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Going full monoball
Posted by: thewolfe ()
Date: April 18, 2016 08:28AM

Here's a how-to on modifying the late model corvair front and rear suspension to replace bushings with spherical joints to remove all binding from the suspension minus the shocks. We all know about replacing rubber bushings with urethane or nylon for a tighter suspension and better performance. The effective spring rate goes up at the expense of introducing more bind and more stress on suspension components. Mono balls and heim joints have been used by racers to take bind out, giving precise suspension movement but they have their own set of problems like the metal on metal construction giving a harsh, noisy ride on the street(so I've heard – never ridden in a car with mono balls). I don't think the mono balls will last as long as a rubber or urethane bushing either. And when they wear, they will start making noise. I did not want those issues on my street driven car but wanted the best performance out of my stock-ish suspension. I used what I believe is the best of both worlds- the johnny joint which is a spherical bushing with a large inner ball supported by a urethane shell. They come in many different sizes and are rebuildable. Eric Aos, a local corvair guy showed me his johnny jointed rear torque arms which is where I got the idea to do mine. In order to remove all suspension binding, the bushings in need of spherical joints are the rear torque arms, rear lower strut rods, front lower control arms, and brake reaction rods.

The lower strut rods I did not have to convert since I already had units from pmt fabrication. They build a beefy strut rod with a huge urethane bushing at the end that attaches to the torque arm and a johnny joint spherical rod end at the differential side.

The torque arm conversion requires removal of the arm from the car. The first step is cutting a hole in the arm around the stock bushing. No need to remove the bushing from the arm first. I used a 2.5” bi-metal hole saw to cut the hole which did not need a guide hole. The original bushing rode on the inside of the hole saw, guiding it properly.



Next is to weld the sleeve in, making sure to have it aligned so that the ends of the joint will end up in the same position as the ends of the stock bushing and also that it is straight.


The johnny joint kit used here is CE-9110P-14. Once the sleeve is welded in, it should be reinforced to strengthen the area. A piece of 2” steel u channel cut to size and shaped around the joint sleeve is used.


Next are the front lower control arms. I installed screw in chrysler ball joint sleeves at the same time, which I have used in the past. This is not necessary but if you want a stronger ball joint and the car lowered an extra inch then this is a good modification. The holes are a little more difficult to saw in this case since there needs to be something in the middle for the guide bit of the hole saw. An ideal solution would be some round aluminum stock with a hole in the middle but I don't have equipment to machine a piece to size so I resorted to a large wooden dowel with tape wrapped around it, jammed into the stock ball joint hole. It worked but the hole saw wobbles a little which can make the job frustrating.



I used the same method for cutting the holes for the johnny joint sleeves in the lower control arms. This time the pilot hole had to be offset a little to clear the edge of the control arms which repositions the joint slightly lower than stock.


If I were to do this again I would not worry about that as the edge ended up being ground off anyways for clearance. After welding the sleeve in and test fitting into the cross member, I found that I needed to trim some excess metal off the control arm so that it would not contact the cross member throughout it's full travel. The johnny joint kit used here is CE-9112P-12 which requires a 2” hole saw to cut the holes. I also reinforced the bottom of the control arm with small gussets for added strength. At this time I cut off the stock sway bar mounts to clean things up as I am using a 1” crown style tubular sway bar.

Now on to the brake reaction rods. Originally I thought I could just cut the ends off, thread the rod and use a 3/4-16 rod end and adjuster sleeve but found the brake reaction rods are too small a diameter to get a deep enough cut for the 3/4” threads. The johnny joint rod ends are not available in smaller thread sizes so I ended up getting some 3/4-16 male/female adjusters and cut the female portion short. I threaded the brake reaction rod with a 3/4-16 die, screwed the male/female adjuster onto that then welded it in place.




Then I needed to build a bracket to mount into the cross member to attach the new brake reaction rods. The johnny joint rod end used here is CE9112N75-14 which is 1.6” wide. I purchased 1.75” rod end brackets from ride tech and welded that to a 3” square 3/16” thick steel plate after drilling 3 mounting holes in the plate and in the corvair cross member where it will mount. One of the three mounting bolts needed to have its head cut off and be welded to the plate since it will be positioned under the rod end bracket. I positioned the rod end bracket a little higher than center to compensate for the ride height of my car which is around 3-4” lower than stock in front. Then welded a 5/8-24 nut to the outside of the bracket where the bolt will feed through the rod end since access will be tight once the bracket is installed. It was also necessary to trim a little off the outside of the cross member so the bolt can feed through once the bracket is installed.


