Chevrolet Chevelle Rear Control Arms - Angle Of Opportunity - Tech

A Guide To Choosing Chevelle Rear Control Arms

Bob Mehlhoff Jun 11, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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In the '60s, when a two-barrel 327 and Powerglide trans were standard fare, the Chevelle's rear four-link suspension with thin trailing arms provided reasonable handling and adequate traction tomanage the power and bias-ply-tire cornering of the day. As designed by GM, the Chevelle's rear suspension system used two coil springs, two upper stamped-sheetmetal arms, and two lower stamped-sheetmetal trailing arms to locate the rearend. The design is essentially a four-link system that mounts the upper trailing arms in a triangulated manner to keep the rearend from moving from side to side and two lower arms to keep the rearend from moving fore and aft. Under acceleration, the upper arms experience tensional forces and the lower arms handle compressional movements

Fast-forward to today, where 400-plus horses are commonly running through the rear suspension; the flimsy construction of the factory control arms can't harness the force. The arms are left to bend and flex in ways they were never engineered to. Consequently, all types of traction and handling woes occur as the rearend roams.

But there is good news. Although the stock components may be weak, the Chevelle's suspension issues can easily be remedied by installing stronger and much better-designed control arms. To explore these possibilities, we contacted about a dozen of the most notable suspension companies in the business of researching, testing, and designing Chevelle rear control arms for ultimate traction. We also gathered all of the cool facts about them. The arms shown are largely for '64-72 Chevelles. Most of the lower control-arm part numbers shown will fit all '64-72 Chevelles. Note that upper control arm numbers for '64-67 differ from '68-72 Chevelles. Ditto for any listed frame braces. So before ordering, you'll want to check with each manufacturer for your specific application. The prices listed are from the manufacturer unless specified.

By replacing the stock rear trailing arms with the solid aftermarket control arms, you can drastically improve your rear suspension's performance. To thoroughly tune your suspension, you'll want to add the proper shocks, sway bars, tires, and wheels. The stronger control arms will also allow you to run tighter wheel to fender-lip clearances, since the rearend won't flex much from side to side.

The majority of the listed companies offer a wide selection of arms for street or race applications, so here we've hit some of the highlights. With a few common tools, jackstands, and a Saturday afternoon, you can have your Chevelle hooking hard and cornering as if you were driving on a road paved with Velcro.

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BMR Fabrication
BMR upper adjustable race control arms are built with the same heavy-duty components used in the lowers arms. BMR uses unique CNC-machined 111/48-inch-diameter adjusters on these arms.

Frame braces are offered (RB001, $106) to reinforce the control-arm mounts by tying the upper and lower mounts together.

Spherical bearings provide zero deflection under load and can move freely without bind. BMR also offers street versions. The arms will also accept a rear sway bar.

LOWER
PN: BCA004
Application: '64-72
Cost: $346.95
Type: Track
Bushing style: Spherical bearings
Greasable: No
Material: 1.50x3.00-inch rectan gular steel tubing
Thickness: 0.120 inch
Design: Square tube
Color: Red or black
Combined approximate weight: 26 pounds

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Chris Alston's Chassisworks
The upper control arms are engineered to provide added strength and adjustability to the pinion and come with a silver powdercoat finish. They directly replace OEM-style arms and allow easy adjustment on pinion angle and preload.

These sturdy lower control arms are manufactured from strong tubing to withstand flex. The urethane bushings are long lasting and fully greasable. The ends are made from machined billet housings and directly replace OEM arms. Mounting for the OEM sway bar is provided.

LOWER
PN: 6296
Application: '64-72
Cost: $217
Type: Street/track
Bushing style: Urethane
Greasable: Yes
Material: 111/42x2-inch steel
Thickness: 0.120 inch
Design: Rectangular tube
Color: Silver powdercoat
Combined approximate weight: 18 pounds

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Edelbrock Corporation
Easy adjustment of the rearend pinion angle helps keep the pinion in a neutral position under acceleration, resulting in better traction and handling. The arms can be adjusted without having to remove them from the vehicle, and their special spherical ball ends allow the suspension to move more freely without bushing bind.

The lower arms are manufactured from cold-rolled, rectangular-steel tubing for maximum strength. Each arm is greasable and features fluted polyurethane bushings and a powdercoated finish. The arms will also accept a rear sway bar.

LOWER
PN: 5205
Application: '64-72
Cost: $216 (from Summit)
Type: Street/track
Bushing style: Polyurethane
Greasable: Yes
Material: 2x3-inch steel
Thickness: 0.120 inch
Design: Square tube
Color: Black
Combined approximate weight: 19 pounds

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Global West
Adjustable rear upper control arms are preassembled and supplied with new hardware. The frame side of the control arm utilizes a high misalignment Teflon lined bearing. The rearend side offers a reinforced clevis mount that accepts standard length bushings.

The lower control arm uses a unique spherical bearing at the frame side and a Del-a-lum bushing on the rearend side. The spherical bearing provides rearend articulation without bind, and the Del-a-lum bushing controls defection.

LOWER
PN: TBC 4
Application: '64-72
Cost: $370
Type: Street/track
Bushing style: Aircraft spherical bearings/Del-a-lum
Greasable: Yes
Material: 2-inch rollcage tubing
Thickness: 0.120 inch
Design: Round
Color: Black powdercoat
Combined approximate weight: 20 pounds

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Heidt's Hot Rod Shop
The upper links are adjustable tube and the lowers are strong square tube. They come powdercoated and are supplied with high-performance urethane bushings to tighten up the suspension and swivel ends to allow roll deflection under cornering loads. They come completely assembled and ready to install with new hardware.

Chassis brace links are available (RC-251, $99) to attach to the upper bolt of the rear links to the rear chassis crossmember, thus minimizing frame stress.

