Tubular upper a-arms - Should I be worried?

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. OleNatesOlds

    OleNatesOlds Well-Known Member

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    Story goes something like this:

    Researched upper a-arms for doing a BBP disc conversion on my '69 Dart and found tubular CroMo on eBay for not much more than what people wanted for a set of stock big ball-joint arms. Plus they claimed to improve the caster among other things. So I took the plunge and got them...although not without me trying to negotiate the best deal the vendor could stand. Their response to one of my emails:

    "--- On Tue, 2/2/10, <ebay@.com> wrote:
    From: <ebay@.com>
    Subject: Re: Mopar HP Upper Control Arms 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 DART
    To:
    Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2010, 2:26 PM
    Hello,



    These arms are welded by NASCAR technicians to provide positive geometry in a suspension that badly needs it, and yet they still accept the stock ball joints and bushings. If you can find anything of this quality and convenience for anywhere near that price, be sure to let us know."


    (ooooo..."NASCAR techs") Ok so I got them. Now I get around to assembling and installing them... finally. While trying to figure out the totally unmarked arms as to which side they go on, I saw something and asked about it:


    [FONT=&quot]"From:[/FONT][FONT=&quot]
    Sent: Monday, February 06, 2012 9:18 AM
    To:
    Subject: Re: Mopar HP Upper Control Arms 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 DART[/FONT]

    Hello,
    I am now getting around to installing these upper control arms in my Dart. I have noticed some mismatching between passenger and driver side arms. It looks as if the ball joint mounts are off ~1/8" - either one arm is short overall or the other is too long as measured from the bushing centerline. I know your arms improve the caster/camber, but should they not essentially be mirror images of each other?

    Thanks,
    Nathan"

    The vendor's rather prompt response:

    "RE: Mopar HP Upper Control Arms 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 DART

    Monday, February 6, 2012 7:44 PM

    From:
    "Customer Service Ebay" <ebay@ .com>
    Add sender to Contacts

    To:
    "'Nathan DeLauder'" <natenaboo@yahoo.com>


    [FONT=&quot]Nathan: thanks for emailing us! Glad you are getting the project moving along. You should not have any issues if one is 1/8” off from the other. That can be caused by cooling from the welding process or any number of factors. Definitely have an alignment done and that amount can be adjusted for with the cam bolts.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Thanks again! Keep us posted on how it goes."[/FONT]

    Ok. Now static camber might be fixed with the cam bolts, but what about when my suspension compresses? One side will travel a different arc than the other which can give too much or too little camber gain. Or would this show only in very "spirited" cornering? I look at them again and the caster improvement doesn't quite match side to side either, although not by as much as the arm length. Either side is an improvement nonetheless. Thoughts? Is this going to be a nightmare to align with a mishmash of regular and offset bushings?
     
  2. curleysracecars

    curleysracecars Well-Known Member

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    Moving 1/8" because of weld cooling is totally bogus. I would ask for another arm...ask them for the dimension it should be...then compare to yours. Have them replace the one that doesnt match the dimension they give(assuming one of them does). There is hardly any welding in a control arm. I have done literally 10+ feet of continuous welding, and would have less than 1/8" of movement from weld cooling.
    I cant say how good they are, but that would make me feel skeptical about them. Honestly, I am not sure is 1/8"(how accurate is this dimension??), would cause any issues. Its one of those situations where it may not cause issues but you know isnt "right". Just my opinion...
     
  3. mopardude318

    mopardude318 Well-Known Member

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    uh....what garbage...take em back. get ones from a known trusted source, like reilly motorsports or firm feel...
     
  4. abodyjoe

    abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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    sounds like a load of bullshit to me. i would send them back and get a refund.

    how much did these things cost?? i would have went with a proven set of upper arms. RMS, firmfeel.. something like that.. cheaper isn't always better...
     
  5. OleNatesOlds

    OleNatesOlds Well-Known Member

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    These are from a reputable (as far as I have gathered) vendor of suspension parts. The tig welding at the ends of the tubing, which looks nice, should cause minimal distortion from cooling, right? These weren't that cheap ($200 so far), but I felt I could install bushings and ball joints and POR15 them myself to save a little change compared to other vendors' products. This is ongoing - will keep y'all posted. Thanks
     
  6. oldkimmer

    oldkimmer FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    ..............I would be sending them back so fast it would make their head spin.............kim......
     
  7. blown71duster

    blown71duster Well-Known Member

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    sounds like a quality control issue , they should measure the same
     
  8. abodyjoe

    abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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    so what company made them?


    $200 and they don't have ball joints or bushings?? hell for $300 you could have had fully adjustable with ball joints already installed.. and if by some crazy chance you got parts like your describing and that a huge IF. bill would send new arms out right to you without the excuses your getting..

    send them back and get a refund and buy a good set of arms.
     

