on rockauto.com
http://www.rockauto.com/dbphp/x,catalog ... K6418.html

Edit: I'm not sure about this... Is this the matching Moog part number for the lowers? K6333
http://www.moog-suspension-parts.com/pr ... MOOG-K6333
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby killian96ss » Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:12 am

Your toe in should not be more than 1/8" total. 1/4" will accelerate tire wear because your basically dragging the front tires when you use too much toe in. Excessive caster does cause tire wear when turning. The inside and outside edges of the tire get worn down as the tire rolls over in a turn.

The ES bushings for the s-series have a design flaw and will cause excessive front end wear (especially the front tires) as the upper control arms move around during normal driving and because they are so loose, they can't maintain alignment settings. I had ES upper control arm bushings on my 01 Crew Cab and my 88 S10 blazer and both failed in less than a year and had to be replaced with MOOG thermoplastic (bonded) bushings which are still going strong. The problem with the ES upper control arm bushings is that they do not use bonded or press fit bushings, instead they make you reuse the upper shells which their bushings slide into. This loose fit only gets worse as the bushings break in and wear from normal use. The upper control arm bushings from ES are the only bushings they have that have problems like this. The rest of their bushings come with new shells and work great. I highly recommend the MOOG thermoplastic bushings when the ES bushings fail!

Steve
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby _STUCKY » Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:23 am

Ahh, yes, but what is the part number for the Moog lowers to match the Moog Thermoplastic uppers?
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby killian96ss » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:10 pm

The ES lower control arm bushings are good and don't have any design flaws. That's what I'm running with the MOOG uppers.

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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby _STUCKY » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:40 pm

So I need to order Moog part # K6418 for the uppers and order Energy Suspension part # 33119 for the lowers and only use half of the Energy Suspension kit? Or can the lowers be ordered separately?
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby killian96ss » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:15 pm

I would try to order the lower ES bushings without the uppers. I don't know if the stores carry them separate, but if not you should be able to order them directly from ES. Does MOOG make the lowers in thermoplastic? I know they make the standard rubber bushings for the lower, but I've never checked for the nice ones. The thermoplastic bushings are a good compromise between hard polyurethane and soft rubber. IIRC I ordered the MOOG's from Rock Auto since they usually have the best prices.

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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby _STUCKY » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:52 pm

I cannot find the Moog lowers in Thermoplastic.

The part # for the Energy Suspension lowers is 3.3167g for black.

I'll be ordering first thing in the morning. My google-fu is worn out...
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby killian96ss » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:50 am

Horsehammerr wrote:Now the problem : Before this rebuild of my steering, the alignment has always been a simple adjustment by my favorite shop. This shop has gone out of business and I can't locate the man who did my work. I have had my truck into two shops for a total of FIVE tries and neither shop can get caster, camber, or toe set right. :shrug: As far as anyone can find, everything is straight and true. What can I do ? The thing is a very uncomfortable drive, a little chase back and forth down the road.

What were the reasons those shops couldn't set your alignment? As far as I can tell, you didn't replace anything that would cause this kind of problem unless you put the upper arms back on the wrong sides?

Steve
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby HenryJ » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:57 am

Is it possible that the torsion bars are cranked too far? There is not enough adjustment to correct camber and caster if the torsion bars are adjusted all the way down. This is why some of the kits use new , longer upper a-arms to correct the condition.

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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Horsehammerr » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:59 am

killian96ss wrote:
Horsehammerr wrote:Now the problem : Before this rebuild of my steering, the alignment has always been a simple adjustment by my favorite shop. This shop has gone out of business and I can't locate the man who did my work. I have had my truck into two shops for a total of FIVE tries and neither shop can get caster, camber, or toe set right. :shrug: As far as anyone can find, everything is straight and true. What can I do ? The thing is a very uncomfortable drive, a little chase back and forth down the road.

What were the reasons those shops couldn't set your alignment? As far as I can tell, you didn't replace anything that would cause this kind of problem unless you put the upper arms back on the wrong sides?

