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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I learned something new today, thought that I should share it with you.
I am in the process of replacing some front end componenets (ball joints) and decided that I would replace the upper control arm rod - you know, that bar that bolts top the shock tower that the upper control arm pivits on (and usually squeaks) - and my new bar did not have boots on it to hold in the grease! So, I called the supplier (Mustangs Unlimited) and was told that the new ones do not have the rubber boots, they have an internal seal. That's cool because they look alot better and will probably last longer, It's not cool because they don't look like stock if you're into concourse type restorations.
Anyway, the fella at MU went on to tell me that I need to check my upper control arms VERY CAREFULLY because "8 out of 10 arms will not be rebuildable" since they tend to stress crack around the upper control arm rod and also where the spring perch bolts on.
I have never heard of these failing, although he says that he has seen it. Has anyone here ever heard of or seen one fail?
Just something else to look at when we're rebuilding these things.....
 

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He is giving you good advice

The upper control arm shaft bushings thread into each side of the stamped steel arm. Even if the arm looks perfect the threads are really good only once. If you plan on putting several thousand trouble free miles of driving on this car spend the 70 - 100 dollars apiece for new upper control arms. Having the arm fail a couple thousand miles after you do the front end overhaul is no fun and will be expensive to fix.

On the other hand if this is a concours show car that will only be driven on and off the trailer then we want absolute authenticity so you can fill your garage wall with trophy's. Find some NOS shaft kits at Carlisle or Pomona and be sure to use NOS grease too! Safety won't matter if you are not going to use the car.

Royce Peterson
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So you have heard of these arms failing? In 30 years I have never heard of or seen this.
 

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Turns out that they have a whole kit that replaces all 4 arms, the perchs, inner & outer tie rod ends, adjusters and more. They will let me return my parts and credit me towards the kit. It works out to about $100 more and I get a whole bunch more. :D
I'm glad I talked to the guy because I have never heard of this being a problem on Ford's unibody cars before. He said that it happens to all makes from 67-78!
:eek2:
 

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Yup. They fail.

Back in the 1970's you could only get complete arms from Ford for $50.00. I was making $129.00 a week take home so that was a lot of money. I bought TRW shaft kits and installed them in my '67 Cougar daily driver. About 5000 miles later the front end was loose again. Took the wheel off to find the shaft bushing area of the control arm had a chunk missing and the bushing unscrewing itself up against the shock tower. I went to the junk yard and found a Maverick with new looking arms to replace it with.

Nowdays parts are much cheaper and easier to get. Thank goodness for that!

Royce Peterson
 

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are these part guys any good

I got a cataloge from Kanters they have a front end kit for around 250.00-275.00 they have the cougar and mustang listed sepratley the price sond reasonable has anyone used them?
 

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I just recently replaced both of my upper control arms on my 72' convertible and I tell you it was not a fun job!!! The problem I ran into was finding a correct tool to compress the coil springs. I actually made one and I plan on taking a photo of it and posting it here so anyone that runs into the same problem will have it a little easier :)

Anyways, YES upper control arms can FAIL!!! The shaft on mine broke right at the edge of the bushings. I realized it pretty quickly b/c my car started to pull hard :(

I ended up buying a kit from Dallas Mustangs and it fit perfectly. The kit was a little over $300 but is well worth it considering each upper arm costs a little over $85. You get some extra goodies w/ the one I got including complete arms (lower and upper), strut rod bushing kit, sway bar bushing kit, coil spring saddles and insulators, and sway bar end kits. Man my Cougar handles like a dream now!!! Good luck and have fun...

Adam
 

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BUYING HABITS

Front end kits are redily available anywhere. I try to buy from the Cougar parts places to help promote parts venders and specific parts for Cougars lest we run out of adequate places to get "our" stuff. Johns Classic Cougars and Mustangs unlimited Cougar division as well as Auto Crafters all carry anything you need for the Cougar.
Ev erything is available to rebuild your front end and the rear as well. Each is recommended after 35 years on the road. My convertible is original and seems to work fine but in the spring I will install new rear leaf springs, shackles, all bushings, new brake lines, and rebuild the rear end, axles bearings and seals. Paint everything correct factory and it will be great and trouble free for the rest of my lifetime. Not to mention safer and looking real good.
Many "cat" fans need to realize that heat, time , and weight stress can wear out suspension components even though they " look " good. Rear leafs, bolts, bearings, and other components have been known to break! It all should be replaced for safety first as well as appearance and performance/ride. Happy Cruzin":)
 

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Upper control arms

I wanted to get rid of that persistant front-end squeak, so during the East Coast Nats I decided to have my mechanic change the upper control arm bushings, upper ball joints, and insulator ($140 and Christmas presents for my wife). When we got back he hadn't started, which ticked me off. He had to fire his mechanic and was backed up. He finally started on my car and I had to buy new coil spring mounting seats ($78). He then had to buy a new coil spring tool, the 69 springs are different and the tools he had didn't work. Finally got the car back ($275 labor) and was told I needed new leaf springs ($250 for everything). Got them in today ($250 labor) and found out I need a new idler arm (the bushings are worn and arm is cracked), so there's another $59, plus an expected $125 labor from the mechanic.
I'll finally get that squeak fixed, but at $1100, it's the most expensive noise I've ever fixed. By the way, the upper control arms were in great shape.
 

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YEP. LABOR PRICES A REAL KILLER

Bummer you had to spend so much on the labor. I do all my work myself and the first time was a doozy as I was venturing into unknown territory. Now I can do it with confidence and in alot shorter time. Thank goodness I don't charge my self any labor fees as I would be exoensive.
I have bought complete front end rebuild kits for around $600-800 and it had everything. Just install it, grease the zerts, and go. About two weeks or so as I tend to work at my leisure( a couple of hours here, a couple of hours there; and so on).
Anyway, replace those worn parts to be safe, get rid of squeaks, and ride/handle like new. Most of all, have fun driving your "Classic Cougars".!
:D
 

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front end

Problem is, the 69 is my wife's daily driver. That makes it hard for me to work on the car myself if I know it will take more than a day. I have a 68 Mustang that will give me the time to do these things myself.
 

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Thats rough to have to fork out for all of the work at once. I hope you didnt pay the mechanic for his "new" tool for the springs. As far as I know the 67-73 coil springs are very similar.

I used a 30$ coil spring compressor to get my springs out. Nothing special.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I ended up buying the "Super" front end set from Mustangs Unlimited for $399. It has all the tie-rod ends, the adjusting sleeves, spring perches, spring seats, upper and lower control arms with new ball joints and upper arm rod, sway bar bushings (control arm end) and front rod bushings. For that price I couldn't say no - that's a lot cheaper than buying them individually and I can do it all in one day. Better safe than sorry. I was just surprised that I had never heard of upper arm failures. Been lucky I guess! :)
 

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When I got my Cougar in 88 it had very stiff front shocks with coil-overs. I busted 3 upper control arms in about 6 weeks before I got some regular shocks. In each case I had the good luck that I could feel them slowly breaking apart before it became fatal.
 
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