Terrance Cooper, Ft. Worth, TX
I have a ’77 Volaré Road Runner. The body is in a-ok condition, but it needs quite a bit of mechanical work. I’m thinking about install one of the new MP crate engines, and I think I have that covered. What I need some help with is the suspension. I took it in to the local tire shop to have the front end checked. They told me that there were some cracks around the upper control arms that needed to be welded, and that I should go to a frame shop. One of the mechanics mentioned to me in passing that he thought there was some kind of a recall on this, but he didn’t know much more. What can you tell me?
The guy was on the right track. There was a recall, which applied to all ’76-’77, and some ’78 F-cars. The defect was related to the fact that the pivot bar support plates tended to fatigue and develop stress cracks (like yours!) There were several recall parts available:C3940106 – reinforcement package – this was to be installed on cars with no visible cracks yet developed. The kit included four each of the reinforcements and flat washers.C3940104 (right), 105 (left) – these were new support plates. I would assume that they were beefier than the originals, but the recall TSB (#254) still required the installation of the reinforcements, although ’79-89 production cars didn’t use them.
As of this writing, the reinforcement package is still available, and will be a “gratis” part (and installation) with proof of ownership of a recalled VIN. The plates supersede to 3815706 and 707, which are later-model parts, and, are, unfortunately, discod, but theres plenty of later Diplomats, etc., at the boneyards with em ready to be picked.
Incidentally, the front-end guys hated aligning cars with the reinforcements, as they had to be removed before the angles could be set, and then reinstalled.