Cool suspension upgrade-New product coming. What ya think? - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Cool suspension upgrade-New product coming. What ya think?

A few months ago in a suspension discussion on VMF, a poster was asking for opinions on suspensions parts and cost. I chimed in to the discussion, to give the poster some info and I suggested he look at products/prices at P.T.P.E. (Pacific Thunder Performance Engineering-VMF member Tracy blackford). Although I do not know Tracy, and I have not used his products, I thought he had really heavy duty stuff with reasonable prices. Since that discussion, I have been keeping tabs on the PTPE web site specifically watching a new product he was testing. It is a lower control arm and adjustable strut rod combined into one heavy-duty piece. It is very interesting to me, as adjustable strut rods are on my list of things to do on several of my cars. And this can help me in that area. I can see this part as something that is a great upgrade, and a money saver for someone building their suspension stock or for beefed-up for racing. I like that it has upgraded parts like spherical bearings, adjustable strut rods, and replaceable, screw-in ball joints. (Especially after banging out 8 rivets on some 67 upppers last week with the air hammer). I usually build a stock suspension in my stuff, as I don't drag race, autoX or anything like that. I DO use roller perches, do the drop and install heavy duty springs. But I don't have/spend big bucks for the aftermarket systems. I have way too many cars for that. My plan was to begin making my own adj. struts for my cars, but after seeing this lower control arm, and doing some quick math, this could change my mind about upgraded after market suspension pieces. What do you guys think about this?

I hope I am not letting the cat out of the bag for Tracy...but this was posted on his site, so I figured it was already "out there".
Tracy...sorry if I stole your "thunder"...before you could post on VMF.??

Here are some links:

New Product Prototype is here - Dual Link Lower Control Arm ? Pacific Thunder Performance Engineering Inc

Strut Arms have been installed and tested...success! ? Pacific Thunder Performance Engineering Inc
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post #2 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 01:02 PM
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The problem I see with them is as you adjuste the strut rod the angle of the strut rod needs to change or the distance between the strut rod and lower pivot has to increase or something is going into a bind or bend after a while. As you change the length of the strut all the angles must change. With a triangle you can't just change 1 angle and all three side stay the same length.

On the typical 2 piece where it bolts to the arm can be loosened for the changing angle when the length of the strut changes.
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post #3 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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I understand your thinking...but wouldn't that change in angle be acceptable due to the spherical bearing, which would allow/ compensate for this change in angle and prevent the bind that is associated with and usually destroys the standard rubber bushing at the lower pivot? I don't know about this part, only what I have seen and read, I assumed that issue was resolved with a spherical bearing. I do know that one of the prototype arms originally used a poly bushing w/ zerk at the lower pivot. I could see that being more of an issue with that set up, but my mind says the spherical eliminates that issue. Again...I am only guessing. But I like the discussion, and I value your opinion Tom!
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post #4 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 01:29 PM
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Not exactly. Since the strut rod is fixed on the arm as you change the length the distance between the lower control arm pivot and the strut rod mount on the frame must change but it can't since those two spots are fixed.

Tom

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post #5 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 01:47 PM
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With rubber bushings you can get away with this because they squish

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post #6 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Ok Tom, I am not trying to challenge you, I am trying to understand, so help me with my limited wisdom. If the "squish" of the rubber allows for less binding when strut angle changes due to lengthening/shortening of strut...would not the spherical bearing at the pivot point be doing the same thing? Allowing for change in angle w/o bind? And as for the change of angle where the 2 strut rod bolts go thru the lower a arm, is there really any room for movement there? That seems almost nil to me, as I usually have to work them thru (read bang them thru) as they are hard to get those bolts back into place. I see almost no room for changes at the spot.? Help me understand.

Do you think this product is not something you would run? I'm also looking at cost of new lowers and adjustable strut rods...and thought this could possibly save a little...but maybe not.? Thoughts?

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post #7 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe I am giving the spherical bearing too much credit? Isn't it basically like a "rod end" that it allows articulation thru a full range of motion including up and down and all around?

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post #8 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 02:40 PM
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On a triangle if you keep all three sides the same and change one angle the other two have to change as the sum total of angles equals 180*. If you lengthen one side of a triangle and keep all the angles the same, the other 2 sides have to be lengthened. If you only lengthen one side all the angles have to change. You can't lengthen one side and change only change two angles. The strut side angle on that arm is fixed. The mono bearing and the frame side strut bearing will accommodate this but not the fixed point of the strut on the arm.

That's one reason rubber bushings are used. They flex and distort to absorb inconsistencies and one reason they wear out. With steel bearings you really can't get away with as much.

Tom

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post #9 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 03:24 PM
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Thanks coupster for the kind words. I heard that you posted on the forum about the new strut arms and I want to clear things up.

The spherical bearing was used exactly for the concern that Huskihano brings up. The spherical bearing, the rod end and the ball joint provide freedom as required as the suspension travels. A rubber bushing or poly bushing at the inboard LCA mount was considered for a while, but I rejected it because it would bind as the suspension travels (just like the stock bushing) and the strut arm pivots. It would of had a turning force on it which could have loosened the jam nut and it would have had more resistance as the strut arm pivots.

These have way more freedom than a stock setup and essentially no bind. Each point has freedom in two planes. The strut rod heim joint provides about 14 degrees of offset in the side to side angle and infinite up and down. The spherical bearing also provides about 14 degrees of offset forward and back and infinite up and down. 14 degrees of offset is way more than they will ever see. The strut rod angle is about 32 degrees in relation to the LCA and 14 degrees offset would be almost half...won't ever happen. As the LCA is pulled forward or back to adjust caster, the angle of the spherical bearing in relation to the inside LCA mount will change by a few degrees at most...nowhere near 14 degrees. There is a lot of room for adjustment and then some

It's no different than a stock setup. The angle of the stock strut rod at the LCA is fixed. After adjusting the strut rod length, loosening the two bolts to adjust the strut rod angle is not necessary...there is not much adjustment there anyhow it's not designed as an adjustment. Adjusting the strut rod length changes the angle of the strut at the frame mount and the spherical bearing to compensate.