Adjusting sleeves for the brake reaction rods were initially 4” swedged steel but I thought they may be too long so I purchased 3” aluminum ones. I could not find 3” swedged steel adjusters so went with aluminum ones from joes racing products. After getting my car aligned it was apparent either 3" or 4" will work.

After this I had all my parts powder coated and then it was assembly time.


The johnny joints are fairly easy to install if you have a hydraulic press and extra set of hands. Once I got a helper it went much smoother! Install the zerks, grease all the joints, then assemble the suspension. There is enough clearance to get a thin washer on each side of the johnny jointed lower control arms, thicker ones for the torque arms and brake reaction rods.


The upper strut rods in the rear suspension are now not necessary with the new bushings. With no binding in the system everything goes together so much easier! No fighting the rear lower strut rods on installation and no springy, hard to move brake reaction rods when putting the front end together. Suspension adjustment is also easier. I can adjust the caster by turning the adjuster sleeve by hand.

So the real test is driving it after getting an alignment. Since I did extensive upgrades to my suspension with front and rear sway bars, koni shocks, and the spherical joints I cannot exactly say what effect the joints by themselves have. All I know is that now it's like driving a different car! I'm running HD springs cut 1 coil and the suspension is firm but very smooth and precise. I have gone from stock rubber to urethane and nylon bushings to the spherical joints and this is definitely the best my car has ever handled. It was a lot of work but worth it in my opinion. Time will tell how well the bushings hold up...

Nate Wolfe
Portland OR
65 Corsa 180

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: ROD ()
Date: April 18, 2016 08:41AM

Nice work Nate. cool smiley

Rod Tetrault
El Cajon , CA
65 Corsa Yenko Clone / 65 Corsa EO Creampuff Vert
66 Corsa "JIMISH" Mid engine Turbo LS1 currently 2nd fastest Corvair in the USA
Class 5 Corvair powered Baja
Corvair powered Buggy x 3
Enough hidden parts to build a space ship

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: Darrin ()
Date: April 18, 2016 08:50AM

Great write up and pics....and the outcome included.

Much appreciated.

Good work!

Darrin Hartzler
Bethesda, MD/Catlett, VA

Northern Virginia Corvairs & Group Corvair

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: Paulsgt ()
Date: April 18, 2016 10:26AM

Beautiful, creative work! Thanks for sharing.

Paul Sergeant
CORSA Central Division Director / CORSA Treasurer
Lee's Summit, MO
CORSA since 1975
Member – HACOA, Corvair Minnesota, CORSA, Little Indians, POCI


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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: flat_six ()
Date: April 18, 2016 10:39AM

Great work! Waiting to hear driving impressions.

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: moomba32 ()
Date: April 18, 2016 10:57AM

That is definitely magazine worthy stuff, super job. You could sell that to a tv show for one of their episodes, it will work on more than just Corvairs, the Camaro guys have the same issues with their stock suspension.

Don Marlowe
66 Monza 2Dr 140/pg
64 Spyder convertible now, 110/pg
Eutawville SC

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: afterdarkgames ()
Date: April 18, 2016 11:16AM

Love it and great work. I was pondering the idea of doing something similar but using the duraflex joint instead. [www.metalcloak.com]

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: thewolfe ()
Date: April 18, 2016 11:29AM

Interesting, I haven't seen those before. I was considering ballistic joints because you can adjust them as they wear but they make a limited number of sizes and not the sizes I needed whereas there are so many different sized johhny joints I was able to find ones that would fit the various widths and bolt sizes in our suspensions.

Nate Wolfe
Portland OR
65 Corsa 180

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: afterdarkgames ()
Date: April 18, 2016 12:18PM

Did you use Johnny joints in the lower rear strut arms or stock pieces?

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: solo2r ()
Date: April 18, 2016 12:36PM

What are going to use the car for? Roadrace? Auto-x? What classes are you running in?

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: thewolfe ()
Date: April 18, 2016 12:55PM

Quote

Did you use Johnny joints in the lower rear strut arms or stock pieces?

I bought lower strut rods from PMT fabrication. Their strut rods use a johnny joint rod end at one end and a large urethane bushing at the other.

Quote

What are going to use the car for? Roadrace? Auto-x? What classes are you running in?

