HOW WE’VE TESTED THE DUAL LOAD CARRYING BALL JOINT SYSTEM TO ENSURE THAT IT’S THE TOUGHEST IN THE INDUSTRY
May 16, 2016 2:19:00 PM PDT May 16, 2016 2:19:00 PM PDTth, May 16, 2016 2:19:00 PM PDT
WIth a ball joint system this solid, you’ll never have to replace it again. We put it on our Jeep JK over two years ago. We’ve been driving it like we stole it ever since. Without a single probelm.
We’re just glad new people become obsessed with Jeep JKs everyday, otherwise we’d be out of the ball joint business in no time.
WHY WE DID IT
I guess we just have something against OEM.
The OEM ball joint design uses nylon bearings. The lower ball joint carries the entire load of the vehicle, and the upper ball joint is a follower, acting only as a pivot point
Nylon bearings are commonplace in ball joints and tie rod ends, and when used properly, they can last long time without needing greased. Nylon is not like rubber; when rubber is deformed, it returns to its original shape. When nylon is deformed, it does not.
If you never take your jeep off-road, and the roads you drive on are in good condition, it does not matter. However, impacts – either by driving over things like curbs and potholes, or rocks and off-road terrain, cause the nylon bearing to deform, and create a pocket. The stud can then move in the socket, adding more deformation. It quickly turns into a snowball effect until your ball joint needs to be replaced from having too much end play.
We knew that we wanted to get rid of the nylon internals. We knew that the lower ball joint needed to be upgraded to a heavy-duty steel-on-steel design. With our expertise, we knew that space was limited, and we were limited on ball size based on the size of the inner C, and the size of the axle shafts.
To figure out exactly what we were dealing with, we manufactured a steel-on-steel ball joint with a load cell inside, behind the bearing. With the load cell connected to a laptop in the cab, we were able to get real world results for the loads that the ball joints were being subjected to.
After analyzing the data, we concluded that we could not build a lower ball joint to our satisfaction in the space available. Our new lower ball joint design would work, and be better than OEM, but for us, that is not good enough.
TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
We wanted something truly heavy duty. Since the lower ball joint was at its maximum, the only way the system could be improved was to engineer the upper ball joint to carry some of the load too. After a few design prototypes, we created a ball joint that still allowed the stud to float for locating the knuckle, but was capable of carrying some of the vehicles load.
Using the installed load cell, and some rough driving, we were able to establish that the upper ball joint carried an average of 20% of the Jeep’s load, reducing the forces applied to the lower ball joint considerably.
We continued to drive the Jeep like we stole it, pushing it to its limits to test our ball joint system. 2 years later with virtually all off-road miles on the odometer, the testing will continue for the foreseeable future.