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Your Opinions on Semi Tie-Rod Ends....


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Hey Folks...

 

I have an idea thats popped into my head as of lately..

 

I'm trying to figure out what link ends I want to use for my front control arms... Rubber/Poly Bushings, Heim Joint, RE Joint, or my latest idea... A Semi Tie-Rod end.....

 

We're talking a big tie-rod.. Something with a 1-1/4" thread, and a taper that goes from 1.08" to 1.25" over 1.5" with a 7/8 nut...

Basically similiar to this: http://tinyurl.com/yk3lpe

 

I was looking for something common, readily available, relatively cheap, durable, but with good flex/articulation abilities. This seems to fit the bill...

 

 

The plan so far, is to use rubber or poly bushing up on the frame brackets, and then this tie-rod down on the axle brackets...

 

The pro side of this idea, is these things are damn strong... I doubt I will break them.. And having a bracket that is only 1.5"wide, leaves me with a few more inches of side to side placement on the axle for better geometry. They are a good amount of angular movement for good articulation, oh and are cheap!!!

The Con side is that I have to make sure I have room to be able to press/bang/pop the taper out for control arm length adjustment. And I guess, if I manage to break the ball socket, because this is not enclosed like a poly bushing between a square bracket, my control are will pop off. The bad thing about a bracket thats 1.5" wide, is the amount of welding area is reduced compared to a 3" square tubing bracket. Also, I have not heard of anyone running something like this so I don't know what the failure/wear rate would be...

 

So lay it on me.. What do you think???

 

Thanks,

Ryan

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With that type of end you are putting the attachment point in a single shear mode. That's usually not a good idea.

 

I like thinking outside of the box. It's what makes innovation possible. But, sometimes you don't see things for a reason.

 

It looked like the price on that tie rod end was around $20. Spend $35 or $40 and buy something nice. A few extra dollars in the long run isn't going to hurt. I prefer Johnny Joints on one end and rubber on the other.

 

I'm not saying it wouldn't work. Because I don't know if it would. It may be the best thing since sliced bread. Who knows? :dunno:

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Okay,

 

Feerocknok, its axle mounting would be like your second drawing..

 

Eagle, Why do you say Johhny Joints???... Need explaination...

 

89MJay, I understand the single shear comment, but of course with tie-rods you can't do that.. Now for a heim joint... yes I say its a must to have the joint itself boxed in tubing, double shear...

 

Now the only thing I can think of not in double shear, would be the frame mounting of a radius arm setup... Such as Pete's Rig.. I think this setup is similiar to a radius arm setup.. but no one complains of that....Hmmmm... or maybe some do, but its still being used...

 

Now, are all your steering rod ends in double shear... probably not because they are tie-rods... now think of the force you can put on that rod end if you were climbing a rock, slipped to the side, and smashed the side of your wheel into a rock... theres still a lot of force pushing that rod end on your steering arms..

 

But we have to put this tie-rod into perspective... this thing is big.. just the ball socket joint is the size of the palm of my hand... Its meant for steering on 20,000lb front axles... now I'm using it on a truck that weighs total of 4,000lbs... although not in steering, but thats where I'm hoping the size will come into play. so I'm hoping my abuse and force applied won't come anywhere near what it was intended for..

 

Now as well, when was the last time you've broken a tie-rod end?? (that was not completely worn out by lack of maintanence/inspection),, Personally I can't think of one instance for me, or for anyone in my club. I've busted the arm off my knuckle when I hit a log, and the tie-rod was just fine http://gallery.hot4x4.ca/album04 but thats as close as I can get...

Now if you do know someone that has, think of how it happened and the force that was applied to that tie-rod to make it break... Now think of how it would have happened if the tie-rod that broke was actually about 5 times bigger/heavier/stronger... Do you think it would have broke then??,..

 

Now I've just recently found out that Ben, from OTT Industries up here, runs a Semi Tie-Rod end on his radius arm links for the frame mounting.. I'm trying to get a hold of him at the moment and ask some questions..

