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Old 05-10-2016, 02:45 PM   #1
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Control arm and tie rod options

My control arm ball joint and tie rod (inner and outer) are done and need to be replaced. Inner's are basically going to be replaced with OEM manufacturer parts but the outers and the lower control arms have an endless number of choices. Of course if I had an endless amount of money - it would be a much easier decision. Also - my car currently is running 3 degrees of camber in the front and 0 toe with no camber plates or adjustable control arms. There are small slots in the towers. The car is very low in the front (haven't measured ride height) and the tie rod ends and the control arms are at pretty severe angles which is most likely why they are worn out.

In looking at the tie rod options - stock's are relatively inexpensive at around $46 each for OEM manufacturer parts. Adjustable ones which have bump steer correction start at about $168 each for Stomski's and go up from there. They all appear to be the same - basically spherical bearing rod ends with a special bolt. Unfortunately you can't tell the quality of the rod end based upon the picture. However - they are relatively inexpensive to replace with high quality ends when worn out. At $340 a set vs $95 a set for factory - I get get 4 sets of factory ends for the price of one set of the adjustable ones.



So the issue is bump steer adjustment. Looking and reading around - some people have simply shimmed the steering rack up to fix that. TunerRS makes a spacer kit for $100 that does just this. Any experience with this kit? My reservation is that it raise the rack 1". Seems a bit much.





Thought was to go with the $100 spacer kit (any others out there?) and stock tie rod ends and just replace them when worn out.

As for the control arms - the leading candidate right now are the Elephant Racing Arms at $1180 a set. Have had many different adjustable arms on my cars over time - having something that is infinitely adjustable seems like the way to go and not having to mess with shims. The nice thing is the ball joint is replaceable - although at $150 including parts and labor (not sure if that is per arm - still awaiting a response) it isn't that cheap.



They include monoballs at the connection to the subframe and solid adjustable thrust bushings where the other control arm connects.

While the GT3 adjustable control arms are a possibility - they are not cheap - especially when you start adding in the monoball and thrust bushing pieces and the ball joint isn't replaceable. While you can get TRW versions of the outer portions factory pieces for about $250 a piece - by the time you add in the monoballs and thrust pieces you are at about the same as the Elephant arms.

Then there's RSS at $1050 as set which also has the replaceable ball joint (no idea on cost - none listed on their website) and Tarrett which makes a similar version of this type of arm but with some upgraded parts.

RSS


Tarrett Cup-Series Control Arm Kit

The only real advantage I see is that they use a larger ball joint bolt 14mm vs stock 12mm and requires a little opening of the bolt hole on the wheel hub carrier where they attach. At $1,380 they seem to be overpriced but damn nice pieces and I'm not sure the 14mm bolt is that necessary of an improvement for the premium price.



Since I know a bunch of you have been down this road before, I'm open to other suggestions etc.

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Old 05-11-2016, 06:10 AM   #2
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The simplest question needs answered first...

What is your goal?

If you are just replacing CAs and tie rods b/c of age/wear, suggest OE or OEM as they have likely served you well (but do not know your facts like MY, miles, use, etc.). Otherwise, as you are finding out, when you add aftermkt component "A" you usually also have to add component "B", then "C"... and thus how one ends up sufficiently down a serious rabbit hole.

For a vehicle seeing mostly/exclusively street use, adjustable control arms are serious over-kill other than Cars-n-Coffee bragging rights. Ride "feedback" (aka comfort) changes extensively w/ solid thrust bushings - great for track use and extra visits to the chiropractor and dentist on street. If function is following form, you could likely accomplish looks/stance goal w/ a smaller budget taking a different approach.

So, as with most things, the best piece of advice is to begin with the end in mind. What is your goal? Develop a comprehensive plan around it (within your budget as needed in steps). Just because a part is "the best" doesn't mean it's necessarily the best for you.

