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 Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon

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CBurne7

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PostSubject: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:05 am

Good morning everyone,

I am preparing to install some Belltech lowering springs (1.5in) on my 95 RMW and am going to continue using my auto level control. I am looking for suggestions on how to shorten the sensor rod on the ALC control. I took a look at it yesterday while planning out how I'm going to plumb up the new shocks and realized that it wasn't a threaded rod. Dunno why I assumed that it was adjustable.

I'm thinking I could either:

1. Drill a new hole where the lower ALC sensor rod connects. I dunno if the geometry of the arc of the sensor rod would be affected when depressed. This is probably the easiest method, but I won't know how much space i have to work with drilling a new hole until I get the new springs in.

2. Somehow figure out how to make my own threaded bolt/rod. This would be nice because then I could adjust it, but I'd need to figure out how to find the ball-sockets to use along with the bolt and bracket on the sensor. I guess what I could do is find rod + sockets and re-drill the sensor bracket arm for a new one.

3. Shorten the existing rod, but I dunno if the socket ends press in, are one piece, or screw out.

Thanks in advance.
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CBurne7

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:08 am

I wonder if I could use something like this:

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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:22 pm

I believe they screw out, and you can shorten the distance between the two ends. You can also drill new holes and move the ball studs.

You stated that you are dropping it 1.5 inches, so you are going to be drilling new holes, because the shaft does not have that range of adjustment. You may be able to find ball studs and sockets at a model airplane, or R/C car store, if yours are no longer servicable. They use them for all sorts of controls, and some are heavy duty (larger). They have threaded shafts as well.

With ball studs and sockets, alignment is not a major concern, because they are self aligning for the most part, and can withstand a good amount of misalignment without binding. The travel of the axle is almost vertical, and the ball sockets can compensate for the changes in angle both in the arc of the axle, and any small amounts of lateral motion.

You may find it easier to make a new bracket for the axle housing. The sensor is on the body, and can not be moved easily. Just remember to measure the drop from the wheel opening to the top of the wheel before and after installing the springs to get a correct drop measurement for the sensor mod.
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CBurne7

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:30 pm

So the air shocks from the factory are, to some degree, supporting the weight of the vehicle? I'm going to check out some hobby shops and look to see if I can find some ball and socket bolt-ends so that I can adjust the length of the arm, so I can adjust the height of the vehicle. That'd be cool.
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:39 pm

The issue with the ball and socket ends is that there is not enough space between them to adjust for 1.5 inches of drop. You need to make a new axle mount with the hole 1.5 inches lower (provided you actually have 1.5 inch drop). The original one has a threaded shaft between the sockets.
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CBurne7

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:48 pm

Right. I was thinking of just finding a (shorter) adjustable rod with ball and sockets on both ends. That way I wouldn't have to drill more holes in the axle. It looks like the factory arm is about 3 inches, so I may just find something that's roughly 1.5 inches and I could adjust in and out if need be.
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:57 pm

That does not work. The space between the ball studs is not sufficient to put the ball sockets and a shaft for a 1.5 inch drop. The arm length has nothing to do with the adjustment. The distance between the mounting holes vertically is the issue. You could make a drop plate to bolt/rivet to the lower/axle mounting flange, and that should be sufficient.
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CBurne7

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:42 pm

Hold on. My brain is trying to comprehend what you've told me 9 times already...

*clunk*

*creeeeek*

*chuga chuga chuga*

So I'm talking about shortening this vertical arm. We're talking about the same thing right? When I measured it it looked to be about 3 inches overall, which if I were to lower the car, thus bringing the horizontal arm closer to the axle mount point, I could shorten this arm and it would function as it did when it was at the stock height.

Thanks for your patience Fred. Teacher always sed my reading comprehenchion wasnt too gud.

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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:29 pm

That arm is HORIZINTAL, and shortening it does not affect the ride height. The ball link is what you must shorten by 1.5 inches. There is not enough space between the inner ends to shorten it 1.5 inches.

To start pretty much over:

I looked at the FSM for adjustments, and you may be able to rotate the outer part of the actuator arm upward to get some adjustment, and shorten the screw in the ball link to get the rest. The over all change must be the same as the amount of drop you get when you change springs.

To adjust the arm loosen the bolt in the middle of the arm, and move it away from the axle (up). Measure it before you move it, and after, so you know how far it moved (at the ball stud). Subtract that from the actual drop, and shorten the link between the ball sockets the remainder. If you can not shorten the link, you will need new ball studs and sockets with a screw shaft to make it work, unless you can find sockets that fit the ball studs.

The bottom ball stud is attached to the upper suspension arm at the bushing. It may be easier to make a bracket to attach to the suspension arm, that will lower the ball stud by the amount of actual drop. If the lower ball stud is not exactly under the sensor arm, it will not make a noticeable difference in the working of the system. The position of the arm causes the ball to move in a small arc.

Another option is to make a new bracket for the sensor to attach to the body. You must rotate the sensor so that the arm is the amount of drop higher than the stock position. This may be the easiest way, because you do not have to find a lot of small parts and modify a lot of other things. Use the same thickness steel. A piece of angle stock might make it easier.

