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Is a 78 caprice too new?


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Although I have a couple older vehicles, I'm trying to get my 78 caprice going again. I hope this car is not too new to be mentioned on the site, and if it is, I apologize and I suppose this can be disregarded.

I need upper and lower control arms for my 78 Caprice. Stock will be fine. There seems to be a wide variance on price. What would be the best place to look for these and not get ripped off. Or if someone had an old pair they knew weren't bent, I'd be interested in those as well.

thanks,

Brandon

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Brandon,

Absolutly not ! They are a great car especially if your able to find a low mileage Police Caprice/ Impala for parts because they have the H/D brakes, engine- transmission and power steering external oil coolers ect, plus the P/S boxes are faster and less turns lock to lock . I used to see them in junk yards all the time a few years back. If you can find one that looks like the front end has never been hit get in there and have at it! These down-sized "B" bodied cars are very good riding cars and weigh less than the older "A" intermediates. The best engine for this year is the 350" SBC, but the other two engines are the 305 (which had flat cam problems) and the very good but anemic seven main bearing 250" six. The six does have it's problems with it's mono cylinder head ( intake manifold and cylinder head cast in one piece) which is prone to cracking. I have one in a 76 Olds with over 110,000 miles with no problems, but I'm a stickler when it comes to maintenence and I'm the original owner.

Good luck with a great car.

Don

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Although I have a couple older vehicles, I'm trying to get my 78 caprice going again. I hope this car is not too new to be mentioned on the site, and if it is, I apologize and I suppose this can be disregarded.

I need upper and lower control arms for my 78 Caprice. Stock will be fine. There seems to be a wide variance on price. What would be the best place to look for these and not get ripped off. Or if someone had an old pair they knew weren't bent, I'd be interested in those as well.

thanks,

Brandon

The front suspension arms are the same on all 1977-1990 B-body cars. That covers the RWD versions of the Caprice, Delta 88, Bonneville, and LeSabre. These cars should still be fairly common in wrecking yards. The 1991-96 Caprice control arms should also interchange, but I'm not certain that they are 100% identical. The 1977-1990 RWD C-body and D-body cars (Olds 98, Buick Electra, and Caddy Fleetwood) will also interchange.

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Brandon

Good ole RockAuto.com stocks Raybestos and ACDelco control arms, ball joints included, and bushings for your Caprice. They also have a cheaper brand which I suspect is Chinese or Indian made and may be of suspect quality. Since Raybestos and ACDelco both make these parts you can probably find them locally at a NAPA, Advance of similar national chain parts store. There should be virtually any mechanical part for your car still available.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. It's very good to know that the Cadillac stuff of the same year will interchange. P-S-T makes a front end kit for the Cadillac, so knowing it will fit my Caprice is a big help.

My friend recommended P-S-T and another one recommended Moog. I have heard moog is supposed to be very high quality, but I haven't found that they offer a complete kit. I attempted to call one of the websites, however the guy on the other end clearly only understood enough english to read what was on a screen in front of him.

My friend also made a good point that if I were able to buy a new, preassembled control arm setup it might actually be cheaper after the cost of buying the control arms, shafts, bushings, ball joints and then having them pressed in.

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:) Brandon upper and lower compleat control arms with the ball joint are readly available at most any national auto parts store such as NAPA or Advance auto. If you have a friend in the bussness he should be able to get them w/sale for about $130. to $140. Only way to go.
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A 78 Chev is now 32 years old. The same age as a 1931 Duesenberg was in 1963 or a 1927 Model T in 1959. Yet it's just another used car, not an antique and not really obsolete.

Times have changed. Progress moves a lot slower than it used to.

I thought a antique was a car 25 years or older.

Don

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Hey vetteman, here is what is being said here, a translation we should all be able to agree with:

In the AACA club 25 years old is the definition of an antique car, as it is for licensing in most states.

But among collectors many do not see 1970s/1980s cars as obscure enough to be REAL collectors items and they decry them as being just old "used" cars rather than of real historical interest like an older car. This has been ongoing for decades as new generations of cars age and is essentially a personal issue. Even someone like myself who likes 1970s cars will agree that it is hard to accept a car you remember sitting new on the showroom floor as an antique now. But do not worry about our little digs on the subject, you can still ask your questions and someone will offer advice. Todd C

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I thought a antique was a car 25 years or older.

