TCCoA Forums banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 94 T-Bird LX with 66,000 miles on it. My mechanic told me that the upper ball joints and sway bar end links need to be replaced. Have reviewed some of the posts here and just want to make sure I would be getting the correct grade of parts.

Want to stay with stock parts and since many of the posts are from ten years ago or so, need updated recommendations on parts brands etc.. Read that the yellow AC Delco control arm assemblies are recommended. Are these from the AC Delco Gold series? What brand of stock suspension bushings should I look at? After reading some of the horror stories here regarding ball joint failure, I believe that I'll get all the ball joints, control arms, sway bar end links, and suspension bushings replaced. Am wondering if the front shocks should be replaced as well. I've been hearing creaking noises when backing out of the driveway recently, so thought I should have my mechanic check things out, while I was getting my Bird serviced. Thank God he found some problems! I dearly love the car and don't want it getting us into an accident! It's a rotten shame that Detroit quit putting grease zerks in ball joints, u-joints, etc.! I've never had to have any ball joints replaced in any of my other previous vehicles, since they had grease zerks.

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
1991 Mercury Cougar LS 5.0 in restoration
Joined
·
1,772 Posts
Creaking could be the ball joint, and also likely the strut rod bushings are toast. Replace both of those. If you search for strut rod there was a brand found a couple months ago that appears to have promise. They are cheap (surprisingly) and on rock auto. We are having some issues findings good parts now that these cars are working towards obsolete. AC Delco gold typically had been a good suggestion for most suspension parts. I would get the complete upper A arms and lower control arm of you can find them. Makes the swap easier and not much cost difference. And while you have it apart, yes, do the shocks. They're likely 28 years old. Good luck on the rebuild, and throw some pics of the car in here!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Zep5.0, thanks for your reply. My mechanic did say the rubber on the upper ball joints was getting bad. I went to the online AC Delco parts catalog and it said that the replacement ball joints (only) would not fit in the AC Delco Gold control arm, so I will get the control arm/ball joint assembly. Have read some old Amazon reviews that the parts customers have received didn't look like the old part and didn't have grease zerks! Am sure if Detroit would have STILL put zerks on vehicles, we would not have to be replacing ball joints etc.! I've never had ball joints replaced on any of my previous vehicles since they had zerks. Detroit always wants to go the cheap way!

Will need to have my mechanic do this work, as I'm physically unable and don't have the tools to do so anyway. Only went on eBay to see what parts are included in a suspension kit. I will NOT buy junk parts for my T-Bird (her name is Charlotte) especially since suspension parts are a critical system on a vehicle! I'm not familiar with newer vehicle suspensions, so thought eBay would give me a starting point. I do have the 94 T-Bird service manual and will need to look at it for Ford part numbers and hope to get some cross reference numbers to aftermarket ones. Yes, I should get the shocks replaced as well. Should the rear shocks be replaced soon too? What brand of shocks should I look at? Possible OEM Motorcraft, Monroe or Gabriel (which series?)??

Are strut rod bushings the same as sway bar end links or not?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
1991 Mercury Cougar LS 5.0 in restoration
Joined
·
1,772 Posts
If you are paying someone what to do it, I'd recommend doing all of the front suspension, then later do the rear. You could do the rear shocks right away as those are easy.

I tend not to do this much, but you may be best of going to supercoupeperformance.com. It's the only support we have in a one stop shop for our cars. You can piece stuff together more affordably of you look everywhere, but he typically has decent parts.

There are no performance shocks available for our cars, so stock, or looser are your options and you've listed 2 above. I doubt one is much better than the other. Others may have different opinions.
 

·
SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX Missing 4.6 MIssing Trans Red
Joined
·
4,059 Posts
Zep5.0, thanks for your reply. My mechanic did say the rubber on the upper ball joints was getting bad. I went to the online AC Delco parts catalog and it said that the replacement ball joints (only) would not fit in the AC Delco Gold control arm, so I will get the control arm/ball joint assembly. Have read some old Amazon reviews that the parts customers have received didn't look like the old part and didn't have grease zerks! Am sure if Detroit would have STILL put zerks on vehicles, we would not have to be replacing ball joints etc.! I've never had ball joints replaced on any of my previous vehicles since they had zerks. Detroit always wants to go the cheap way!

Will need to have my mechanic do this work, as I'm physically unable and don't have the tools to do so anyway. Only went on eBay to see what parts are included in a suspension kit. I will NOT buy junk parts for my T-Bird (her name is Charlotte) especially since suspension parts are a critical system on a vehicle! I'm not familiar with newer vehicle suspensions, so thought eBay would give me a starting point. I do have the 94 T-Bird service manual and will need to look at it for Ford part numbers and hope to get some cross reference numbers to aftermarket ones. Yes, I should get the shocks replaced as well. Should the rear shocks be replaced soon too? What brand of shocks should I look at? Possible OEM Motorcraft, Monroe or Gabriel (which series?)??

