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94 Fleetwood Brougham
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Discussion Starter #1
I was just looking at my drag link and noticed how bad it is (3/16" or more play). So I went to Autozone, and they list 2 for my car. HD, Limo, Commercial Chassis, and non. Price is $57 for non, $88 for HD.

What is HD? What is the difference? I have a factory V4P, is that considered HD? Can I "upgrade" to HD link?

Thanks!!
 

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N0DIH said:
I was just looking at my drag link and noticed how bad it is (3/16" or more play). So I went to Autozone, and they list 2 for my car. HD, Limo, Commercial Chassis, and non. Price is $57 for non, $88 for HD.

What is HD? What is the difference? I have a factory V4P, is that considered HD? Can I "upgrade" to HD link?

Thanks!!
i cant really say whether or not you have the Hd option but that I know of only limos etc. had the HD option like body armored cars
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That is the other car mentioned was armored. They didn't have the HD on in stock to compare to. I don't want to spend $88 to find out either. But then again, if mine now is wrong, I'll know for sure.

Anyone with a commerical chassis or limo? It would be cool to get some picts of the HD version.

Katshot, you around? You have a ton of experience with these land yachts. Advice?

So, what other things are different in the 2 chassis cars? It almost sounds like sheet metal is the only common items!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That is the other car mentioned was armored. They didn't have the HD on in stock to compare to. I don't want to spend $88 to find out either. But then again, if mine now is wrong, I'll know for sure.

Anyone with a commerical chassis, or limo? It would be cool to get some picts of the HD version.

Katshot, you around? You have a ton of experience with these land yachts. Advice?

So, what other things are different in the 2 chassis cars? It almost sounds like sheet metal is the only common items!


ocjmakaveli said:
i cant really say whether or not you have the Hd option but that I know of only limos etc. had the HD option like body armored cars
 

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Me personally i went with the moog centerlink from rockauto.com it is very well made but I had to get an alignment afterwards because even though it looked exactly the same as the old one it did change the alignment.

It took me over a year to figure out that my steering play lay in the centerlink I always wondered why it reacted quicker to the left :bigroll:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Mine is the same, one direction reacts slightly faster.

I just had my son turn the wheel back and forth while I looked closely at the joints and it is very obvious when you found a bad one. My Suburban is getting there, but not near as bad as my Cad.

Did you change it yourself or have a shop? I think my neighbor has the pickle fork to separate the joints. I would rather have the GM tool. I am pondering swapping the tie rods too, but they all seem in very good shape. So I don't want to waste $ for nothing.
 

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i changed it myself in less than an hour not hard to do at all and I didnt even use a fork i just hammered at the bar and used a little force from a screw driver because of the lack of space.


It wasnt on too tight either.

Definitely take it to a shop to get aligned.

This is definitely one of the easiest or THE easiest suspension part to replace.
 

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I had to get that changed on mine 2 years ago. You probably just have the normal one. It needed a new idler arm at the same time. I don't think I had to get it aligned.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How much was the MOOG peice? I would rather have MOOG if possible. I just don't know any local shops that have MOOG parts. They are often redesigned to be better than stock.
 

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'80 Fleetwood Coupe, 1994 and 1995 Mercedes 140 Coupe
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The tie rods should last much longer than the center link if they are kept lubricated. Idler arms and centerlinks are the normal wear parts. Certain dealershit mechanics used to fix the idler arm on warranty by removing the frame nuts, screwing it in one turn and re-installing! You can check toe yourself if you have a good pair of eyes. The car has to be rolled forward in the straight ahead direction for a few feet. You can then sight along the front tire edges looking at the rear tires. Both sides should look the same with an ever so slight toe in or none at all. We used to finish alignments this way back when the shop alignment machine was not so good. I've gone many miles on cars set this way. Some alignment shops do a quickie job and you land up with settings that aren't as good anyway. You can't set camber and caster on these without a machine unless you get lucky but those will not change with your repair.
#1 cause of death of center link is overzealous newbie grease gun users. Most shop grease systems develop enough pressure to ruin the centerlink. Pump that grese in there slowly.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good advice Ape. What happens when you over goo the drag link? Just break the seals and lose the grease and accelerate wear? I know, I worked in a shop like that once, those guns are set up to be plenty high. Never realized the damage that they can do. Proof doing your own work is worth it. No wonder all car companies got rid of greased fittings and went greasless.