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  9. 66dartman

    66dartman Well-Known Member

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    I just purchased the tubular arms from RMS and the are very nice. They are marked Right and Left and need to be installed that way. I would send what you got back and get the RMS arms like joe says. You also have your choice of bushings or rod ends.
     
  10. 67cudafb

    67cudafb Well-Known Member

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    Is that nascar tech in china?
     
  11. mopwr2004a

    mopwr2004a low slung chassis

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    Ok these were probably made that way, the guys are going in circles and at a high rate of speed so they require little change. and they try 1 off things to get that winning edge. if you look at all the circle track catalogs they make upper and lower arms different lengths. I would ask them to replace the 1 arm with another the same as the correct arm.
     
  12. OleNatesOlds

    OleNatesOlds Well-Known Member

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    I believe he was saying that they farmed out the work to some guy that can tig-weld CrMo and is associated with some NASCAR team (perhaps?). They are located north of Charlotte so that may hold water for now. While circle track cars do often have dedicated left and right suspension pieces, these were never advertised as such arms - simply as tubular arms that improved caster geometry and accepted stock style components. But the more I look at them, 'Jimbo' must have been jigging these at 3am after repairing a wrecked roll cage and was halfway through a 12-pack. I'm not prepared to start slandering yet, but they haven't responded quite as promptly as before so that may change if they don't take them back (or give me store credit as I am way out of the return grace period - my own fault). They should stand behind what they sell no matter how long it's been sitting on my shelf.

    This company sells multiple make and model suspension/brake components and kits that they piece together from original manufacturers (and even advertise on this forum and all over the web). They apparently tried some custom fabrication stuff before I was wiser to the game and now no longer do that. At least those arms are definitely not on their site or eBay anymore if that's any indication...
     
  13. seabee

    seabee FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    I tried to cut every corner and save some scratch with my UCA's. After lot's of wasted time and almost wrecking on the freeway I bought the Firm Feel UCA's and wish I did it from the start. They are built like a tank, powder coated, and include the ball joints for $400.
     
  14. jdsduster

    jdsduster Well-Known Member

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    hard to beat these arms,the best around.imho
     
  15. OleNatesOlds

    OleNatesOlds Well-Known Member

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    I called to speak with someone and get some real-time reaction instead of this email bs. Couldn't get a tech, only customer service. I said initially that I wanted to return a part and explained my issues. At first she seemed to know nothing about the part in particular or understand what I was explaining about the ball joint mount being off. She then put me on hold for 30 secs or so to pull up my purchase info, came back as if she switched brains and proceeded to praise the a-arms as the greatest things since sliced bread and bjs - they were going to fit fine, they sell these all the time, she deals with Mopars all day long, other customers have called concerned about one thing or another and ended up using them and called back about how great they were, an eighth was nothing because of the cam bolts, blah, blah, blah. I called her out on the claim that she sells so many of these since they are not anywhere on their website. She fired back that they are a custom part (well, obviously) and that 'people' call special to request they be made. I responded that I saw and purchased them on eBay - didn't request them.
    "Oh yeah. They're on there, too."
    "No they aren't. I've kept an eye out for months. Not there."
    "Oh. Really?..."
    "Really..." Yeah. You deal with this stuff every day, honey. After this back and forth with a brick wall for a good twenty minutes over the fact that these look like they were made in China, I tried to get her to tell me who the heck they had make these and she couldn't. After conceding that I was out of the return period, I said I would be satisfied with credit toward some name brand item at a later date. She said she couldn't do that either. "Try 'em. Just try 'em. I'm telling you you're really going to be happy with those." Geez, she said this over and over sounding like a pill pusher. I said I'm not using them, the quality was unacceptable, they will just sit on my shelf, and they are wasted money. "Well, I'm sorry..." She said to take a couple of pics and send them to her so she could try to identify them (WOW. An offer of some inkling of customer service). She said she was going to be looking for my email and would get back to me by the end of the day. So I took some pics - particularly some to show the disparity between left and right and here's what I sent:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One day. Two days. One week. Nothing. I re-sent saying:
    "Rene,
    Did you get this? Any comment?

    Nathan"

    Response 5 hrs later:
    --- On Fri, 2/17/12, Info **** ********** <> wrote:

    > From: Info **** ********** <>
    > Subject: RE: Attn: Rene! Mopar upper a-arm pictures
    > To: "'Nathan DeLauder'" <>
    > Date: Friday, February 17, 2012, 9:18 PM
    > Nathan: Thanks for emailing the
    > pics! Those arms look within the ball
    > joint tolerance, bushing, and cam adjuster tolerances, you
    > will be very
    > happy running those.
    >
    > Go to for even better deals.
    > Prefer to call us?
    > Were open 8:30-5:30 eastern time M-F and are happy to
    > help. (704) ***-****

    Ugh. Idiots...

