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Group Buy: Spherical Bearing Shells for front lower control arm inner pivots by Will
Started on: 07-27-2020 08:30 AM
Replies: 30 (1078 views)
Last post by: Will on 11-12-2020 08:10 PM
Will
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Report this Post07-27-2020 08:30 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The Buy:

I developed a bespoke design for shells to replace the stock rubber Fiero front lower control arm bushings with spherical bearings. The bushings are the same across all years of Fiero production, and thus the shells fit all years as well.

I started looking at getting 8 shells (two vehicle sets) made. That quote runs just under $100 each shell for quantity of 8.

The CNC program development and machine setup are fully half the cost of the quote, so if I could run more parts, the price per part will come down significantly. A run of 20 (3 additional sets) will be $51 each; a run of 52 parts (11 additional sets) will be $42 each

In addition to four shells, a full kit will require two spacers per shell, one spherical bearing per shell, one ID snap ring per shell and, for '88s only, two shaft seals per shell. Each kit will need one of my installation/removal tools as well.

One kit will include:
4x Shells
8x Spacers
4x Bearings
4x Snap rings
1x Installation/Removal tool
8x Seals for '88's

Approximate Kit Prices:
1984-1987:
3 Buyers: $515
11 Buyers: $445

1988:
3 Buyers: $560
11 Buyers: $490

Since the group buy is to bring down the cost of the shells, the number of buyers does not have to be for a single type of kit. Two '84-'87 buyers and 1 '88 buyer are still 3 buyers and kits will be priced accordingly.
The kit price will interpolate more or less linearly for number of kits between 3 and 11.

The shells fit ALL years of Fiero front lower control arms.
They WELD in place.
The difference between '84-'87 kits and '88 kits are only the shaft seals.

Why spherical bearings?

OEMs use rubbber bushings because they are CHEAP.
As the suspension gets further from static ride height, the "wind up" of twisting the rubber bushings becomes a second spring.
Under high loads in hard corners, rubber bushings deflect. Bushing deflection in a hard corner reduces camber and prevents the chassis from making the best possible use of the tires. In a car with very short knuckles, such as a Fiero, a modest amount of bushing deflection becomes a large amount of camber loss. This reduces ultimate grip and unpredictable deflection makes the "ragged edge" more ragged. The car is inconsistent at the limit and can be upset by bumps that change any tire's camber in mid-corner.

Making these problems worse is the fact that modern performance tires are very much stickier than '80's performance tires... to the point that modern performance tires are almost what race tires were in the '80's. Greater grip available with modern tires makes the problems with OE rubber that much more obvious.

There are alternatives to OE rubber. Polyurethane is by far the most common, with Delrin or UHMW available for rare applications. Urethane is a "sticky" plastic which requires frequent greasing and can add significant stiction and preload torque to a suspension pivot. Urethane is actually a poor material choice for bushings. Aftermarket manufacturers use urethane because it's cheap and easy to mold. Delrin and UHMW are "slippery" plastics and have less frictional torque, but are also very rare and typically custom made. They are rare because they have to be machined--a fundamentally more expensive process--rather than molded like urethane. There is also significant engineering involved in designing Delrin or UHMW bushings in order to minimize pre-load and maximize bushing life. Both are plastics with hardness measured on the Shore durometer scale, which makes them still fairly soft materials.

Spherical bearings are free moving with very little preload torque. When installed in my shells, these bearings have a typical preload of 20-40 inch-lbs, with a few getting as high as 60 inch-lbs. Spherical bearings have essentially zero deflection, as you would expect from materials measured by Rockwell--as opposed to Shore--hardness.

Installing spherical bearings will make your car's ragged edge significantly less ragged. Spherical bearings will improve your car's "path accuracy" and your ability to place the car wherever you want on the line through any given corner. Consistent camber behavior will produce consistent grip from your tires, allowing you to push the car harder with more confidence.

