In my last post, covered the Chrysler style screw in ball joints commonly used on Mustang II front ends. Today I want to talk about the Dakota ball joints and some misconceptions being run around the internet. There are a few generations of Dodge Dakotas now, I concentrate on the first two, being 87-90 and 91-96. Both are pretty much the same, the ball joints are exactly the same.
I have run across a few people trying to conflate the 97 up (3rd Gen) Dakota ball joint issues with the earlier First and Second generation trucks. In the 3rd Generation Dodge made quite a few changes to the Dakota’s front suspension. Almost a complete redesign. About the only thing similar is the lower control arm spacing and bushing size (yes, they will fit our kits) and the upper control arm rear mounting bolt is in the same location. But that’s it. The rack mounting and angles are very different and the upper control arm became symmetrical for cost cutting reasons. The other major changes are in the spindle and ball joints. They bare no resemblance to the 1st and 2nd gen trucks. The ball joints became significantly smaller and the orientation of the lower ball joint changed from tension (pointing up) to compression (pointing down) making dropped spindles pretty much impossible.
Have a look at the line up of ball joints here. From Left to right, the 1997 and up Dakota/Durango ball joint, The K772 Ball joint used in most Mustang II type set ups, The K778 joint used in the 87-96 Dakotas (and many other full size cars and trucks) and then on the Right is the K7025 used on the Dakotas and several other full size cars and trucks. Visual confirmation would show you, this is robust stuff. History can confirm that these larger ball joints were not failure prone. Sure, everything wears out, this is why we recommend using premium quality repair parts when building your car or truck. Not only will you see a longer service life, you will get a better ride quality with parts like the MOOG joints and bushings we suggest.
I suppose shocks would be the next topic, stay tuned!
What I wanted to discuss is regarding the screw in MOPAR style ball joint that is very popular with the tubular control arms for the venerable Mustang II suspension.
The ball joint pictured at the right is the commonly used K772 MOPAR screw in ball joint used on tubular control arms throughout the industry. If you look up that number you will see it is meant for MOPAR Upper Mid-Sized cars. It is not intended for use as a lower ball joint where it will see tension loads.
The ball joint on the Left is a K719. It has the same threaded body of the K772 but if you notice one very different difference in that body, it encloses much more of the ball stud. This is a true lower ball joint meant for the Mid-Size and larger passenger cars. While it will directly replace your K772 ball joint in the control arm, the stem is larger. This larger stem requires you to machine your spindle to accept it.
While many thousands of cars and trucks are on the road using the K772 as a lower ball joint without failure, we have seen a few. Granted, this is a very robust ball joint, and if you are using a quality joint like the MOOG Problem Solver line, you may never experience a failure. We have, on the other-hand, solved some driveability issues associated with the Mustang II suspension, mainly the nervousness out on the highway but replacing the ball joints with a true lower ball joint. Now don’t take this as the end all-cure all solution to your Mustang II suspension, it’s just something we have experienced. Because the K772 is not meant to be loaded in tension, it can be “sticky” and not let your steering wheel return to center properly.
All of our Mustang II based control arms feature the K719 on the lower, and we machine the spindles to fit. If this seems like an upgrade you would like to make, give us a call and we can take care of you.
We are in preparations to be at the 2017 LA Roadster show in Pomona, CA at the Fairplex on June 17-18th (Fathers Day weekend) in two locations this year. We will have our indoor booth again this year, but will also have a spot out in the swap area.
So far we plan on bringing out three ’32 frames with our full X members with show pricing. One will be pinched for 28/29 Model A use. We will also have our accessory K-member legs, stock style brake pedal sets and other bolt on chassis parts.
If you want to pre-order any of the product and have us deliver at the show, give us a call @ 866-553-8996
For those of you from out of state attending the Goodguys Southwest nationals, and for those locals who like to hang out for a bit, We are throwing the doors open this Saturday at 4:00pm for the 15th annual event. We are celebrating with Ken and Dan of FTD Cycles and Robert from Vintage HD Works.
As usual, tool demos, conversations and such. We will have food and drinks.
Sorry for the downtime there. Not exactly the thing I wanted to happen, as soon as I got back in the shop Monday from the LA Roadster Show there were a few things that needed updating in the background on the website. One of those things did not want to play nice and caused a site failure. I ham-handed my way around trying to discover the problem to no avail. But from listening to the Tom Woods show, he mentioned that he uses a website called www.fiverr.com for instances just like this. Very impressed by the speed and expertise used to get us back up and running.
On the Roadster Shown note, we were inside for the first time. It was a bit of change for us. Usually we are in the swap area blowing product out and sweating our butts off. I swore off fighting for a space last year. It’s not an experience I want to do any longer. Plus the air conditioning sounded pretty good to us. Was it a success, time will tell. Not as much product left, we did take orders and are shipping them this week. I will be back next year, should be the same spot in Building 4.
It’s almost upon us. This June 18 and 19th, Father’s Day weekend, is the 52nd Anniversary Roadster Show and we will be inside building 4 for the first time!
In years past we were in the Swap Meet area but changes over the last few years has made it difficult for us to set up there. That and we were bringing out the used goodies you guys could use. Well this year, it’s all new stuff. We are bringing ’32 Ford stuff and working on a few new products. I will have two frames ready to go, full knock down at a Roadster Show special price.