Don

If you saw a 1985 car in a parking lot would you think "what an antique!"? I doubt it. You probably wouldn't notice it all all, they are so common and look so much like today's cars.

On the other hand, in 1985 if you saw a 1960 car in all it's tail finned glory you probably would have noticed.

And if you saw a 1935 car in a parking lot in 1960 it definitely would have stood out.

My point is that progress has slowed down, change is much slower today than in previous generations. A 1978 car is old but not "old" in the sense of King Tut's tomb.

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I agree completely with Rusty's points and have thought of this myself in even shorter increments. For example, I have a 1957 Pontiac and in 1957 a 1947 model would have seemed very old. In 1967 my ten year old Pontiac would have been hopelessly out of date. But today in 2010 there are 2000 models everywhere and they do not look obviously ten years old--the paint and trim holds up well generally and the designs have not changed much, sometimes not at all.

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If you saw a 1985 car in a parking lot would you think "what an antique!"? I doubt it. You probably wouldn't notice it all all, they are so common and look so much like today's cars.

On the other hand, in 1985 if you saw a 1960 car in all it's tail finned glory you probably would have noticed.

And if you saw a 1935 car in a parking lot in 1960 it definitely would have stood out.

My point is that progress has slowed down, change is much slower today than in previous generations. A 1978 car is old but not "old" in the sense of King Tut's tomb.

A full size boxy 1985 Lincoln Town Car or Cadillac Brougham looks nothing like what today's cars look like and would definitely stand out in a parking lot in their full size boxy glory.

On the other hand a 1908 Ford Model T doesn't look much different than a 1927.

And a 1949 Volkswagen Beetle doesn't look much different than a 1996 (still offered for sale outside the U.S)

Works both ways.

Whether you originally bought a car new, as a used beater on a car lot, or it was built before you were born, as soon as it hits 25 years old, it is an antique whether it fits what you personally like as an antique or not.

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If you saw a 1985 car in a parking lot would you think "what an antique!"? I doubt it. You probably wouldn't notice it all all, they are so common and look so much like today's cars.

.

Rusty,

I can't agree with you there. Look at a 81 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am, or a 86 Grand Prix 2+2 Areocoupe, 1987 Olds 442, or another favorite of mine..a 1984 98 Regency brougham coupe and the 77-83+ Cadillac Coupe DeVille.

Rusty, where I'm from you don't see them on the streets anymore and if I saw one parked I would surely stop and if it was in good condition would leave a note explaining the various clubs we have. Those cars look nothing like a 2010 GM product!

Don

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When I first started driving my 78 caprice in high school, it was simply an "old" car. Literally, the kind old granmothers drove to the grocery store. I believe this is partly why I loved it so much. I was very insecure back then, being somewhat unpopular. This is relevant because my first car was a 79 corvette. It got me so much attention, and often times negative attention, I really loved being able to be unnoticed in the old caprice. Also, I believed it had great lines (being a 2 door) that seemed to be unnoticed, so I appreciated it and it didn't stand out. I used to get made fun of by friends for driving the old car when I had "better" cars to drive.

Now, I've begun to notice that my old Caprice doesn't really blend in anymore. It's been painted since back then, and the body work done. When I go places, people have started noticing that it's a "nice looking old car." People are beginning to feel nostalgia for it. In a way, I like this because people appreciate a car I've always loved, but in another way, I don't like it because now it's begins that the car doesn't blend it, it's starting to stand out, the same way my old 57 chevy does. Soon, I'm afraid it will become a true "classic," and that means I have to worry about being wanting to steal it or vandalize it.

At any rate, back when it was just an "old" car and I was 16... I used to give it a hard time. We would fly around back roads, jump some railroad tracks and do donuts in the mud. Things have changed and it's a nice car now, but the suspension still remembers the old days. So it's time for replacement.

Thanks for the tips and if anyone knows of a moog front end kit, or has experience with P-S-T (or has other options and opinions) please let me know.

Thanks,

Brandon

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I've always very much liked the '77-79 big Chevy coupes. My Dad bought a new '77 Impala coupe in Nov. '76 and I much-preferred it to the '74 Impala we traded in.

