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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:59 am 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

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I was suspicious of these but got sucked in by the low price.

I bought them because I was on the Midwest Controls website buying threaded tube ends and there they were. Figuring "why not, they're just for fit-up", it was all too easy to get them instead of more expensive U.S.-made parts on a different site. Being lazy, the import rod ends worked their way onto the car and now I'm paying for it.

I was checking over the car for Saturday's event and was disappointed to find about 1/8"-3/16" of slop in toe at the rear tire! Turns out that the inboard toe link rod end had worn out, with the ball shifting back and forth maybe 0.050". However, that amount gets mechanically amplified through the links and tire diameter, so by the time it reaches the tire it's a whole lot more. Not good.

Just about any rod ends will work, but component life suffers with the low end parts. With only about 3000 miles on the car I don't consider that reasonable. (FWIW, there are also some US-made rod ends on the car and they're all still good as new.)

Lastly, what should have been a tip off is the very narrow housing width of the inport bearings. Not surprising that they don't hold up, AND, with no specs, who knows how strong they are.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:09 pm 
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picture please and a part number.

i have been using midwest contol hiem joints and have over 10000 miles on my car with no problems.

i am using the MXM style joints.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:14 pm 
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The voice of reason
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I'd like more info too and maybe pictures! There are specs for these things even if Midwest control isn't giving them. Rod ends is a pretty big subject.

The ones you bought clearly are not suitable for your car's suspension. That doesn't completely mean they are bad, but probably bad for applications that actually require rotation etc.

So I'd like this discussion to continue, but let's try to get to the root of the matter so we can understand what to look for and buy for these cars. Things like lubrication method, grease, PTFE, Nylon matrix etc. Materials like stainless, heat treated steel, low carbon steel, aluminum. and on and on.

Even the good bearing houses sell various imports, some at low cost some not.

Another area that I found confusing is the actual strength ratings. They seem to fall in groupings but I haven't entirely figured the correlations yet. For instance one issue is that 5/8" rod ends are often only a small bit stronger (10%) than 1/2" ones, yet the 3/4" ones are hugely stronger (2x).

I just posted this picture so I'll show it again, here's a "high quality" rod end in a "used" tie rod. It appears to still be a serviceable part. The tie rod is a heavy wall tube that is directly threaded for the rod end. This is a three part unit with a PTFE lining and maybe it's stainless - no corrosion after sitting around for 20 years...

Image

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:47 pm 
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The voice of reason
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I searched for "rod end durability" and came up with these links from Aurora, who make nice units. These are useful articles and if I remember right there is a lot more information in the Aurora catalog and probably some other reputable manufacturers.

http://www.aurorabearing.com/pdf/in-rod-we-trust.pdf

http://www.aurorabearing.com/pdf/rod-ends-what-you-need-to-know.pdf

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:53 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, BC
Like Marcus, I'm interested in more info. I've just picked up a bunch of rod ends for the rear of my car and went with QA1 rod ends, but cheaped out and went for the CM series bearings as, like you had done, they are just for getting the car rolling and will likely be replaced within a short time of running the car (if they do wear quickly). Was the wear in the rod end from impact (ie the housing is deformed) or is the wear from abrasion? I'm half considering using rod end seals (google Seals-it rod end seals) to keep small animals and rocks out of the important bits of the rod end.

I did get lucky and when the sales guy grabbed the bearings for me, he included an XM series bearing yet charged me the CM price. Time will tell if the CM holds up as well as the XM bearing (it will be used as the toe adjuster on the rear suspension, see attached image)

Rod


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:06 pm 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

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They're not stainless but are plated. They are alledgedly Teflon-lined and are 1/2" bore. Excess rotation wasn't a cause since the failed part was the inboard toe control pivot.

A clue may be that this particular one was left-hand thread. I happened to have one spare of the same time, and noticed that the ball was VERY free to rotate, almost a bit loose, and this was a brand new part. Interestingly, all the right-hand thread parts had the ball so tight I couldn't move them by hand.

I could post a picture but the worn part looks exactly like it did when new, with its typical import narrow housing.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:11 pm 
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Location: worcester county, Massachsetts
There are 8 of these "Precision Carbon Steel" spherical rod ends as the inner pivots of the controls arms on the front of the b-3

Image

teflon races, high strength, and about $9 each. don't believe they're stainless, probably just Cad plated, maybe with the additional phosphate coating (they did have a gold-ish tint). I also bought the Seal-it washers to use on my rod ends...

