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When to use tubular A-arms

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When to use tubular A-arms Empty When to use tubular A-arms

Post by Iggy Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:57 pm

I did not want to high jack the existing thread on who uses what tubular A-arm.  My question is more of when is the upgrade to a tubular A-arm worth it, and when should one stay with the stock units.

As you know I am new here, I purchased a 1975 Laguna in late September (2017) and stored it for the winter.  After some lengthy discussions with my wife on which vehicle to work on and which to drive (I have a 1978 Chevy C20 Camper Special Silverado) we decided to keep the Camper Special on the road and start with the Laguna.  My fist project this spring will be replacing the leaky gaskets and rotted exhaust on the C20, then I can drive that to the local meets while I work on the Laguna.

Back to the suspension question.  My plans for the Laguna are basically a little more than stock - restomod if you will.  A 10:1 383 with aluminum heads and hydraulic roller cam, TH200-4R trans and 3.73's out back.  The drivetrain I pretty much have figured out and only need pistons/rings to complete the short block.  What I want when done is a car that looks pretty much stock, has enough power to get out of it's own way and a suspension that handles better than average.  I have already picked up a set of 1969 15x8 Corvette Rally wheels and plan on putting a 255/60R15 tire on them, I also plan on upgrading the rear control arms to Global West system so the rear suspension will move like it was intended to without binding.  I will also run a 1-1/4" front sway bar and 7/8" rear.

On the front, I am not sure upgrading to tubular A-arms is worth the expanse on what I am doing, but am open to suggestions and opinions.  I know the front suspension on the 1973-1977 A-Bodies is the old tried and true suspension used on 2nd gen F-Bodies and was the design basically stolen from the C-2/C-3 Corvettes so in stock form is no slouch!  I also realize that tubular A-arms are stiffer (flex less) than the stamped steel stock A-arms therefore hold the intended geometry better.  I personally do like to drive a car to its limits and have owned Corvettes and even an early Trans Am, but was always amazed at how well my 1977 Monte Carlo handled for being such a big car, and still rode much nicer than the Corvettes or Trans Ams.  The reason for a Laguna is I am getting too old to get in and out of a Corvette (touch of arthritis) and the swivel buckets make getting in and out very easy!

Now that you have a pretty good background on the direction I am headed, what I would like to know is at what performance level (handling) is it a benefit to step up to tubular A-arms?  I know for the 1972 and earlier A-Bodies and 1978 -1987 G-Bodies they benefit even in stock form because of their lousy geometry - which is why there is a lot more offerings for those cars.  I am not going with nor am planning on using larger diameter rims as I like the look of the Rallies on the Laguna and will not be road racing it.  At a minimum I would use stiffer bushings, and can guarantee it will be driven more like a Corvette than a family sedan!
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Post by JF74chevelle Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:19 pm

Iggy wrote:I did not want to high jack the existing thread on who uses what tubular A-arm.  My question is more of when is the upgrade to a tubular A-arm worth it, and when should one stay with the stock units.

As you know I am new here, I purchased a 1975 Laguna in late September (2017) and stored it for the winter.  After some lengthy discussions with my wife on which vehicle to work on and which to drive (I have a 1978 Chevy C20 Camper Special Silverado) we decided to keep the Camper Special on the road and start with the Laguna.  My fist project this spring will be replacing the leaky gaskets and rotted exhaust on the C20, then I can drive that to the local meets while I work on the Laguna.

Back to the suspension question.  My plans for the Laguna are basically a little more than stock - restomod if you will.  A 10:1 383 with aluminum heads and hydraulic roller cam, TH200-4R trans and 3.73's out back.  The drivetrain I pretty much have figured out and only need pistons/rings to complete the short block.  What I want when done is a car that looks pretty much stock, has enough power to get out of it's own way and a suspension that handles better than average.  I have already picked up a set of 1969 15x8 Corvette Rally wheels and plan on putting a 255/60R15 tire on them, I also plan on upgrading the rear control arms to Global West system so the rear suspension will move like it was intended to without binding.  I will also run a 1-1/4" front sway bar and 7/8" rear.

On the front, I am not sure upgrading to tubular A-arms is worth the expanse on what I am doing, but am open to suggestions and opinions.  I know the front suspension on the 1973-1977 A-Bodies is the old tried and true suspension used on 2nd gen F-Bodies and was the design basically stolen from the C-2/C-3 Corvettes so in stock form is no slouch!  I also realize that tubular A-arms are stiffer (flex less) than the stamped steel stock A-arms therefore hold the intended geometry better.  I personally do like to drive a car to its limits and have owned Corvettes and even an early Trans Am, but was always amazed at how well my 1977 Monte Carlo handled for being such a big car, and still rode much nicer than the Corvettes or Trans Ams.  The reason for a Laguna is I am getting too old to get in and out of a Corvette (touch of arthritis) and the swivel buckets make getting in and out very easy!

