Tall Ball Joints

Discussion in 'The whoa and the sway.' started by BennyK81, Sep 6, 2022.

  1. BennyK81

    BennyK81 Well-Known Member

    Has anyone used 0.5" taller ball joints for the upper control arms?

    They are available from several manufacturers.

    I am not into tubular arms as I want to keep a stock appearance

    Dano likes this.
  2. Dano

    Dano Platinum Level Contributor

    @TimR told me has IIRC & had good things to say about the handling. Maybe he'll chime in here.
  3. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    Taller ball joints will alter the camber in turns. With the stock A body front suspension, camber goes positive as the suspension compresses. In a turn, that is the outside tire. The taller ball joints will reduce that, or even make the camber go negative. That causes the tire to stand up straighter as opposed to rolling over on it's outer edge. Years ago, that was accomplished with a taller spindle (B and F body swap).

    See the attached article I wrote for our club newsletter.

    Attached Files:

  4. BennyK81

    BennyK81 Well-Known Member

    tanks larry for the input. Yes i knew that that's why I consider it for my front end rebuild.

    I wonder if it's really that noticeable. My car will see A LOT of turns

    there's even taller lower ball joints but that will lower the front
  5. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    I did the old school swap back in the 80's. Yes, it is NIGHT and DAY different. It engineers most of the understeer out of the front end.
  6. 12lives

    12lives Control the controllable, let the rest go

    What size did you use, Larry?
  7. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    Back in the 1980’s, HO enterprises developed a kit to fit the taller F body spindle into the 64-72 A body. The kit included special upper and lower ball joints and tie rod ends, and you used F body disc brake calipers. That is what I used on my 72 Skylark. It was incredible. It made it handle like a slot car. The kit had some drawbacks which are mentioned in the pdf I attached. I’m not sure how much you get with just a taller ball joint(s).
  8. 436'd Skylark

    436'd Skylark Sweet Fancy Moses!!!!!

    I did the tall spindle conversion with the tubular A arms on my car years ago. Made a huge difference in the handling characteristics of the car. Its outdated these days, but was it was a cheap way to get disc brakes and upgrade the suspension at the same time. It was nice to use GM parts still too.
  9. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    This magazine article is what got me to try it.

    GetaGrip1.jpg GetaGrip2.jpg GetaGrip3.jpg
  10. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    RIP Marlan Davis... he was great.
    Dadrider likes this.
  11. Tomahawk

    Tomahawk Platinum Level Contributor

  12. BennyK81

    BennyK81 Well-Known Member


    No tubular arms for me. but you can get the lower one as well so you have 1" in total
  13. Marv Marksberry

    Marv Marksberry Well-Known Member

    I read the same article back in the 80’s that Larry posted. I also made the conversion to the F body spindles. I obtained most everything that I needed from a 1978 Firebird. I did modify (cut and notched) the upper A-arms to obtain the correct angle for front end alignment so that I would not have to add so many shims for alignment.
    The car still drives and handles great.
  14. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    I've used ProForged upper ball joints on both my cars. They also have tubular upper control arms for added positive caster without a ton of shims but the taller ball joints improved camber gain a lot. I no longer wear the outer edge of my front tires out before the rest of the tire.

    Both of my cars will just get to the edge of understeer but it is a lot later than the factory negative caster, positive camber gain that they come with. I can induce oversteer with a little judicious application of throttle.

    ProForged also makes a 0.9" upper ball joint to give you even better camber gain.

    I looked at swapping sides with my factory upper control arms to gain positive caster but decided against it.

    They also make an offset upper control arm shaft that will shift the bolt holes back so you get positive caster without so many shims.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2023
    Quick Buick and FLGS400 like this.
  15. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    Greg, I had those in my car with everything else being stock except the springs (Eibach 1.5" lowering). I had an issue with one side not having enough shims and the upper control arm mount rubbed the new upper control arm bushing shell enough to wear a section right off of it. Made a god awful racket too. I put the stock shafts and a bunch of shims back in (and a new bushing) and it has been much better. This is just something to consider when looking at those offset shafts. :D
  16. jbeary

    jbeary Well-Known Member

    I bought the offset shafts for my front end rebuild because I thought that would help with alignment. I'm not really looking to improve handling. Upper ball joints I have bought are the stock height but its looking like I at least need the .5" upper ProForged ball joint to get these offset control arm shafts to line up to the frame correctly. Maybe even both upper and lower need to be tall if I intend to get positive camber? Last thing I want is to put the control arms on and then have to take them off again to swap ball joints because the arms are rubbing or I can't get the front end aligned. If it would be better to go with the stock control arm shaft instead, can anyone please let me know. Springs will be Moog 5398. I am also thinking about swapping my drum brakes for disc if that makes any difference. Car is a '68 GS 400.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2022
  17. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    There is no reason for you to use the offset arms. Use all stock components. The taller ball joints, or taller spindles convert positive camber gain to negative camber gain. To get it aligned best requires the use of tubular upper arms designed for just that. You aren't doing any of that, use stock control arm shafts.
    BennyK81 likes this.
  18. jbeary

    jbeary Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the heads up Larry. Will just do the bushings and leave the stock shaft.
  19. I have heard about swapping the stock upper control arms to improve caster and adding the Proforged upper ball joints (+.5 or .9) to improve camber.
    Looking at the upper swap, it looks like it may be too much positive caster.
    I read that the A bodies like about +5 caster and about -1 camber for more modern handling, but I'm no expert.
  20. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    The only drawback to increased caster is increased steering effort. With power steering, that is a non issue.
    section8mainiac likes this.

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