Image

but turns out those aren't designed fror the flat-side high strength type rod ends, they're for the standard types which look like this...

Image

the stabdards are NOT teflon lined, they're steel-on-steel

when the seals it are installed with precicion flat side rod ends, they flatten right out, as opposed to cupping the raised lip on the standard rod ends. I installed them anyway, but just on the joints for the LCAs.

I got everything from Speedway Motors. I keep my eye on them, but 3900 miles isn't nearly enough to wear these out, I believe. they're all still nice and tight.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:37 pm 
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KB58 wrote:
Lastly, what should have been a tip off is the very narrow housing width of the inport bearings.
So you used two dofferent styles of rod ends, made by two different manufacturers. How do you know that an equivalent lower duty style of rod end from the domestic manifacturer would not have had similar shortcomings? Remember too that everything has tolerances. Regardless of manufacturer, some will be better than others. I don't know if MCP will do this or not, but I have heard of people specifying tighter fits (F1 being the tightest) on their orders.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:32 pm 
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Always Moore!
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I don't think its exclusively an import problem. The distance between the lower ball joint and the toe-link attachment is small. Its going to cause higher loads in the links regardless but the rubber and power you're running will make it worse. This small distance will also magnify any play in the rod-ends.

Either do some redesigning on your rear suspension to increase this distance or use a larger and/or stronger 3 piece rod-end.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:02 pm 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

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a.moore wrote:
..Either do some redesigning on your rear suspension to increase this distance or use a larger and/or stronger 3 piece rod-end.

Since the higher-stressed US-made parts are still as tight as new, that's pretty good evidence of what's going on. The imports are being swapped out to the same type. This was posted in case builders are temped by the low prices and mistakenly expect the same quality as U.S.-made parts. If you're happy with them, terrific!

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Last edited by KB58 on Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:09 pm 
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Quote:
This was posted in case builders are temped by the low prices and mistakenly expect the same quality as U.S.-made parts


I'm curious as to what you would refer to as "low price" items. The QA1 CM series list at roughly $5 per rod end, by the time they cross the 49th parallel they creep up to about $7 each. Are the "import" ends much cheaper?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:11 pm 
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Always Moore!
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So the import ones were at one end of the toe-link and the domestics were at the other?

Do you have a link to them?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:15 pm 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

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Driven5 wrote:
How do you know that an equivalent lower duty style of rod end from the domestic manifacturer would not have had similar shortcomings?...

Are there domestically-manufactured rod end with such a narrow shoulder? If so, post them up; it would be interesting to compare the specs between the two - though specs on the import parts seem elusive.

Regarding the cheap inports, I'm just saying, buyer beware. Because they don't appear to have any specifications it's on us to guess if they'll work. In my case, no.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:19 pm 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

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cs3tcr wrote:
Quote:
This was posted in case builders are temped by the low prices and mistakenly expect the same quality as U.S.-made parts


I'm curious as to what you would refer to as "low price" items. The QA1 CM series list at roughly $5 per rod end, by the time they cross the 49th parallel they creep up to about $7 each. Are the "import" ends much cheaper?

If I recall, the Midwest Control Product parts at the time I ordered them (2010 timeframe) were about $3.50 each. I assume that the proper FK parts at the time were still about 4X as much. Anyhow, it's just my observation. If you guys are happy with them, great.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:38 pm 
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KB58 wrote:
Are there domestically-manufactured rod end with such a narrow shoulder?
Domestically produced rod ends with such a narrow shoulder as what imported rod ends? So far, this is all a bit like saying domestic cars are good and import cars are junk. There are MANY different styles of imported rod ends, usually being made to compete directly with a domestically produced equivalent...Although, if you dig into it, you might also find that "US made" rod ends are not necessarily quite as "US made" as one would expect. Either way, you still haven't provide any specific information of value on the rod ends in question, as identifying them by nothing more than (non) country of origin is uselessly vague. There are also crap "US made" rod ends and good "impored" rod ends. Maybe you should be asking whether there are imported rod ends with a wide shoulder and published load ratings, similar to whatever specific brand and style of "US made" rod ends you had purchased.

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