For the '84-'87 Fiero specifically, in each front lower control arm, the forward and rear pivots are neither parallel nor coaxial. This means that there is a large amount of "off axis" motion in each pivot. This is not a problem for a rubber bushing or a spherical bearing, but IS a problem for polyurethane, resulting in excess stiction and binding above and beyond what would otherwise result from simply using urethane. This off axis motion does not bother spherical bearings in the slightest. However, it DOES cause problems with any seals used with the spherical bearing, as the spacer ends up off center in the shell, which is bad for a seal. That is why I will only send seals with kits for '88 cars. The 1988 Fiero suspension design uses more conventional A-arms with coaxial pivots and thus can have seals.

Spherical bearings will increase NVH *slightly*. I have not driven a Fiero with spherical bearing front pivots yet (thats why I'm having these shells made...), but I have driven my Formula with spherical bearing rear lateral link pivots for years; I did not notice *ANY* change in NVH when I installed those.

How to install:

1. Remove control arm from car
2. Remove current bushings AND SHELLS from control arm
3. Install spherical bearings to spherical bearing shells using installation tool and bench vise.
4. Slip spherical bearing shells into control arm
5. Install control arms to chassis with spherical bearing spacers installed in spherical bearings. Snug the control arm pivot bolts. There is no need to apply full bolt torque at this time.
6. Tack weld spherical bearing shells into control arms
7. Remove control arms from chassis
8. Remove spherical bearings from shells without breaking tack welds
9. Completely weld shells into control arms. I *STRONGLY* recommend TIG welding. Take the control arm to a welding shop if you are not 100% confident in your skills.
10. Reinstall bearings, install seals as required, install spacers
11. Install control arms to chassis, bring bolts to full torque (60 ftlbs for 12mm class 10.9; 80ftlbs for 12mm class 12.9)
12. Reassemble suspension
13. Drive the hell out of it!

Installed:

Welding as shown below does not distort the bore. I measured preload before and after welding and it only changed by +/-2 lnlbs across the 4 units. Pictured are of shells of a very similar design installed in a pair of REAR arms that I used for proof of concept for spherical bearing shells on The Mule, my 1987 GT Northstar car.










Things you should know:

The '88 crossmember has mounting ears that make +/-0.030 overall length tolerance still installable.
The '84-'87 front end has the rear pivots welded to the body, but the forward pivots on the crossmember. This means that the crossmember bolts can be loosened to shift the crossmember to accommodate overall length tolerance mis-matches.
These facts mean that the front control arm shells could probably be tacked in one crossmember or chassis, then installed into a different crossmember or chassis with minimal problems.

Buyers:

You have an order when I have a $100 deposit from you. PM for payment info.
Full payment will be due prior to shipment.
Buyer will pay actual shipping costs.
I will mark buyers as paid as they provide a deposit.

1. Will ('84-'87; Paid)
2. Will ('88; Paid)
4. ericjon262 ('84-'87; Paid)
3. pmbrunelle ('84-'87; Paid)
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 08-02-2020).]

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Report this Post07-31-2020 05:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for IainSend a Private Message to IainEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Fascinating Will, especially since I'm in the middle of refurbishing my '88 fronts with poly.

I have been thinking of making my own upper/lower arms with spherical housing cups, I'd never considered fitting them to the standard arms.

Soooo, questions:

Would you consider selling just the shells and spacers? Being in Scotland, it would cut down my carriage cost considerably. I know my way round sphericals, sourcing and fitting is not a problem. ;-) sorry, couldn't resist.

Is the shell parallel, not tapered/stepped like the annoying standard ones? Only reason I can think it needs aligned before welding, unless I'm being thick as usual and missing something.

Is the spacer a reducer spacer, running as big a spherical as possible?

Regards, iain
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Report this Post08-01-2020 12:02 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Iain:

Fascinating Will, especially since I'm in the middle of refurbishing my '88 fronts with poly.

I have been thinking of making my own upper/lower arms with spherical housing cups, I'd never considered fitting them to the standard arms.

Soooo, questions:

Would you consider selling just the shells and spacers? Being in Scotland, it would cut down my carriage cost considerably. I know my way round sphericals, sourcing and fitting is not a problem. ;-) sorry, couldn't resist.

Is the shell parallel, not tapered/stepped like the annoying standard ones? Only reason I can think it needs aligned before welding, unless I'm being thick as usual and missing something.