I've got these on the car now and a lot of seat time. They are working as designed. I've got almost 4 degrees of caster and -.75 degrees of camber.

The stock LCA has a bend near the small end to provide frame clearance as the suspension compresses. I made up for that by attaching the stud to the spherical bearing at the bottom. Calculations showed that the suspension in full compression would have to go over 2 inches more before frame contact of the LCA tube to the frame...lots of clearance tolerance. Installation and testing confirmed it on my car. My car happens to be lowered quite a bit too.

My inspiration was an AMC car that had the strut rod and LCA in one part. I had 3 very different CAD designs of this but this one won out as it was more producible and deemed the best and robust design...looks cool installed too!

Tracy Blackford

65 Mustang FB, 331 custom built with 289 H beam rods and 383W piston, 282S cam, self ported '70 351w heads, Dougs Tri-Y headers. 1.7 shaft rockers and 26986 beehives. Hurricane Single Plane and custom 750 HP. T5z and 3.50 9" posi rear.
430 HP @ 6500...not too shabby for old school heads!


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post #10 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Tracy: No pics of you driving madly thru the streets of San Francisco? Just kidding. But thanks for clarifying this about your A arms. I am learning all the time. I am really interested in your fabrications, and have visited your web site more than a few times. I like what I see.

Tom: thanks for helping me understand. I have little experience, but was inspired to do my alignments from your write ups, and now visit bangshift occassionally after your recommendation. I can count on your wisdom.

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post #11 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 08:47 PM
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Definitely looks cool!

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post #12 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huskinhano View Post
On a triangle if you keep all three sides the same and change one angle the other two have to change as the sum total of angles equals 180*. If you lengthen one side of a triangle and keep all the angles the same, the other 2 sides have to be lengthened. If you only lengthen one side all the angles have to change. You can't lengthen one side and change only change two angles. The strut side angle on that arm is fixed. The mono bearing and the frame side strut bearing will accommodate this but not the fixed point of the strut on the arm.

That's one reason rubber bushings are used. They flex and distort to absorb inconsistencies and one reason they wear out. With steel bearings you really can't get away with as much.
Tom, none of the 3 points of the triangle are rigid. The spherical bearing at the LCA mount allows the control arm to move forward or back at the ball joint. The rod end at the frame mount of the strut rod allows the control arm to move slightly forward or backward, and the ball joint itself allows the control arm to move forward or backward.
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post #13 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 09:47 PM
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I understand what everyone is saying.
I haven't modeled it. I'm concerned about the
areas circled in the photo.
And yes. I know the similarity to the stock lower arm and
its interface/connection with the stock strut rod.

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post #14 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodchuck View Post
Tom, none of the 3 points of the triangle are rigid. The spherical bearing at the LCA mount allows the control arm to move forward or back at the ball joint. The rod end at the frame mount of the strut rod allows the control arm to move slightly forward or backward, and the ball joint itself allows the control arm to move forward or backward.
No, that's not what I'm talking about. I understand all three point have movement. OK, let's call the LCA pivot point A, the BJ/strut rod point B and the strut to frame point C. With strut rod set at one setting the distance between between point A&C is going to be X". As you lengthen the the strut since the angle of the strut at the control arm is fixed, the distance between points A&C is going to be X+Y". If you shorten the strut it will be X-Y". It's like taking a right triangle. You have 2, 45* angles. Now that means if we make 2 sides 1" long, the hypotenuse will be 1.41" long. Lets call that the length of the strut. Now we adjust the strut to 1.6" that means the other 2 sides must grow to 1.134" long. Now the problem is we have one side fixed at 1" as well as the angle fixed where it's welded so that angle can not change. yes it can pivot on the BJ but the angle is still the same. Now we have the distance between the two mounting points at 1" but the leg has grown to 1.134". Granted I'm nit picking but will this put a side thrust load on the strut rod ends?

Look at this arm. The one side is adjustable for caster. It also has a pivot point. As you lengthen the swedged tube for caster the angle changes by the ball joint via the clevis. that's what I'm saying. Will it cause problems being fixed?

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post #15 of 66 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 10:18 PM
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Doesn't look like an issue to me. The key is to not think of the motion of the lower ball joint in a straight line, up and down. As the control arm swings down, the strut rod is going to pull the ball joint forward. That's going to cause caster gain on the inside wheel of a turn, which is beneficial. More caster gain on the inside wheel also results in more positive camber gain, which you also want on the inside wheel.

Yes, on movement the strut rod, itself, is going to rotate, torsionally, clockwise on extension and counter-clockwise on compression. The rod end at the frame mount will allow this movement without binding.

This looks like a GREAT set-up, IMHO and "fixes" the issues with the stock rubber-mounted lower control arm and strut rod set-up.


PS: Your attached image is of a triangulated lower control arm which is different than Tracy's set-up. The attachment angles of the 2 LCA mounting points are such that movement of the ball joint is in an arc parallel to a line intersecting both LCA mounting points. Therefore, the front and rear arms remain perpendicular to the mounting bolts. Tracy's is much more dynamic in that the arc transcribed by the lower ball joint is not a simple arc but, as the LCA drops, the ball joint not only moves inward, but also forward, with the movement accelerated as the amount of extension increases.

Last edited by Woodchuck; 09-04-2016 at 10:27 PM.
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