Are strut rod bushings the same as sway bar end links or not?

Thanks.
The upper control arms have the ball joints built in. The ball joint is not replaceable. Buy the entire upper arm assembly. Pretty much everyone here recommends the AC Delco gold for the uppers. They are very stout. Probably the best choice since Ford discontinued making parts for our cars.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,156 Posts
Buying the whole arm gives you new bushings, which is important after 25 years.
The reason I like the gold balljoints is because they also fit a billion GM cars, and wont ever go obsolete. (My neighbor was a chevy guy.)
See the sticky in the suspension thread to see what we're going thru to get stiff Sport shocks. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: supergordo

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Appreciate all the input on the suspension parts etc. I will go ahead and have all of these parts replaced, as the car will be driven on gravel roads. Of course, I would not want my Thunderbird and I to get in an accident from possible parts failure!

Do have a few more questions before I purchase the parts.

1. Have read that older versions of the AC Delco Gold upper control arms don't have grease zerks. Hope the current ones do have grease zerks, otherwise these parts would probably need replaced again in the future. Have found the AC Delco Gold upper control arms are available, but the AC Delco lower control arms only have the lower right one available as a special order a month away.

2. Zep5.0 suggested going to the supercoupeperformance.com website and see what suspension kits are available there. Found that Bill has Stage 1 and Stage 2 Front Suspension kits for T-Birds. Both kits include upper and lower control arms plus other parts. Here's what each kit includes:

FRONT SUSPENSION STAGE 1 KIT for the '89-97 Thunderbirds and Cougars ($478)

An all inclusive kit for all the basic things that should be replace when rebuilding your front suspension. Nothing fancy here just all premium control arms and premium bushings that are the same or better than Original Equipment!

INCLUDES:

  • Right and Left Upper Control Arms
  • Right and Left Lower Control Arms
  • Pair of sway bar end links. Tell us what year car as the '89-92 models are different than the '93+ models.
  • Two sets of our POLY Front Strut Rod Bushings
  • Two sets of our OEM replica Rear Strut Rod Bushings - Just like E9SZ-3A140-A and E9SZ-3A140-B
All items cover BOTH sides of the vehicle.

FRONT SUSPENSION STAGE 2 KIT for the '89-97 Thunderbirds and Cougars ($776)

An all inclusive kit for the front suspension that includes everything from our Stage 1 kit plus numerous upgraded polyurethane bushings, and the steering components. Includes all premium control arms, steering components and premium bushings that are the same or better than Original Equipment!

INCLUDES:

  • Right and Left Upper Control Arms
  • Right and Left Lower Control Arms
  • Pair of sway bar end links. Tell us what year car you have as the '89-92 models are different than the '93+ models.
  • Two pairs of our POLY Front Strut Rod Bushings
  • Two pairs of our OEM replica Rear Strut Rod Bushings - Just like E9SZ-3A140-A and E9SZ-3A140-B
  • Pair of poly front Sway Bar bushings... 1 1/16" diameter
  • Pair of poly Lower Control Arm bushings
  • Pair of poly Shock Bump Stops
  • Pair of Inner Tie Rods
  • Pair of Outer Tie Rods
  • Pair of poly Outer Tie Rod grease boots
  • Pair of poly Rack Mount Bushings
All items cover BOTH sides of the vehicle.

There's also a front suspension polyurethane bushing kit for $383. It includes:

Firm up your front suspension with our new, all polyurethane, front suspension bushing package. Polyurethane will not degrade over time as rubber does and is guaranteed to provide an improved quality of ride and handling for years to come.
Includes:

Tie Rod Boots

Front & Rear Strut Rod bushings (new ferrules & 7/8" washers included)

Front Sway Bar bushings 1 1/16"

Rack & Pinion bushings (5/8" washers included)

Lower Control Arm bushings

XXXX - Upper Control Arm bushings...THIS IS NO LONGER INCLUDED IN THIS KIT

Shock Bump Stop bushings

Installation instructions

Was wondering if anyone here has used one of these kits on their T-Birds/Cougars. If so, are the kits worth the money and do they perform well? Am wondering where these kits are manufactured? Hope the control arms have grease zerks in the ball joints.

I really don't have the time to look for all the needed parts separately, as the total shipping charges would be a lot and some of the rubber in the bushings may be old NOS and falling apart etc. Will be moving out of state as well, so need to get my T-Bird repaired as soon as I can. Should I purchase the Stage 2 Front Suspension Kit that also includes the bushing kit?

Found some FCS brand front strut/coil assemblies from Jegs.com for $71 each. FCS rear shocks are $21 each. Am wondering if these are not quality struts, since the price is so low?

NAPA has NAPA Proformer strut (w/ coil) assemblies for $144 each with a limited lifetime warranty. Read somewhere that they are made by Monroe. Saw on here that Monroes are not the quality they used to be. :( Rear shocks available are the NAPA Proformer for $33 each and OESpectrum for $63 each

Advanced Auto Parts has Monroe RoadMatic struts for $165 each.

