Baffling suspension issue - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 19, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Baffling suspension issue

Hi guys. It's been a while since I've posed but I still follow threads. I have a problem that is baffling us. This is a bit long so please bear with me.

Car is a 69 with a ZZ430 (350), TKO 600, Baer 13" Track discs on all 4. I've gone through a few suspension changes over the years and am pretty familiar with how things work. Current front setup is Ride Tech upper and lower control arms and coilovers, L&H Customs tall spindles and steering arms (no longer in business, I think). Lee Engineering steering box. Hotchkis lowering springs rear. Wheels are 8 x 17 Billet Specialties with 235/50x17 Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position tires all around. Nice sticky tire.
This setup has been on the car for several years now with no issues. Handles well, pretty neutral. Sits pretty low so I have to be real careful on speed bumps. My headers show flat spots from that.

My issue: a few weeks ago I put the car on my rack and changed the oil and lubed the fittings. All normal. But when I lowered the. car back down and took it for a drive, the toe-in had changed drastically. There was so much toe-in that the tires squealed and smoked going in a straight line! I measured the tire temps with a pyrometer and the outside edge of the fronts were over 180F anfter a short drive. I could smell the rubber burning. Also the car sat a bit higher in the front (maybe 1/2 inch). I put it back up onto track and tried to find something that moved. Nada, nothing. Put a 3 foot pry bar on everything to try and find some movement. Nothing. Tightened everything I could find but nothing was loose. I re-adjusted the toe-in just to see what would happen. The adjustment needed to go from severe toe-in to somewhat straight is less that a turn on the sleeves so it doesn't take much. I lowered the car back down and drove it. All is well again. Drives great. Oh boy! Car is still about 1/4 inch higher that before 9measuring from grade to the front fender lips) but still ok.I scratch my head and leave it alone and just drive it. Still can't figure out how raising the car on the lift would affect anything. It's been on that lift dozens of times.

Driving it around all seemed normal again until yesterday. I pulled out of our local grocery store parking lot turned left with light acceleration. I felt the car kinda twitch a bit and it felt like the front end lifted a bit. The toe-in changed back to severe toe-in, the tires are stealing again and the self-centering for the steering went away. I
drove it home and in the garage the toe-in was quite visible and the ride height increase was evident. (1/2 inch at the fender lips). So I put it back on the rack again. This time I loosened everything up. Lowered the spring adjusters so the springs were loose and re-centered them. I retightened everything again and reset the toe-in. Again it is now driving great. But what is changing? I don't have confidence to take it anywhere and I drive this car to load distance events.

I've bought new tie rod ends and new idler arm just out of frustration. The existing ones are only 7-8 years old but I'm out of ideas of what to change. When it changes it is not subtle. It is either good or very bad; no in between. The fact that the ride height increases when this happens is a clue, but not sure of what. I have looked closely at the springs pockets, frame welds, and anything else that is connected.

I've got the new parts so I'll be putting them in this week but I have zero confidence that that will change what's happening.

Any thoughts?

Thanks for taking the time!!

Joe

Joe G

69 Coupe; ZZ430; TKO600; 3.55 posi; 13" Baer 4 wheel discs; 17" Billet Specialties wheels; Hotchkis/Koni rear; Ride Tech front; Classic AutoAir AC and power windows cuz I'm old and lazy!
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 19, 06:07 PM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

I would take a long hard look at those spindles and steering arms. Those guys are out of business for good reason imho.

Don

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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 19, 06:11 PM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

Toe changes with ride height. I think you've got a bad shock. When on the lift the front
end goes to full droop extending the shocks. If either shock is stuck so to speak you
will experience your situation.
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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 19, 07:27 PM
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That’s scary, I wouldn’t drive until I found what broke bent or fell off. 😮

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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 19, 08:35 PM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

I have has 2 cars that had their shocks stick after raising them on a lift. Both needed new shocks. Both has absolutely no suspension movement, the ride height was much higher.
My first thought was a tie rod adjuster is stripped.
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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 19, 09:19 PM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

Good suggestions on the shocks and I wouldn't have thought about a stripped tie rod sleeve until I looked under the and could tell it had moved.

I'd be looking at the upper control arm mounting bolts and nuts to be sure they are tight and no shims fell out. Check the upper and lower bushings too. I doubt it has anything to do with the spindles but check the nuts on those as well.

Jeff
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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 05:18 AM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

L&H spindle failure here. Sounds a little familiar. Raised car and the insert popped out....

