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Old 07-30-2012, 04:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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UCAs toast at 2,600 miles

Hi guys,

I regularly check the suspension on the Cobra to ensure things are tight and nothing is getting out of whack. Well, I noticed when I push in and out at the top of the wheel/tire I have some play. Further investigation showed that there is slop in the UCA cross bar where the adjuster arm sleeve slides over the bearing. So, the bore in the sleeve is too big or has worn enough to create a lot of slop.

I took it to the local speed shop who confirmed my suspicions, they wouldn't align the car with that much slop.

I've greased these suckers up a few times in the 2,600 miles I've had it on the road. Do you suppose I got the bad batch without a grease groove? What else would have caused this besides bad specs? No racing, easy street driving only.

I'll be pulling it apart today or possibly this weekend to check for the groove. Factory Five claims they've never heard of the missing groove and were hesitant to offer replacements. I'd understand if I had 10k miles on them and didn't grease them regularly but I've done everything appropriately.

I guess pulling it apart will tell the tale.

Darren
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Last edited by Darren; 07-30-2012 at 06:01 PM..
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Since THE NEWS broke I've been pulling mine down a couple of times a year. They have always accepted lube but on the ones that do not I don't think it would take very long to either wear, gall or seize.

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Old 07-30-2012, 07:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Darren,
That sucks but it's a good thing you found the damage now. Can you post a few pics of what you found and what version of UCA you have.

I pulled mine apart at 15K miles and found some light scoring but nothing like what you are describing. I greased them up with moly grease and monitor them regularly. Some say adjusting them with the hardware tight on the upper ball joint caused a lot of wear because they are in a bind from then on.

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Old 07-30-2012, 07:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Darren,
That sucks but it's a good thing you found the damage now. Can you post a few pics of what you found and what version of UCA you have.

I pulled mine apart at 15K miles and found some light scoring but nothing like what you are describing. I greased them up with moly grease and monitor them regularly. Some say adjusting them with the hardware tight on the upper ball joint caused a lot of wear because they are in a bind from then on.

Greg
I'll post some pics when I get it all apart. I have the newer black and silver version. The hardware was loose when I adjusted them for my alignment, I took all the precautions. The only thing I didn't get to do was check for the grease groove as I already had it together by the time I read about that. I figured since mine took grease they probably had the grooves but I'm beginning to wonder now though. I'll know more this week.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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OK. Mine are the older all-steel silver ones with zerk fittings in the ends.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Relizing mine are the older versions I'll add a thought anyway. When i grease mine on the car I get a bunch of grease escaping from the end right near the zerk fitting. I have a hard time seeing grease coming out the other/inner end so i always wonder if the grease is really getting to the whole hearing surface.Last time I greased mine I took the crossarm and pivots off the car so i could be sure i got grease throughout. I grease them and then spin the pivots around a couple of times.That is a real pain but I've ruined a few crossbars already since i didn't grease them enough.Personally I think this steel on steel is a crap design and should be replaced.
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have the old version as well and was having trouble getting grease to come out of the the other end of the pivot so I took the wheel off and then put another floor jack under the spindle and jacked the suspension up and then had my wife slowly lower the jack/spindle while I pumped in the grease. Did this a few times and it seemed to help better distribute the grease. An idea for what it is worth. Scott
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ok, I pulled the front end apart and have some measurements and a video for you to look at.

The bearing bores varied from .7490 - .7510. The shafts varied from .7480 - .7500.


There was grease on the surface, very thin layer as one would imagine but it was there and I have been keeping it lubed.

Here is a somewhat blurry video of the play I'm seeing. Hard to tell really, I'll take another video with the wheel on but when it is freshly greased the play goes away until I have driven a few miles, maybe I'll take it out and shoot another video of the play.




After shooting this video I put everything back together, greased it up good and took it out for a few miles, still no slop. I'll wait for another decent trip and see if the slop returns. Maybe it was horizontal movement I was feeling since the end bolts were not snugged up completely... They are now for sure.

At least I got some measurements out of it. Will be interesting to hear what you guys think. I'm pretty sure the slop will return after a few more miles but we'll see.

