Author Topic: '56 Front Suspension  (Read 648 times)

Offline iCAD

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'56 Front Suspension
« on: October 02, 2017, 09:36:27 AM »
Just throwing this out there....Why is it that other GM products of the same vintage (your basic Chevy for one) used ball/spherical joints in their front suspensions, but Cadillac used the old-fashioned king-pin style until the '57 model year? Has anyone ever heard of aftermarket control arms for '54-'56's, or a later model swap?? Or is clipping the front end the only viable option??   
At a gas station the other day, a guy asks me "what kinda gas mileage do you get with a big old car like that?". "Who cares?" I replied, "it's a Cadillac!!"

Offline PHIL WHYTE CLC 14192

Re: '56 Front Suspension
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2017, 01:59:11 PM »
Any change it, when it's all correctly set up they drive like a dream even with bias ply tires? Phil

Offline Lexi

Re: '56 Front Suspension
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2017, 03:49:47 PM »
Don't have a lot of front end experience but seems to me that king pins would be more robust and not prone to a total failure as would be more likely with the joint noted by icad. If you are currently working on your front end and need parts you may want to check Rare Parts Inc out of California. They make a lot of the parts in their machine shop, where alternate suppliers (like Moog) offer none. They are expensive but you can order just what you need (rather than get stuck with a kit and not required parts). They are said to be the best. This summer I had my '56 front end replaced with their parts. I farmed out the job for a number of reasons. The mechanic was very happy with the replacement parts and had no trouble with them except for the pivot pins. He demonstrated to me that the thread pitch seemed slightly off. Yes, he was aware that there is a pitch difference in the two types on the car. The thread was also not cut all the way to the head of the bolt. He re-used my OEM pins which were fine. I did report this to Rare Parts for their information and attention. Not sure if Rare Parts offers control arms though it may be a part they would make for you, if all else fails. Clay/Lexi

Offline PHIL WHYTE CLC 14192

Re: '56 Front Suspension
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2017, 05:05:08 PM »
Ha ha, I typed that on my phone. It was meant to say "why change it"!

Offline Lexi

Re: '56 Front Suspension
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2017, 09:06:03 PM »
Yep I agree. I prefer not to change from OEM parts. I want to feel like I am in a time machine. That is a big chunk of the attraction for me. If I wanted a retro-fitted or resto-mod I would just buy a new car and be done with it! Clay/Lexi

Offline iCAD

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Re: '56 Front Suspension
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 07:16:48 AM »
For the most part, I think my front end is fine. There is about 45K miles on it. I do notice a bit of play in the LH kingpin tho, so I'm wondering if this is enough to cause my front end to wander a bit. Almost feels like bias-plys, but they are Coker WWW radials.
At a gas station the other day, a guy asks me "what kinda gas mileage do you get with a big old car like that?". "Who cares?" I replied, "it's a Cadillac!!"

Offline novetti

Re: '56 Front Suspension
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2017, 06:53:30 PM »
Regarding wondering there is a lot of other steering/suspension/alignment setttings parts that influence that.
How is your tie rods? Any play on them? How firm is the steering box? What is your toe in settings?

OEM's changed to ball joints to simplify the assembly and reduce cost, not because Link and King pins were inferior.

If I were you I would just disassemble and rebuild the Link/King pins. Depending on the current wear and tear, but can reuse your pins (machining it down in a lathe) and buy new bronze bushings, reaming them to the exactly size of your turned down pins. Obviously if the wear is excessive just buy new pins.

These vehicles were designed to be driven in Bias ply tires, and they drive like a dream when the rest (steering, suspension, alignment etc) is in good order.

When was the last time you greased your car?

Cheers

Julio