 

AS for price... I don't feel the dollar value is a fair comparison between the strenghts and weaknesses of a joint... if thats the case.. then all the chevy trucks from the 80's whose brake calipers are only $15 after core... are crazy for running something so cheap for a task so crucial to safety inthe truck... Its all about supply and demand...

So what would you think of that joint if I said it was $150 ea... hopefully no different... THats why Chevy stuff is so cheap.. theres as many of those trucks on the road as there is people in the world!!

 

I'm going to look into this a lot further and see where it takes me...

Whos knows if I'll run them or not.. But I will let you know why I choose what I did...

 

Thanks,

Ryan

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Eagle, Why do you say Johhny Joints???... Need explaination...

Angularity.

 

A tie rod end is designed to rotate around an axis, with minimal deflection off the plane it's designed to operate in. Don't recall for sure, but I think the range is about 15 degrees. For big truck steering, since the front suspension doesn't move a whole lot, the range may be less.

 

An off-road suspension, on the other hand, needs to be free to move in several different planes or axes. I don't see a tie rod end, even a big one, providing the range of movement you'll want. I think it's going to bind up. If it's beefy enough, it may not break -- but it'll then limit the suspension travel to less than what you may be expecting.

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I think everyone will agree that using a tie-rod end would work on a control arm. I also think everyone will agree that using poop-pipe works on a control arm, but when the rig starts seeing crazy stresses, I'd prefer not to have that under my rig.

I have no idea how strong those ends are. They could be the bee's knees. Once again, I applaud you for thinking outside of the box. If instead you are looking to save some greenbacks, I'll give you these links.

 

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=358938

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=319739

 

They are cartridge joints, similar in style to a johnny-joint, and are less than $35 a piece.

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Ahh Yes.. Those joints... Yeah those have come to mind as well...

 

The one common bad thing that I've heard about those from a few members in my club... is that as soon as you drop one of those onto a rock on the edge.. you bend the lip and can no longer get the end cap out, or if you do get it out, the lip is so out of round, you can't get it back in... now the joint is no good... A friends are so badly beaten up and worn out that they need replacing, but can't get the ring off to rebuild them.. he now has to cut his arms off the joint and re-weld new ones on, hopefully keeping the same geometry as before...

 

I also have a friend that makes a similiar version up here for about the same price...

 

But the other thing about those.. is I have to weld either some threaded tubing, or some threaded rod onto them in order to make my links adjustable.. (Cause I don't think I'm good enough to create geometry that is completly bind free at rest, or the correct length for alignment...) And the welding can distort or cause a weakened heat affected zone... and .188" wall is really not that thick...

 

Now you talk about stresses.. how do you think this joint compares in strength to the tie-rods?

 

But yes, all these different types of common joints have come to mind.. but the thing is.. they're common... I'd like to try something a little different that could result in something common down the road... but I want to make sure that I'm not off my rocker.. and so far.. I'm not.. I'm just pushing people a little beyond their comfort zone.. which is good.. because it brings out the good discussions that way..

 

Thanks,

Ryan

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I have often thought outside the box, but NEVER thought of using steering parts for suspension components. I have a few questions about your design, cause in theory it might work. How do you plan on mounting it to the axle... I mean how thick of material are you going to use? In what plane are you going to put the rotation of the joint? I think the axle will have to much twist, how ever you mount it. What I mean is... tirerods can flex in several planes at one time thus causing possible problems with caster, and pinion angle. Also with the bolt being tapered how are you going to seat it so it is tight and stays that way?

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I think everyone will agree that using a tie-rod end would work on a control arm.

I don't agree. I just stated why I think they WON'T work.

The next line that I wrote compared it to poop pipe. It will work, but how well is the question. The arm will still function as an arm is designed to, to keep the axle positioned under the vehicle. Like poop pipe, it'll get you down the road just fine, but offroad, you'll prob get the rod end stuck up your @$$.