Now that you have a pretty good background on the direction I am headed, what I would like to know is at what performance level (handling) is it a benefit to step up to tubular A-arms?  I know for the 1972 and earlier A-Bodies and 1978 -1987 G-Bodies they benefit even in stock form because of their lousy geometry - which is why there is a lot more offerings for those cars.  I am not going with nor am planning on using larger diameter rims as I like the look of the Rallies on the Laguna and will not be road racing it.  At a minimum I would use stiffer bushings, and can guarantee it will be driven more like a Corvette than a family sedan!

I have spoke to a few guys on this subject and that is why I decided to keep the stock control arms. Even if you are going to be doing pro-touring you could still keep these arms and they’ll be great. I spoke to Sean the guy that build the bank robber special Chevelle and he uses his stock control arms along with global west offset shafts. And that is the route that I decided to go with.
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Post by bracketchev1221 Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:04 am

Iggy wrote:I did not want to high jack the existing thread on who uses what tubular A-arm.  My question is more of when is the upgrade to a tubular A-arm worth it, and when should one stay with the stock units.

As you know I am new here, I purchased a 1975 Laguna in late September (2017) and stored it for the winter.  After some lengthy discussions with my wife on which vehicle to work on and which to drive (I have a 1978 Chevy C20 Camper Special Silverado) we decided to keep the Camper Special on the road and start with the Laguna.  My fist project this spring will be replacing the leaky gaskets and rotted exhaust on the C20, then I can drive that to the local meets while I work on the Laguna.

Back to the suspension question.  My plans for the Laguna are basically a little more than stock - restomod if you will.  A 10:1 383 with aluminum heads and hydraulic roller cam, TH200-4R trans and 3.73's out back.  The drivetrain I pretty much have figured out and only need pistons/rings to complete the short block.  What I want when done is a car that looks pretty much stock, has enough power to get out of it's own way and a suspension that handles better than average.  I have already picked up a set of 1969 15x8 Corvette Rally wheels and plan on putting a 255/60R15 tire on them, I also plan on upgrading the rear control arms to Global West system so the rear suspension will move like it was intended to without binding.  I will also run a 1-1/4" front sway bar and 7/8" rear.

On the front, I am not sure upgrading to tubular A-arms is worth the expanse on what I am doing, but am open to suggestions and opinions.  I know the front suspension on the 1973-1977 A-Bodies is the old tried and true suspension used on 2nd gen F-Bodies and was the design basically stolen from the C-2/C-3 Corvettes so in stock form is no slouch!  I also realize that tubular A-arms are stiffer (flex less) than the stamped steel stock A-arms therefore hold the intended geometry better.  I personally do like to drive a car to its limits and have owned Corvettes and even an early Trans Am, but was always amazed at how well my 1977 Monte Carlo handled for being such a big car, and still rode much nicer than the Corvettes or Trans Ams.  The reason for a Laguna is I am getting too old to get in and out of a Corvette (touch of arthritis) and the swivel buckets make getting in and out very easy!

Now that you have a pretty good background on the direction I am headed, what I would like to know is at what performance level (handling) is it a benefit to step up to tubular A-arms?  I know for the 1972 and earlier A-Bodies and 1978 -1987 G-Bodies they benefit even in stock form because of their lousy geometry - which is why there is a lot more offerings for those cars.  I am not going with nor am planning on using larger diameter rims as I like the look of the Rallies on the Laguna and will not be road racing it.  At a minimum I would use stiffer bushings, and can guarantee it will be driven more like a Corvette than a family sedan!

For what you want to do, the stock arms are fine. The stock arms are a very stout and well designed piece. You will have more roll from the 255/60 sidewalls than control arm deflection. Like you said, put a better bushing in, and that will eliminate the bushing deflection. That will be all the suspension help they will need.
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Post by Iggy Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:03 am

Thank you for the responses, I was pretty sure that is the route that I needed to go - stock units. I know aftermarket companies are in the business of selling parts and always hype their product over stock units. That is why I wanted your opinions.
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Post by bracketchev1221 Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:15 am

http://www.cecilcountyphotos.com/racing-photo-gallery/2017-photos---coming-soon/9302017/?image=270e262407bef24d4317c59ca0a5bc56#photo=270e262407bef24d4317c59ca0a5bc56

Shhhh!!!!
This is stock control arms with 20 year old rubber bushings!!!
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Post by TrendSetter Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:59 pm

i would only get tubular arms if you are on a serious weight reduction program or you need the space for bigger wheels.
i had some SPC lowers and uppers on my s10 and the uppers were nice but the lowers were a little bit disappointing.
I had TRZ 2g camaro lowers on my old 73 chevelle and those are pretty nice and very light but not really intended for driving around on the street.

i think your best bet is stock arms with new bushings depending on your goals and budget. stock rubber, poly, or del-a-lum.

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