    RE: Attn: Rene! Mopar upper a-arm pictures

    Sunday, February 19, 2012 3:23 PM

    From:
    "Nathan DeLauder" <>


    To:
    "Info **** **********" <info@.com>


    Yes. OK I've heard the same spiel from you all several times and I'm still not convinced. However, the whole point of me emailing you those pics was to determine who exactly made those control arms since there are no identifying marks on them and I don't believe you made them in house. This would have been right at 2 years ago...

    Nathan

    That was last Sunday. So far nothing. Flat out denial of return, exchange, or refund. I think I've given them ample opportunity to respond and/or rectify the situation, so I feel that as far as my experience has been, Just Suspension can kiss my bleach white, Scottish/Norman a$$!!!! Flame the F#$% ON!!!
     
  16. Supershafts

    Supershafts Well-Known Member

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    Lmfao, what was the price on these arms ? ? ?


    And and if they said this part to me.... ""These arms are welded by NASCAR technicians to provide positive geometry in a suspension that badly needs it,"" i woulda pissed myself from laughing and told them,.,,, Asshat, im not racing in circles with a car to only do one thing good and that would be a left turn... so i don't give a fuk about a guy specializing in one area doing something for a car doing multiple things.
     
  17. rklein383

    rklein383 Well-Known Member

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    If you paid with a credit card, call them and tell them you got junk and are not happy with your purchase, or the customer service. The credit card company will refund you.
     
  18. curleysracecars

    curleysracecars Well-Known Member

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    Credit card company or PayPal will help you out. On another note...have most people not seen a quality TIG weld? I don't understand how companies can sell, or consumers be happy with a product that is TIG welded but looks like crap. I've seen it on this site, along with so many others. Is it the notion that if something is TIG welded, it is superior to all others? I'd put a MIG weld against those TIG welds along with others I have seen on this site. Talk about too much heat...look how far up the tubing the heat effected zone is...holy cow!
    On another note, I don't blame you for being pissed or posting the company name. You legitimately tried to make it all work out so that is there bad.
     
  19. jrlegacy23

    jrlegacy23 68 Barracuda

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    Here is what a tig weld is supposed to look like:
     

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  20. abodyjoe

    abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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    Those things came from just suspension? Holy crap.
     
  21. curleysracecars

    curleysracecars Well-Known Member

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    TIG welds Should never need to be cleaned up. They should be the same color or as some sort of blue/purple. Dark, sooty grey colored(or dull, non shiny) welds is a clear indication of too much heat input, or poor gas coverage. Heat is the enemy of metal properties...that's why most weldments will crack along the edge of the weld...most heat input with no filler material added. It's just mind boggling what people will buy.
     
  22. Badart

    Badart Senior Member

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    Myself I would rather have a strong weld that has good penetration over a weld that's whole intention is to be pretty. I see it all of the time at work, very little filler rod or no filler rod and not enough heat. Before you know it, crack. I get to go behind them and reweld it with more heat and filler rod.

    Some of you guys need to get a life if you are nit picking how evenly spaced the puddles are or how much filler rod is used. I agree that over heating metal is bad and those upper control arms should have been welded in a few stages. I agree with the op about the quality of fitment, but to me those welds look fine.
     
  23. curleysracecars

    curleysracecars Well-Known Member

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    I'm not talking about puddle spacing at all...that comes with practice. Too much heat is just my a good practice...as I mentioned, i would rather have a good MIG weld over a mediocre TIG weld. Just my .02
     
  24. Newf

    Newf Well-Known Member

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    The reason that Tig welding is superior to Mig is because it is a CC constant current (amperage) power supply, the same as stick welding. Mig is done with CV (constant voltage) and uses a short circuit metal transfer across the arc resulting in a weaker weldment due to less penetration. I am a Journeyman Welder of 13 years, who welds pressure pipe (X-ray quality welds) mostly with tig for a living in thickness ranges from .090 to 2 inchs.

    I also weld many different alloys, stainless, monels, chrome, alum, and depending on what you are welding most metals will discolor somewhat especially small diameter pipe such as the one pictured above. The reason that metal breaks next to the weld when it does is usually because of 2 reasons, 1. structural design, and 2 because the weld filler metal has a higher tensile strength than the base metal that is being joined, so if something is fatiging at a stressed joint the base metal will give before the weld.

    There is such thing as overheating certain metals that can change the crystaline stucture of the metal but it usually is not an issue with joints like the one above but rather metals requiring multiple weld passes.

    Sorry for the long blurb but IMO the welds on those arms are not an issue.

    Joe Welder
     
  25. curleysracecars

    curleysracecars Well-Known Member

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    Good info. Let's not hijack too much. Metals will discolor but a grey or sooty colored weld, is either from lack of shielding has or too much heat. As mentioned, heat is the enemy to metals...that's why everything I TIG is manually pulsed with my foot so that when I am not needing the heat, it is not being out into the metal. Back on topic...sorry.
     
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