Good luck
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:16 AM   #3
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Their car is a dedicated track car with a lot of mods, that may not even have a tag and/or be street legal at this point

I have a set of RSS bump steer tie rod ends, and had to replace one of the pins, it was $50 for the pin and $50 for the heim joint on the end, because the old pin was seized in the joint and couldn't be removed. If Elephant can rebuild/sell a new ball joint end for $150 that almost sounds like a deal
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burg Boxster View Post
The simplest question needs answered first...

What is your goal?

If you are just replacing CAs and tie rods b/c of age/wear, suggest OE or OEM as they have likely served you well (but do not know your facts like MY, miles, use, etc.). Otherwise, as you are finding out, when you add aftermkt component "A" you usually also have to add component "B", then "C"... and thus how one ends up sufficiently down a serious rabbit hole.

For a vehicle seeing mostly/exclusively street use, adjustable control arms are serious over-kill other than Cars-n-Coffee bragging rights. Ride "feedback" (aka comfort) changes extensively w/ solid thrust bushings - great for track use and extra visits to the chiropractor and dentist on street. If function is following form, you could likely accomplish looks/stance goal w/ a smaller budget taking a different approach.

So, as with most things, the best piece of advice is to begin with the end in mind. What is your goal? Develop a comprehensive plan around it (within your budget as needed in steps). Just because a part is "the best" doesn't mean it's necessarily the best for you.

Good luck
Sorry - just assumed that people knew the car. It's a Boxster Race Car with a 3.6 swap and it's far from street legal. It's built to PCA GT3 specifications.

As for my goal - balance between cost and maintenance over the long haul.
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steved0x View Post
Their car is a dedicated track car with a lot of mods, that may not even have a tag and/or be street legal at this point

I have a set of RSS bump steer tie rod ends, and had to replace one of the pins, it was $50 for the pin and $50 for the heim joint on the end, because the old pin was seized in the joint and couldn't be removed. If Elephant can rebuild/sell a new ball joint end for $150 that almost sounds like a deal
Yeah - it's not a bad deal - but I have to send them in to them to do the work which means more down time. Which is why the RSS's are my second consideration. Looks like it's user serviceable. My concern with them as I said is hearing from my alignment guy that I can't get it exactly right no matter what shim I use. Maybe I'm just being picky....
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:59 AM   #6
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Sorry - just assumed that people knew the car. It's a Boxster Race Car with a 3.6 swap and it's far from street legal. It's built to PCA GT3 specifications.

As for my goal - balance between cost and maintenance over the long haul.
Excellent - did not know and was just trying to keep a member from dumping lots of cash unnecessarily on spendy components they wouldn't benefit from.

That said, I went with Tarret components on my 997S and have been very happy. Quality is superb. More importantly to your goals and knowing the intense Club Race schedule w/ pretty much every weekend filled... Limited down time will serve you better so you're not held captive to someone else like shop higher priorities or UPS mis-directing a pkg, etc.

Good luck
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Old 05-14-2016, 04:00 AM   #7
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I have the RSS control arms front and rear. At the time, I had heard of some of the castings breaking on GT-3 OEM type control arms, so I was looking for better quality than the originals. The RSS units appear to be machined from a solid billet of aluminum rather than a casting. Probably overkill though.

I have the Stomski rear toe links, which do aid by allowing bump steer adjustment. My measurements indicated that I needed some bump steer in the rear, but not the front. This will be a function of how much you have lowered your car, as the bump steer curves start to change more rapidly toward the limit of suspension arm movement.
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Old 05-14-2016, 06:36 AM   #8
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I have the RSS control arms front and rear. At the time, I had heard of some of the castings breaking on GT-3 OEM type control arms, so I was looking for better quality than the originals. The RSS units appear to be machined from a solid billet of aluminum rather than a casting. Probably overkill though.

I have the Stomski rear toe links, which do aid by allowing bump steer adjustment. My measurements indicated that I needed some bump steer in the rear, but not the front. This will be a function of how much you have lowered your car, as the bump steer curves start to change more rapidly toward the limit of suspension arm movement.
At this point - I'm going to go with the RSS's. The replacement parts are $100 a side and user serviceable and they are $100 cheaper to start. Most likely will still go stock on the tie rods.

