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Old 01-18-2009, 01:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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SAI mod and upper control arms

I have just installed the SAI mod to my 3.1 roadster front suspension and, like a few others in the past, have found that the upper control arms are too short. If left as they were prior to the mod installation, they induce a ridiculous amount of negative camber. Adjusted out to attain reasonably appropriate camber angle, there is only 1/4 inch or so of the threaded part of the control arm within the actual arm. The situation does not improve when the arms move from full droop to full bump. I have sought advice from sources members of this forum would consider knowlegable and very reliable, and they have not encountered this problem.
The The lower control arms are installed in the outboard mounting holes. I am reluctant to move them inboard, as that changes the performance geometry of the mod kit, and who knows what it might do to bump steer!

I am not averse to getting longer upper control arm main shafts, but the fact that this is not a common problem among the many with FFR roadsters and coupes with this mod gives me pause.
I took many pictures, but it is not apparent to me how to include those in my post. I'll keep trying.

Has anyone been through this? Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Upload your pictures to www.photobucket.com, you have to sign up but it is free, and then cut and paste the codes next to the pictures after they are uploaded.

We do need to see pictures, I did not have the problem you are describing.
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Do you have the angle iron UCA adapters installed? Are you using pin drive or conventional lower A arms? Any photos?
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think most have just the opposite problem of the top being too long. need pictures
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I am working with phoptobuchet as bstuke suggests - hope to have them posted soon.

Yes, the upper control ams adapter brackets are installed. Regular, not pin drive.

Ok - I just got one to post. Have a look. Thanks, guys.

There's another. I hope these pasted sites addresses work.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'll post all I have. http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/o...s/DSC00291.jpg

http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/o...s/DSC00299.jpg
http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/o...s/DSC00294.jpg

These are the best views.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Your photos work fine. Do you have your own alignment tools? If so, remove the spring and shock, jack up the lower A arm so that it's roughly horizontal to the ground, then measure the camber. You can also get a rough measurement using a level.

Looking at your links to the photos, you have pos camber. The face of the wheel hub needs to be at aprox 90 deg to the ground.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree; the photos do make it look as though there's positive camber. But the face of the wheel flange is about 0.5 degree negative with the LCA parallel to the ground.
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the comments thus far.

The problem is truly that, to get a normal camber setting, the upper control arms must be excessively extended. (The wide angle nature of the camera used to take the pictures in my previous posts made it appear as though there is some positive camber.)

In searches, I have seen others' solutions to the problem having been to buy longer UCA's. But I think most of those were with earlier Mk I & II roadsters. And to reiterate, it's a little unsettling that thjere's something different about my situation if all you guys aren't encountering the same thing.

Anyone else out there encountered this problem? I believe everything is correctly installed, checked at ride height, etc.

Any help greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-18-2009, 05:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Bill,
I have exactly the same situation that you have. Initially, I questioned whether I got adjusting sleeves for pin drive but was told that they aren't any different. I'm convinced that I need to get longer sleeves but not sure what to order. Current length is 3.5" so if I go with 4" that's only an additional .25" on each end. If I go the 5" they may be too long. I'll probably go with 5" and cut them down if necessary. Thinking of steel vs. aluminum. This is what I'm considering:
http://www.speedwaymotors.com/SWEDGE...HEIM,2092.html

FYI - the threads are 5/8"-18 (obviously one end is RH and the other LH)
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Old 01-18-2009, 05:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks, CWR. Speedway and others carry them. It just seems odd that we are having the problem and all the others don't seem to be.

Let's see if anyone else responds.

By the way,I think a 5-inch tube would be the length I need, as there's at least an inch of threads on either side exposed.
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Old 01-18-2009, 05:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Mine or too short, but I'm using Billet LCAs adjusted as long as is safe and I want lots of caster. Get whatever length you need.

Just remember, you want a minimum of one nominal diameter worth of threads engaged to be safe. for 5/8" -18, that is 11.25 threads.