Still an easier possibility is that you might even be able to drill new holes in the crossmember, and mount the sensor high enough to just make an adjustment to the arm, although you still want to be able to fine adjust it a little. You may still have to shorten the link (your black circle). You may have to combine the last two, to make it work. I have not tried to modify the system, so any of all of these may work in some combination.
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:36 pm

I thought of another option...you could put a tapered wedge under the bracket, with the large end down, to rotate the sensor up on the ball stud end. It needs to rotate the bracket up enough to lift the ball socket end the amount of the drop you achieve. You can fine adjust it with the sensor arm after it is installed.
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95wagon

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:09 am

The best answer is to remount the sensor higher on the frame.

If you shorten the link an inch and a half it will be so short that it will all bind up as the susp goes through full travel.

I made a new sensor to frame bracket but likely you could redrill stuff also.

Then you can do your final trim adjustment on the factory lever locking bolt.

If you want to make an adjustable link with 1/4 rod ends, great , but still move the sensor up on the car

The huge deal is to make sure that when you are finished , the system is "lifting" a bit at your desired ride height.
If the setup ends up trying to lower the car more than the springs will allow, the exhaust solenoid will be on too much and will eventually fail.
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1995_LR



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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:43 pm

Re-joined this forum just to post this

Use the ball-joints the OP originally posted, then get some stainless threaded rod, and adjust the length of the rod to have the car sit level when the lowering springs have been installed. You do not need to move the sensor. You don't need to move anything. You will not bind the arm if you use a shorter rod. Been running the shortened rod and carburetor end-links for years now on a slammed wagon. No issues at all. Had the car at full suspension travel on jackstands and it does not stress the lever. ALC works perfectly.
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Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:10 pm

Why leave? scratch
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95wagon

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:17 pm

1995_LR wrote:

Been running the shortened rod and carburetor end-links for years now on a slammed wagon. No issues at all.


Humm, intresting, I looked at mine through the range  when it was a bare frame and diff and was not enamored with the angles.

"slammed"  how long is your link center to center now?

My car is not terribly low at all.
The last iteration I moved my link point back to make the control range more sensitive.

BUT if you say it works with a little tiny  short link, I stand corrected
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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:26 pm

95wagon wrote:

BUT if you say it works with a little tiny  short link, I stand corrected
It's not a tiny, short link. Measuring from outside of link to outside of link, it's not much different than the stocker. A little bit 'off the top' in length goes a long way. I can get exact measurements if you want. The car isn't dragging the frame on the ground, but it's at least 2" lower than stock.

Edit: can't remember if its shorter or longer. I'll get under there and measure it tomorrow.


Last edited by 1995_LR on Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:53 pm

1995_LR wrote:
Re-joined this forum just to post this

Use the ball-joints the OP originally posted, then get some stainless threaded rod, and adjust the length of the rod to have the car sit level when the lowering springs have been installed. You do not need to move the sensor. You don't need to move anything. You will not bind the arm if you use a shorter rod. Been running the shortened rod and carburetor end-links for years now on a slammed wagon. No issues at all. Had the car at full suspension travel on jackstands and it does not stress the lever. ALC works perfectly.

The link is too short to compensate for the 1.5 inch drop, so the whole sensor unit must be moved. The mount on the suspension line is too close to the bushing to drill another hole as well.
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1995_LR



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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:45 pm

Fred Kiehl wrote:

The link is too short to compensate for the 1.5 inch drop, so the whole sensor unit must be moved. The mount on the suspension line is too close to the bushing to drill another hole as well.
No, you don't need to move the sensor or drill any holes. You can adjust the length of the rod and reach the same results. I've done it.

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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:48 pm

I will have to recheck a link to see if it possible, but I remember it being too short.
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1995_LR



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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:35 am

Fred Kiehl wrote:
I will have to recheck a link to see if it possible, but I remember it being too short.

Recheck if you want - its a waste of time. My rear fender edge is a shade over 19.5" to the ground with 20" wheels. ALC 100%, no relocation of anything is necessary. Get two carburetor links, some ss threaded rod, and have at it. It took a few tries to get the length right, but it works.
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CBurne7

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:29 am

I got my 1.5 Belltech lowering springs in yesterday and monkey'd around with the sensor. I made a bracket to mount the sensor higher on the frame, but wasn't really satisfied with where it positioned the sensor. I was only able to get the sensor another ~1in or so higher. Not the 2 inches (net end result) I needed.

Today I'm going to go out to the local rod shop and pick up some carb linkage to give that a shot and possibly and get my Cragar SS and white walls mounted and balanced while I'm at it.

Pics after the springs... Haven't gotten a chance to wash it recently. Has some bonus grease stains on the bumper. Smile I prefer a "hot rod" stance, so ultimately I want a little more forward rake, but it's not bad the way it sits now. I just need to figure out how to get the sensor dialed in.

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:38 am

Stance looks good. Looks lower than 1.5 in the front?
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: Auto-level Control & Lowered wagon   Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:15 am

Check the rear springs when you jack it to remove a tire. If they fall out, weld a short piece of exhaust pipe to the top spring perch.

If you measured your ride height in the front before you swapped springs, and measured it again after, you can subtract the after measurement, and remove 1/32 inch shim for every 1/2 inch of drop to correct for negative camber. The tops of the tires will move out a little.
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