Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

This isn't meant to become a why you should buy American thread. I am only relaying my experience with the inexpensive tubular control arms you can buy on eBay. Most think these are cheap Chinese knock offs. They very well could be or are, but there was no indication of country of origin that I could see.

The lower control arm went on as easy as putting on any lower control arm. There is that bolt that you can't see and worry you will drop it or your socket into the frame. I did manage to get the bolt in and torqued properly. I also managed to drop my socket and extension into the frame. I got lucky and with the help of a wire coat hangar, I managed to retrieve both.

The upper control arm, which should be the easier of the two to install brought me to a stand still. The cams that slide over the studs did not fit. Well seven of the eight cam would not fit. The one in the picture with the blue tape, is the only one that fit.

I have contacted the seller, who immediately offered a $20 refund and to see if I can fix it myself. I replied that i haven't a clue how to fix this, and by sending me cams that fit, it would be cheaper to ship than the $20. Ill keep everyone posted on how it turns out.

In the meantime, I have been thinking of how to make them work. I first tried to spin them on, sort of threading them on, but that won't work and to be honest I worried about damaging the threads on the studs. Next I thought about drilling them out, but cannot determine the correct drill bit size, or even if this should be done. A 7/16 drill bit is too large, and everything else is too small. Any thoughts on whether or not this should even be done?

Thanks,
BH
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 05:25 AM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

Try a number drill set to find the correct size and drill all to the same size as the one that fits.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

Copy that, thank you. I assume this means you think it would be fine to drill the cams? I was worried about the integrity of the cams from drilling, since this impacts alignment.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 06:45 AM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

Yep, sounds like Chinese tolerances - close but no cigar. Like my Harbor Freight impact sockets that are close, but won't fit over the bolt/nut, but the same size Craftsman sockets do fit perfectly. As a result, can't use them very often.

X2 on the numbered drill.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 06:58 AM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

What real advantage are the aftermarket tubular arms compared to properly poly built factory arms with a proper alignment. Perhaps if your are driving on a road course it may be somewhat better. Is the cost worth it?
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Camaro Guy View Post
What real advantage are the aftermarket tubular arms compared to properly poly built factory arms with a proper alignment. Perhaps if your are driving on a road course it may be somewhat better. Is the cost worth it?
For me after a good bit of reading and research it seemed like the way to go. If I were to do it again, I would just have the OEM ones refitted. This isn't meant to be a debate on whether or not to go to tubular control arms, just my experience with the inexpensive ones.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 07:13 AM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

Easy enough to ream the cams
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

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Easy enough to ream the cams
So no concerns of the integrity of the cam, once reamed?

Thanks,
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 07:35 AM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Camaro Guy View Post
What real advantage are the aftermarket tubular arms compared to properly poly built factory arms with a proper alignment. Perhaps if your are driving on a road course it may be somewhat better. Is the cost worth it?
Usually increased caster and improved ball joint angles at lowered ride heights. Both are positives....

Don
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 10:17 AM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

Thought I would share a problem I ran into with my eBay control arms. Both the upper and lower ball joints failed after driving the car about 200 miles. I replace them with moog ball joints and they are great now.

Jeremy

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 11:50 AM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

I'm also working on a guys 68 right now that has the Chinese tubular a arms

The ARMs themselves look good enough however the ball joints are terrible and will have to be replaced before the car is driven
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 11:52 AM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

Those parts are called caster slugs - they's used a lot in race cars to adjust caster. You may be able to source replacements online, but you'll have to make sure the overall size matches your control arm recess. I've heard (no personal experience) that the slugs that come with the arms can be brittle, so replacement may kill two birds with one stone.

Mike - '68 Camaro with lots of stuff done to it.


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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 01:54 PM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

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Originally Posted by Mkelcy View Post
You may be able to source replacements online, but you'll have to make sure the overall size matches your control arm recess. I've heard (no personal experience) that the slugs that come with the arms can be brittle, so replacement may kill two birds with one stone.
X 2...heard of a few failures, so no a bad idea.

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 02:00 PM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

Did mine a few weeks ago... I chose not to go with the generic eBay ones, went with Helix which are CAD designed here in the USA but yes... like so much else, made in China. Helix also has tech support here in the states. More money than the eBays but less than the premium made in the USA ones.

Replaced the upper/lower BJs with ProForged and used the Tall Spec uppers. The arms went in just fine, alignment went fine, but bc of my Hotchkis 2" drop springs I had to add .750" Global West GM spec coil seats to get her back to where I wanted her height wise. Also did all the tie rod stuff with ProForged. Also added a JGC steering box.

Couldn't be happier, car is far less edgy on the highway and curves... steering is 150% better.

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 17, 05:05 PM
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Re: Cheap (Chinese?) tubular Upper control arms

I tried a set of those ebay control arms on the Blue 67 I built last year. I pulled them & went back to stock arms after only about 200 miles. The car drove horrible no matter how I aligned the front end and I didn't care for the 2.5" drop they caused. In all fairness I guess I should mention, I'm not a trained alignment tech but I have allways done my own alignments and never had any problems before. Once I pulled them & went back to factory control arms the car drove the way it should. I have heard good things about those arms from different people so maybe I just got a bad set??? Anyway, thats just my experience with them, good luck..
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