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Old 07-13-2016, 10:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ball joints loosening in upper control arms

So we've found the next weakest link in our rally car. The upper ball joints are working loose in the upper control arms. It seems like the pounding we are giving it is enlarging the hole (maybe flaring the raised bit) and the ball joint body no longer fits tight.

What can we do to reinforce the hole the ball joint is pressed into?

We'd like to move to bolt in ball joints. I can modify the oem uca to accept a bolt in joint easy enough. Is there any way I can find a joint with the same shaft dimensions that's better than Blox or Skunk2 stuff?
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Old 07-13-2016, 10:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've never personally done this, but I've seen people weld the upper ball joints on Ford explorers when aftermarket ball joints don't fit tight.
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Old 07-13-2016, 12:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Buy new upper control arms with the ball joints already installed.
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Old 07-13-2016, 02:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Buy new upper control arms with the ball joints already installed.
This won't address the problem. Installing ball joints isn't the issue. That's easy enough to do.
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Old 07-13-2016, 02:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by honduh666 View Post
I've never personally done this, but I've seen people weld the upper ball joints on Ford explorers when aftermarket ball joints don't fit tight.
We thought of this, but it makes servicing them almost impossible. We replace ball joints at the end of each season and have a good chance of breaking them every time we race.
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Old 07-13-2016, 02:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Aren't the arms cheap enough to just replace with the ball joint if you weld them in?
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Aren't the arms cheap enough to just replace with the ball joint if you weld them in?
this - dorman UCAs with new decent balljoints are under $40/side - once you factor in the $20 balljoint, and $10 in the pivot bushings you're replacing every year, it makes sense to just buy new.

you fuck up one balljoint reinstalling it and you've saved nothing
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Old 07-13-2016, 05:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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We reinforce the uca's so we don't replace them when we do ball joints.

Back to the question at hand. We're looking for some bolt-on ball joints like that used with adjustable uca's that are better than the stuff used by Skunk2 or Blox. Any suggestions?
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Old 07-13-2016, 06:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Henry44 View Post
We reinforce the uca's so we don't replace them when we do ball joints.

Back to the question at hand. We're looking for some bolt-on ball joints like that used with adjustable uca's that are better than the stuff used by Skunk2 or Blox. Any suggestions?

There HardRace have them but nothing better then Skunk2 or Blox. Next best thing would be just stock pile some UCA's and weld the ball joints in. Or use aftermarket UCA's that use ball joints with circlips.



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Old 07-13-2016, 07:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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could you make a reinforcement backing plate to put downward pressure on the top of the ball joint, keeping it flat and from rocking in the hole? maybe bolt it down to the top of the uca to make it servicable? idk, just thinking out loud. a couple small weld beads are out of the question?
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Old 07-14-2016, 01:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input. Lots of good ideas here. I think what we are going to do is to reinforce the hole the ball joint goes through with some plate. The lip seems to be the weak point where it expands and loses tension on the ball joint body. We can machine a piece of plate to fit over that lip and weld it up. This will keep it from expanding.
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Remember, you are trying to make an OEM part work for strenuous racing. Something it was never designed for. Sometimes having something custom made is your only option if you want it to survive. Perils of racing I'm afraid.
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Old 07-19-2016, 10:32 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Remember, you are trying to make an OEM part work for strenuous racing. Something it was never designed for. Sometimes having something custom made is your only option if you want it to survive. Perils of racing I'm afraid.
That's what we find most of the time. We've made custom tube front core supports and tube subframes. We've reinforced the lower control arms front and back as well as reinforcing the trailing arms and all of the mounting points. We've been toying with making tube upper front control arms with stronger ball joint mounting points. I guess this is the next thing to do.
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I do not see why you dont weld in a thick plate of steel, machine a hole for a lower balljoint, and take advantage of not only a cheap widely available part, but add to the strength of the upper arm.

Just be aware you will probably need to use some BFH love on the underside of the strut tower "lid" as the upper arm will most liekly contact it under full suspension travel
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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We boxed the stock upper arms and haven't had any issues with that bit. We were thinking it would be easier to fab a mount for the kind of ball joint that has a mounting plate/bolts set-up. After this conversation, we'll probably figure out how to use a stock ball joint in a reinforced mounting. I agree that this is the preferred path. That way we could get parts where ever we are.

I like the design of the HardRace units (made of tubing), but they use the bolt-on joints. I think we can make the same kind of unit with a plate for using stock joints.

Unless there is a reason to use a lower joint in the upper position outside of the taller body, we can do everything we need to do using upper joints.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:23 PM   #16 (permalink)
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ive seen guys weld them in with tack welds
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:15 PM   #17 (permalink)
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When I tried to press new ones into my Hard Race UCAs the plate bent a tiny bit and the ball joint turned in the hole. I think any time you press uppers out you can easily weaken the rim and after one or two you are all sloppy and loose.

Since purchasing them pressed, in I have not run into issues. I know hard race sells them already pressed in the slide plates for around $60, I wonder if these break loose too, you comments are vague about if they are loose after you press them or after they are new? Sorry If I missed it.
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Old 07-23-2016, 07:08 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Whoshot View Post
When I tried to press new ones into my Hard Race UCAs the plate bent a tiny bit and the ball joint turned in the hole. I think any time you press uppers out you can easily weaken the rim and after one or two you are all sloppy and loose.

Since purchasing them pressed, in I have not run into issues. I know hard race sells them already pressed in the slide plates for around $60, I wonder if these break loose too, you comments are vague about if they are loose after you press them or after they are new? Sorry If I missed it.
New joints pressed into existing ucas. Tight when first pressed in, loosened up after a while, from getting pounded in gravel stage racing. We don't want to keep buying uca/ball joint packages as we modify the uca for strength and don't want to have to keep doing this.

At this point, I thing we will fabricate a reinforced balljoint mounting for the ucas we have. I'll post a picture or two when we have this done.
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