I use the car for pleasure. I guess you could say aggressive street driving... Have never raced but I may try autocross one of these days. I just like driving a car that handles really well and is moderately quick. My daily driver is a '14 wrx which is much quicker and with only a 3" turbo back exhaust, high flow cat, cold air intake, and stage 2 tune added. Also handles pretty good with bigger sway bars and stiffer transmission and rear diff mounts. I guess I like to customize my cars to suit my driving style which is FAST!

Nate Wolfe
Portland OR
65 Corsa 180

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: bought1 ()
Date: April 18, 2016 01:50PM

This would make a nice "kit" type job. I bet you could get a bunch of us to send you our parts for modification if you were inclined to make some side money.

Dave

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: Vairismo ()
Date: April 18, 2016 03:11PM

When I first read the title I thought it might be a Lance Armstrong reference.smiling smiley

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: gmorphan ()
Date: April 18, 2016 05:51PM

thewolfe Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I use the car for pleasure. I guess you could say
> aggressive street driving... Have never raced but
> I may try autocross one of these days. I just like
> driving a car that handles really well and is
> moderately quick.

Pretty nice fab work! thumbs up

I'm interested in your interpretation of drivability. Everyone's different.
If it was me, this setup would grow old very quickly as a "driver".

Bob Manwaring, Kingston, TN
'69 500 Coupe #1432

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: Vairismo ()
Date: April 18, 2016 09:40PM

gmorphan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Pretty nice fab work! thumbs up

I agree! The OP has skills. Thanks for the refreshing take on a suspension upgrade.
>
> I'm interested in your interpretation of
> drivability. Everyone's different.
> If it was me, this setup would grow old very
> quickly as a "driver".

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: veverlove ()
Date: April 18, 2016 10:29PM

I find myself in awe (again) of the fabrication skills displayed by some of the members of this Forum. Will have to consider the Chrysler ball joints, especially to help lower the front end. Like you, I enjoy going as fast as I can (within a certain modicum of sanity, but fast). You mentioned mono balls. Similar to the ones that Clark's sells? Was also considering that option for my '65. Very nice work and planned out effort!

'65 Monza Convertible, 4-speed to PG conversion in progress
'02 Blazer 2DR, lowered for easier access & dog transport

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: DAVECS1 ()
Date: April 19, 2016 04:10AM

That is a really nice upgrade! Great fabrication work, it would be interesting to drive that vair.

1964 Monza Convertible
110 4 speed
Peoria, IL

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: thewolfe ()
Date: April 19, 2016 07:41AM

Quote

I'm interested in your interpretation of drivability. Everyone's different.
If it was me, this setup would grow old very quickly as a "driver".

You're right! I don't enjoy driving cars that are super mushy, sloppy handling, go around a corner like a boat. The way my car handles now is the way I would want it if it were my daily driver. It's not a harsh ride at all. It's a lot smoother and is actually softer now than when I had urethane bushings(until the new sway bars take over in the corners) but still feels firm and accurate. Keep in mind all those bushings that bind add to the effective spring rate. Rubber is soft so it adds a little spring and gives a good ride. Urethane bushings don't give as much and will add to the spring rate more, making the car feel more firm but also harsher when you hit bumps in the road. Take out the bushing bind and you are left with the spring rate of the springs, shocks, and not much else. These are not the metal on metal mono balls that Clark's sells. They are spherical bushings with a steel ball in a urethane shell.

Nate Wolfe
Portland OR
65 Corsa 180

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: davemotohead ()
Date: April 19, 2016 08:13AM

Basically what Nate is saying is, Suspension should be controlled by the spring and shock, all the bushings hinder the spring and shock from doing their job by creating friction and binding the movement and transferring the energy to the car instead of absorbing it giving you a rougher ride when hitting bumps,With smooth pivot points that do not bind it frees up the A-Arms so all the energy is absorbed and controlled by the spring and shock and not transferred to the car thru a tight rubber bushing, suspension should be able to absorb the shock from hitting a bump with free movement and get the tire back on the ground as quickly and controlled as possible to get ready for the next bump, the tire should follow the terrain as closely as possible to maintain control and provide a smooth ride. Sticky rubber bushings prevent that from happening.







1960 4dr sedan caveman car
1961 Rampside (Chetside)
1962 Rampside (Barnside)
1962 Short Rampside (Shortside)
1962 Monza 700 Wagon
1963 Monza 900 coup (General Nader)

-----------------------------------
Rust Free Lancaster Ca

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Re: Going full monoball
Posted by: afterdarkgames ()
Date: April 19, 2016 01:12PM

So I understand the whole point of doing this so the suspension works without binding and actually works as intended. One question I have is about road noise for the sedan folks compared to stock?

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