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  • GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

    Looking at getting a '68 Cutlass and have a few questions:

    1)How similar to a Chevelle is it under the skin? I know the engine and mounts will be different and probably the rear end too but otherwise they should be identical?

    2)I want to put a Chevy in it initially - I assume that's I just need a set of frame mounts for the Chevy and I can bolt it in? What year frame mounts can I use - '64-'72 or only '68 and up?

    3)I want to put a stick in it at some point - what year pedals can I use and are BOP A bodies the same as Chevy in this respect?

    4)Suggestions on suspension upgrades - won't be a real corner carver but would like a fun driver. Ideas so far are: Late '70s Seville front spindles with 1LE rotors (can I get decent alignment with factory upper A-arms or do I need to go aftermarket?), Del-a-lum bushings, junkyard 2nd gen Trans Am front sway bar and shorter stiffer springs. No idea about the rear end - boxed lower arms? tubular? adjustable upper arms? hop stop bars? bushings? etc etc.

  • #2

    Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

    Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

    I had a 68 442 and ive gone thru different suspension upgrades thru the years. I guess it all depends on your budget. If you can afford it air ride is the way to go. If thats not possible go with a good set of springs and shocks. Aftermarket front and rear control arms are pretty cheap nowadays. All the Hotchkis stuff that was in my 68 442 is now in my brothers 72 GTO.The car sits low and has 17s and rides nice and handles thru the corners relly well for a heavy car. Next for it is a brake upgrade at some point. Some 68 olds cutlass came with the 12 bolt chevy rear not the 12 bolt BOP rear so keep your eye out for that. My 442 had a chevy motor and i grabbed a set of Moroso motor mounts and they bolted right in. All the 68-72 a bodies used the same clutch pedal assemblies as far as I know. If you do the spindle swap your gna need to get the aftermarket control arms for proper alignment. I had all my cars on the alignment machine where I used to work and you get so much more adjustment with them.

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    • #3

      Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

      Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

      it's all the same, the rear end is different, 4 doors frames are longer

      all the holes for the chevy mounts are already drilled,,

      as far as upgrades.. I'd go to.

      http://www.chevelles.com/

      and read in the forums and tech
      lot of guys running s10 front disc,
      good luck

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      • #4

        Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

        Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

        Here, let me save myself a ton of typing..... this is my car project page - http://www.bangshift.com/forum/index...opic=12154.270 - right now I'm doing a 4 spd in the car.... I went with hydraulic.... LOTS simpler and it clears the headers.....

        so, be sure to post pictures of your work in the project thread..
        Doing it all wrong since 1966

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        • #5

          Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

          Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

          hpa - air ride's not an option, interesting to know about the rear - I'll have to check that when I get the car

          Taz - I'll check that site out, aren't S10 discs a bit small for an A body?

          Buickguy - I'd been following your trans swap, I like hydraulic too (I put one on my Dart) and would probably go that route with this car too. Didn't see any details about your brakes and suspension in the thread - care to enlighten me? Oh and would you be interested in selling the Chevy frame mounts you had in it?

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          • #6

            Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

            Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

            umm, the chevy mounts did not come off without a fight.... they lost. ;)

            Suspension - tubular upper control arms, hotchkis springs, b-body spindle conversion, boxed lower arms. Rear - boxed upper and lower arms. I put 1 1/8 front, 1" rear sway bars, 12 bolt 3.73 lock-rite rear.... what else? oh yeah, I put airbags in the rear springs so I can adjust the weight side to side..... I will be changing the front springs - they are SBC, and with the BBB it's a bit undersprung.... oh yeah, all the front suspension is new and the steering box is a box from an 86 SS monte carlo.

            the thing handles excellently... I also need to put adjustable upper control arms on the back because the pinion angle is wrong (the car is 3 1/2" lower in the front, 4" in the rear)..

            it has disk brakes all the way around....
            Doing it all wrong since 1966

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            • #7

              Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

              Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

              http://www.hrpartsandstuff.com/
              check out their rear sway bar, works awesome on both the street and track. And Paul is a great guy.

              and DSE makes great A-body stuff.

              www.detroitspeed.com
              Reading , Pa
              Good Guys rodders rep.
              "putting the seat down is women's work" Archie Bunker.
              Ban low performance drivers not high performance cars .

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              • #8

                Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                forgot one bit.... there's all poly bushing on the front suspension, new rubber on the rear..

                DSE makes awesome, well-built stuff... but I have less dollars in everything I've listed above (except the brakes) then DSE wants for their front upper arms...
                Doing it all wrong since 1966

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                • #9

                  Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                  Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                  You can do your own modified upper a-arms for the Seville brakes, if you're into it...you don't neccesarily have to buy fabricated ones although that's simpler. Position-measure-cut-weld, with a piece of 1/4" plate needed.

                  It's really pretty amazing how well you can get a big fat 'ol A-body to handle with a few tricks.
                  sigpic

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                  • #10

                    Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                    Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                    Yea, The DSE stuff isnt cheap, but it sure is nice , and works really well!
                    Reading , Pa
                    Good Guys rodders rep.
                    "putting the seat down is women's work" Archie Bunker.
                    Ban low performance drivers not high performance cars .

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                      Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                      changing to the B-body spindles, with the attendant tubular upper control arms (and the larger brakes) is the best bang for buck conversion you can do.... would I build my own? I could, but IIRC I paid something like $200 bucks for the assembled, tubular upper control arms off ebay... the cross shafts alone were in the $125 neighborhood - so it just wasn't worth it to build my own.

                      Doing it all wrong since 1966

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                      • #12

                        Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                        Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                        Thanks for the updates.

                        Loren, could you give some more details about the modifications needed to the upper A arms? Could I get the same results using offset control arm shafts?

                        How about the rear suspension - do poly bushing all round give problems with binding like they do on Fox bodies or are they ok? I've seen the anti hop bars that relocate the upper control arms - are they just for drag racing or do they help with handling too?

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                          Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                          Take a look at this place. Installed their stuff on a customers car. http://umiperformance.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                            Re: GM A-body interchangeability and handling upgrades

                            poly bushing bind up the rear - it's why mine are rubber.
                            Doing it all wrong since 1966

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