Firm Feel Products

BudW

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All FMJ upper and lower (UCA and LCA) arms are the same – except for Left vs. Right.

In my opinion, I would recommend getting a set of arms, rebuild then, paint or whatever you want to do with them beforehand, then swap ‘em out. It makes the job so much faster when you have the car up in the air.

Note: painted parts (or blasted then clear coated, or whatever) is so much easier to keep clean and looks nicer.

Note: FMJ share no other front suspension components with Chrysler vehicles – except spindles/steering knuckles and ball joints
BudW
 

Leizurtime

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Yea, I bought all Moog components to rebuild my front end. Ball joints, bushings, tie rods and sleeves, steering gear, pitman arm and idler arm. I called around to a couple places for quotes and they wanted $1,200 minimum to install all my suspension and steering components, probably be more around $1,400. Then one guy mentioned "why didn't you just get new upper and lower control arms?" Seemed to imply it was much easier and cheaper to install new arms complete.
 

Aspen500

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That would be fine if,,,,,,,,,,,,,,there was such a thing for our cars (new preassembled arms) like there is for newer vehicles. The price for installation seems about right for your area. The shop I work at would be somewhat less probably ($80/hr labor rate). It's one of those jobs I put into the "not hard work to do, but it is a lot of work to do (time consuming)" area. Not hard provided you've got the proper tools like the ball joint socket, bushing and press in ball joint remover/installer kits, etc...........
 

Leizurtime

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Yea, think it would be $1,400 including alignment they said. They charge $100 per hour if you use their parts. Since i have my own, they charge $120 per hour. Their book says to do suspension and steering components takes about 9 labor hours, including the steering gear. That's not including torsion bar bushings or sub frame isolator mounts.
 

shadango

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I rebuilt the front end on my 72 barracuda when I first got it......The special BJ socket and a press is all I needed......and TIME. The UCA bushings weree a roryal POTA on the bench.....and to get the UBJ off I needed a long breaker bar and LOTS of muscle....but it worked. I also redid the LCAs which are a different style than our F bodies I think..... did the tie rods, etc all at the same time....

As was said, all of it was not necessarily "hard" work, just time consuming and have to be methodical. Took the time to paint and stuff too....

We are working up the nerve to do the F body the same way...LOL
 

BudW

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FMJ suspensions can be rebuilt by most members in here - who have a general set of tools and access to a press.
The only really special tools are:
The upper ball joint socket:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/American-Muscle-Mopar-Upper-Ball-Joint-Socket-B-E-Body-/330687786448?hash=item4cfe872dd0:m:m_iFr7vgPmXjAFDcoPNebyw
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1973-76-Mopar-A-62-79-B-70-74-E-Body-60-62-Dart-Upper-Ball-Joint-Removal-Tool-/131572706112?hash=item1ea2582b40:g:cAgAAOSwu4BVw4M4&vxp=mtr

Ball joint separator
BJ seperator.JPG

And tie rod separator.
Tie Rod seperator.JPG


A pickle form (ball joint/tie rod separator) will work in a pinch – but were not designed to work on Mopar's. My experience is they will tear up the boot each and every time they are tried. If you are not planning on reusing the joints/tie rods, then go for it
http://www.ebay.com/itm/5pc-Tie-Rod-Ball-Joint-Remover-Seperator-Pitman-Arm-Puller-Pickle-Fork-Tool-NEW-/282298335163?hash=item41ba4abfbb:g:4l0AAOSwxcRW8697


Note: my brother currently has my ball joint socket (on loan). Yes the same brother who is mentioned in this thread (https://www.forfmjbodiesonly.com/classicmopar/threads/125-mph-speedometer.6297/#post-70713 ). I think I need to go get that socket back . . .

Note: you can get by without using the socket – but it is not easy to do. I did it recently on my ’77 wagon.

Note: I highly recommend one loosen (and mostly remove) as well as tighten the upper ball joints on the car (on jack stands). You will understand what I’m saying once you start trying to remove (or tighten) the joint(s).
BudW

Edit: there is a list of the official Chrysler tools - but I would recommend getting the cheaper (and more effective) tools from parts store or tool store.
20170420_180034.jpg
 

Leizurtime

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So I went to the pick a part, and pulled the lowers off of a 79 /6 Aspen. I used a sledge hammer and fork as I'm not interested in saving the ball joints. It was a pain to say the least. Mostly rust welded bolts that didn't want to give. I bent up a number of wrenches and stripped a couple of sockets. I nearly walked away from the whole ordeal. After a couple hours of persistence though, I got em off. Looking forward to sending them off to Firm Feel to have them bead blasted, straightened, reinforced, and powder coated.
 

Aspen500

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Too bad you don't live closer. We charge the same with our parts or customer supplied.

