View Full Version : u-body cradle vs a/x-body cradle

02-23-2011, 08:45 PM
are the U-van cradles a direct bolt-in replacement for the a/x-body cradles? they appear to be a little sturdier based on the pics i have seen, but i would like to know for sure if the u-body 4 cradle mounting positions match up and the if control arms are the same or different....

thanks in advance


04-19-2011, 01:52 PM
Aaron, the A-body and later X-body cradles do appear to be identical to the U-van cradle. The steering rack on the U-vans is of course different, but that easily solved. I will double-check in my factory service manuals when I get the time to furnish proof. The control arms are also the same for all intents and purposes. It is common practice, for instance, for members to take a U-van front bar and swap it onto their A-body car. I have also installed a set of '92 U-van front struts into an '89 Ciera. I had to change the balljoints, but they just bolt into the control arms, so it's not that big of a deal.

I mentioned the "later" X-bodies as being compatible because that platform started out having the steering rack bolted to the firewall for the first few years of production, so the cradle did not have accommodations for the rack.

07-11-2011, 07:23 AM
Just thought I'd fill everyone in just in case you're ever looking for a cradle for an A-body or U-van - I checked in my service manuals, and the dimensions for the cradles were exactly the same.

What is more, I just returned my mom's '92 Trans Sport back to her tonight after replacing the van's rotted cradle with the decent cradle from her '92 Ciera (Cutlass Cruiser) wagon that I'm scrapping. While I had both cradles out side by side I took a few pics for comparison purposes. They'll eventually be posted one day. :)

So yes, 100% for sure, a '90-'96 U-van cradle is identical to the cradle that was used in the A-bodies. All holes seem to be in the same locations too. I was able to easily transfer the U-van's additional braces that run from the steering rack mount bolts to the side rails just ahead of the rear mount points.

I did have to replace the ball joints as the '92+ U-vans have larger ball joints, but they bolt into the A-body control arms without issue.

I should add that I used an engine support frame to support the engine and transmission in the engine bay, so it only took about 2 hours to remove the old cradle, and another hour or so to get the new one in. Several more hours were spent replacing the ball joints, transferring the brackets, and drinking beer. But all in all it was a fairly painless procedure. So much so that I actually did the job in my stone driveway just outside my garage door as I still have parts all over the floor of the garage. :) I hope to eventually post a "how to do it" thread on this operation as most of it would apply to the A-cars as well.

Any questions?

07-12-2011, 03:34 AM
What was the "painless process", the mechanical work or the beer drinking?