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Tension Rod Mod - mklotz70


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This info was buried in the Strut Mod thread. A lot of guys have seen it there. I came across the pics and info and couldn't find it on ratsun.....but I just did. I know it's basically a re-post, but this mod can also be used on the trucks(no struts), but I think the rods are a different diameter, so just use this as an example. I originally did these for my 510 wgn so that I could pull the arms forward about an inch.



I saw the T/C rods that Troy Ermish makes. I really like them, but I just don't drive hard enough to warrant the expensive joint at the front. I'm only looking for a bit of adjustment to be able to tweak the alignment. I don't need anything radical. So, I've always thought that it would be a nice upgrade to have adjustable T/C rods that mounted up to factory bushings. So....here we go :)











Turned out one of the rods was bent a bit.....fixed that in a few minutes. Notice in the second pic, I left the end of the rod hanging over the plate...they actually have a bend in them from the factory and I didn't want to un-bend it while doing this. You have to over-bend the bar a slight bit so that it will spring back to straight. I checked it against a straight edge....right on the money. :)











I marked everything up...the other stuff is in the pic to get more "bang-for-the-buck" :) My posts start taking so long to load...I'm going to try to consolidate info as I can. Anyway.... I'll end up cutting 2" out of the middle so that the ends can't hit if major adjustment is done. I want a 1/2" of threads sticking out of the end of the tube....I might have to allow more now that I remember that the locknut has to go on..... A 1/2" at each end will equal 1" total adjustment and according to yello620...I don't want to go more than 1/2" with stock lower control arm bushings. I also wanted to leave as much rod inside the tube as possible.





I was going to put the die handle here, but it's not really related to struts.....so I'll put that in the machine work thread....that way the guys that only want the strut/suspension info won't have to wade through the extra pics.







I held the end piece in the lathe since it would probably spin in the vise. The bar is to turn the lathe chuck. With the transmission of the lathe in between gears, the chuck spins easily.....except for the load of cutting the threads. I'm sure someone is wondering why I didn't just cut the threads on the lathe. Aside from the fact that I don't know how to do that yet....the bar is too uneven. It's only a couple thousandths over 5/8", so there's not enough metal to cut off to true up. On a suspension component like this...I don't want to make it any smaller than necessary.











That's as far as I got today. My plan is to cut down the other end, clamp it in the vise(it's got a flat section to stop the spinning) and put the left handed threads on it. The tube is threaded right and left to act like a turnbuckle. The tube only allows the rod to go in so far. I kinda expected it to go farther. So, I'm going to have to trim some of the rod off that I've already threaded. The turnbuckle action will give me plenty of adjustment even though each end will only have a total of about an inch of movement. I need to make sure that there's plenty of rod left inside the tube. Since the adjustment will be typically to shorten the rod, I don't think there will be a problem with over extending it :)




The tubes were about $38. $8.37ea tube, Nuts .94ea. Shipping $10.34. www.pitstopusa.com I'd prefer to make them out of hex shaft, but you just can't beat that price!!! I'd have to by taps to make the turnbuckles....maybe later....but for now, it was definitely cheaper to get the tubes.


The dies were around $42 @ Parkrose hardware.




I started making the final measurements so that I could cut the rods. I got the threads on the 2nd front piece done. I had the back piece in the vice...won't fit in the lathe. The bench vise turned out to be the best way to hold it. I kept trying and trying to get the die started. At about the 10min mark, my buddy A100addict called me up to ask what I was doing. I told him that I was getting frustrated. As the words "left hand die" came out of my mouth, it dawned on me that I had been turning it the wrong way!! :( Once I got back to it, the die grabbed in the first turn of the handle. So, I got one of the back pieces threaded. I'm going to have to buy taps to clean out the tubes......and since I'll have the taps.....I'm going to get some hex bar stock and make my own turnbuckles before I mount them up. I'll cut the threads on the other piece, probably tomorrow, then set everything aside and get back on the grinder :)


I'm not very impressed with the tubes. The threads aren't great and the threaded hole isn't even straight in the tube. Since I've already got one rod cut for these tubes, I'll cut the other the same. If I do another set, I'll leave even more rod :)












*************(posted by Dime Dave)


Lefthander Chassis (circle track fab/parts house) sells a product called "Tap Tubing". It has the proper ID for tapping. Comes in aluminum (hex or oct depending on supply available) for 1/4" to 3/4" rod ends in 1/8" increments or round steel for 5/8 & 3/4. It is sold by the foot.


I had a source for round aluminum, but have since lost their contact info.


Link: http://www.lefthande...sis.com/26.html Look down in the lower right corner of the page.




If you have trouble getting a die of this size to start, try grinding a bigger taper onto the end of the rod. The rod is a tiny bit over the size the die wants, so before it can start, it has to cut it down a bit......which on one of this size, takes quite a bit of force. So, the taper gives you a bit of a head start.





Okay....this is pretty much the end of the tension rod stuff. I probably should have put it in a separate thread...oh well. I'll probably revisit it a bit down the road when I get the taps and the hex tube Dave showed me :) Until then, these tubes don't work well enough, so they're going to sit on the shelf. So...basically, I spent about $80 and two days of time to makes some cool shiny bits for my shelves :(



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Great idea! Took me some digging to re-find them. Pretty pathetic since I just sent you the same links a week or so ago! :(


IIRC, these are simply urethane sway bar bushings. The problem with using urethane bushings on the tension rods is that they don't flex enough and can cause the rod to snap. It's called the "coat hanger effect". Every time metal is bent, even a little, it work hardens. It doesn't take that long and it will harden it to the point where it will snap. Trust me....I did this to a plate in my ankle....that's how I learned about this effect!! LOL .....yes, they got to go back in and replace it again. Anyway.....


I had heard that the best way to work on urethane was to freeze, but these were hard enough that I didn't need to. Medium speed on the drill. Too slow, it will just want to pull through....too fast and it will start to melt.



This is mod that was written up in Dime Quarterly years ago. This isn't my idea, simply my execution of it. :)



















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Great idea! Took me some digging to re-find them. Pretty pathetic since I just sent you the same links a week or so ago! :(




Another reason not to delete PM's :lol:


Still have them in my messages, I shoulda linked them for you. :)

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Back in '09 I didn't need to know this stuff, but times have changed. Good for you Mike. I may do something like this on my lowered 710.


I'm pretty sure this is the only set I made....now that I think about it. I made these, then another member sent me some stockers and I sold him these for his bro's b-day present. Wonder if I still have a set of arms around of if they went with the wgn when I sold it.


Dude, you rock!


Thanks! Gonna have to find a way to come up there and hang out with you some more this year!!!!


2eDeYe' date='05 March 2012 - 05:58 PM' timestamp='1330999111' post='648501']

Another reason not to delete PM's :lol:


Still have them in my messages, I shoulda linked them for you. :)


I almost asked you to, but I thought you deleted the pm first....I guess I did. Oh well. :)

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Thanks :)

...but it's never enough....I see Datrod's stuff and wish I had real machines and talent! LOL!


A lot of the coolest stuff I've made has been for other people. I sold those tension rods before they ever made it to my wgn. Once of the coolest projects was turning down a set of mustang II dropped spindles to run Hardbody hubs on them. ....so has anyone seen Brian lately? :)

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