I do all my own alignments. Toe is #1, caster is easy (think of it as camber gain in corners), camber, I adjust to what I need to make it bit properly in corners as I drive. I don't honestly worry much on camber and caster, once set, they are not wacked out that easily. And only minor tweaks to get back to where it needs to be.

I have 2 7 foot aluminum straight edges that I use bricks to suppor next to the sidewalls of my tires, and then 2 long tape measures stretched out to around 150 inches or so with the ends clipped to the bar. I can measure toe much more accurately than the shops. My #1 complaint of shops is they just bump it into spec, not center it on the spec. #2 is when they argue with me when I tell them what alignment specs I want. Duh, I am smarter than most of them, and once in a while you find a mechanic that understands and does a killer alignement for me.

You don't need fancy dancy machines to do alignments, NASCAR doens't use them on the track when they are running loose and they need to tweak it. And that first time they bump into someone, the alignment is hosed, they don't stop the race for a quick check on the Hunter machine, right? Me either. And I have YET to wear out a single tire due to alignment problems since I have spec'd my own and done my own.

#1. Assuming your caster is close, swap all shims from front bolt to back and back to front. This will bring caster up. I personally shoot for no shims on the front bolt and all on the rear. Work with it, some cars can't tolerate it. My T/A has interference with the steering shaft whem I push it.

#2. Camber, if needed. Get a level for a pole. This gives a nice level that you can set the car level to. If you want to set camber, you must have car level. Now, get a Carpenters L frame angle (not sure real name, I forgot). Place up to tire sidewall or rim if you can and find 2 spots that are even top to bottom. Measure the angle to the ground. Set to what you want. I shoot for 0.5 degrees negative. Remember, in #1 we set caster high, so you don't need near as much camber now. Too much caster? NOT, GM cars can't get enough without serious mods. S500 MBenz has 10 degrees positive caster. BMW's typically around 7. We are lucky to get 4-5 and have decent camber. Ok, on caster. When your car pulls, caster is 90% of the time the problem. The car pulls to the side with the MOST caster. No problem to adj. If pulling. Take 1 shim off the back bolt and move it to the front. NO OTHER CHANGES, and this will only affect pulling and caster alignment. Drive to test. Once you get the car to not pull, then recheck toe. Toe is last alignment.

#3. Toe. Setup the bars as above and measure the front and back dimensions as accurately as you can. Your resolution is 6-7 feet out. This is VERY high, shoot for 1/16 to 1/8" toe in. Make sure you preload the tie rods by forcing each tire out at the front. Measure, reset and measure again. You should be 100% repeatable. Make sure the tires look both straight on the car, and make sure wheel is straight too. You may need to adj 1 or both sides to get your alignment right with the wheel straight.

Honestly it is more labor intensive than anything. Just takes time.

If you have a good tread on your tires with a spot you can measure the tread front and back of the tire, this works with acceptable accuracy, now you are down to what the shops do. I did my Suburban that way and checked with my 7 foot bar setup and I was dead on.

To give you an idea on my accuracy, I did align it my way (toe only) to 1/16" toe in at 6 foot, and then took it to a shop (Ford dealer, my uncle was SM there) and it measured 0.02 degrees toe in on the machine. Good enough for me!

Ok, on caster. When your car pulls, caster is 90% of the time the problem. The car pulls to the side with the MOST caster. No problem to adj. If pulling. Take 1 shim off the back bolt and move it to the front. NO OTHER CHANGES, and this will only affect pulling and caster alignment. Drive to test. Once you get the car to not pull, then recheck toe. Toe is last alignment.

I shoot for:
Caster: Max the car will take. No shims on front bolt, all on rear.
Camber: With high caster, and not a G Machine, shoot for 0 to 0.25 degrees negative.
Camber Racing: 1 degree negative max. Watch and evaluate tire temps and wear with chalk on corner edge of tires.
Toe: 1/16" to 1/8" toe in @ 7 foot radius (guys? How do I calc degrees??)
Toe Racing: Shoot for 1/8" toe OUT
Cross Caster: Stock, tighter end of spec
Cross Camber: Stock, tighter end of spec

As always, monitor tire wear for scuffing and abnormal wear. I have no abnormal wear with my alignments. And I drive >30K per year.
 

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'80 Fleetwood Coupe, 1994 and 1995 Mercedes 140 Coupe
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You can grease the drag link all you want. The problem is when the grease is pumped in too fast. The pressure can make the innards pop out. There is a whole lot of available energy in the grease when it is going at full volume.
 
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