I wish someone who's spaced their steering rack would chime in - would like to hear their experiences. I emailed TuneRS and haven't received a reply.
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Old 05-14-2016, 10:21 AM   #9
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Finally got the car up off the ground - one side. Wheel moves a good amount side to side (when moving it with my hands at 3 and 9) but nothing top to bottom. Onward with the diagnosis... but pretty sure it's the tie rods.

Also - did determine the car does have camber plates - Mode Inc. which add 1 degree. I'm used to seeing adjustable camber plates and didn't think the car had them.

Definitely the inner tie rods. That's where the movement is coming from. Ends's are worn too but not to the point of play.

The control arms appear all to be in good shape with no play in the ball joints and according to the book I got with the car - were put on in December of 2012 and only run twice at HPDE's before I bought the car.

Looking at the angle of the tie rods I don't think raising the steering rack an inch would be the way to go. So at this point - I think I'll opt for the adjustable tie rod ends from Stromski and new inners and go from there to deal with bump steer.

Last edited by rastta; 05-14-2016 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 06-01-2016, 08:54 AM   #10
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Finished the install of the inner and outer tie rods. While I was in there - I also put in new swaybar bushes and added new ones to the rear as well. Rebuilt the other front caliper (did one a few weeks ago) and re-did the brake hoses from the front ducts to the wheel hubs. The Stromski parts are top notch and a bit different from the design originally pictured - which is a good thing. Now I just need an alignment and brake fluid bleed. Bought a new tie rod boot kit but it turned out to be the wrong size - the diameter of the boot was too small to fit on the steering rack. Not sure why. Is the S rack bigger than the regular Boxster rack or is it a matter of different racks for different Vin's. If anyone needs a set of boots - I'll sell em for $20.

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Old 06-01-2016, 09:31 AM   #11
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What did you decide on for bump steer adjustments? Did you use a default amount of shims in the Stromski kit? It is hard to tell from this pic.

Your OEM brake ducts look different, like a piece is missing from the front. is that because you have the hose based brake ducts?
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:51 AM   #12
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The stock 986 OEM brake duct looks like that. The GT3 duct is much larger, and doesn't have the "cut away" look that the duct pictured has.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:36 AM   #13
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The stock 986 OEM brake duct looks like that. The GT3 duct is much larger, and doesn't have the "cut away" look that the duct pictured has.
Ahhh I have the GT3 ducts and they have a longer pointy thing up front. I guess I am so used to looking at them I forgot what the OEM ones look like
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Old 06-01-2016, 02:15 PM   #14
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What did you decide on for bump steer adjustments? Did you use a default amount of shims in the Stromski kit? It is hard to tell from this pic.

Your OEM brake ducts look different, like a piece is missing from the front. is that because you have the hose based brake ducts?
Yes - went with the max on the Stromski as a start. The bolt is long enough to add more if necessary.

The OEM's have been cut in several areas for clearance - but it's as it came when I bought it. I should have taken pictures of the pieces that attach to the hub carrier - they bolt on where the brake line does and direct air into the inside portion of the rotor. They attach to the hose that goes to hand made ducts that are attached to the front of the car directly behind the front bumper's inner slot openings next to the center opening. The previous owner did a bunch of handmade pieces on the car. I thought I had pics of those - but i'll look for them.
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:16 AM   #15
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Found the pics the original owner sent showing the ducts.


Duct



As seen through the bumper



Side view



Can't see the metal piece but it is right on the other side of the clamp and you can see a small portion of it's mounting tab under the bolt holding on the brake line.

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Old 06-02-2016, 09:55 AM   #16
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Those are sweet!
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:18 AM   #17
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Those are sweet!
yup - previous owner did it right. At this point I'm simply maintaining it - rather than modifying it. Have done my fair share of that in the past on other cars.

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