Is the spacer a reducer spacer, running as big a spherical as possible?

Regards, iain



Thanks for responding!

If you were about to install polyurethane, I posted this just in time for you, then!

The bearings for which I designed the shells are are Aurora COM-10T units. Any 5/8" spherical bearing should fit, but the preload torque may be more or less for other parts. I would have loved to run a -12 part, but I did not think I'd have enough wall thickness left in the shell after adding the ID snap ring groove. I can send you a "basic" kit with just the shells and spacers and a BOM for the rest... but the shells and spacers are the majority of the weight in a kit with a weight ~5 lbs, so you won't save much on shipping.

I'm not sure what you mean by "tapered/stepped like the annoying ones". My parts are not annoying at all, just me When installing a bearing into a shell, you'd use my installation tool and bench vice to seat the bearing against the integral shoulder inside the shell. With the bearing fully seated against that shoulder, the snap ring can be installed to make sure the bearing does not unintentionally come out.

The outside diameter of the shell is stepped so that the shells are a close slip fit in the holes in the control arms. Tack welding in place is more about making sure that the axial distance between the shells matches the crossmember the control arm will be installed to. This allows the control arm to be installed and reinstalled to the crossmember smoothly and easily. The slip fit between the shells and control arms is snug enough that there's no real angular variation possible.

The spacers are stepped so that they can both clamp the bearing and center it on the 12mm bolts in the suspension pivots. They're also exactly the right length to duplicate the installed length of the original bushings, again contributing to easy installation and R&R.

Here are some other photos of the rear arms following powder coating and assembly:







//

If you're interested in building adjustable upper arms, check this thread out: http://www.realfierotech.co...opic.php?f=3&t=17936

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 08-01-2020).]

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ericjon262
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Report this Post08-01-2020 05:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ericjon262Send a Private Message to ericjon262Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Payment sent!

------------------
"I am not what you so glibly call to be a civilized man. I have broken with society for reasons which I alone am able to appreciate. I am therefore not subject to it's stupid laws, and I ask you to never allude to them in my presence again."

cognita semper

https://joj2020.com/ <--- She isn't a sexual predator.

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Report this Post08-01-2020 06:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroWannaBeClick Here to Email FieroWannaBeSend a Private Message to FieroWannaBeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I like it.
I would buy in by September, but the car budget suffers this summer.
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Report this Post08-01-2020 11:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by ericjon262:

Payment sent!



Thanks!

 
quote
Originally posted by FieroWannaBe:

I like it.
I would buy in by September, but the car budget suffers this summer.


Sooo... there's going to be some time for the group buy to run to accumulate buyers, then there's going to be production time once I place the order with the machine shop... If you can make the deposit now/soon I can just box yours up and hang onto it. You can pay when you're ready and I'll ship it then. At this point, delivery dates are going to run into September anyway.

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 08-02-2020).]

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Report this Post08-05-2020 04:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for darkhorizonSend a Private Message to darkhorizonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Could you do me a favor and post up the OD of the sleeves so i could measure my Held arms to verify that they are the same as the OEM control arms?
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Report this Post08-05-2020 10:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The shells are stepped a little because the original bushings are stepped and the holes in each side of each control arm location are slightly different sizes.
The large OD is 1.590"

I wasn't thinking about your Held suspension when I mentioned the idea.

Edit: If you need the OD smaller--which I guess you do since the Held arms were made to take Fiero urethane bushings directly--we can figure something out relative to turning the OD down to fit your control arms. The shells are relatively thick.

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 08-06-2020).]

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Report this Post08-06-2020 09:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroMaster88Click Here to Email FieroMaster88Send a Private Message to FieroMaster88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Interested in these for my 84 Fiero. When do you think they will be complete and ready to ship?

------------------
88 Coupe: 2.0L Turbo 4 Cylinder, W2A, T25 Turbo, water/meth injection
84 Indy #64: Restoration Project
84 IMSA wide body SE: 3800 Supercharged
Rear Engine Shop on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/fast88fiero

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Will
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Report this Post08-06-2020 11:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I'm thinking end of September; I'll let the group guy run through the end of August, then place the order at the beginning of September. It's a simple order for this shop so it should only take a couple of weeks to produce.