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The next line that I wrote compared it to poop pipe. It will work, but how well is the question. The arm will still function as an arm is designed to, to keep the axle positioned under the vehicle. Like poop pipe, it'll get you down the road just fine, but offroad, you'll prob get the rod end stuck up your @$$.

Put the right ends on it and poop pipe (at least, the old steel pipe, not the new plastic stuff) would probably work better. Plain old schedule 40 steel pipe isn't DOM structural tubing, but it's not putty, either. The amount of weight you can support on a single 3-1/2" Lally column is astonishing.

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Sweet.. some awesome discussion.. thats what I like...

 

Okay.. let me try and breakdown the posts and responses....

 

Eagle.. You mention angularity and that tie-rods are only meant to used used on the one basic plane.. But then how to you explain the draglink?.. In stock form they are not truely horizontal.. but at an angle from the pitman arm down to the tie-rod end.. Even look at the stock MJ setup.. its at a pretty good angle already and seems to do fine.. Cause remember, that draglink is constantly changing angles throughout the suspension cycle.. and even worse when we add a lift.. They seem to hold up pretty well in my opinion..

 

Now the other thing.. look at the way I will be mounting this... the bolt will be horizontal.. so the tie-rod will be pivoting about the ball centerline during normal suspension and compression cycles up and down, but really, how much angularity am I going to need on a joint when the axle starts flexing?..

 

Now I don't know the total angle of motion between all of these joints... so I can't comment on that specific part...

 

Now I also just thought of this... normal rubber and poly bushings, flex pretty darn good... for their design.. and commonly used.. but I would guess that this tie-rod won't be any worse of angular movement than what a bushing can give...

 

 

Pingpong... You may not have thought of using steering for suspension, but have thought of suspension for steering.... Heim joints were designed for suspension links first and then have slowly made their way for use on steering arms now... Its just about giong against the flow of thought and see if that will work as well..

Now, If you look at the very nice CAD drawings... I will be mounting the tie-rod to the axle horizontally... That is the stud will be in line with the axle tube. The thickness of the material will depend on the length of the taper. For the one that I mentioned, it goes from a small taper diameter of 1.08" to a large dia. of 1.25" over 1.5" in length.. So I would be using a 1.5" thick piece of flat bar.

Now you mention flexing in different planes at one time... very true, but how is that different from a ball socket/heim joint that does the same thing??? And there won't be any changing of castor and pinion angle because of the tie-rod.. only because of the control arm geometry.. For the tie-rod to cause any pinion or castor changing, would mean that its loose and floppy back and forth on the mount.. This would happen for any worn out joint no matter what..

And as for keeping it tight.. same idea as your tie-rods.. they are tight arent they???... They require the use of a pickle fork and a BFH to remove from the taper once the nut is removed.. right?.. Basically the mount will have a tapered hole in them.. So it wil be mounted in the exact same way as you would a normal tie-rod end on your steering.. My design would have to make sure I have room to be able to get a pickle fork, or hammer or tie-rod press to get it out when I need to make adjustments..

 

Now I guess I need to find out some hard and true facts about stresses/forces and angularity difference between all these joints.... Cause I think we've drawn out everyones personal opinion.. but now need to base opions on numbers now... The problem is trying to find those numbers...

 

Thanks,

Ryan

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I suppose my questions and comments are this...

 

If there are nice quality proven methods that are easily available to you within a similar price range why re-invent the wheel at the risk of causing harm to yourself and others?

 

It's a great fantastic idea and way outside the box but what exactly is the point? It's not going to create any significant change or new horizon in the industry.

 

And... It's going to be way more than $20 an end. Think about the cost of 1.5" solid stock mounts and the huge $150 (guessing) tapered reamer it is going to take to create the mount.

 

Maybe if you had 50 of these rod ends sitting in a box for free and a bunch of 1.5" solid stock. Oh and the reamer already. Then I still wouldn't do it. But if you are feeling inspired give it a whirl and let us know how it works out.

:cheers:

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89MJay... Every thing that has been proven and common, had to start somewhere, and that was an idea in someones head..

