One of the reasons for doing the redesign is for you the customer to navigate and find products easier.
The other is to add in a new forum that will go live in the next few days (I hope) where you and I can engage in a more technical sense. I get asked to help people sort their suspension issues on all sorts of vehicles.
I am working to put together a searchable forum where we can get in-depth with the true geometry of what makes your IFS work and why. This will be a subscription service, Sorry folks but more and more of my time is being taken up by answering questions. For those of you who are customers, you will get access to the forums, but for those of you on the fence, the fee will be minimal. In that forthcoming forum, we can get in-depth to get your ride working the way you want it to.
Eventually, I would like to expand the forum to be an offsite, 3rd party tech line for any aftermarket hot rod parts manufacturer. If you would like to participate in some way, PDF files of instruction sheets of kits you have installed would be helpful in growing to that goal.
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.
As promised earlier, we have the 57-60 F100 and 55-59 GM truck Dakota IFS kits available in the store. These are for the stock arm Dakota suspension systems. If you want air bag systems, any of the kits that would fit any of the Dakota two wheel drive systems should work in our kit. However, we are getting hit pretty hard to do a dedicated IFS kit with tubular control arms and air bags. So we are going to do our best to get them drawn up and in production before Christmas!
Also in the works are engine mounts for the Dakota IFS kits. I think we have the Chevy engine mount systems ready to go and will be in the store in a few weeks. The Ford Windsor style mounts are still in need of some work to make them what we want. And if we can, the LIMA series (429-460) engine mounts also. These of course are going to require a rear sump oil pan to clear the rack and pinion like any other IFS kit on the market.
Keep an eye peeled for our new line of rear suspension kits too! There will be three kits ranging from near stock to work with your nearly stock Dakota IFS and a lowered kit as well as a hammered kit with a 5 plus inch C-notch built into the boxing system. These kits will be an un-parallel and unequal length four bar with a panhard rod. A moderately low roll center that works with pickups and all come with 100% anti-squat at ride height and minimal changes in pinion angle to curb any driveline vibration. Heavy duty construction with greasable polyurethane bushings and RideTECH shocks.
We are also working on the ’32 Ford chassis components, The front and rear bolt in crossmembers should be in production by mid-January. We are also considering a full bolt in X-member similar to our ’32 system for the 33-34 Ford frames. Let us know in the comment section what you think and what you would like to see in that kit.
I do my best to keep up with information on all of our products. I was recently informed that the earlier 1973-1982 Dodge D series rotors for the 3000 pound front axle take a different bearing and are not compatible with the Dakota spindles. I made a quick note on the D-series caliper bracket selection about this change and will soon update all of the information to reflect the correct interchanges.
This morning however, was a question about springs for the Dakota IFS kits with 302 Fords. This is a work in progress and as I gather more information about the spring selections I will add it to the list to help you guys get the most out of your front end. This new information about the spring selection is in the Dakota Tech section.
We have started offering the caliper brackets that allow you to use the Wilwood D52 Dual Piston caliper bracket and the larger rotor from the ’73-’93 Full size trucks on your Dodge Dakota based front end. Have a look CLICK HERE
That’s right! Available again, the really correct IFS kit for your Classic Truck is available. The only true truck suspension kit for you classic, rack and pinion, double A-frame rugged and designed to last. The correct track width, you can use readily available and inexpensive wheels and tires, two choices of bolt patterns, including a stock 5 on 5 1/2″ to match your stock or upgraded truck rear axle.
This kit can take your abuse. Designed for heavy loads or just a nice daily driver, this kit works with most engines including heavy diesel up to 1000+ pounds. With the addition of an anti-roll bar and a performance oriented shock absorber, it will carve corners with confidence. Add a pair of dropped spindles and get the stance you want, this kit will meet the demands of most all you need.