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Last edited by Darren; 08-11-2012 at 09:26 PM..
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A buddy snapped an arm of a black / silver UCA under braking going into Turn 10 at Sebring recently. This was in a Challenge car. He wasn't real impressed with that surprise...
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Old 08-12-2012, 02:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That is actually a much nicer setup than my old version.One problem that may be similiar to mine though is that there may be some play lengthwise. We discovered this a couple of years ago when a friend kept getting bothered by the autocross tech guys. They just grab the top of the tire and try to pull/push it. We finally realized that, due to the angles involved, the play that was easy to feel was the UCA sliding forward and back on the cross arm. It felt just like the play you would expect w/ the loose fit you have due to the clearance or how a loose wheel bearing would feel. Not sure on yours if this might also be happening since I have never worked on that design but something to look for.We found it by one guy push/pulling the top of the tire while another guy leaned into the engine area so he could se the UCA moving.
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Old 08-12-2012, 03:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
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That is actually a much nicer setup than my old version.One problem that may be similiar to mine though is that there may be some play lengthwise. We discovered this a couple of years ago when a friend kept getting bothered by the autocross tech guys. They just grab the top of the tire and try to pull/push it. We finally realized that, due to the angles involved, the play that was easy to feel was the UCA sliding forward and back on the cross arm. It felt just like the play you would expect w/ the loose fit you have due to the clearance or how a loose wheel bearing would feel. Not sure on yours if this might also be happening since I have never worked on that design but something to look for.We found it by one guy push/pulling the top of the tire while another guy leaned into the engine area so he could se the UCA moving.

This is my current suspicion, maybe I was feeling the lenghtwise play... when I reassembled I ensured it was snugged up completely but still allowing free movement around the shaft. So far so good, we'll see after this morning though. Mine felt just like I'd expect a bad ball joint to feel or a sloppy UCA and I could see the UCA moving but I might have misinterpreted it as a loose bearing vs loose nut. It never seems to be that easy though.
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Old 08-12-2012, 04:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The design is for accurate articulation in racing, not long term use. A racing tem would expect to replace these at least every season. Unfortunately, life is full of trade off's, and this is one of them.

Replacing them with a poly or rubber bushing would not be that difficult. But then you're introducing play and rebound. Which may soften the ride and last longer, but is not as precise.

If you're not racing, I wouldn't be afraid to switch to a Mustang II arm - or something similar - that has a poly bushing. You won't notice the difference on the street, and it will last as long as the rest of the car.

http://store.specprod.com/productdetail/M50/1/1/94100
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The design is for accurate articulation in racing, not long term use. A racing tem would expect to replace these at least every season. Unfortunately, life is full of trade off's, and this is one of them.

Replacing them with a poly or rubber bushing would not be that difficult. But then you're introducing play and rebound. Which may soften the ride and last longer, but is not as precise.

If you're not racing, I wouldn't be afraid to switch to a Mustang II arm - or something similar - that has a poly bushing. You won't notice the difference on the street, and it will last as long as the rest of the car.

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Those are an option to consider for sure. Might end up trying that next. After pulling apart, cleaning, and snugging the end bolts up appropriately there is little to no play at all now. I think they just weren't snugged up appropriately.

I would expect these would last during normal street driving much longer than 2,700 miles since many have had them for tens of thousands of miles. We'll see how long mine last I guess. For now I think things are normal. Took it for a 50 mile drive today and after returning home I could feel no slop. Interesting.

People should definitely check to ensure those end bolts are snug, mine evidently weren't from the factory and I visually checked but didn't pull it apart to check things out until I noticed the slop, I assumed they were correct from the factory. Maybe they were and just backed of over the last 2,700 miles. I didn't notice any slop until recently so I'm beginning to think they backed off.
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Last edited by Darren; 08-12-2012 at 11:18 PM..
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Also another option. I was talking to Larry of Casey Design (vender here) a couple of weeks ago and he told me he is now an SPC dealer. He mentioned that they have a cross shaft w/ pivots that have delrin bushings. I just looked and didn't see them listed at the SPC site so you would need to call him.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Interesting discussion. I had the opportunity to coast down a short stretch of gravel road near our house recently. (to not wake the whole neighborhood in the AM)
In doing so, I had never had the opportunity to hear the car rolling silently. Noted a slight rattle from the driver's side UCA. I checked it later that day and that is the rattle. 12,000 miles, everything is tight, yet I have that rattle. Not even sure how long it has been there considering I never have driven it like that before. Now I am wondering if I should replace them. MK3 and grease always quickly exits the ends when I grease them. Your thoughts gang?

-Steve
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:04 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Interesting discussion. I had the opportunity to coast down a short stretch of gravel road near our house recently. (to not wake the whole neighborhood in the AM)
In doing so, I had never had the opportunity to hear the car rolling silently. Noted a slight rattle from the driver's side UCA. I checked it later that day and that is the rattle. 12,000 miles, everything is tight, yet I have that rattle. Not even sure how long it has been there considering I never have driven it like that before. Now I am wondering if I should replace them. MK3 and grease always quickly exits the ends when I grease them. Your thoughts gang?

-Steve
Did you make sure the nuts on either end of the control arm bar with the shafts were snug? That appears to have been my problem. Time will ultimately tell.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:53 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Yes Darren, I went through everything and all of the nuts and fittings are nice and tight. Not too concerned, although, I am wondering if this is just some wear on the end faces of the sleeve causing that little bit of play and subsequent rattle.

-Steve
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