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Old 01-18-2009, 06:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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My observation is: Why do you have the assembly (SAI control arms etc) jacked up so high? I may be wrong but I think you are a bove the travel limitation. I've never checked mine with the shock so far above the upper mount. I am in the same stage and mine seeem to be fine in the middle of the tarvel. I think you should continue with the build and see how it lines up after you motor is in and the allignment is set.
I had more of a problem with my outer tie rods not having enough treading, I went with Mike's bumpsterr kit to give me more threads and also to be able to adjust that aspect of the steering.
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for the responses:

JoeE, that's just so all elements can be photographed. The camber problem was the same throughout the range. At LCA=level, it's the same.

As M. Stora advises, there's a minimal amount of thread you need in the billet or swaged tube: mine's not going to be close to what is advised. Hence, I'm a bit reluctant to put my entire suspension together (again) until I get it sorted out.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:53 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Bill, I've got the exact same set up as you ( MKlll, Koni, SAI,control arms). Only thing different I have bump steer kit (Fortes). With everything adjusted I have 11.5 threads showing on control arms. From your pictures you look to have at least 18 threads showing. Do you have an equal number of threads on each side of control arm? It should be about the same. HTH!!

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Old 01-18-2009, 09:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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hicobra, mine are equal - just not enough in the tube! I've got about 3/8 to 1/2" in the tube with about 2-3 degrees negative camber. I don't know how much caster I have, though. Giving it anymore positive caster will of course further increase the negative camber.
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Waters View Post
Giving it anymore positive caster will of course further increase the negative camber.
Not so Bill. Camber can remain the same while achieving more positive caster by lengthening the control arm front link and shortening the rear. In doing so the upper ball joint/ steering knuckle will move rearward but no farther in or out. Wish I could help with your issue; I'm not familiar with the SAI mod other than in concept. I'm curious and interested though so will be watching. Good luck to you in sorting it out!

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Old 01-18-2009, 10:44 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Check out my post. I just installed the SAI with billet LCA and FFR Uppers with Koni's. Had the exact same issue until I actually bolted it all together. Even ordered new adjusters. After talking to Gordon Levy and bolting it all up I actually have a lot of adjustments left on my upper control arms.

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Old 01-18-2009, 11:40 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Had the exact same issue until I actually bolted it all together.
Progress update
I'm not sure I understand this post - how could you know that you had the exact same issue without bolting it together in the first place. My car is running with the engine in and I have the same problem that Bill (and others) are having. What's your point?
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:50 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Bill,

I had the same problem as you -- too much thread showing on the UCA adjusters. I'm using 1994 Cobra LCA and spindles.

Go to Speedway and buy the 5" adjusters (they sell them from 4-22" in one inch increments).

I had to cut about 3/8" off the rear ones on each side (too bad they don't sell 4 1/2" which is what we really need).

Now I have lots of thread engagement on hte adjusters so I feel a lot more comfortable.

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Old 01-19-2009, 12:18 AM   #21 (permalink)
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03SC--with Gordon's lowers your setup and Bill's are a bit apples vs. oranges. I notice in your pics that your billet arms are mounted in the inboard set of holes, while Bill's tubulars are in the outer. That may well account for the difference. Can't speak for Gordon's billet arms but the outboard mounting position is correct for the tubulars.
CW and Mike's comments seem to indicate this situation is not out of the ordinary and longer sleeves appear to be the accepted solution by others who have encountered it.
Again, I'll be paying attention as this is on my list of future mods.

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Old 01-19-2009, 12:22 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Appreciate everyone's continued input.

JKleiner - I mean that, given the fact that I have no more adjustment in the front UCA, more positive caster will induce more negative camber.

ggeezer - Thanks - the longer arms is what I guess CWR and I will end up with... It still bothers me that only a few of us seem to be having this problem.

O3SC - very nice rig - but I have the Konis and FFR tubular lowers and was hoping to stay with them.

Let's give this thread some more time - I'll be in and out of town over the next few days and will check in. Thanks, Guys
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:23 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Jeff, you're right, a little bit of apples and oranges. The similar issue is the perceived need for longer adjusters.

Bill, you're right, our setup's are different. My LCA's are mounted on the inner set of holes and they are Levy arms not FFR. The geometry worked out better using the inner holes. I was able to get more droop. As far as having the same issue, I meant that it seemed with the SAI mod I also needed longer adjusters. It just seemed like the best option. I ordered from Speedway and they came promptly. They were too long and actually made the range of motion smaller so I just bolted it all together with the regular 3.5" adjusters and it all worked out the way it was designed to, enough droop and plenty of upward motion. Just showed how little I knew about adjustable front suspensions in the first place.