Do you mean your IMSA '84? Do you have a build thread for that car?

Is your 2.0 an LT3? Are you running a Getrag trans? Spherical bearings in the front suspension would work out great in that car as well
Although I totally get that buying two kits would be spendy... after all, that's what prompted me to create this group buy!

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Report this Post08-07-2020 09:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroMaster88Click Here to Email FieroMaster88Send a Private Message to FieroMaster88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Will:

I'm thinking end of September; I'll let the group guy run through the end of August, then place the order at the beginning of September. It's a simple order for this shop so it should only take a couple of weeks to produce.

Do you mean your IMSA '84? Do you have a build thread for that car?

Is your 2.0 an LT3? Are you running a Getrag trans? Spherical bearings in the front suspension would work out great in that car as well
Although I totally get that buying two kits would be spendy... after all, that's what prompted me to create this group buy!


Yeah these would go in the 84 IMSA. I don’t have a build thread that’s in depth and have been somewhat posting regular video updates on my YouTube channel. I’ve driven it daily this summer, only had the 88 with the 2.0 LT3 out twice this year, yes it has a getrag. I want to get the IMSA set up for some autocross events/track days. I don’t have a ton of money into it like I do the 88 so I wouldn’t be too upset if something happened. Plus 3800s aren’t hard to find if I blow it up. 🤣 the rear suspension has coil overs and poly bushings in the lower control arms and new struts. I need to address bushings in the front suspension due to age. These would be perfect. Would do poly in the upper arms.

[This message has been edited by FieroMaster88 (edited 08-07-2020).]

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Report this Post08-08-2020 01:02 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by FieroMaster88:

Yeah these would go in the 84 IMSA. I don’t have a build thread that’s in depth and have been somewhat posting regular video updates on my YouTube channel. I’ve driven it daily this summer, only had the 88 with the 2.0 LT3 out twice this year, yes it has a getrag. I want to get the IMSA set up for some autocross events/track days. I don’t have a ton of money into it like I do the 88 so I wouldn’t be too upset if something happened. Plus 3800s aren’t hard to find if I blow it up. 🤣 the rear suspension has coil overs and poly bushings in the lower control arms and new struts. I need to address bushings in the front suspension due to age. These would be perfect. Would do poly in the upper arms.



As noted above, I've prototyped and installed shells for the '84-'87 rear control arms, although I haven't been able to put many miles on them yet... depending on the success of this group buy, I may do one for those units. If I do, I'll make sure you know about it!

Sure you don't want a set for your '88 as well?

//

The Family II engines are interesting ducks, but not super common in the US. I've heard of a couple of Fieros with those swaps. Never heard anything bad; they're just rare. I bet finding the Getrag with that bellhousing was fun!
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Report this Post08-12-2020 04:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Trace26Click Here to Email Trace26Send a Private Message to Trace26Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Will be able to buy in at the end of August if we get to the 11 buyer price. So hopefully we get a few more people.
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Report this Post08-13-2020 01:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Great! Thanks for coming over here to check it out!
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Report this Post08-17-2020 05:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Based on a pmbrunelle's suggestion, I had spacers quoted in 303 stainless, since they'll be exposed to weather in all cases. Stainless spacers are only $1.50/part more than the 12L14 spacers I'd originally quoted; that's only $12/kit increase. I assume that doesn't break anyone's bank.
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Report this Post08-31-2020 10:41 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I'm going to close the group buy Thursday and place the order Friday.

If you're interested, send me a deposit!

If you're on the fence, let's talk!
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Report this Post10-01-2020 01:46 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Life got ahead of me for a little bit, but I placed the order with the machine shop today.
I'll post here when I have a production date from the shop.

If you're thinking about a set, let me know ASAP so I can bump up the quantities with the shop.

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Report this Post10-03-2020 05:26 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WichitaClick Here to Email WichitaSend a Private Message to WichitaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Can I just buy the shells?
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Report this Post10-03-2020 10:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you have stock chassis side mounting, you'll need the spacers as well.

Have you changed all the chassis side mountings such that you won't need the spacers?

