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Greetings all,

I went to get my car aligned today and ran into a few problems - well, at least the guy at the shop told me they were problems and that's why I'm bringing the question to ya'll. I dropped my '65 fb off this morning at the local tire shop and told them to rotate the wheels, align the car, and see if they couldn't find front springs to install on the car. I'm getting married next week and preparing to move out to Phoenix, AZ - so I don't have the time right now to try and do this myself. I checked back this afternoon just to see if they had made any progress and the guy told me that all together I was looking at nearly $1400 to fix everything. Needless to say, I was a litte disapointed. They told me that they wouldn't align my car because it wouldn't do any good, due to the fact that all of my ball joints were shot, my driver's side spring was shot, my idler arm was shot, along with the tie rod ends. Now, I don't know anything about suspensions (or anything else for that matter) and am doing my best to learn as I go along. He took me out to the garage and demonstrated that when he jerked on the wheels, they were pretty loose and "jiggled around a lot" - hence the need to replace all of the parts mentioned above. My question is, am I being taken here, or do I need to really get this done? And moreover, is this something that someone with very little experience working on cars can tackle himself? When he broke down the prices for everything he quoted me $289 for the front springs. Am I crazy, or can you not get those springs on any mustang web site for near $80 a piece? He also quoted me prices for the rest of the parts that is way above what I've seen online on various mustang sites and parts catalogues. So, the question: what do I do here? Sorry to ramble on with questions that I'm sure are pretty easy and self-evident to all of you mustang-gurus (i bow my head in reverence), but I'm just stuck here at a crossroads and don't know what I should do. Thanks for all of the input.
-StuckInOK
 

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He is screwing you.

Front springs are about $80 a pair. Idler arms, ball joints, et al should be less $200 plus the labour to install. I would guess about $300 to install and maybe another $100 to align.

This gives a total of $700 and not $1400. Uless you think the car is dangerous to drive just wait until you get to Phoenix.

Good luck...
 

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youv'e got to remember that they make alot of their money on the mark up of the parts and the labor is about 70.00 an hour and it will take a pro about 4 hours to do everything including the alighnment so ther you have it in a nut shell. ::
 

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Yes, the parts prices are way inflated. They are easily available at NPD, which offers next day shipping (if you pay a little extra). Otherwise, they are to you in 2 days. A caveat on front springs. Never change just one side. They WILL handle different (new versus old) and it will make the handling of the car degrade. As for the front end suspension being loosey-goosey, that is nothing to play around with. I was almost killed in my stang, after I first bought it, for these same list of worn out parts. The car wondered all over the road and I lost control in an ice storm. My question, however, is whether everything is wrong which he says is wrong. How is the steering, handling on your car at present? Does it stay in its lane with very minor corrections? Does it want to unexpectedly change lanes on you? What's interesting is that he is talking about your bad suspension, then tells you your idler arm is bad, which is not a suspension part - it is steering. I guess you could call the tie rod ends suspension, but they are actually steering. Changing an idler arm is easy for a novice. It will take about 30 minutes, so call it 60 minutes, plus a grease gun to grease it after installation. Just clean up the area first with some brake cleaner or engine degreaser and a hose to make it easier to work with. You might need a pickle fork to separate the idler arm from the drag link. You can borrow that from auto zone. I think the part is $79 if you buy a better quality one. Tie rod ends are also easy to replace. Just count the rotations as you back off each one. When installing new one, rotate on the same number of threads. This will get you close to alignment - close enough to drive to the shop. Changing springs is not technically difficult, but is a real hassle cause you need to use a spring compressor and the downside of doing it wrong is the danger in having a spring becoming uncompressed in your face, which pretty much kills you. Ball joints can be a hassle because the factory joints are rivited in, and it is a real pain to drill out the rivits and bolt in replacements. If you already have replacements which are bolted in, then the remaining hassle is separating the parts at the ball joint. Sometimes they come apart easily and other times you have to really beat on them with a pickle fork and small 2 pound sledge. I would buy all of my own parts, install the idler arm and tie rod ends myself. Then pay to have the springs installed. If the ball joints (upper and lower, both sides) are bolted in, I would replace them myself. Otherwise, pay to have them replaced.

Good luck. If all of these parts are truly worn out, you have a dangerous ride. Particularly if you are driving a long distance to relocate to AZ.
 

