Let me start off by providing my credentials. My name is Lino Chestang. I have worked for Total Control Products since 1999 and was part of the acquisition by Chris Alston's Chassisworks in 2004. In my 14 years working with the TCP product line I have worked in sales/tech support, inventory management, product development, technical writing; including ALL installation guides, product data sheets, website content, product catalog, and internet store. Currently I oversee marketing and all public documentation for each of the five product brands owned by Chris Alston's Chassisworks.
You need to be very careful about who you take advice from on the internet. Just because someone offers their opinion, doesn't necessarily mean that they are an expert or even experienced in the matter.
Originally Posted by Mtrain
UPDATE: I posted this on another forum, and a tech guy from a late model Mustang suspension figured out the problem.
Two things can cause this, and its NOT my wife's fault.
1. The upper bump stop hitting the upper arm can cause a bend like that, not to mention that using a bolt on type upper ball joint mounted to a flat plate is also not best for strength.
2. Brake torque. Brakes that are too efficient can also cause the upper arm to bend along with the weak design of the spherical rod ends.
I got the instruction sheet out and re-read it, now where did I see where it said to remove the upper bump stops.
Pity is that I have this kit on four of my other Mustangs. I'm glad that one Mustang has the Ron Morris kit.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT remove the factory shock tower reinforcement cap or suspension bump stop. This purposely limits compression travel of the suspension to prevent exceeding the operation range of the shock and ball joints.
1. Upper Bump Stop Contact:
Judging by the five-year-old decal on the bump cap it doesn't appear that the cap has had much forceful contact with the bump stop. Any forceful or repeated contact would have rubbed a blank spot across the decal. In the event of bottoming out the upper arm against the bump stop, the force is directed through the spindle upright, through the ball joint and into the shock tower. This force is 'in line' and will have minimal torque or twisting forces on the bump cap area of the upper arm. From the lack of witness marks on the decal, I would say that bump stop contact is not what caused the upper arm to bend.
2. Brake Torque:
Regardless of the type of front brakes, the maximum amount of force is limited by the tire's available traction. I can personally testify to the TCP coil-over upper arm withstanding multiple years of road race/open track duty with full racing slicks, 13" brake rotors, and race compound brake pads. A street tire and your current brake system is not capable of generating this level of force.
To discuss the brake torque theory a bit more, the actual pivot center of the ball joint is very near but slightly below
the ball joint mounting plate. Forward-vehicle-movement braking forces push the top of the upright forward (toward the right in photo). The ball-joint stud's pivot point will actually exert a much lesser force, attempting to rotate the mounting plate counter-clockwise from the view in the photo. The arm in the photo was rotated clockwise. I suppose that one could argue that the car was traveling in reverse when the brakes were applied. Braking in reverse transfers vehicle weight to the rear tires. This transfer reduces available traction at the front tires along with a reduction in the amount of force that the tire and brake assembly can generate against the upper control arm. So, I don't believe that this was the cause either.
So what could have caused it? This is not an accusation.
A ratcheting tie-down strap looped over the forward tube of the upper arm could possibly generate enough rotational force around the ball-joint pivot center to twist the ball joint plate. That's not to say that some of other type of impact did not cause this.
Regarding your comment about one of our techs recommending you hammer the arm straight, as a consumer I would want to change out the part, which you do have the option of doing so. (Call me and we can work something out.) But as someone having experience in the manufacturing industry, I can tell you that bending metal is how we make many of the parts that go on your car. Frame shops will also bend your vehicle back into original position. Is it ideal? No. But, providing you sand blast the arm and carefully inspect it for any cracks along the weld I feel you could bend the arm back without any issues. Seeing as how you own four cars with our systems, I don't think that the $120 bucks you would save by straightening the arm is the main sticking point for getting your car fixed.
The TCP arms are extremely overbuilt for the type of duty they see. And I would suspect that your arm has been bent for a few years and has held its position just fine, other than any possible difference in alignment. If your car has driven fine for the last few years, I would even suspect that the arm was bent prior to the front end alignment.
Like I said, give me a call and we can work something out for the two new upper arm weldments and a pair of ball joints. We have since shortened the bump cap to allow more compression travel, so both weldments would need to be changed.
Marketing and Technical Documentation Manager
Chris Alston's Chassisworks