Steve
Everything replaced in correct position. Torsion bars have been at the exact same position for the past four years and no problem with alignment in the past. Only thing different is everything new . I finely got out my string line and level and did the old DIY alignment I've done for years. my past goes at this were done on shim type upper control arms, they are a lot more exacting and accurate in the home shop. Those D**N cams on bolts are very touchy and you get real familiar with getting under the truck and back out , over and over. The caster is the hardest to get right and keep camber at 0 degrees. The toe setting is pretty tough with homemade twist and slide plates but , I'm there now and very satisfied.
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby adrenalnjunky » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:06 am

Horsehammerr/Killian,

How difficult was it to install the bushings?

I've got vague steering issues - my truck builds up a "death wobble"/squirmy feel at speed, and the shocks have gone all floaty on me. I've got new shocks ordered, and the Moog K6418 kit on the way as well.

Once I get these all installed, I have a plan to replace my steering rag-joint too.
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby adrenalnjunky » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:10 am

re: the alignment shop issues

try to find a shop that specializes in bigger vehicles maybe - I've found normal tire/wheel places have only minimally trained folks that rely on the newer laser machines, and don't really know problem solving if a vehicle comes to them that is too far out of tolerance.

My local place has been in business since the 50's, and the 2 alignment guys have both been there at least 20 years each. They specialize in being able to do busses, RV's, semis, lifted 4x4's that sort of thing, but they have no issues doing passenger vehicles either.
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby killian96ss » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:37 pm

adrenalnjunky wrote:Horsehammerr/Killian,

How difficult was it to install the bushings?

I've got vague steering issues - my truck builds up a "death wobble"/squirmy feel at speed, and the shocks have gone all floaty on me. I've got new shocks ordered, and the Moog K6418 kit on the way as well.

Once I get these all installed, I have a plan to replace my steering rag-joint too.

It's not too hard to do the bushings if you have the right tools. I use a ball joint c-clamp tool along with some of the adapters and a few large sockets. You can also use a shop press or an arbor press of you have the right adapters or improvise with sockets.
Once you have pressed the old bushings and shells out, take some sandpaper and smooth out the holes before pressing new ones in. You can also coat the outside of the shells with grease to makes them slide in easier.
Your "death wobble" is probably loose steering components like tie rods, idler arm, pitman arm, and ball joints, but worn out, out of balance, or out of round tires can also cause the same problem. My 05 ZR2 which now has 150k miles and all the stock steering parts is starting to get loose and wobbly also. I need to do a complete front end rebuild soon like I just did on my 88 S10 Blazer, oh what fun!
When you replace the rag joint, I would upgrade to a needle bearing u-joint with a vibration reducer. Borgeson makes some very nice u-joints as does Flaming River.

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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby adrenalnjunky » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:16 pm

Ok- so I started doing the "quick" stuff today.

New rear shocks went in, no issues.

took the front wheels off to inspect the a-arm and steering situation. I noticed several issues:

I can see splines (~3/8") between my pittman arm and the box. The retaining nut is still on the end of the shaft - is that normal? I see play at the drag-link -pittman interface, and at the idler. My rod ends all look to be pretty tight.

My upper control bushings are shredded on both sides - I have the Moog kit on hand for replacing them.

Most perplexing - I can see where the swaybar has been moving laterally about an inch or inch and a half. there's wear marks on the outboard side of the drivers side bushing. What causes this?

Also - I found blown CV boots on the passenger side (3rd time for that side in 130K miles) - I'll be replacing the whole CV axle in this process.

Anything I need to know about when I break the upper balljoint loose? do I need a jack under the lower arm?

