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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:13 pm 
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Hi everyone, I found these pictures on the NAPA website looking at OEM replacement bushings for my SLA suspension.

They have boots integrated into them it looks like. Are these spherical bearings or maybe sphericals mounted in rubber? I thought they may be an open style rubber bushing that they just want to keep dirt out of but it seems less likely. There are lots of BMW and Cadilliac applications like this as well as Saturn, Chevy and Pontiac.

Any one know for sure what these are?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:20 pm 
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Sure look to be spherical bearings although I can't ID those. Honda/Acura use them fairly often for toe-control links in the rear.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:06 am 
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Yup, also similar are Toyota rear link bushes part number 42210-14010.

http://www.google.com.hk/search?um=1&hl ... 2210-14010


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:46 am 
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the second one you cited is a rear upper/lower balljoint on the e36s

http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?mod ... g=33&fg=30

part # 2 & 4

I don't know that they are exactly a spherical but they are damn close for our purposes and they already have the boots on them.

The off brand prices for them would be very respectable. They are meant to be pressed in and constrained - so not sure how readily possible that would be to machine the proper dimensions out for a press-fit

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:14 pm 
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So no one knows...hmm.

They are not cheap, but I am really curious if they might be a good option for front control arms so I might buy one and let you guys know.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:28 pm 
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I borrowed, ahem, one from the local NAPA. This was the first one I came across that they had in stock, for a BMW 318i among others I think.

Anyway, they are in fact a spherical bearing. The ball is essentially integral with the misalignment spacers you might use with a regular aftermarket monoball/heim. As you can see, they are greased and sealed with boots. I guess the trick now is to find one that is at the low end of the price scale and the top of the presses-into-standard-tubing-sizes scale (that's a scale, I swear).

I suspect that these might last longer than an mid quality heim joint since they are sealed and greased. OE ball joints seem to last a very long time with this same arrangement. I'm curious what you guys think of this idea. How about welding a sleeve that these press into, to a 5/8" bolt for male rod end-like adjustment? I'm aware they make this already for poly and plastic bushings. I think I'll do something like that on the upper arm, no matter what bushing I pick, these, uhmw or rubber.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:20 pm 
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I'd be wary of the value proposition between those and decent quality heim joints

Especially when you can buy all the heim joint spacers and weld cups readily and you'd have to fabricate holders for these.

If they are anything like all of the other 'spherical' joints that I cut open on my e36 they are metal to plastic inner contact so they feel great new but wear to a 'medium' feel pretty quick.

I used some lower cost options (think rockauto) on my e36 autox/track car and they were at the same level as before I replaced the parts in less than 6 months. certainly not a long term cost saving basis.

I'd bet qa1/rodendsupply/FK ptfe lined sphericals with the seal-it rod end seals would cost the same initially and less in the long term - as you wouldn't need to replace the seals and the rod ends themselves aren't too bad. a bit more up front cost if you went with true spherical joints and had to get the cups - a bit less if you got rod ends and the tube weld-in threads.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:44 pm 
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I was wondering if they are lined. They are very tight. I'm sure each manufacturer has their own variation in specs but I'm sure that you are right about some aftermarket ones not being very durable. The cost for good heims or sphericals and all the hardware is probably cheaper actually. These OE ones are expensive. List is $74 a whack for the one I took pictures of and that's probably a mid level quality part. I bet a BMW one is around $100

I'm really not trying to do it the easiest way really. We stock all types of rod ends and spherical bearings, cups, swedged tubes, weld in tube ends, spacers etc. at my work and make what we can't buy. I work on and make parts for fabricated SLA front suspensions at least once a week and it's really boring because they are all the same. Mustang II spindle, wilwood brakes, crappy fitting american balljoint boots...rinse and repeat on every damn hotrod out there...I'm already using Wilwood spindles so I'm a little uncomfortable with this project as-is haha. Senseless motivations probably, but I just can't take the time to design and build my suspension and have it be just all the other ones.

I guess I'm just looking for something that is interesting for me to put together and still has good functionality and safety. I appreciate the input and the experience you had to back it up. Thanks and pardon the long response.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:21 pm 
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Quote:
I suspect that these might last longer than an mid quality heim joint since they are sealed and greased. OE ball joints seem to last a very long time with this same arrangement.

An OE type ball joint lasts longer because it is an entirely different type of joint. They are assembled after machining both the ball and socket, and they are generally loaded with some form of spring or preloading arrangement. This keeps play to a minimum until they wear beyond the preload. This can take a lot of wear compared to a non-adjusting joint. Also, the ball and the socket can both be heat treated to a higher strength because the socket does not need to be deformed to assemble the joint.

Any of the swaged spherical joints (Heim rod end, or this bushing style) are made the same way, the "barrel" is swaged around the "ball". When the ball and/or socket wears, the added clearance is felt immediately, they get "sloppy". A higher quality one will be made of better materials, and will have better conformity between the ball and socket, so will wear more slowly.

