Page updated on 12-12-2017

FE1 or FE2 suspension?


J-Ri
09-05-2012, 09:53 PM
I need new control arms for my cavalier, and they need to know the RPO code for the suspension... Of course, the tag on the spare tire cover was so badly mangled that I could only make out a few codes, none of them what I need. Nobody locally has them in stock, so I can't get both and compare.

I remember a while back I did control arms on a J body (I think, definitely a GM), and the ones we got were about an inch too long. I assume this is the difference, unless the part was just plain wrong. It's the base model, and the only option that I'm aware it has is a CD player... so I assume it doesn't have the sport suspension. Is there a way to tell if it has FE1 or FE2 with the RPO code unavailable? Also, am I correct in assuming the difference is the length? I'd prefer to have the FE2 if the dimensions are the same.

Thanks,
Jason

carrfixr
09-05-2012, 10:26 PM
http://www.fme-cat.com/Application.aspx?year=2004&make=CHEVROLET&model=CAVALIER&engine=L4%202.2L%202198CC/134CID%20VIN%20F%20L61&subm=BASE%20MODEL&cat=Suspension&subcat=Suspension,%20Springs%20and%20Related%20Com ponents

i believe its just a beefier arm and will fit. the subframes, spindles are the same. the fe2 has a heavier sway bar. you can call there customer support line to get more info

gmtech1
09-06-2012, 08:44 AM
If its the '04, give me the last 8 digits of the vin and I'll look it up.

J-Ri
09-06-2012, 10:28 PM
Well, I had a brilliant idea today while I was working on the exhaust. I saw a bit of blue out of the corner of my eye, and sure enough, the part number tag was still on the sway bar and readable, I looked that up and it shows for FE1 suspension.

Now, I need to know if the FE2 fits in its place. I assume FE2 has stiffer bushings, or they shouldn't affect the ride. I'm not going through the hassle of swapping my polyurethane bushings into new control arms and I shouldn't spend money on a new set right now, so I want the stiffer ones, if that's even a difference. I'm 99% sure that one is slightly longer than the other, the mounting points all matched up on those "wrong" arms I got years back, just the camber was so far off I couldn't get it into spec. If the FE2 is longer, no problem, I've got the camber on mine at -1.5 using cam bolts. I can pull those out and replace them with the original bolts, and hopefully the longer arm puts me about where I am now... if not, I reinstall the cam bolts the other way. If the FE2 is shorter, it will not work. If nobody knows for sure, maybe I'll just order one and see.

carfixr, thanks for looking that up for me, but I've had terrible luck talking to customer support, usually they just give up after leaving me on hold for half an hour and tell me it will work, then it doesn't, and I'm stuck with return shipping or a part I'll never use. I've had much better luck with anonymous internet users than customer support.

gmtech1, are you able/willing to look up all the RPO codes? I've got the car at my shop right now and I'll have to get the VIN off the car, I seem to have misplaced my insurance card for it. I'll paypal you a couple dollars for taking the time if you can get me the complete list.

gmtech1
09-06-2012, 11:13 PM
Yes, I should be able to get the complete set of RPO codes for you. Don't worry about the PayPal thing, it's no big deal. Happy to help!

carrfixr
09-07-2012, 06:35 AM
The bushings are different I think that is all as the ball joint is the same
Your plan sounds like a plan

J-Ri
09-07-2012, 08:35 PM
Yes, I should be able to get the complete set of RPO codes for you. Don't worry about the PayPal thing, it's no big deal. Happy to help!

Cool, thanks a lot! I've got access to IdentiFix, if you ever run into a bang your head against the wall problem, PM me and I'll look it up for you to pay you back, if you don't have IdentiFix yourself. I've not been on here much in the last few years, but I get an e-mail if I get a PM.

The bushings are different I think that is all as the ball joint is the same
Your plan sounds like a plan

The arms I got that were wrong bolted on just fine, it wasn't until I had it on the alignment rack that I knew something was off. I know I can get them on, I just hope the FE2 are the longer ones! It would make sense that they are longer, so they're probably shorter :uhoh:

Classicrocjunkie
09-10-2012, 12:39 PM
Hmm.... To my knowledge all control arms were the same length, this is quite odd. Waaay back when, I had grand am aluminum control arms modded to fit a j-body. This was a group purchase that went to all 95-05 j- bodies and no one reported any issues.

Why not just use said current control arms and just re-align the vehicle? Either tweak the bolts on the struts or the tie rods and make the adjustments :-P

J-Ri
10-02-2012, 10:58 PM
There is a very small difference, about 3/8". In the picture below, the shiny new one is FE2, and the old dirty one is FE1. I removed the camber cam-bolts and the camber appears to be almost identical with the long arms with the original bolts (non-adjustable).

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh68/J-Ri/FE1vsFE2.jpg

As for why I couldn't use the arms I have... The rear hole where the pancake bushing goes was bent to an oval, I couldn't even get old bushing out. I'll have to post a pic, but you won't believe I didn't stick in in a vise or beat the hell out of it with a hammer :lol:

Add your comment to this topic!