1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Advice on rebuilding control arms

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering & Brakes' started by thecantaloupeman, May 20, 2019.

  1. thecantaloupeman

    thecantaloupeman Member

    Age:
    18
    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Location:
    US
    First Name:
    Dawson
    Truck Year:
    1978
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    350
    Right now I need two major repairs done before I can drive my truck again as a daily. The gas tank filler hose is leaking on both tanks, and my front control arms and bushings are bad and need rebuilt. The shop wants 522 for upper and 733 for lower control arm rebuild. I really trust this shop and enjoy giving them business, but I have very limited funds and can't help but wonder if it is better to learn to do it myself. Is control arm rebuilding a difficult feat? Is it more wise to spend money to get the fuel leak checked out? Should I fix the fuel leak myself and have them do the control arms? I just dont want to do something wrong which could put me in danger while driving especially since I have no experience and if the control arms and bushings were put on wrong by myself I could put myself in danger. What is your advice? Thanks.
     
  2. 75gmck25

    75gmck25 Full Access Member

    Posts:
    547
    Likes Received:
    220
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Location:
    VA
    First Name:
    Bruce
    Truck Year:
    1975
    Truck Model:
    K25
    Engine Size:
    5.7
    Its hard to tell what they will do as part of a "rebuild," but take a look at parts prices from Rock Auto https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog...50cid+v8,1032129,suspension,control+arm,10401.

    For example, it looks like a complete Delco lower control arm is about $90, so $180 total. The rest of the work is labor, and its a straightforward job except for working with the front springs. You may also need a spring compressor, but you can probably borrow it from Autozone. In general, suspension work is dirty and requires jacks, a breaker bar, and good torque wrench, but there is definitely no rocket science involved. Just follow the directions and make sure its all torqued down and has the safety clips/cotters.

    I have not heard of this supplier, but this complete front end kit may be a good deal if you want to do a complete job on your front end. https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=5735010&cc=1032129&jsn=10609

    Bruce
     
    1987 GMC Jimmy likes this.
  3. animal

    animal Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    3,395
    Likes Received:
    698
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Georgia
    First Name:
    Lee
    Truck Year:
    1986
    Truck Model:
    c10 silverado
    Engine Size:
    350
    You can find new control arms on ebay for around $120 to $150 per set for uppers and lowers. Plain rubber bushings and such but then it's just remove and replace. Couple of hrs. That's in the event you don't want to get into removing and replacing the control arm bushings.
     
  4. C10MixMaster

    C10MixMaster Member

    Posts:
    44
    Likes Received:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Location:
    Kingman AZ
    First Name:
    Ben
    Truck Year:
    1977
    Truck Model:
    C10 BIG10
    Engine Size:
    350
    If you chose to do the work yourself use cation there is a lot of energy stored in the front springs. you can get seriously hurt if your not paying attention. you should probably have someone with experience walk you through it the first time.I would not consider lower control arms a beginner project. As for the fuel leak if it just a fuel hose that's a simple diy fix.
     
    HotRodPC likes this.
  5. thecantaloupeman

    thecantaloupeman Member

    Age:
    18
    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Location:
    US
    First Name:
    Dawson
    Truck Year:
    1978
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    350
    Well in order to just replace the control arms would I need to work with springs?

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  6. C10MixMaster

    C10MixMaster Member

    Posts:
    44
    Likes Received:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Location:
    Kingman AZ
    First Name:
    Ben
    Truck Year:
    1977
    Truck Model:
    C10 BIG10
    Engine Size:
    350
    yes the springs are seated on the lower control arms.
     
  7. HotRodPC

    HotRodPC Administrator Staff Member

    Posts:
    44,147
    Likes Received:
    3,690
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Location:
    OKC, OK
    First Name:
    HotRod
    Truck Year:
    85
    Truck Model:
    Silverado K10 to K20 Conversion
    Engine Size:
    6.2 to Gas???
    YES, Use caution with the springs. Don't let them scare you though. You can do this job if you're an ounce of mechanical skill. That's alot of cash IMO. I'd damn sure do it myself to save that money if it took me a whole weekend. You still oughta be able to get it done in 1 day in your driveway. Not to brag, cuz it's not worth bragging about, but just so you know that it can be done, I've done lower control arms without any spring compression tools. Set the frame on jackstands to hold it up, then I just use a floor jack and use the weight of the vehicle to slowly let the arm down, but I stay in front of the truck, not the side facing the wheel side. If that spring flys out of there, you don't want to get hit with it. Then you'll get the spring wedged in there and use the jack to take the lower control arm back up, paying attention to where the spring stop is in the control arm, so you might have to spin the spring a bit before you get to much tension on it.

