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Sector111 Spherical MONOball A-Arm Bushings

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by wiztecy, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #1 wiztecy, Apr 26, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
    Just ordered my set of MONOball Control / A-Arm bushings from Sector111. Can't wait to get them installed. From what I've read, heard, the feedback coming in is that they're great and a huge improvement over the stock and give you even more feel from the road since they take out lots of slop that the stock crappy bushings had. If I have time I'll be modifying the front upper a-arm bushings to push my castor even more positive since I'll already be in there.

    Will post some pics of the install when I get to it.

    MONOballs - Spherical Bearings



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    These are not S111 MonoBalls but another manufacturer's, shows you what they look like when mounted in the a-arm:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #2 wiztecy, Apr 26, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
    Here's a good link regarding how the rear stock upper control arm bushings can prematurely fail, leading into eventual subframe damage:

    Upper control arm bushing replaced under warranty - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

    [​IMG]

    Rob at Dietchwerks pointed me out to this issue, looked at my upper rear control arm and saw I too had the problem. We put in the Poly upper control arm bushings to fix the issue. Now that I'm putting in the Mono's all the way around, those poly's are all coming out.

    So in the cutout pic of the Mono bushing, that's the sealed bearing in the middle. S111 used a very easy bearing to source if it ever needs replacing. Very easy to service, also saves lots of energy due to its efficiency so your suspension responds much quicker from the response from the road as well as giving rigid direct feedback to the driver.
     
  3. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Replaced the passenger side bushings with MonoBalls today, all went well. However I did find that my lower ball joint was missing the top circle clip which keeps all the dirt and water out and grease in. Don't know if it always was like that or when the shocks were installed, I never broke the ball joints free and was careful observing that parts didn't get lost. With that I ended up pinching the boot and causing a hole in it, I can't say how much I hate pickle forks. I'm putting this 3 finger ball joint remover on order, this is the best way to pop them without damaging them:

    Amazon.com: OTC 6297 Ball Joint Separator: Automotive

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    Dave who did our custom brakes created a tool to pop and press the bushings, made the job so much simpler. So total thanks to him. Another issue I had run into was that a couple MonoBalls were slightly wider preventing the control arm from pushing in properly. I found out this is a common problem but not a big deal. Just file down the hat some, test, file some more and once its snug, then bolt it up.

    Appears I can push my caster even more positive with these bushings, I didn't install the upper control arm for that I need to hit the hardware store and pick up some spacers/washers to push the upper control arm back for an increased positive caster, currently I'm at 4.0 on both sides.

    Going to take my time on this one, cleaning up all the control arms nice, tub, and pulling small rocks out of the preload springs from the Nitrons. Always nice to keep things clean around your suspension, allows you to see if something has gone astray/cracked/etc that otherwise would be covered up.

    Will hit the driver's side tomorrow. I think I can be even more careful with the pickle fork and try to avoid pinching the driver's side. Next weekend I'll do the rear control arms. Hopefully I'll have my ball joint tool by then.

    Below are the pics, you can see the Mono's with the orange Viton o-rings. I have the plastic/rubber bushing in one pic to show you what that looks like, and then the press tool.

    IMG_8738.JPG
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    IMG_8743.JPG
     
  4. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #4 wiztecy, May 1, 2016
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
    I'm starting to think, since I'm in there with the control arms pulled out to just take my time and replace all 8 ball joints too. That way the suspension is basically 100% refreshed. I just replaced my tie-rod ends some months back. Anyways, the ball joints didn't make noise, but when I rotate them around they move around quite freely with minimal resistance. Being proactive on the maintenance since everything is torn apart...

    The Lotus part # for the ball joint is: B111C6012F

    Price on the Lotus one from Lotus garage is $55 and all the ball joints appear to be the same part number. I'll order from Tesla since they respect the same price typically on Lotus parts.

    Also a tip, if anyone is reading this and going forward with the MonoBall install. S111 says to pull the hats and o-rings off of the bushing, put them in the freezer, and when you're ready to put them on the control arm to heat the inside oft he control arm. Don't take the hats/o-Rings off, its difficult and you're going to damage the aluminum sleeve trying to get leverage. Just plop the whole thing in the freezer, cars are subjected to temps below what a freezer is in some places and they'll be ok. Also who wants to remove/assemble all that stuff for 16 bushings! The old bushings press out like butter and the new ones go in without any issue. Just heat the inside of the bushing sleave, once cleaned (don't lubricate at all), keep the monoballs in a lunch box with ice packs, and pull them out one by one for your install.

    Ball joint removal how-to for the Elise:
    Replace the Ball Joints on a Lotus Elise

    VX220 ball joint replacement (video):


    Here's a video to show you what a catastrophic ball joint failure looks like. Always insure your suspension parts are in top working order:

     
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  5. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Tried ordering 8 ball joints from Tesla @ $65.00 a pop, been almost 2 weeks and they've just been dragging their feet trying to get them. So I ditched that route and started looking at ordering them from Lotus. Best price I could find for the authentic Lotus ball joints were $50.00 per ball joint and $50.00 for shipping (for all 8), no tax! That's $15.00 savings per ball joint ($120.00 total) or or two free ball joints and $20 in my pocket vs going the Tesla route.