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Old 01-21-2009, 02:19 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Anyone else have thoughts on/experience with this issue? Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:16 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Hi guys,
I'm just a newbie, but for what it's worth, I just mounted my SAI-mod kit this morning (with normal factory FFR upper and lower arms), and it seems fine. I did have to lengthen the upper control arms quite a bit until the discs were vertical, and I now have 1" of thread showing on all the UCA adjusting bolts. Not sure how much thread that leaves inside the sleeve, however.

With the suspension jacked up to the point that would put the hubs at normal ride height wrt the car, I don't have anywhere near the extreme upwards angles of the UCA's shown in the pics below. Mine are fairly horizontal.

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Old 02-16-2009, 09:32 PM   #26 (permalink)
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John,
If you have your camber set correctly then you should be fine. My rod ends have about 1.6" of thread so if you have .6" of engagement you will be OK. I ended up buying 5" adjusting sleeves and cutting almost 1/2" off to make them work (same as ggeezer).
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:28 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Doh! I just noticed the bleeder on my left Cobra PBR caliper might touch the bolt on the control arm at full left steering lock. Now, having reviewed several other posts on the topic(Next challenge: SAI & 13 Cobra rotors and caliper clearance) , it sounds like I'll have to take the suspension apart, and flip the control arm over, so the bolt is at the front.

Really not looking forward to this, as the ball joint was an absolute b*tch to get into the control arm (Upper ball joint really tight).

Anybody know how much "real world" steering lock that translates into, before the bleeder touches the bolt?
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:49 AM   #28 (permalink)
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For what its worth I measured the distance from bolt to bolt on my front side upper control arm. Center of bolt on shaft side to center of bolt on ball joint plate is 7". Rear side is much shorter due to high caster setting. Mine's a MKII, SN95, SAI, upper monoball joint, -2.5 camber. I have the older gold UCAs but the bolt placement is similiar.

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Old 02-17-2009, 02:53 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Is the upper angle iron for upper control arm mounted correctly? I've seen pictures with the angle up and some down. This could create a length problem with upper arm. I'm wondering what the proper mounting of this part is.
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Old 02-17-2009, 04:40 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Since I got all of this going, I'll chime in with a few comments, updates and realizations.

On my car, I now have the entire rig installed and tightened, set at ride height, and wheels on. I have realized that part of the problem making the control arms' adjusting sleeves appear to be too short is that the SAI upper ball joint adapter fitting mounts to the rear of the spindle, while the FFR one stradles it, with the ball joint mounting straight above and between the two halves of the spindle adapter. This places the ball joint mounting location a good 1 - 1 1/2" in front of the SAI relocation point. Hence, just eyeballing it, there must be a great deal more positive caster inherent to the SAI mod than stock for any given UCA adjustment point, meaning that the rear UC arm sleeve can be adjusted farther out. This naturally induces more positive camber. So I adjusted my rear UC arm to give me about a rough 5 degrees of positive caster and the front UCA to give me about 1 degree negative camber.


The overall length of the threaded protion of the UCAs are about 1 5/8 ". The above leaves me with about 5/8" of thread in the sleeves. Since it is conventional wisdom (see comments by Michael Stora earlier in this thread) that you want a minimum of the threaded portion in the sleeve equal to the diameter of the threaded portion(in this case 5/8"), this is marginally adequate. I may end up buying slightly longer sleeves, anyway, but at least the above explains why more folks aren't commenting about this.

ddm52, I believe the left and right are stamped with an "L" and an "R" on most versions. And the holes which mount the UCAs (as opposed to the ones bolting the angle iron mount to the chassis) are such that the front hole is slightly higher than the rear hole. This makes the front of the UCA mounting shaft slightly higher than the rear - just much less so than the stock setup. Also, note that there are two little semicircular relief cuts in the edge of one side of the UCA angle iron mounts. These seem to be there to accomodate the two steel uprights on the stock UCA mounting location (which is where the angle pieces are bolted). They are another reference point for correct mounting. HTH

Bill
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