There are many options when it comes to suspension. If you're looking for all-out race car performance, then it's only a matter of picking the manufacturer of your choice.
However, our Elco is destined to be a street cruiser, potentially a daily driver, and the occasional parts hauler. With that in mind, we set out to replace the worn-out factory pieces for a better-than-factory feel, all while keeping within a reasonable budget.
Our initial glance told us that most of the bushings on the El Camino were trashed. Not only were some completely missing, but some were hard as a rock. Not only that, the bushings would pop and grind as the A-arms articulated. As far as the shocks were concerned, they had seen their last rebound in 1983. While the coils were still sprung, the added weight of the big-block would not allow for correct ride height and potentially provide a mushy and, worse, very unresponsive ride.
To contend with the aging suspension components, we contacted Performance Suspension Technology for a complete weekend makeover. PST suggested a Polygraphite bushings kit for the frontend along with KYB shocks and a pair of big-block-specific springs that would also lower our stance by an inch. While we were at it, we tossed PST's 13/8-inch front sway bar into the mix, including all-new mounting hardware, zerk fittings, and ball joints.
The removal of the front suspension components is more or less a glorified brake job, requiring you to separate the ball joints in order to remove the spindle, with the old bushings being the most difficult portion. Next time, we'll finish up the rear suspension, but until then; follow along to see what to expect when performing a similar upgrade for yourself.
What We Did
Revived the frontend of our El Camino with an all-new PST front bushing kit, shocks, drop coils, and sway bar
When tubular A-arms and coilovers are out of your budget