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Discussion Starter #1
So the engineers at SPC were kind enough to send a call tag to pick up the SPC ball joints to examine why they failed. The formal response follows below but in a nut shell, SPC ball joints are NOT heavy duty replacemnts to the OEM ball joints. Even though they look big and beefy, the are just a direct replacement to the OEM ball joint. They are not to be used on a WK or XK that has a lift because the ball joint can not handle the angle change of the upper control arm.

Bottom line...
If you have a stock WK or XK you can use the SPC ball joints as a replacement to the OEM ball joints. But why you would spend the money? SPC Ball joints by themselves cost more ($150 ea) than the complete OEM control arm and ball joint ($140 ea).

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We have examined the ball joints you returned and determined that both were damaged due to over travel. You can see in the attached picture (03) that the intact ball joint that came off the left front of your vehicle was almost pried apart. Both ball joints have deep scores in the retaining rings from the ball studs making contact with them (picture 02). The ball stud is acting as a lever and prying the retaining ring right out of the housing. This was not apparent on the left-side ball joint until we removed the boot.
From your pictures we can see that your lift kit retains the stock pivot points for the upper control arm but lowers the strut mount significantly. This angles the upper control arm down more than was intended and causes the ball joints to over travel at full rebound.
For this reason we cannot approve a warranty claim on these units and strongly recommend that you do not use our ball joints on your vehicle as modified.
Please note that our ball joints have virtually the same amount of travel as the OE ball joints so we suspect that if you remove the boots from those you will see signs of over travel on them as well.
If you would like us to return these ball joints to you, please let us know in the next two weeks. Otherwise we will dispose of them.
Sincerely,
Don Rocca
Quality Services Manager
4045 Specialty Place
Longmont, CO 80504
www.specprod.com
720-864-4887



 

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that sucks. time for real parts then. some high misalignment joints with a correctly angled arm for the added lift. add in some sort of ability to adjust the camber up front and you'll have a knock out product there.
 

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Phunkeydude , you have the 4" lift, right? So, any ideas on how will they do on a 2"-2 1/2" lift? But still, if they are saying they are as good as the stock ones, and cost way more, there is no point then...
 

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What they need is a way to secure the upper part of the housing, (in the picture, actually the lower part installed), that contains the ball joint to have something to hold it together. It basically just popped out of the housing and pulled apart. Maybe a weld or better a bolt together housing to keep the ball joint in place. Just my opinion. In town that day, I tried to put it back together with a vise or hydraulic press and the ridge and lip are very narrow. I also suspect that it would have just come apart again quickly.
 

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Phunkeydude said:
Please note that our ball joints have virtually the same amount of travel as the OE ball joints so we suspect that if you remove the boots from those you will see signs of over travel on them as well.

Phunkeydude,

Have you checked your old ball joints for scaring? Were you running the Superlift with the old ball joints?

Slainte'
O'C
 

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Good findings, and thanks for sharing it with us :)

So what are you going to do now? ,, is it ok "now" to put the original ball joints back?
 

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Okay, I would think that this would have been completed already but what does Superlift recommend for ball joints? I mean, I would think they would have a recommendation since it's pretty obvious that this is a point of failure if their lift is built into a commander. I have been contemplating this lift for my commander for several months and the ball joints have been my only brain knocker for that period of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Superlift does not have a recommended ball joint. Their lift kit uses the OE upper control arm with OE ball joint.
 

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Tom T. - correct me if I'm wrong..

Weaselox - Both balljoint failures I've heard of, Phunkeydude's and another guy with a lifted WK are both using the superlift. However, both rigs also had custom spacers added above the superlift strut bracket to add even more lift than the superlift kit provided (somewhere in the neighborhood of 5.5" of lift). I have not heard of any balljoint failures with just the superlift kit itself, and there's lots of people running that kit.

I used to run the Rocky Road 2.25" kit on my XK. I have the superlift 4" now. Due to the relocation brackets for the front suspension components, my CV shafts and A-arms are at less of an angle than they were with the RR kit. In theory, the balljoints on my XK are at less risk for failure now than they were with the RR kit because factory angles and specs have been virtually re-established. I would not hesitate to use the Superlift kit again. It's a very nice setup.