 

Do I really need to re-invent the wheel, no... But I want to give it a try...

 

One reason that I'm going to try and give this a whirl, is that the mounts are only 1.5" wide.. Instead of about 3" wide for sqaure tubing to hold bushings. And with the Waggy D44 front that I have, the housing is bigger because it also incorporated the spring mounts. So this pushes my bracket over about 1" from where it was designed to go. So by having a mount only 1.5" wide, I'm able to move my mount back to where it was designed. Will this make a huge difference in the end, probably not, but will it help the geometry.. probably yes.

 

As for added costs you mentioned... I work at a machine shop so most all tools needed, are available for free. And I don't need to purchase a reamer, as I can just interpolate the taper with a ball nose cutter on a CNC Mill. So I have that part covered for cheap.

 

As for the bar stock cost, working in a machine shop helps as I'm sure we have something kicking around.. And I really don't need that much. The mounts only need to be about 3" long on the lowers, and upper of the housing, and maybe 6" long on the upper pass. side tube. So we're talking just over a foot, say 1.5'. At 15lbs per foot, equals about 22lbs total, times about $2 per lb, I'm only at about $45 in steel. Which is pretty darn close to what I would have paid for 1/4"wall, 3" square box tubing..

 

So the added costs are negligble..

 

AS Sitll havent made up my mind yet if I will do this or not... I still need to find out some numbers of the tie-rods to compare to the other links. So far the two concerns are strength and flexability.

 

Thanks,

Ryan

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well i say you have you idea thought out pretty well, and you understand what your getting yourself into if you persue (sp?) this. i think this might be a pretty worthwhile idea if they numbers your looking for show that the tie rods are strong enough. i say go for it and tell us how it handles. the worst thing that an happen is it breaks (hopefully not on the road) and you learn from the mistakes, and either try again or take easier approach.

 

but just post pics, part #s, and prices if you do deide to so it can make it easier for other people to follow your ground breaking approach

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Eagle.. You mention angularity and that tie-rods are only meant to used used on the one basic plane.. But then how to you explain the draglink?.. In stock form they are not truely horizontal.. but at an angle from the pitman arm down to the tie-rod end.. Even look at the stock MJ setup.. its at a pretty good angle already and seems to do fine.. Cause remember, that draglink is constantly changing angles throughout the suspension cycle.. and even worse when we add a lift.. They seem to hold up pretty well in my opinion..

Actually, in a stock XJ or MJ the drag link isn't far off horizontal. When you factor in the length, the angular defelection under normal suspension movement on the street isn't a very large angle, and it's well within the range that type of joint is designed to accomodate. When off-roaders lift their rigs and start building for flex and articulation, though, they eat tie rod ends a lot faster than a street vehicle does.

 

Guess why.

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There is a pic of a long arm setup on www.XJDB.com that shows a setup with TIE ROD ENDS.

 

Looks like he made his axel brackets out of 1" plate steel , the upper arms are attached to the lowwers like an RE kit only they attach one above the other at the axel. Looks pretty good actually.

 

Take a look at HOT RODS some time....the radius arms on the straight axels use TRE's to attach them to the frame. Stock trac bars use a TRE too and they take a pretty severe side load......2500 and 3500 dodge diesels use these trac bars too , how week do you think they are ????

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I see another problem with your "plan"... 1.5" isn't enough surface area for contact with the axle tube without serious gusseting. After all the gusseting required you are going to be left with at least if not more material space being used up on the tube than if you would have used regular 2.5" or 3" box mounts.

 

I think if you really want to do this just do it. I just don't really see the point. You keep saying ideas are created and that's how things become common. But... if it's not creating some new advantage, be it cost savings or better performance, then why do it at all at the risk of wasting time, money and possibly risking the safety of yourself and others?

 

Negatives... single shear, mount gusseting required will take up as much space as regular double shear rod end bushing or JJ mount.

 

Positives... ?

 

I'm not trying to shoot you down. I'm just really trying to think this through and continue the discussion.

