How To Repair The Control Arm Struts on Your Imperial

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Question from Tony:

I'll be ordering the tires Monday,  but the tire shop that I pulled into for a diagnosis of the suddenly "lumpy" handling said that I also needed "New Front Struts AND Bushings."


From Paul:

Somewhere in here is a misunderstanding of terms, but I'll take a couple of guesses on what's needed. Though most newer cars (for the last 15 years or so) use front struts, Imperials of years past certainly don't. He could have meant two things... He might have meant your Imperial needs new (upper and lower control arm) bushings and new drag "strut" (drag link) bushings.  Or he could have meant new shocks rather than struts. On newer cars the struts serve as "upper control arms", "upper ball joints", and as shocks. Your Imperial definitely only uses shocks, not struts. It has separate upper control arms and ball joints.  Either the guy you were talking to used the wrong terminology, or he said the right things but you heard differently. I think I'd have the work done elsewhere if they didn't have a firm understanding of how to work on these older suspensions, and using the wrong terminology bothers me. Putting in new control arm bushings is no piece of cake, so it helps if the shop has a lot of experience in this.   My brother and I just did an extensive rebuild of my '65 Imperial's front end, and put in the following: new upper and lower control arm bushings, new drag strut bushing, new ball joints, and new outer tie rod ends. Our major difficulty was removing/replacing the ball joints, as they take a special large Mopar socket, larger than the ones used on A, B, and C bodies. Replacing the bushings on the lower control arm also took some doing because of their size. It took some setup on the press to get them in and out. The upper control arm bushings were easy.   Anyway, I would take it to a place that has some experience with older suspensions and Mopars specifically. I'd always be inclined to throw in new shocks while the front end is apart (especially when I am doing the work!).   By the way, the main reason I started down this suspension job was the condition of the bushings at the front end of the drag strut. They are the long rods that run from the radiator cross member back to the outer end of the lower control arm. The condition of the rubber bushing is very visible without really having to get under the car.  Mine probably would have gone another year or so, but this was one of my projects for this year.

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