They were glass-smooth riding and extremely quiet, and I remember they had a big trunk and very livable back seat.

People say there were issues with the THM 200 trans and 305 engine, although we had no issues with either in the 57K miles we drove it. I do remember the large sedan rail around the driver's side window, broke a weld at the rear of the door.

I would love a Caprice coupe of that era with 350, which got you the heavier trans, and those plastic dished-out wheel covers that looked like wires. I actually like them better than the "Landau" chromed wire wheel covers. Get one with F41 suspension and the Custom interior (which got you a lot of velour on the seats and the neat, chromed plastic escutcheons around the door handles inside), and you have a Buick-level luxury car with clean Chevy styling.

I think some of the soft trim parts may be hard to find.

Good luck...great car!

Bill

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Well, I guess I could post a couple pictures.

This was my car in front of, and inside, my father's old dealership before the gov'ment came and tore it down (legally is to be determined, but it's true you can't fight city hall) and put up .... a parking lot.

that building had been there since the 20s.

DSCF28321.jpg

DSCF0170.jpg

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to further expound on the 'old car' subject... remember how (to a lot of us) the car that was just a few years old was SO OLD to the point that it was embarasing (pardon the spelling) to be seen in it... such as a big finned caddy or that 'suddenly its 1960' mopar.... now it's cool!:D

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Wow, sharp Caprice! I remember that color.

How about sharing a photo of the interior? I always liked that the door panels of those cars was soft vinyl the whole way down, and I liked how the Caprices had that glossy black panel above the glove compartment.

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This is my 76 Olds and 110,000 miles, I'm original owner and that is original paint. I'll be taking it on a AACA outing this saturday. I love these new-old cars. I know one thing...all the kids in the neighborhood call it a antique car.

Don

P.S. I'm not in the picture.

img_0124.jpg

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Hello Sir,

Nice Caprice You have there!!! Always liked those early-style 2drs with the way the back window is formed! As I understand, the "new" 1977 "small" B-body was then-GM head-of-design Bill Mitchell´s last work before his retirement. The man who brought out the original ´63 Riviera -design, as well as the ´71 boattail-Riviera (among others).

I agree there seems to be some "confusion" to some "antique-car" -people as to what constitutes an "Antique Car", but one thing´s for sure, as much as they sold these cars back in the ´70s, they sure don´t look like anything one would see in showrooms these days, or out on the roads, either, that´s for sure!

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I'm searching the internet to try to find some affordable, pre-assembled control arms.

Many companies won't list Caprice specifically. I'm trying to get a definitive list of exactly what years interchange with a 78 Caprice.

Over the last while, I've heard lots of opinions on what interchanges, but I'm hoping I figure this site is the place to look for definite answer.

Thanks,

Brandon

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The front suspension arms are the same on all 1977-1990 B-body cars. That covers the RWD versions of the Caprice, Delta 88, Bonneville, and LeSabre. These cars should still be fairly common in wrecking yards. The 1991-96 Caprice control arms should also interchange, but I'm not certain that they are 100% identical. The 1977-1990 RWD C-body and D-body cars (Olds 98, Buick Electra, and Caddy Fleetwood) will also interchange.

Brandon,

I think Joe just about covered it so what more information do you need?

Why do you need pre assembled arms when all you have to do is install new ball joints and bushings in your old ones? If you don't have a press like some of us, most good parts stores have a machine shop in the back to do this for you.

Don

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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Although I have a couple older vehicles, I'm trying to get my 78 caprice going again. I hope this car is not too new to be mentioned on the site, and if it is, I apologize and I suppose this can be disregarded.

Not at all Brandon, the car is old enough, and that model Chevy was a good reliable car.

Bring it out and welcome aboard!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry, I had posted a company I thought had good deals, but then I read on to realize they weren't exactly right.

There seem to be so many choices it's hard to know what to order. I've checked in with local parts houses and I was shocked at what control arms would cost from them.

Edited by Vetteman61 (see edit history)
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Nice Monte Carlo. Shortly before the 2 forms of government closed our dealership down (local and federal) to put a "judicial center," yes, i'm bitter....

a man traded in a car EXACTLY like that one. It was a one owner and looked brand new. I hated that I couldn't keep it just for the preservation of it.

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