    Here's the link to the ball joints from the Lotus Garage:
    22 Ball Joint,
     
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  6. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #6 wiztecy, Jul 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2016
    Wrapped up the mono-ball & ball joint installation, haven't taken the Roadster out for a test drive, targeting next weekend for that. I've been taking my electric skateboard to the meto bus station for my daily commute for a couple of months so haven't had the urgent need to use the Roadster. Its rather nice when you're doing a an in depth project on your vehicle, no need to rush so you can double/triple check and have time to design / find tools to get you through an unpredictable bind.

    Speaking of a bind, I had rented/borrowed a standard ball joint press from the AutoZone. When I tried pressing the ball joint out, none of the rings which allow the ball joint to fall out of the arm would fit properly against the a-arm. Found a random brass ring of the right d diameter but of course lacking strength to do the job. It worked as a concept, so I ran to the hardware store searching for the right adapter. Only thing I found was a male approx 4" dark threaded piece of pipe, I think 3-4" in diameter. That worked great for pressing out the fronts but then failed or the rear, it wasn't stable at all to even begin adding significant press pressure, the pipe wall too narrow on the bottom/top, so it would just want to slide out of position and wanting to connect the a-arm which I didn't want to happen due to potential damage implications. I ran back to the hardware store, knew the diameter I was looking for, and found the one last item that would work from the hardware store. Again in the pipe section, and found a pipe flange using the same diameter of the pipe I had used, so the ID was close for the press. The bottom of the flange flared out more, and the top was smooth on the inside but then threads start. The ball joint can't fit through this diameter with threads on the inside, but the smoothed out top was the correct diameter, the depth where it was smooth was also sufficient to allow the ball joint to press and pass out of the a-arm. So that worked like a charm and with that I was on my way to completing the job. You'll also need to remove the boot from the ball joint in order to get good clean pressure down on the ball joint. I used a socket that would clear through the a-arm hole but press over the complete area of the ball joint. To do this, remove the bottom clip holding the boot onto the ball joint base. Just put a small screwdriver down under the lower boot area and gently pry up, there's a clip that comes undone and unwinds. Remove that and pull the boot out, clean it up around there from excess grease and such so you'll get a good contact for your press. Also clean very well the area around where the ball joint sat in the a-arm, you'll find dirt, grime and grease there. The ball joint needs to sit flat in there. Pics attached of the setup.

    To press the ball joint into the a-arm I used two steel plates, one large one on the bottom of the press for stability, a 11/16 socket (or the pipe flange I mentioned above), I found the socket to be the most stable than the flange, and a steel plate at the top to press down. Pics attached. Also when pressing the ball joint in, make sure it goes in straight, not crooked. If it starts walking crooked, pull it out of the press and tap the bottom of the ball joint to even it out. It will naturally straighten itself. don't hit too hard to cause damage to the ball joint. It can take a couple good taps, just feel it out. When pressing the ball joint, ensure it has bottomed out and there's no gap between the face of the ball joint/rim and the a-arm lip. There are two viewing holes on the side of the a-arm, there you'll see if you have a gap or not. If any gaps with the bottom view window, keep pressing. Again feel it out, don't smooosh things. I also placed the ball joints in the freezer for a couple of hours to overnight. That way they shrink a bit, makes pressing easier. Same with the a-arm bushings upon installation. Lastly the upper rear control arm washers have ears that are for safety in the event the a-arm bolt backs out. Make sure to re-secure those ears to the bolt/nut. They're on both sides of the bolt. The torque specs (from Tesla) are 55 Nm for both the upper and lower ball joints, front and rear.

    While doing this job, I clean everything while I was in there. I hosed things down, sponged, washed, and got all I could dust, grease and grime free. I also used the 303 UV protector to hit all the CV boots, toe link boots, and anything I had access that was composed of rubber.

    Also I have to mention, the lower front a-arm monoball bushings will be a little too wide when fitting them into the frame of the Roadster. Common issue, those with the Elise/Exiges also hit this. You can make a bolt that spreads the frame/box where the bushing / a-arm goes in or you can file the bushing down where it's too high. I chose the latter. You don't need much clearance and try not to take off too much. Lastly its essential to be square when you file (make sure its a good file).

    Monoball install problems - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

    Next weekend I'll do a quick once over, take the car for a test run, and throw it up on the alignment rack. I'm curious if and how much my caster has changed. I'll most likely need to go in and reset that, I'll also try to push for the most positive camber I can accomplish.


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  7. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Also want to add, anytime you loosen the bolts on any of the a-arms you'll need to compress them as well as the shock under load before torquing down to spec. I put a 4x4 block under the ball joint and lowered the car for my technique.
     
  8. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    I completed my test drive yesterday with the S111 MonoBalls as well as the new ball joint installation and WOW!!! I never have driven a car where you're so connected to the road. The interesting thing is I get more feeling of the road from each corner of the car, however, when I hit bumps or imperfections it long longer feels as if my teeth are shattering through my face. What I believe is happening is that the suspension is able to proper work as it should, there's no restrictions of the a-arms anymore compared to the stock rubber bushings binding in with the vertical motion of the arm. Also handing is incredible, I pushed the car very hard though twists and turns and it just corners like a jet plane, I get full control and feeling of the turn though the wheel as well as through the frame of the car. I also get more feel and connection with the braking. Mods like the quick rack steering rack, shocks, brakes and rotors feel as if they too work even better by having less slop though-out the entire car. Very stoked and happy I did the upgrade.
     
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  9. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Adding a pic from the sunset test drive, which good way to end a successful project.


    DSC_0221.JPG
     
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