Edit. Added link to correct thread:

https://www.pro-touring.com/threads/...pindle+failure

Don

1969 Camaro LSA 6L90E AME subframe and IRS
1969 Camaro vert LS3 4L65E Ridetech level 2 - sold
1959 El Camino project
1969 Mustang Sportsroof project
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Last edited by dhutton; Oct 8th, 19 at 07:17 AM.
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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

Thanks. I had read your post about the failure shortly after I bought these spindles from L & H. I added a larger washer on the top ball joint that covers the insert to prevent just that event. I did remove the spindles and arms to inspect them closely. They still look like new with no play anywhere.
The spindles were my first "suspect". I didn't state this in my original post but during the process I replaced the LH spindles with Ride Tech's 2 inch dropped tall spindles. They didn't work out on my car. Too low. Springs cranked up all the way to get it off the ground. And the tie rod ends hit the tires. Ride Tech said my tires were too wide! 235 is too wide?
Anyway that experiment didn't fix it either so the LH went back on. They do not seem to be the cause anyway.

Might put the stock spindles back on as a test.....

Thanks again

Joe G

69 Coupe; ZZ430; TKO600; 3.55 posi; 13" Baer 4 wheel discs; 17" Billet Specialties wheels; Hotchkis/Koni rear; Ride Tech front; Classic AutoAir AC and power windows cuz I'm old and lazy!
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

I've checked the tie rod sleeve. It's good. It's the Hotchkis billet one so it's pretty beefy. And it's solidly on the tie rod ends.
Shocks were on my suspect list as well but they move freely? That would explain a lot if they are sticking intermittently I guess? I'll check them again off the car.

Control arms have been tightened and retightened. Nothing there either.

Thanks for the tips!

Keep them coming please.

Joe
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Joe G

69 Coupe; ZZ430; TKO600; 3.55 posi; 13" Baer 4 wheel discs; 17" Billet Specialties wheels; Hotchkis/Koni rear; Ride Tech front; Classic AutoAir AC and power windows cuz I'm old and lazy!
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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 02:20 PM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

When tightening the control arm bolts the car needs to be sitting on the tires at ride height.

Al

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post #11 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 06:55 PM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by allanjs View Post
When tightening the control arm bolts the car needs to be sitting on the tires at ride height.
I wasn't real clear in my post but the bolts I was referring to are the frame to control arm where the shims go. They are easier to tighten with the weight off. I can't remember a failure from tightening them with weight off that I could attribute to the method. Most of the cars I did alignments on with set ups like the first gen Camaro were tightened with the weight on the wheels. None of the GM trucks were ever tightened with the weight on. I've had shim packs fall out of both but figured it was from leaving the bolts loose. IMO it doesn't matter as long as you get them tight.

Jeff
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post #12 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 07:04 PM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by yellow69RS View Post
I wasn't real clear in my post but the bolts I was referring to are the frame to control arm where the shims go. They are easier to tighten with the weight off. I can't remember a failure from tightening them with weight off that I could attribute to the method. Most of the cars I did alignments on with set ups like the first gen Camaro were tightened with the weight on the wheels. None of the GM trucks were ever tightened with the weight on. I've had shim packs fall out of both but figured it was from leaving the bolts loose. IMO it doesn't matter as long as you get them tight.

Jeff
Jeff, I wasn't referring to the control arm shim bolts but rather the end (bushing) bolts on the upper
arms and the lower arms to frame (bushing) bolts. I think that is what the OP was talking about when
he said he's tightened and retightened them.

Al

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post #13 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 07:28 PM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by allanjs View Post
Jeff, I wasn't referring to the control arm shim bolts but rather the end (bushing) bolts on the upper
arms and the lower arms to frame (bushing) bolts. I think that is what the OP was talking about when
he said he's tightened and retightened them.
I read it the other way. I guess we will have to see if he checks in and let's us know. Virtual Ice cream is on me if it's the bushing bolts/nuts.

Jeff
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post #14 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 19, 07:35 PM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by yellow69RS View Post
I read it the other way. I guess we will have to see if he checks in and let's us know. Virtual Ice cream is on me if it's the bushing bolts/nuts.

Jeff
LOL !!
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post #15 of 58 (permalink) Old Oct 9th, 19, 07:55 AM
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Re: Baffling suspension issue

Ok, so just to be clear, the prevailing theory here is that a 1/2 inch change in ride height due to a stuck shock introduced so much bump steer induced toe that the tires were burning. Thatís some crazy high bump steer right there imho. I thought those spindles and steering arms were bump steer optimized....

Did you trim the shock towers/spring pockets to accommodate the Ridetech coilovers? Clearance is very tight and the springs may now be rubbing or getting hung up.

Don

1969 Camaro LSA 6L90E AME subframe and IRS
1969 Camaro vert LS3 4L65E Ridetech level 2 - sold
1959 El Camino project
1969 Mustang Sportsroof project
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