Also - are the MOOG idler and pittman that much better than the Orielly's or Advance house brands? at about 2/3 the price, the house brands look pretty appealing right now, with lifetime warranty.
Thanks, CHRIS
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby F9K9 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:05 pm

adrenalnjunky wrote:........Most perplexing - I can see where the swaybar has been moving laterally about an inch or inch and a half. there's wear marks on the outboard side of the drivers side bushing. What causes this?.......
Have you replaced them before? It's pretty normal. I would do the Daystar kit if, it is still available.


adrenalnjunky wrote:...............Also - are the MOOG idler and pittman that much better than the Orielly's or Advance house brands? at about 2/3 the price, the house brands look pretty appealing right now, with lifetime warranty.
Moog has gone downhill fast recently. While, I can't tell you about the "house" parts, I wouldn't worry about having to stick with Moog. Rockauto offers several different companies for the various parts that they carry.
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby killian96ss » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:41 pm

A good alternative to MOOG problem solver parts is Raybestos professional grade which is made by Spicer. They are not any cheaper, but they do have an updated internal design and use nice blue polyurethane boots which last much longer than regular rubber boots. Stay away from the parts store brand chassis parts. They are complete junk!

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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby _STUCKY » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:25 am

I ordered the sway bar bushings from synergy just a couple months ago.

http://www.shop.synergyoffroad.com/Ener ... 35207G.htm

I know it can be found cheaper than here, but I ordered it from these guys since they support the s10 platform and I'd love to see them in business for years to come.

As far as the idler and pitman arms go, I also know that they can had a lot cheaper online than locally, but I wanted the extra security of being able to go in the store and say I want another one of these piles of crap. I got the lifetime warranty Moog stuff.
:2:
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Horsehammerr » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:17 pm

Problem. Tried to use four wheel today but , no front wheel action. Put it up on lift and raised the front and rear by the suspension and tried 4 wheel drive Hi & Low. Can hear actuator click in and drive shaft turns but no axle action. I did remove the actuator to replace the axle seal, could I have reassembled out of order and caused this malfunction ? If so can someone post a diagram of correct assembly order ? Or could there be some other problem ?
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby HenryJ » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:24 am

Horsehammerr wrote:...I did remove the actuator to replace the axle seal, could I have reassembled out of order and caused this malfunction ?
Bingo.
Yes. You probably did not properly engage the actuator with the shift fork mechanism. It will activate the switch for the light , but not move the shift fork. (been there, done that)
Take it off, move the shift fork to line it up properly and reinstall.

BTW, I never did find any pictures of this process when I did one.

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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby _STUCKY » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:58 am

HenryJ wrote:BTW, I never did find any pictures of this process when I did one.


Translation: take pictures please :lol:
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby HenryJ » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:16 am

_STUCKY wrote:
HenryJ wrote:BTW, I never did find any pictures of this process when I did one.


Translation: take pictures please :lol:

Exactly! :rock:

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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Lil-j » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:02 pm

Jumping in here. My truck is the LS crew, I've got a laundry list of things I want to get done this spring/summer including the sway bar bushings and all four control arm bushings.
I see a kit listed in this thread and done some searching. There are two sizes listed for the sway bar, 28mm and 33mm. How do I know which size I have?
Can you please recommend bushings for the sway bar and control arms?
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby okaussie » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:42 am

Mine is a 2002 CC and has 33mm. Replaced all the bushings and had to replace the control arm bushings a second time due to wear. They were the MOOG variety with a lifetime warranty.

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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Lil-j » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:03 pm

What trim package is your truck? Mine is an LS
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Lil-j » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:15 pm

When you did the sway bar bushings, did you have to support the control arms with spindle jacks if you did it on a lift? Or did you do it on the ground? How did you you do it? I'm just trying to find out the procedure of how to do this.
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby HenryJ » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:34 am

The should be installed on a level surface with the weight on the suspension. It is not difficult to do with the truck on the ground. With the disconnects, I regularly disassembles the links. Throw down a small tarp and slide under the front.

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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby okaussie » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:55 am

I, too, did it on the ground. Did it on my driveway and replaced all the bushings at once. Kind of hard doing it by yourself when putting up the sway bar. It can be done..
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby Lil-j » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:48 pm

Thanks fellas. What control arm bushings and sway arm bushings/kit did you use? Can you post links?
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Re: Complete New Front End ( mostly)

Postby HenryJ » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:54 pm


"Speed doesn't kill, suddenly becoming stationary does." - Richard Hammond
"Speed is just a matter of Money - How fast do YOU want to go?"-Mechanic from Mad Max-
If at first you don't succeed - Don't take up Skydiving!
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