LOWER
Type: Street/track
Bushing style: Urethane w/swivel ends
Greasable: Yes
Material: 111/42x2-inch steel
Thickness: 0.120 inch
Design: Rectangular tube
Color: Black
Combined approximate weight: 28 pounds

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Hotchkis Performance
The adjustable upper trailing arms feature double adjustable arms with left- and right-hand threads and Swivel-Max bushings to maximize pinion-angle adjustment and eliminate traction-robbing wheelhop for quicker, smoother launches. The lower trailing arms are constructed from high-quality rectangular steel tubing. Handling is improved through increased roll stiffness and swaybar effectiveness. The fabricated trailing arms are constructed of TIG-welded steel tubing and include greasable polyurethane bushings.

LOWER
Type: Street/track
Bushing style: Fluted polyurethane
Greasable: Yes
Material: 111/42-inch steel
Thickness: 0.120 inch
Design: Square tube
Color: Black
Combined approximate weight: 20 pounds

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Just Suspension
These extremely strong and uniquely designed I-beam control arms are called Razors. The I-beams are 4140 chrome-moly steel, and the bushings are constructed with two halves mated together and channeled bushings at the front and rear to allow grease travel.

Stainless hardware can be set up for with a factory swaybar or different bracketry for an aftermarket swaybar. These arms have been track-tested on a Chevelle producing 950 hp with superior results. Both lowers and uppers share the same construction.

LOWER
PN: RCA 5570
Application: ’64-72
Cost: $149
Type: Street/track
Bushing style: Graphite polyurethane
Greasable: Yes
Material: Plate
Thickness: 0.500 inch (both 0.250-inch halves)
Design: I-beam
Color: Black
Combined approximate weight: 33 pounds

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Original Parts Group
These upper control arms are original-looking with the exception that the bushings are polyurethane to help minimize deflection. Stock rubber bushings are offered too (PN KR20045). Frame braces (PN D250054, $90) for '64-67 Chevelles that are similar in looks to the originals are also available.

These lower control arms are reproductions of the original reinforced GM control arms commonly known as factory boxed arms. They also feature stronger bushings made of high-quality polyurethane to minimize deflection. The arms help to reduce twist, while keeping the factory ride. For purists, OPG offers a boxed arm with the traditional rubber bushings (PN KR00445).

LOWER
PN: KR00445P
Application: ’64-72)
Cost: $269.95
Type: Street
Bushing style: Polyurethane
Greasable: No
Material: Stamped sheetmetal
Thickness: Equivalent to stock
Design: Boxed
Color: Black
Combined approximate weight: 10 pounds

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Performance Suspension Technology
This kit includes everything needed to replace your stock system with sturdy lower control arms, adjustable upper arms, and frame braces. This kit will help to improve handling and traction at one price. All arms are heliarc welded for strength. Each kit comes with all mounting hardware.

LOWER
Type: Street/track
Bushing style: Polyurethane
Greasable: Yes
Material: 11¼2-inch steel
Thickness: 0.120 inch
Design: Square tube
Color: Black
Combined approximate weight: 18 pounds

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Spohn Performance
These tubular rear upper control arms eliminate wheelhop and increase traction with an easy bolt-on installation. All ends are fitted with grease fittings to lube the fluted polyurethane bushings. The adjustability feature allows setting the pinion angle. The right- and left-hand threaded, CNC-machined, and silver zinc-coated double male stud adjuster threads into 4130 chrome-moly TIG-welded threaded tube adapters. The mounting brackets are made from 11/44-inch CNC-cut and formed-steel mounting brackets.

Boxed lower control arms are constructed from rectangular tubing and are completely TIG-welded for the ultimate in strength and appearance. Arms feature 0.875-inch-od, 0.188-inch-wall swaybar mounting bolt through sleeves that are TIG-welded in place to handle the most severe abuse.

LOWER
PN: 222
Application: ’64-72
Cost: $165
Type: Street/track
Bushing style: Polyurethane
Greasable: Yes
Material: 2.00x1.5-inch steel
Thickness: 0.120 inch
Design: Rectangular tube
Color: Black or red
Combined approximate weight: 12 pounds

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Umi Performance
This setup allows on-car adjustability for easy pinion-angle settings and rearend adjustment while also helping to eliminate and reduce rearend bind. The QA1 rod end allows rearend free movement when high handling, auto cross or road race is a concern. Both the upper and lower control arms feature QA1 hardened chrome-moly Teflon-lined rod ends while the upper arms feature a 4140 heat-treated chrome-moly adjuster for maximum strength.

The adjustable lower arms allow you to lengthen and shorten, adding clearance when trying to squeeze those larger tires under the vehicle. The adjustment of these arms can also be done for custom rearend installs when centering and rearend movement is needed. CHP

LOWER
PN: 4014
Application: ’64-72
Cost: $180
Type: Street/track
Bushing style: Spherical rod end rear, polyurethane front
Greasable: Yes
Material: 1.50-inch 4140 chrome-moly
Thickness: 0.120 inch
Design: Tubular adjustable
Color: Red
Combined approximate weight: 20 pounds

Sources

Hotchkis Performance
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
877-735-6425
www.hotchkis.net
BMR Fabrication
Thonotosassa, FL 33592
813-986-9302
www.bmrfabrication.com
Global West Suspension
San Bernardino, CA 92408
877-470-2975
GlobalWest.net
Just Suspension
None, AK
800-872-1548
http://www.justsuspension.com/
UMI Performance
814-857-5400
http://www.umiperformance.com
Performance Suspension Technology (PST)
Montville, NJ 07045
Info: (973) 299-8019
www.p-s-t.com/
Spohn Performance
Myerstown, PA 17067
888/365-6064
www.spohn.net

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