    In fact, I'm going to be replacing my lower control arm and ball joint on my 84 C20 as soon as I get out to my dads to get the new/used control arm off of another truck. Really, it's not that hard. Just time consuming and a bit of common sense so you don't get hurt.
     
    85 CA SIERRA 1500 likes this.
  8. thecantaloupeman

    thecantaloupeman Member

    Age:
    18
    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Location:
    US
    First Name:
    Dawson
    Truck Year:
    1978
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    350
    Now as far as the procedure goes, do you know of any good videos that explain the process for this sort of truck/suspension design?

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  9. Craig 85

    Craig 85 Full Access Member

    Posts:
    1,554
    Likes Received:
    906
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2017
    Location:
    Grass Valley, CA
    First Name:
    Craig
    Truck Year:
    1985
    Truck Model:
    K30 SRW
    Engine Size:
    454/TH-400/NP205
    Here's a video on a C10 from Brothers Truck. You can rent a coil spring compressor from many auto parts stores. I had one similar to this.

    [​IMG]
     
    HotRodPC likes this.
  10. Bennyt

    Bennyt Junior Member

    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Location:
    Surprise
    First Name:
    Ben
    Truck Year:
    1977
    Truck Model:
    C10
    Engine Size:
    350
    Unless you are going to be painting them and detailing them you can save a lot of time rebuilding them on the truck instead of removing the arms.

    For the control arm bushings: You need a quality air hammer and various accessories and just drive one bushing out and a new one in one at a time. Once you get the technique down it only takes 15-20 minutes a bushing. 8 bushings about 2 hours.

    Ball joints can be done easily on the vehicle.

    Uppers unbolt from spindle, push up, grind rivets or unbolt and bolt new ones in.

    Lower arms need to be supported and you can use a ball joint press after you drive a fork to separate from spindle.

    It's been awhile but I have done full rebuilds on a driver in 3-4 hours on a car.

    Safety tip: if you do remove the lower arm using the floor jack method, I always use a a tie down strap on the Spring just in case it decides to pop out and go across the floor.

    I really only use a spring compressor if the suspension is detailed and looks pretty otherwise it just adds time.
     
  11. thecantaloupeman

    thecantaloupeman Member

    Age:
    18
    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Location:
    US
    First Name:
    Dawson
    Truck Year:
    1978
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    350
    So in other words the actual arm doesn't go bad, it's just the bushings? Do control arms rust out and go bad?[​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  12. Bennyt

    Bennyt Junior Member

    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Location:
    Surprise
    First Name:
    Ben
    Truck Year:
    1977
    Truck Model:
    C10
    Engine Size:
    350
    No, the arms rarely go bad, but after looking at the prices that others have quoted, I would definitely just buy new complete control arms. That would be cheaper than rebuilding. If you can do a brake job; you can swap arms. Tools are very minimal. Just use some caution around the spring.
     
  13. thecantaloupeman

    thecantaloupeman Member

    Age:
    18
    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Location:
    US
    First Name:
    Dawson
    Truck Year:
    1978
    Truck Model:
    C20 Silverado Camper Special
    Engine Size:
    350
    [​IMG]
    Is it even possible to replace just the bushings on this type of upper control arm? Heres a picture of what a new one looks like. I wasn't able to find any control arm bushings online at all when I searched it. The design of this control arm is pretty odd so are they not replaceable?
     
  14. Bennyt

    Bennyt Junior Member

    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Location:
    Surprise
    First Name:
    Ben
    Truck Year:
    1977
    Truck Model:
    C10
    Engine Size:
    350
    Yes, I've done those once before on a truck I had as a kid. Pretty sure I did them on the truck one at a time as well. They unscrew and I actually think I replaced the shafts one day and then the ball joints the next as I did it my HS auto shop class and you only had one period to work on it. It would take a month to assemble a short block as you could only install one piston/ rod a period before you had to put tools away and clean.






     
  15. TravisB

    TravisB Full Access Member

    Posts:
    522
    Likes Received:
    291
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Location:
    Kentucky
    First Name:
    Travis
    Truck Year:
    1978
    Truck Model:
    C10
    Engine Size:
    350
    Got the bushings out of my lower arm tonight.

    Used the air chisel and worked them out.

    IMG_20190524_165129875.jpg
     
    C10MixMaster likes this.

Share This Page