Front Lower Control Arm Needs Replacing

Discussion in 'Boss 302 and S197 Technical Forum' started by Boone, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Boone

    Boone TMO Advanced

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    The ball joints on my 14 year old Mustang GT have given up. I need replacements quickly since I am running the Roval in Charlotte in four days. I believe the minimum upgrade is the GT500 arms. As I understand it, the GT500 arms come with nylon bushings instead of rubber. Edit: stamped arms are stiffer as well.

    Second step up is the Steeda arms with extended ball joints. These appear to be the GT500 arms with swapped out ball joints. My car is lowered ~1.5" with coilovers, and, as I understand it, the extended ball joints correct the roll centers. I'm not sure what effect this will have on the alignment, but I have Max MoSport C/C plates, so I assume I can get things back where I want them.

    The next step I see is fabricated arms from BMR. More money, but are they worth it? Would you suggest going "adjustable" to get the heim joint? I think I'm going to stop one short of this one to lower my maintenance burden and preserve NVH.

    I think I just talked myself into the Steeda arms, so time to call to see how quickly I can get them. Comments are still appreciated, because my work here is never done.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  2. Grant 302

    Grant 302 OPM Spent: $665,833 Moderator

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    Or order a set of the Howe tall ball joints and have the collar tack welded in your current set. Depends what you want to do with the rear bushings.

    See Hatter's thread on his failed BMR arms and you can see why I never liked those for road race use.
     
  3. Boone

    Boone TMO Advanced

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    It's nice to have a Mustang parts source on the east coast. I just purchased the Steeda Boss arms. The "standard" Steeda arms come with rubber bushings in lieu of the hydraulic stock units. I upgraded to extended ball joints (19mm) and urethane bushings. It's a good compromise between street and track. Ended up costing me over $500 with the shipping, but I'll have them in my hands by noon tomorrow. I'm curious to see how camber and toe are affected by tightening up the connection points.

    There's no going back after this since the spindle will be drilled from 18mm out to 19mm.

    Also, I need to call Steeda back and ask how high the ball joint is extended, and does this require a corresponding adjustment to my bump steer? Any thoughts from the geniuses here? I don't want to get to my track day this weekend and have issues. Charlotte's Roval is full of walls.
     
  4. Grant 302

    Grant 302 OPM Spent: $665,833 Moderator

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    I think your bumpsteer should be checked and adjusted. How much is it adjusted now?
     
  5. Boone

    Boone TMO Advanced

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    I don't have measurements on the location of the tie rod heim joint from a reference point on the bumpsteer shaft. All the info I see says to terminate the tie rod so it is in the same horizontal plane as the lower A arm. I'll make sure to get it close before the alignment. If I feel like there's any sign of bumpsteer, I'll look into plotting a chart through the range of motion on the suspension.

    Let me know if I'm not on the right path. Death sucks, and wadding up my car just may be worse.
     
  6. Grant 302

    Grant 302 OPM Spent: $665,833 Moderator

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    If the car is okay now and you lower the tie rods by ~1/2", it should still be 'okay'...in the sense that you are maintaining similar geometry. Checking it would be good and getting it zero is 'ideal', but I like a little toe-out under compression. Helps the car turn better in low speed corners. Just my personal preference.

    Getting the arms near parallel works to some extent, but I'd want to understand how it behaves and at least get a rough plot.
     
  7. Boone

    Boone TMO Advanced

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    Agreed. All the Steeda rep would tell me is the bumpsteer should be adjusted a "percentage" of the extension of the ball joint. I took that as "I'll figure it out once I'm in the thick of it."
     
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  8. ChrisM

    ChrisM No bad days.

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    Do the arms/bushings from the Boss 302S work on early S197s? Since we are on the subject...
     
  9. DocB

    DocB TMO Advanced

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    Yes.
     
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  10. RodS197

    RodS197 TMO Intermediate

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    I had the GT500 arms on my car with urethane bushings and the FR500S tie rod ends, which was the setup on the FR500S I believe. After three years one of the ball joints became loose and I installed the Steeda ball joints. It did change the bump steer to the point where I noticed it in tire wear. So I purchased the Steeda bump steer kit and went to work trying to measure the bump steer the right way, no spring on the front so you can run it through the travel and measure the toe through the range. It was time consuming, but I learned a lot and it made a big difference in tire wear and corner response. Definitely worth it.
     
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  11. Boone

    Boone TMO Advanced

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    I'll brush up on my bumpsteer procedure. I feel like I have to go the extra mile or I'll just be a "stance" guy.:eek: TMO is about making these things TURN!!!
     
  12. captdistraction

    captdistraction I am the breaker of things

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    Just a quick warning, I've had real bad luck with those arms. The balljoints wouldn't last on the street or track, they'd wear out prematurely. Same with the bushings once I started tracking the car more often.

    They'll replace the parts after complaining, but just be vigilant. I've since moved onto the 302S solution after struggling with those arms, then adding howe joints and replacing the steeda bushings with prothane (made a bad situation worse), then went through opmustang to get the 302S arms and all my front LCA woes were solved. Its a lot more money, but I could own several sets of the 302S arms after all the trouble the steeda ones caused me.
     
  13. Boone

    Boone TMO Advanced

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    Now you tell me!!:( I just finished up my alignment, and I must say, the car feels great during a brief street test. We'll see how it goes on track this Friday. I'll keep an eye out for any issues that may come up down the road. Hopefully, I'll have a better experience than you did.
     
  14. Coz

    Coz TMO Race

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    They don't seem to be listed on his site anymore. Did a search on 302S and no arms came up.
     
  15. ChrisM

    ChrisM No bad days.

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    Boone, I've had the Steeda ball joints on for a few track days without issue, HOWEVER, I do plan to replace them with the same stuff Chris mentioned just because his is not the first horror story I've heard.
     
  16. captdistraction

    captdistraction I am the breaker of things

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    I went through 3x sets of the balljoints and 2x sets of the arms and bushings.

    The good news is this: you can always install the Howe joints on them (we found that you couldn’t replace the steeda balljoints as the press fit was worn after you press them out) and you can upgrade them to the 302s bushing set down the road if it becomes an issue.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  17. Duane Black

    Duane Black TMO Advanced

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    I guess I'd be wondering Boone... if the stock joints got you this far, why not just stick with the stock parts?
     
  18. Tri-bar

    Tri-bar TMO Race

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  19. neema

    neema TMO Race

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    Boone, I second the stuff that captdistraction said. Had Steeda balljoints and they ended up wearing out. Made itself very known during braking (insane shudder through the steering wheel). This is what they looked like before I removed them.

    I now have Howe balljoints with the sleeves welded in and Prothane bushings.


    What issues did you have with the Prothane bushings? That's what I'm using now and love them so far. Can't stand up to the abuse?
     
  20. Boone

    Boone TMO Advanced

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    I'll keep an eye on the ball joints. I hate the feeling of impending doom, but it is what it is for the time being. I wasn't overly pleased with the handling of my car. It felt like the front end was chattering during long sustained turns (most of the infield at CMS Roval), so I'll be taking a long hard look at the bumpsteer to see if I'm getting dynamic alignment issues.
     

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