Tubular Control Arms - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 10, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Tubular Control Arms

I installed a tubular control arm kit for my 68 that I purchase on ebay from Performance Online. With less then 1000 miles on them I experienced a horrific failure that could have led to a terrible accident if I had been driving down the highway. I was backing out of my driveway and the left front of the car suddenly fell to the ground. After jacking up the car and removing the front tire I saw that the lower ball joint nut was completely stripped out and laying on the ground. It appears that the threads on the nut let loose; at that point the cotter pin was not enough to hold the weight of the car and sheered off causing the lower arm to separate from the spindle. Thankfully there was no collateral damage to me or the car. I could fix the damaged part by replacing the lower ball joint, but I just don't feel safe with these things on my car.

Can anyone recommend a replacement set of control arms (stock ride height)? I have a Hotchkis suspension kit on the rear. The front set runs about $1200 bucks. I'm having a hard time swallowing that much.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 10, 02:26 PM
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Steve O.
 
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Re: Tubular Control Arms

Thats a new one,glad your OK.I don't believe that the the control arms themselves are at fault.According to your post the NUT failed which means one of two things,
(A) it was not the rite nut for the application.
(B) the nut was overtorqued or crossthreaded.

Thats all based on what is known so far.There are tons of the E-bays arms on the road that are working fine and safe.Lots of info here to make SURE they are safe.
Nobody can be sure without ruling out human installation errors.In other words be sure you know what your doing when dealing with suspension,brakes, or steering parts.
If not,consult a professional.

67' Vert RS Tremec TKO- Eaton 3:55- 350 cu.- L98 heads-Vintage Air- Torque Thrust-BFG.g-force 4-wheel disc.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 10, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tubular Control Arms

I hear what you are saying 67motorcat about proper installation and I would love to lay blame in that direction (it would save me a lot of $). However, I personally installed them with the hardware supplied and used a torque wrench to set the nuts to specs. I just can't trust them moving forward (neither will my girlfriend).

Any suggestions on replacements?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 10, 02:58 PM
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Al
 
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Re: Tubular Control Arms

Quote:
Originally Posted by nghtrn99 View Post
Can anyone recommend a replacement set of control arms (stock ride height)? I have a Hotchkis suspension kit on the rear. The front set runs about $1200 bucks. I'm having a hard time swallowing that much.
Was the balljoint included when you bought the a-arm? I'd ask for a refund.

If you don't trust the arms, put on a set of factory arms, bushings of your choice The aftermarket LCA's look cool and everything, but they don't offer anything other than minor weight savings.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 10, 03:23 PM
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Steve O.
 
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Re: Tubular Control Arms

Ball joint failures are very rare indeed.The arms themselves are very stout.
Have some Napa or Moog joints installed to gain confidence.
Other than going back to stock it's going to cost mucho bucks for US made arms....but you already know that....

67' Vert RS Tremec TKO- Eaton 3:55- 350 cu.- L98 heads-Vintage Air- Torque Thrust-BFG.g-force 4-wheel disc.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 15th, 10, 05:04 AM
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Jim
 
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Re: Tubular Control Arms

X2...

It's not the arm that failed, so what would you gain by swapping the arm? Go with a good set of ball joints.

Jim

Jim
Hanging on the Maine Coast...moved back North

1969 RS/SS, 383, 4spd, 373s, 12bolt, FatMat, Vintage Air - Super Red, and it's my first Camaro.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 15th, 10, 02:01 PM
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Bill
 
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Re: Tubular Control Arms

I have heard numerous stories about either the LCA itself cracking, upper shaft bolt busting out and now ball joint failing - all while car is backing out of driveway. Interesting that this particular maneuver must put a lot of load on the parts or God is intervening at the right time/right place. Not sure how the arm itself could be the culprit - sure sounds like it was either defective joint threads or nut itself from the get-go but intersting how it torqued to specs fine w/o any symptom of being stripped/cross-threaded. I prefer the MOOG stuff myself.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 15th, 10, 07:22 PM
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Robert
 
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Re: Tubular Control Arms

Installers error most likely, but they were probably cheap Chinese ball joints any way. Buy some good ball joints, like Moog, stay away from trick of the week tall ball joints and replace both sides. Maybe consider having a licensed mechanic do the work.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 17th, 10, 12:53 PM
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Hotchkis
 
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Re: Tubular Control Arms

Quote:
Originally Posted by nghtrn99 View Post
I installed a tubular control arm kit for my 68 that I purchase on ebay from Performance Online. With less then 1000 miles on them I experienced a horrific failure that could have led to a terrible accident if I had been driving down the highway. I was backing out of my driveway and the left front of the car suddenly fell to the ground. After jacking up the car and removing the front tire I saw that the lower ball joint nut was completely stripped out and laying on the ground. It appears that the threads on the nut let loose; at that point the cotter pin was not enough to hold the weight of the car and sheered off causing the lower arm to separate from the spindle. Thankfully there was no collateral damage to me or the car. I could fix the damaged part by replacing the lower ball joint, but I just don't feel safe with these things on my car.

Can anyone recommend a replacement set of control arms (stock ride height)? I have a Hotchkis suspension kit on the rear. The front set runs about $1200 bucks. I'm having a hard time swallowing that much.
That's a scary story, we're glad you weren't hurt. We have heard of similar incidents before with the imported stuff on ebay. We don't like to hear these kinds of stories because inferior parts can hurt people, damage cars, and discourage new builders from using aftermarket parts.

No matter which company you decide to use, purchasing your parts from companies who make a point of using high quality materials for all the parts of their components should be high on your list. Several of our distributors (including those on this board) have really killer prices right now that can beat the quote in your post.

While our parts are a little more than some of the other stuff online, our A-Arms use high-tensile strength steel, are fully gusseted and TIG welded and have been FEA analyzed for strength AND performance. If you only have to buy the part once, and don't have to replace damaged wheels and fenders, you'll find you come out ahead.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 17th, 10, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tubular Control Arms

After close inspection of the A-Arms there does not seem to be anything wrong with them, except for the poor quality of the ball joints. I've decided to go with a set of Moog Ball joints ($120.00 for all 4 at Advance Discount) and save my money for a 5 speed. Thanks for all of the suggestions.
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