There are available (used in the off road industry) bushings similar to those shown above that are made of a 2-piece "barrel" around the "ball" that can be adjusted to take up the wear. Teflon or other wear materials can be added to a rod end joint and have advantages and disadvantages. They will wear faster (plastic wears faster than steel), but since the plastic is springy, they can be made with some built in "preload" but this wears away very quickly, the primary advantage is they are quieter when they wear since the metal is hitting on plastic not metal.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:59 pm 
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"How about welding a sleeve that these press into, to a 5/8" bolt for male rod end-like adjustment?"
Are you kidding? You must really trust your welding ability at least more than I do mine.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:55 pm 
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duratec7 wrote:
Quote:
I suspect that these might last longer than an mid quality heim joint since they are sealed and greased. OE ball joints seem to last a very long time with this same arrangement.

An OE type ball joint lasts longer because it is an entirely different type of joint. They are assembled after machining both the ball and socket, and they are generally loaded with some form of spring or preloading arrangement. This keeps play to a minimum until they wear beyond the preload. This can take a lot of wear compared to a non-adjusting joint. Also, the ball and the socket can both be heat treated to a higher strength because the socket does not need to be deformed to assemble the joint.

Any of the swaged spherical joints (Heim rod end, or this bushing style) are made the same way, the "barrel" is swaged around the "ball". When the ball and/or socket wears, the added clearance is felt immediately, they get "sloppy". A higher quality one will be made of better materials, and will have better conformity between the ball and socket, so will wear more slowly.

There are available (used in the off road industry) bushings similar to those shown above that are made of a 2-piece "barrel" around the "ball" that can be adjusted to take up the wear. Teflon or other wear materials can be added to a rod end joint and have advantages and disadvantages. They will wear faster (plastic wears faster than steel), but since the plastic is springy, they can be made with some built in "preload" but this wears away very quickly, the primary advantage is they are quieter when they wear since the metal is hitting on plastic not metal.


Good points. I'm pretty well, done exploring these now that I see what they are and your input is pretty well on point with what others are saying. I might just get some nice lined rod ends with seals and call it a day, an expensive one.

I have used Johnny joints and Ballistic joints like you describe before. The ballistic joints are great and they are easily adjustable so you can take up any slop in the bronze or plastic races or replace them. If they were not so giant, I would have already bought eight and moved on. A 1.25" x 12tpi rod end shank seems a little ridiculous on an upper control arm for a light street car. Do you know of any that are smaller? The uniballs are pretty giant too.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:18 pm 
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vroom wrote:
"How about welding a sleeve that these press into, to a 5/8" bolt for male rod end-like adjustment?"
Are you kidding? You must really trust your welding ability at least more than I do mine.


Nope. I guess I do!

I have welded quite a lot of suspension parts, axle housings, control arms, tie rods, radius rods etc. and had no failures, even on crashed race cars (the tubes bent). Take a look at some of the available bushing sleeves with studs. Not saying it's the strongest way, but many of them are made the way I described and they are used with poly bushings that are all bound up at anything much off 90 degrees.

The first one pictured is a factory part for a hummer I believe...


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:18 am 
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No, unfortunately I've never seen a smaller version than the Johnny Joint/Ballistic joint.

I just saw that Tongboy ID'd some of those as E36 suspension bushings. My son has an E36 with close to 300K on it, and the bushings are still fine in his car, although Tongboy says his lower cost replacements wore quickly. So it sounds like a bit of you get what you pay for.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:29 pm 
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duratec7 wrote:
No, unfortunately I've never seen a smaller version than the Johnny Joint/Ballistic joint.

I just saw that Tongboy ID'd some of those as E36 suspension bushings. My son has an E36 with close to 300K on it, and the bushings are still fine in his car, although Tongboy says his lower cost replacements wore quickly. So it sounds like a bit of you get what you pay for.


it's safe to say front lower ball joints are usually some of the hardest used components on a car. these are rear outer upper & lower joints (in non M configuration they used a rubber bushing on the upper spot.)

I replaced my rear suspension as part of my build, I don't recall the exact mileage but one of those joints was bad and the other was still good - on a 3200lb car in excess of 100k miles. I'm sure they'll last a while on a 1500lb car - about double, unless you're doing 2g corners all the time.

I don't think they make anything johnny joint sized that is appropriate for our cars. the club racers laugh at my 5/8" joints - they are still massively oversized on the inboard pickup points. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of off the shelf components for such light cars. it's a very non-standard market and it takes getting used to to use such small parts after wrenching on normal cars

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:30 pm 
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Tongboy wrote:
duratec7 wrote:
I replaced my rear suspension as part of my build, I don't recall the exact mileage but one of those joints was bad and the other was still good - on a 3200lb car in excess of 100k miles. I'm sure they'll last a while on a 1500lb car - about double, unless you're doing 2g corners all the time.


I bet a lot more than that; life usually increases exponentially with reduction in load

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