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Control Arms... You Can Do It!

Discussion in 'Marauder' started by musclemerc, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. musclemerc

    musclemerc Member Established Member

    Messages:
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    Dec 12, 2009
    Location:
    ms
    The weather has been perfect lately here in the South, temps have been in the mid 70s~low 80s. This is ideal weather to do some welding/fabrication so I figured I would do a "How To" for building a set of upper/lower control arms.

    Before I start I just want to be clear this is not a for sale thread, nor is it intended to bash any control arms currently offered by any vendor on this site. With that said here we go.

    I personally believe the stock rubber bushin is the "best" bushin for our 4300lb cars, I also believe they provide a superior ride over any other bushin offered by current aftermarket control arms, with the exclusion of Zack&Macs tubular control arms with the improved pinion angle. They used the stock rubber bushins and unfortunately are not and have not been available for years. This how to will show some of you how to build your own fully boxed in control arms.

    I want to build these using tools anyone can easily find so affordability is gonna be the main point of this thread. Lately I picked up a cheap and barely used Harbor Freight Mig 151 from a guy on Craigs list. I traded some of my old unsed tools for this welder so it didnt cost me anything. I do own both a Lincoln 180 and a Lincoln Weldpak 100. I will not be using either of my Lincoln welders to make these parts. Here is the Mig 151
    IMG_0458.jpg

    Im using a gas mix thats 75%Argon/25%CO2. I DO NOT advise anyone to attempt welding anything unless your using a good gas for shilelding. Innershield welding wire is useless for strength and with all the spatter you wont have to cleanup its well worth using the gas mix.

    I started with the upper control arms because they take a little more fabrication to make them work. You will need a length of 3/4"wide/2mm thick steel stock to box in the bushin area. Clamp it in place then bend it to fit the bushin area. You will want to place them like I did in the pic below
    IMG_0431.jpg

    After you get the stock bent up you will need to remove 3mm from the backbone of one of the stock control arms, use a grinder, sawzall, jigsaw, or whatever you got to cut a straight line. I used a sawzall to make my cuts
    IMG_0432.jpg

    Put the assembly together and check for a good tight fit
    IMG_0433.jpg

    Time to head to the welding table and get the steel stock welded from the inside
    IMG_0437.jpg

    Now you can clamp and weld up the backbone
    IMG_0438.jpg

    IMG_0440.jpg

    I like to fill the entire bushin area in with weld for aestetics. It also adds strength to this area. Make sure you build your welds starting from the low area then blend them up on both sides so when you grind the area down you dont end up with gaps in the weld
    IMG_0444.jpg

    Some of you were probably wondering what the holes were for. The upper control arm unlike the lower is hollow when you put the two together. I weld studs inplace to provide additional strength.
    IMG_0445.jpg

    Here are the studs welded inplace
    IMG_0446.jpg

    Time to head to the shop to do some gringing. I smooth the entire bushin area in and leave the weld down the backbone inplace
    IMG_0452.jpg

    Here is what they look like after a few passes with the wire wheel to prep them for primer
    043-1.jpg

    I like to put a few coats of steel primer on the control arm before installing the bushins, then I paint them after the bushin install. This will keep all the interior/exterior welds coated and protect them from rust.
    IMG_0456.jpg

    I have a bench top shop press but I want to build these with the same tools many of you would use. Im using a cap for galvanized 1-1/2" pipe to drive the bushins inplace. This will ensure you will not damage the bushin during installation
    IMG_0453.jpg

    I will post up a few pics of them when theyre all painted up. Im using Rustoleum Industrial paint for the final coat.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  2. musclemerc

    musclemerc Member Established Member

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    Reserved for the lower CA build
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  3. abdelillo

    abdelillo New Member

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    Columbia, tn
    What else have you done? What do you know about boxing front control of similar cars of 80 and 90? I'm wondering because I know they flex and I'm building a autocross truck. Idk lmk your input and God bless you

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk
     
  4. jmsa540

    jmsa540 Well-Known Member Established Member

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    Fort Benning, GA
    School me, why not just replace the ca's with some Sparta or metco's instead of welding some together?
     
  5. offroadkarter

    offroadkarter Professional S***poster Established Member

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    This is a cheaper, more labor intensive alternative. Thats all...
     
  6. jmsa540

    jmsa540 Well-Known Member Established Member

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    Got it, thanks!
     
  7. musclemerc

    musclemerc Member Established Member

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    Not just a cheaper alternative.
    These cars are heavy 4000 plus lbs. Urethane bushings are prone to yeild a harsh ride. The stock rubber bushings (to me) provide the best ride quality.
     

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