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Wait.... I have more.....

 

Also, the pressure being applied to the smaller 1.5" mount isn't equal to the double shear box mount for another reason. The force applied to the single shear solid 1.5" mount will also be on the side of the mount with a lever (the tie rod end). These forces would need significantly more reinforcement than even a 2.5" or 3" box tube as the forces applied to these are straight on and even on both sides.

 

Do you follow me?

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Okay.. Multiple response post...

 

DirtyComanche - Why is it Hack.. please explain...

 

Eagle - I had my MJ at 6" lift, I wouldn't say that it ate Tie-rods at all.. but we are trying to compare our small scale tie-rods to this very large scale.. Now I just wish I had numbers for comparison, cause right now we are only guessing... The angle could be worse, or it could be better... And as M357.5 has mentioned, the stock track bar is at a pretty good angle already for its design...

 

M357.5 - Could you post a direct link to that setup or at least a little better idea where it is.. there are just way to many pics on that site to try ang go through... Now owning a Dodge Diesel myself.. I must admit that the Tie-rod end on the track-bar is a piece of poo... and the cause of my steering troubles. I have upgraded it now to the newer style trackbar which has bushings at both ends.. But in defence of that tie-rod.. the size of it was no bigger than my steering arm tie-rods... so I don't think it was of substantial size to do the job to begin with

 

89MJay - I feel there is lots of weld area on a 1.5" plate steel.. Cause think about it.. its 1.5" wide, by about 3" long.. that's over 9" of total weld. It will of course be properly chamfered, and I bet I'll get over 3/8" penetration on that... And when we're talking about welds that can handle 70,000PSI of Tensile.. Thats a lot , and I mean a lot of force to rip a weld. And if a weld is good, you should never rip a weld, but the material surrounding it. So if you think you can bend or rip 1.5" thick steel, or even the axle tube, at what.. 1/2"+ thick.. then I have a lot more to worry about.. Look at a stock axle bracket.. at what, 1/8" thick, and welded on 3 sides.. it does pretty good for itself... I'm not saying its the best.. but it held up pretty good for the most part on my rig..

Now you mention single shear.. yes, I can't get away from that.. but if I have to worry about shearing a 1"+ bolt.. jeez.. the rest of you guys must really be scared of driving your rigs with what, 1/2", 9/16", or at worst 3/4" bolts holding your links on.. yeah double shear.. but still, the single shear bolt is over twice the size of your double shear.. for example.. a 5/8" Grade 8 bolt will handle 22,610lb shear, while a 1" grade 8 bolt will handle 71,500lb shear.. even with a 5/8" in double shear.. we're still talking 40% single shear more for the 1" There is no way our rigs will ever shear a 1" bolt

As for positives.. I was going more on the notion that these are relatively cheap, fairly common to get (as if you in the middle of some hick town.. it would be easy to aquire one of these then say a johhny or heim), and it allows my axle mounting positions to have greater range than the sqaure tubing...

AS for your second post.. don't really follow... but you mention about be mounted on the side witha lever.. well, the point will place along the same centerline at rest as the control arm.. so that force would be direct.. and when flexing the forces will be applied at an angle, but so will box tubing... cause the control arm wil not always be in line with the center of the tubing when flexed.. is that what you mean?

 

Pingpong - The questions you ask, I can't answer because at this point I don't have comparison number in front of me of how much of an angle these tie-rods will allow.. once I know that.. then I can answer this... As well.. that is really the make it or break if of this idea.. if the angle is less than half of a JJ or heim, then its an idea down the tubes... but I'm still optimistic...

 

Ryan

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You have definately thought this out. You are 100% correct about the weld only being as strong as the host metal. Wew had a guy named Sam in our club rip a chunk out of his rear d60. I guess he didnt figure the stress out right on his rear trac bar, and it literally ripped a piece out of his axle.

 

 

 

I say build it, and then tell us if it was cheaper, and then wheel it and tell us your overall impression

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