Drove the Buick to work today and snapped this. This is now one of my favorite photos, caught a plane on approach to the very nearby airport. These guys are always landing or taking off right over our parking lot, but I never have the camera out at the right time. I could sit outside our building all day watching them take off and land... It’s the most fun when they take off over our lot. Usually they are landing which is too quiet.
Had an absolute breakthrough with the LeSabre’s suspension last weekend. We have been struggling to figure out why it wandered a lot on the highway and when driving you had to correct the steering wheel from cruise to coast - that light on and off the gas, you had to change the steering wheel every time. It never used to drive like that until recent years. Also, the suspension was kinda crappy in that it creaked and groaned on small bumps and felt like a truck. Everything was pointing to something with the rearend, but we couldn’t see anything wrong, it all felt tight.
We decided to put the car up on four ramps, loosen all of the rear control arm bolts, make sure the car was settle properly and then retighten with a torque wrench. Most of them were way too tight, it took breaker bars and pipes to get them loose. One of them wouldn’t budge at all, and the bolt snapped. Great. Okay, it’s Sunday, Home Depot, hardware store, Lowe’s... didn’t have the bolt. It’s a 9/16”x4”, kind of an unusual size. While my brother was running around on the bolt wild goose chase, I told him to grab a 5/8 bolt, just in case it would fit.
Now some back story... I had been thinking for a while that it was bad control arm bushings, so I was looking at replacements and most of the LCA bushings said “Reuse inner sleeve” in the part listing. My car is a ‘73. Apparently ‘71-’75 had their own bushings with a 9/16 bolt and sleeve. ‘65-’70 was the same, as far as I could tell, but used a 5/8 inner sleeve instead of 9/16.
While my bro is out hunting for the mystery bolt, I grab the control arm dangling by the frame. It wobbles all around. I’m thinking... hmmm, this definitely isn’t right. The bolt shouldn’t have this much slop in the sleeve. So I take it the rest of the way out - sure enough, the control arm bushings have a 5/8 inner sleeve. Eureka!
The inner sleeves were not quite 5/8 anymore, as they were a little squished and had some rust inside. Dug through my drawer of drill bits and found the elusive 41/64 drill bit to help out. Cleaned the rust out, drilled open the holes in the frame to 41/64, put in 4 new 5/8 bolts slathered with plenty of neversieze, torqued to 100 lb ft and then we hit the road...
All I can say is the results are WOW. It’s a whole different car - it rides like it did 25 years ago before I ever did the first rearend swap. I’m guessing the control arms I got with the first rearend I put in the car were from the wrong year - it’s probably had this issue since then. I knew it drove a little funky, but never got around to figuring it out. The difference is striking.
On the highway (where this car should shine), it drives straight no matter if I’m cruising, decel, WOT, whatever - no steering required (unless I have traction issues, which does happen...). If there are ruts in the lanes, no problem - it still goes straight. When I go over bumps or dips, it cushions the bump and doesn’t wobble all over the road or clunk - it’s quiet! No creaking! All because of the wrong control arm bushing that I didn’t notice 20 years ago. This is how it used to drive! UGH. YAY!
Last night I was in the garage until 11:00 getting the gas tank and trailer hitch reinstalled. Damn right I’m driving it to work today! Had the gas tank out b/c I didn’t like the metal prep on the new trunk floor. Was going to POR- it but decided to just spray what was there with a few coats of undercoating instead, pulled the tank Sunday afternoon after we solved this suspension mystery! The trailer hitch has been off since I put the new EFI tank in back in December...
Best part, I had a guy ask me if I was selling at the gas station this morning! He was appreciative of the whole package, primer and all. I am always happy when other people get to enjoy my ride!