Here's a pic of the CV shaft with the 4" kit, my XK is sitting in a level parking lot in this shot.

 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Ken,
Don't get me wrong, I love the Superlift kit and recommend it. I ran the 4" kit for a long time and several trail rides on the 4" and OE joints. Eventually my OE joints needed replacement because of the change in angle of the UCA to the knuckle.

I am curious...Why don't take a side shot of your UCA to knuckle so I can see how much misalignment there is in the ball joint on your XK.

As for the spacer, I have added one just above the Superlift bracket. It is 3/4" thick so technically I have 4 3/4" lift on the front. That gave me the extra little clearance I needed for the tire/wheel setup I am running. Of course I added this spacer much later on.

Which raises another question, what tire/wheel setup are you using? If I recall you have 265/70/17's on the stock wheels right?
So I am wondering how much angle changes there are on the UCA and CV joints by running larger tires.

I have gone back to using OE joints at this time...

By the way, what part of CO are you in? May have to take a trip up there some time.
 

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Tom - I'm near Evergreen and Idaho Springs. Some of the best 4-wheeling ever begins in the Idaho Springs area, about 20 minutes from my house. If you're up this way, absolutely let me know!

The balljoints with the 4" lift look to be in almost the perfect static position. Again, these shots are taken with the Jeep in a level parking lot. This is the drivers side UCA to knuckle. At this static angle, I have a lot of margin in both directions of travel as the balljoint looks to be almost in line.

I am running 265/70/17s on stock rims with 1.5" spacers, same setup I had on the 2.25" kit.



 

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ROMEO said:
Phunkeydude , you have the 4" lift, right? So, any ideas on how will they do on a 2"-2 1/2" lift? But still, if they are saying they are as good as the stock ones, and cost way more, there is no point then...
It sounds from the response letter that the part is a direct factory replacement and adds no benefit for a lift of any size.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
WOW Ken, there is a hugh difference between your UCA angle and mine. Only differences are:

1. I have a 3/4" spacer above the bracket.
2. Tires are 285/70R17

 

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The only thing I can think causing the difference is the 3/4" spacer. 3/4" at the top of the strut will translate to about 1.5" at axle center. So essentially, you have used 1.5" more wheel travel in the downward direction by installing spacers. I should raise the front of my Jeep by about 1.5" and look at the balljoint angle. I imagine it would look similar to your picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Soon that will be resolved.

Once I get a GetLost4x4 steel bumper and a Warn PowerPlant mounted up front, the added weight to the front end will bring down the angle a bit and with a UCA with uniball replacement to the factory part.

Should look something like this when complete:

 

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Any word on the new UCAs, Phunkeydude? I looked at my ball joints when changing my oil today, and they look almost as flexed as yours(and I only have the 2.5" lift). I will be purchasing these when they are ready, for sure.
 

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AJGuy84 said:
Any word on the new UCAs, Phunkeydude? I looked at my ball joints when changing my oil today, and they look almost as flexed as yours(and I only have the 2.5" lift). I will be purchasing these when they are ready, for sure.
Just out of curiousity did you have your vehicle on a lift when your ball joints were at that angle. If so thats why they looked like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
AJGuy84 said:
Any word on the new UCAs, Phunkeydude? I looked at my ball joints when changing my oil today, and they look almost as flexed as yours(and I only have the 2.5" lift). I will be purchasing these when they are ready, for sure.
New Update on heavy duty UCA with uniball.
Drawings have been completed with all exact measurements.
These will allow for greater misalignment, thus a bit more articulation. Plus the uniball will take a heck of a lot more abuse than an OEM balljoint. The tapered pin will fit perfectly into the knuckle just as the oem balljoint does.

Prototypes are being built this week and I hope to have them in hand next week.

Talks are already in the works for a user on this forum to be the distributor of these. Stay tuned for more info.

 
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