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i'm a novice & i did all the work you describe on my own car myself. (hell, i even replaced the pivot on one of the upper a frames while i was at it). the only tricky part is compressing the front springs for removal. there are several types of spring compressors you can rent & it matters which one you use. i found the type with 4 claw arms connected via a central massive bolt works best in the confines of an early mustang

if the car still has original parts on it, i wouldn't be surprised if everything the guy says need to be replaced is worn out. even still, i'd replace everything now even if not worn unless the car had work done recently

the prices are over-inflated, but that's to be expected....you can save yourself a $1000 for a weekend's worth of work (1 day if you're in a rush)
 

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That's not a bad price, to be honest with you, and sounds like the guy was on the "up and up" by taking you into the garage and showing you the play in it. In fact, the guy just did you a favor by showing you how to check the play in the ball joints and tie rods (had a guy do the same thing for me with my first hot rod some 20+ years ago ... a '72 Charger).

To rebuild the front end, it will cost you $600+ in parts for quality parts. The shop is NOT going to shop around for the best prices ... he doesn't have to, because he's just going to take the prices he can get easily, mark them up slightly and get the customer to pay for it.

With labor rates in the $70+/hour range, you can rack up $700 in labor REAL quick on a complete front end rebuild. I've rebuilt several front ends, and it's still a weekend long job for me.

Bottom line, is yes, his quote is a lot of money, but that's what happens when you try to take 40 year old cars to a shop. If you want to save the money, you have to do the work yourself ... there's realy no way around it.
 

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In my second life I am going into the garage business.

$289 for frt springs is way out of line. Nation Parts Depot (NPD) sells them for $39.95 a pair. You need to check with some one else.
 

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I have to agree with johnPro. The price sounds high, but a complete front-end rebuild is not something even a professional can do in a day. It is not difficult work, but it takes time. Just list out the tasks:

1. Remove shocks
2. Remove springs
3. Install springs
4. Install shocks (new??)
5. Remove tie rod ends
6. Install tie rods ends
8. Remove idler arm.
9. Install idler arm.
10. Alignment job.

That is a list of 10 small tasks, that I doubt anyone on VMF can complete without at least 30 minutes per task, and that task list is not complete.

Sounds to me like the mechanic did you a favor. He told you what you need to have done. Now go do it, then take it back to his shop for alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Can't thank everyone enough for all of the help. After much deliberation, I'm going to buy the parts off of NPD or whoever has the best price and install as much of it by myself that I can, and then take the rest to the shop. Just one more question...does anyone have some sort of list, or a good suggestion on what parts I should buy to have a solid front end rebuild? I know it sounds like an open-ended question, but everything on the car is original - including the ball joints with the rivets in them. Thanks again everyone.
-StuckInOK (but soon to Luke AFB, AZ - woohoo!)
 

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Most of the major Mustang parts catalogs have front end rebuild kits that include most everything that you will need at a substantial discount. NPD, Mustangs Plus, and CJ's Pony Parts would all be good places to look.
 

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replace everything prone to wear. if it's all original i can guarantee you it's all worn out, especially those upper ball joints. at the very least you should replace all of the following while you have the front suspension apart. (the rear suspension could stand some scrutiny as well)

upper/lower ball joints: pull the upper a frames & fit zirc elbow fittings into the pivots (replace entire lower control arms for less hassle)
coil springs, insulators & perches
inner & outer tie rods
idler arm
sway bar & strut rod bushings
front/rear shocks if needed
i refurbished my ps control valve while i had everything apart as well (gear box was in good shape)

one additional motivation for replacing the orig equipment is the newer parts all have zirc fittings. i picked up everything, except the coil springs & perches, at the local carquest autoparts (rebuilt my orig lower control arms)
 

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My suggestion is that you telephone PST (Performance Sports Technologies) and get their sales or tech support line and ask your questions. They have front and rear suspension parts, including complete kits. Another source is Mustangs Plus in Stockton, CA, which sells a lot of "grab-a-track" brand suspension components. Personally, I run Eibach progressive rate springs and am quite happy with them. KYB used to the shock of choice, when Koni's are not affordable, but not Edelbrock has a shock which is getting very good review. Tomiko (spelling is not right) is a import shock company of great quality - up around Koni territory, and is not making a fully adjustable ride height shock for classic mustangs. Some folks also like Bilstein gas charged shocks. When you do your suspension mods, if you change your rubber bushings to polygraphite or polyurethane, you'll notice better handling. If you use polyurethane bushings, try wrapping the metal bar or whatever the bushing fits around, with teflon tape so as to elminate potential for squeaking. NPD means National Parts Depot. Their toll free order lines are open 24 hours a day. Try 1-800-235-3445 for their california location.
 
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