The shells and spacers are the bespoke parts.
The shelf parts are the bearings, snap rings and--for '88's only--the seals.
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Report this Post10-04-2020 04:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WichitaClick Here to Email WichitaSend a Private Message to WichitaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Will:

If you have stock chassis side mounting, you'll need the spacers as well.

Have you changed all the chassis side mountings such that you won't need the spacers?

The shells and spacers are the bespoke parts.
The shelf parts are the bearings, snap rings and--for '88's only--the seals.



Thanks for the info on the bespoke parts. Yes. The shells and the spacers, if you were just to buy those only.

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Report this Post10-05-2020 10:24 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Wichita:

Thanks for the info on the bespoke parts. Yes. The shells and the spacers, if you were just to buy those only.


I PM'd you payment info for the deposit.

Do you just want to find your own best price on the spherical bearings and snap rings?

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 10-05-2020).]

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Report this Post10-19-2020 04:46 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Parts are done. I should be able to get started on an installation pictorial this weekend.
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Report this Post10-25-2020 08:52 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
First batch of Fiero Front Lower Control Arm Spherical Bearing Shells:








Removing the old bushings was actually kind of difficult





I'm using one of the spherical bearings shells (destined for my car; that's not a customer part) and a random piece of tubing as press mandrels. Yes, this raised a burr on both the shell an the control arm, which I then had to clean up with a file before they'd go back together. No big... they're going to be welded and painted.
The part in the middle supporting the ears of the control arm is a 2" conduit clamp that I narrowed to 1.210 using a belt sander. That's the perfect width for working with the '88 front lower control arms.

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Report this Post10-26-2020 11:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Some fairly surgical media blasting to clean up the control arms for welding:





Shells slipped into the control arm in prep for installation to the crossmember in order to be tack-welded in place.
The shells are a slip fit in the control arms. Making them a press fit would result in not having a good way to control the axial separation distance. A mismatch between the separation of the shells and the separation of the pivots on the crossmember or cradle would put an axial load on the bearings and probably reduce their service life.







Ooops... I don't think I grabbed a photo of the arm bolted into the body pre-welding.
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Report this Post11-02-2020 08:57 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IainSend a Private Message to IainEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Sorry, I'm not going to be able to take part. Can't get a buyer for all my bushings, and laid out too much already to just sideline them.

iain
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Report this Post11-02-2020 07:36 PM Click Here to See the Profile for pmbrunelleClick Here to Email pmbrunelleSend a Private Message to pmbrunelleEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Beware!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost

[This message has been edited by pmbrunelle (edited 11-02-2020).]

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Report this Post11-06-2020 09:08 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IainSend a Private Message to IainEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by pmbrunelle:

Beware!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost



Lol, good one.

It's the colossal amount I've spent on carriage and Customs that offends me most, that dwarfs the cost of the bloomin' parts.
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Will
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Report this Post11-06-2020 09:15 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Iain:

Lol, good one.

It's the colossal amount I've spent on carriage and Customs that offends me most, that dwarfs the cost of the bloomin' parts.



I already have a buyer signed up for one set of the next batch. We can discuss shipping and such if you're interested.

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 11-06-2020).]

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Will
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Report this Post11-06-2020 09:18 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Will

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I was not able to get a photo of the control arms tacked. I'll get a photo of them hanging in place in the position in which they were tacked next weekend.

Control arms welded:













This one actually shows something you're best off avoiding: melting/burning through the edge of the shell to the ID of the seal bore. Ooopsie.



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Iain
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Report this Post11-11-2020 11:35 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IainSend a Private Message to IainEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Will:
I already have a buyer signed up for one set of the next batch. We can discuss shipping and such if you're interested.



I'd love to Will, I really would, but I've changed direction too many times on this car already, I'm desperate to get it rolling next year.
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Will
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Report this Post11-12-2020 08:10 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Iain:

I'd love to Will, I really would, but I've changed direction too many times on this car already, I'm desperate to get it rolling next year.


Keep it in mind and tell your friends about it! I don't know how soon we'll accumulate 5 more buyers. Maybe by then you'll be ready to step up a level.
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