Those darn upper ball joints. Going back in is almost worse than coming out. It should take a MINIMUM of 125 ft lbs force to screw them in. The threads aren't really threads. I don't mean 125 ft lbs final torque, but that much the whole way in or the hole is worn and you have to replace the upper arm or,,,,,,,,,,the ball joint could pop right out. The Don't ask me how I found this out on the Barracuda I had back in the early '80's......:eek: The lowers are much easier being pressed in (in most cases anyways).

The bushings go a lot better with a bushing press and adapters. Similar to a ball joint press, just with a smaller c-frame and adapters.

When it comes to the t-bar pivot bushings and end link bushings,,,,,,,,,,,,,won't sugar coat it. THEY SUCK BIG TIME.
 

Leizurtime

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Went ahead and pulled the uppers to. Talked to firm feel yesterday, i wouldn't be able to use my Moog bushings with their tubular uca's. Probably just going to have a local shop sand blast and powder coat all four. I got a friend that's a front end guy, think he has all the tools for the bushings and ball joints.

IMG_2537.JPG


IMG_2538.JPG
 

BudW

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Your new arms look to be in decent shape!

Are you going with (or considering going with) FFI’s tubular UCA’s?
Note: nothing bad to say about them, but maybe a bit overkill for normal street usage.
BudW
 

Leizurtime

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I wanted to get those, i gave them a call and they said their tubular uca's wouldn't accept my new Moog bushings. They custom make urethane bushings for them, and I'm only interested in going rubber. That's why yesterday i ran down and pulled the uppers off the donor car too :D
 

BudW

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The only thing I can think of that you might (will?) will have problem(s) with is removing/installing upper ball joints.

They take a bit of work to do and not something you can do in a vice (unless you park your car so bench is pinched between a wall and your car (or something to that effect). Otherwise, you will move your entire bench (or vice - if not bolted down) with ease, and not even bulge the joints.
(if that makes any sense).
BudW
 

Leizurtime

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The only thing I can think of that you might (will?) will have problem(s) with is removing/installing upper ball joints.

So I take it they are screwed in not pressed in? Will that socket and an impact wrench do the job?
 

Kernel Sanders

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I've learned to always remove the upper ball joints while still in the car... I use the proper socket which is a 3/4" drive with a 3/4" - 4ft breaker bar rated at 800ft/lb and start reefing on em lol
 

Leizurtime

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I got a buddy that was a front end guy for many years, says he's even worked on Volares. Hes a longshoreman mechanic today in Long Beach Harbor. He says he can break it loose on the bench with an impact gun and the mopar socket, once its loose you can turn it out with a pair of channel locks he says. Going to find out this weekend. Oh and look what I got in the mail today....

IMG_2540[1].JPG


Rare Parts torsion bar bushings. Got the mount to frame bushings (RP18551) for $127.00, including taxes and shipping, off of carpartsdiscount.com. The isolator bushings (RP15653) I got from Jegs for $138.00 with free shipping. Wish I could have got the ones with the metal, but those seem to be an endangered species. I'm happy though, that now I can rehab the torsion bars too.
 

BudW

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The lower ball joints do press in/out.
The Upper ball joints screw in and doing so, requires a long breaker bar (or a medium size one with a long piece of pipe).

You can mount the UCA in a vice and can use a big impact gun (and socket) – but most people do not have access to a large impact wrench or enough compressed air to operate one. If you do, then great!

Impacting them out is OK, but I don’t recommend impacting them back in – for too easy to get joint in crooked or screw up the UCA. I recommend using breaker bar to install them (which can be done on car, once arms are cleaned up and bushings installed.
Most cases, they are easier going in, than coming out (but still a work out).


About five years ago, the torsion bar bushings/mounts were everywhere. In last two years, they flat disappeared (a mini black hole appeared?). I should have invested in a bunch of them five years ago . . .

I would like to see a picture of your T/B bushings out of their bags, if I could.


Having your arms powder coated is a great idea – but one possible downside. Powder coating (as well as paint) has a tendency to chip when pressing bushings and/or joints in/out.
Rubber bushings might not hold up well in the oven, either.
My opinion is to remove joints and bushings, get arms blasted, then powder coated, press bushings and lower joints in, then touch up with paint (if needed).
Just avoid painting/powder coating where the joints and bushings go in at.
BudW
 

Aspen500

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Doing the joints and bushings without chipping the paint is tricky. Seem to recall I got everything prepped and primed, then pressed the bushings and joints in. To do as little damage as possible, wrapped the contact surfaces of the tools where they touched the parts with the handyman's secret weapon, duct tape. Next, carefully masked them off (yes, tedious) and then painted the arms. The joints and bushings first got a coat of Eastwood bare metal clear to keep them looking new and then, pressed or screwed in.
 
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