Suspension

Suspension

I want to explain some things that we are asked often. There are many steering and suspension parts, some wear out faster than others and some not at all.
Front end.
Most Buick's will wear out lower ball joints and idler arms so pay attention to those parts first. The reason the lower ball joint wears first is because the coil spring fits into the lower control arm supporting the weight of the car, the upper ball joint and control arm have almost no load on them so upper last at least 2 to 1 to the lowers. To check the lower ball joints use a floor jack, park the car on a flat paved area, lift the lower control arm as close to a front wheel as possible, lift the wheel 2 inches. The other 3 wheels need to be on the pavement. With a long bar try and lift that wheel by placing the bar under the tire, if you see any movement in the joint it is shot. Check each side separately. You check the tie rods, drag link and idler arm, have someone get in the car, on the ground and engine off, have them move the steering wheel back and forth a few inches while someone else looks at all the steering linkage joints for sloop. If the steering Idler moves up and down it is worn out. This will not check everything but give you an idea what is worn out and what is still tight.
Rear end
Up until 1960 Buick used a closed drive rear end which took the place of the suspension so main wearing parts are the track bar bushings. 61 and later are drive with a drive shaft..The 61-64 full size cars and 63-70 Riviera had a 3 link setup and also used track bars. The bushing for the 3 link seem to last forever and that is good because they are very pricy! Again the track bar bushings are what wears out on these cars too.. Worn track bar bushings make the car handle badly at speed, changing lanes on the freeway are squirrelly  because the body will move side to side over the rear end steering the car! If you have wide tires the tires will rub on the body..The good news is we have excellent replacements made from urethane and they are inexpensive and easy to replace.  These will make your handle better than any other part you can buy.
Alignment for Modern Tires
Run as much positive caster as you can, I like a positive 3 to 4 degrees. Camber should be as close to zero as you can and about 1/16" toe in. This will stop the front in from "PLOWING" in the turns.. We have better tires now, you will be amazed what our new track bar bushing and and this alignment will do for handling!