Thanks again for all the suggestions and recommendations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not having much luck in finding some of the parts. Summit has the AC Delco Gold left and right upper control arm/ball joint assemblies in stock, but only have the right lower control arm/ball joint assembly for special order of a ship date of Sept. 26 and the left lower one is not available anywhere that I've looked. The AC Delco Gold sway bar end links are not available on Amazon or Parts Voice. Did a Google search for any other retailers for them and no luck. Had no luck finding any Koni front strut/shocks. Supposedly, my local parts store can get the rear Motorcraft OBS (Old Body Style?) Retail shocks. The Gabriel front shocks are available from Summit, but they don't have the coil spring included. I'd rather have the strut assembly, as my mechanic charges about $90/hour! The strut assembly brands I've found are the FCS brand, NAPA Proformer (made by Monroe), and Monroe RoadMatic.

Am going to email BIll at Super Coupe Performance and ask him who makes the parts in the suspension kits he has and what country they're made. Since I'm not familiar with this newer suspension, I don't want to forget any needed parts. Have a replacement knee, so I'm unable to get on the ground to look under the car at the parts. Since I will be moving out-of-state within the next few months, I need to get my Bird repaired soon. The Super Coupe Performance complete kit would probably be the best way to go. I just need to know if any members here have used this kit on their Birds or Cougars and if they liked the quality etc. of the kits and how they made the vehicles drive.

Please advise. Thanks.
 

·
SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX Missing 4.6 MIssing Trans Red
Joined
·
4,059 Posts
Rockauto has the AC Delco upper and lower control arms available right now. They even have Motorcraft upper control arms right now.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,156 Posts
The ACDelco ones have zerks, the motorcraft ones (TRW) dont.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
792 Posts
Creaking could be the ball joint, and also likely the strut rod bushings are toast. Replace both of those. If you search for strut rod there was a brand found a couple months ago that appears to have promise. They are cheap (surprisingly) and on rock auto. We are having some issues findings good parts now that these cars are working towards obsolete. AC Delco gold typically had been a good suggestion for most suspension parts. I would get the complete upper A arms and lower control arm of you can find them. Makes the swap easier and not much cost difference. And while you have it apart, yes, do the shocks. They're likely 28 years old. Good luck on the rebuild, and throw some pics of the car in here!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,156 Posts
I have a set in a saved cart; they said they'd email me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Creaking could be the ball joint, and also likely the strut rod bushings are toast. Replace both of those. If you search for strut rod there was a brand found a couple months ago that appears to have promise. They are cheap (surprisingly) and on rock auto. We are having some issues findings good parts now that these cars are working towards obsolete. AC Delco gold typically had been a good suggestion for most suspension parts. I would get the complete upper A arms and lower control arm of you can find them. Makes the swap easier and not much cost difference. And while you have it apart, yes, do the shocks. They're likely 28 years old. Good luck on the rebuild, and throw some pics of the car in here!

Zep5.0, finally got a few pics taken of Charlotte this afternoon. It breaks my heart that the clear coat has gone to hell, but I don't have a garage and am physically unable to have gotten her waxed before it got worse! Will be moving and will then have a carport to park her under! Charlotte's interior looks almost mint and someday I PRAY I can get her repainted and then she'll look almost new again!!!🥰

Have found some of the AC Delco Gold control arm assemblies, but they are now on special order with a three-week wait and the front left lower one is now discontinued (called the local GM dealer and he said that and that it wasn't available through the dealer locater). Will probably need to go to SuperCoupePerformance for the rebuild kit like you suggested.

 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,156 Posts
You guys should realize, the creaking is a rusty balljoint, rubbing on a rusty socket. As the originals are teflon lined, that means aignificant wear has already happened. If the ball makes it's way out of the hole at the top of the socket,it will come apart, with the lca stuffed into the pavement,the wheel ripping the fender off, and other various mahem. If you're doing 80 on the interstate, it's game over.
 
  • Like
Reactions: charlotte94

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yesterday, I contacted an 80-year old AC Delco parts store that's 40 miles away from me, to see if they happened to have the AC Delco Gold upper/lower control arm assemblies. Unfortunately, they did not have them in stock nor did their suppliers! 😩 So, it looks like I will need to purchase the front suspension kit from Super Coupe Performance, to save time etc. Thank GOD they have the needed parts, otherwise my beloved Thunderbird would be out of commission for a long time! I had contacted Bill at SCP and he said the kits are of high quality, which I am relieved to hear! I will not have inferior quality parts installed on my baby!!! Has anyone else installed the Super Coupe Performance front suspension kit on their T-Bird or Cougar? If so, how did you like them?

Looks like Gabriel only has the front shocks available without the coil spring. Had thought about getting those and new strut mounts, but now the mounts are no longer available (and they were just the other day!)! So I may need to just get the NAPA Proformers since they have a limited lifetime warranty. My T-Bird has 66,000 miles on her, so it's time to replace at least the front shocks.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top