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'02 Trans Am won't hold a front end alignment

This is a discussion on '02 Trans Am won't hold a front end alignment within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; I have an '02 Trans Am, and it won't hold a front end alignment ever since I put tubular lower ...

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    '02 Trans Am won't hold a front end alignment

    I have an '02 Trans Am, and it won't hold a front end alignment ever since I put tubular lower A-arms on. Has anyone else put tubular lower A-arms on their car?

    Every time I take it in for alignment, I watch them do it. it gets into spec. I drive out and it seems fine, then in about a day or two, it's pulling one way or the other, I bring it back and sure enough, it's out of alignment again. I wonder if it's because the surface of the a-arm connecting rod ends are smooth, and if you look at the stock ones they have these raised lines on them, that i believe once they get clamped down...may keep it from moving. So, with the aftermarket stuff, you don't have that. Do most people not replace the lower A-arms? I did for clearance reasons for a big disk brake kit, and i had a bad ball joint on the bottom.

    I replace almost everything in there. New lower and upper A-arms, new ball joints upper and lower. New coilover shocks and brakes. New tie rod ends...

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    Member Phlash_riot's Avatar
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    Crazyness. Keep us up to date on this

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    Senior Member mrr23's Avatar
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    sounds like they aren't getting the bolts tight enough. i've done enough of them and they haven't ever moved.

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    mrr23....What brand tubular A-arms do you use? Are they the ones with rod ends with no bushings...just a solid ball joint?

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    Senior Member mrr23's Avatar
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    i've aligned cars with the BMR arms. they have the spherical rod ends on them.

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    Did you have to use washers or spacers to get the rod ends to bolt tight to the K member mounts? Did you use any kind of lock washers or anything else to keep them from moving?

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    I believe the torque specs for the alignment bolts are 90lbs.

    Have they been torqued and still slipped?

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    No, I did not see him use a torque wrench on it ever. So, I'm thinking some lock washers and a torque wrench might do it. I'll see what happens after that...

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    Before messing with the washers I would try to just torque everything down to 90#.

    It really takes a big hit (like curbing, potholes, etc) to get the alignment to slip when everything is torqued down properly.

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    Ok...update on the front end alignment thing. I noticed that the stock A-arms have a kinda washer against the rubber bushings that have little raised lines going out from the bolt hole. It has this on both sides of each bushing. Also, I noticed that these can be popped out with a screwdriver and a hammer. I'm going to try to use them as washers in the same places as the stock ones on my tubular A-Arms and then torque them down to 100 foot pounds. I talked to Spohn Performance and that was the torque number they said to use. I'm also going to add a lock washer and some lock tite on the threads and see if I can get this fixed. It has gone on entirely too long! And I'm only driving the car to and from work...anyways...thats where I'm at for now...

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    Of you have put on the tubular lower A-arms with spherical rod ends...

    Did you use the factory bolts? The ones with the hook/tab on the head of the bolt...that tab goes into a smaller hole next to the slot the bolt goes through. Or did you use just regular bolts, not the factory ones with the tabs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by austinWS6 View Post
    Of you have put on the tubular lower A-arms with spherical rod ends...

    Did you use the factory bolts? The ones with the hook/tab on the head of the bolt...that tab goes into a smaller hole next to the slot the bolt goes through. Or did you use just regular bolts, not the factory ones with the tabs?
    I have aftermarket Lower and upper front arms.

    Here is the thread I made after the install:

    Suspension Install ~pics~

    I am not sure if you can see from the pics or not but yes I reused the stock hardware and torqued to 90lbs after my alignment was complete.

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    What brand lower A-arms are those? Did you use any spacers between the spherical rod end and the mount?

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    Mine are Spohn Performance lower A-arms...they don't look like the spherical rod ends bushings are as wide as your pictures show. But, I can't really tell.

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    Bushings are needed for the rod ends to fit in the slots of the k-member. If you don't have them that could be your problem.

    The tubular lower control arms are known for failure no matter if they are made from spohn, bmr, or UMI.

    Mine are G2 Adjustable Front A-Arms and can be seen here:

    http://www.lmperformance.com/825/1.html

    You can see from the picture the bushings are shown in the picture 'zip tied' to the rod end.

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    I know what you mean by bushings, they are on there, they are just smaller.

    When you say the tubular are prone to failure, what do you mean?

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    Paid 2 Post Daycrew SexOnWheels's Avatar
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    There is several cases where the lower A-arms like you have on your car will crack or break at the welds or even mid-tube.

    The G2's like I purchased have never broke except with the help of a substantial impact.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by SexOnWheels View Post
    The tubular lower control arms are known for failure no matter if they are made from spohn, bmr, or UMI.
    Just a note, we have never had a failure on any A-Arm and do not plan on it.

    Thank you,
    Ryan

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    I wonder if anyone makes rod ends that screw into these tubular A-arms that are not solid, that have poly end or something to take some of the vibration out. I'm wondering if that's why I'm having the front end not hold an alignment. The bolts are being torqed down to 100 ft.-lbs. I'm only driving the car to and from work...nothing crazy.

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