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Old 12-03-2012, 12:37 PM   #1
fredd1
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Default Rear toe rod inner ball joint play

I'm getting a lot of rear end lateral shift (yaw) when applying and releasing the throttle on my '84, so I checked the rear toe rod ends. I noticed there was an extreme amount of toe-in on the right rear wheel, but when I turn the rod to adjust the toe in, the inboard thread is frozen while the outer thread will turn (along with the whole center link and inner ball joint) and withdraw the inner shaft partially out of the inner joint boot with a travel of about 3/8" (er, 9-10mm d8o). Before I tear off that boot, is there any way to adjust or tighten the inner joints or am I looking at replacing the whole toe rod assembly?
Here's the part:

Click the image to open in full size.

The inner thread is so badly rusted I can't tell if it's left or right handed (I'm assuming it should be left-handed no?).
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:24 PM   #2
leesvet
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Thats replacement ONLY.

Don;t mess around with that if the inners are loose ! Thats a cheap plastic cup with the metal ball thats going to come apart when the cup/socket wears enough. You're feeling the effect now of maybe 1mm of the rod going in/out as torque to that wheel comes/goes. The whole wheel toes in or out and pulls the rear of the car around like it was on a track. Its even more fun/exciting in heavy rain..lets just call it for what it is.....dangerous.

There are options if you want to spend the money. heim joints, aftermarket toe assy's, and other replacements. Do some searching on the corvette catalogs and fleabay and you'll see whats out there. If you go back with a stock assy, its under $300 last time I looked. The more exotic set ups will run a bit more but they are tighter and servicable..<- best part. The stock assy is throw-away.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:47 PM   #3
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leesvet is right

consider banski.

much better than stock and not much more at $360
http://banskimotorsports.com/C4_Rear_Suspensioin.html
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:58 AM   #4
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Default Heim joints = harsher ride?

Thanks for the feedback guys. A couple of questions, are the units with spherical rod ends like Banskis going to produce a harsher ride than the current tie rods? I'm not into auto-x much and I'd like to "soften" the ride a bit if possible (the z51 springs on the '84 are super stiff). Also, I'm considering the Bilstein Z51 shocks. Will they produce a harsher/stiffer ride? I've got crappy/leaky carquest shocks on there currently (so essentially no significant damping)
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredd1 View Post
Thanks for the feedback guys. A couple of questions, are the units with spherical rod ends like Banskis going to produce a harsher ride than the current tie rods? I'm not into auto-x much and I'd like to "soften" the ride a bit if possible (the z51 springs on the '84 are super stiff). Also, I'm considering the Bilstein Z51 shocks. Will they produce a harsher/stiffer ride? I've got crappy/leaky carquest shocks on there currently (so essentially no significant damping)
My 84 had the Z51 suspension with the rock hard ride. I changed the rear spring to that of a later model (85 on up) and it made all the difference in the world.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 383vett View Post
My 84 had the Z51 suspension with the rock hard ride. I changed the rear spring to that of a later model (85 on up) and it made all the difference in the world.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


that and banski is a more reliable sturdy unit
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredd1 View Post
are the units with spherical rod ends like Banskis going to produce a harsher ride than the current tie rods?
I've never found that to be case. I'm not even sure where that idea comes from.

With all the links replaced on my car the improved grip makes for a much more enjoyable ride. I think the "harsh ride" would have more to do with shocks and springs.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leesvet View Post
The more exotic set ups will run a bit more but they are tighter and servicable..<- best part. The stock assy is throw-away.
We've never had an issue (yet) of having to replace rod ends, especially since we use Teflon lined (dry lube) rod ends and typically recommend use of the protective boots.

However, should something need to be replaced our kit breaks down into a number of pieces and associated hardware so you only need to replace what you need to.
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Old 12-04-2012, 04:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astock165 View Post
We've never had an issue (yet) of having to replace rod ends, especially since we use Teflon lined (dry lube) rod ends and typically recommend use of the protective boots.

However, should something need to be replaced our kit breaks down into a number of pieces and associated hardware so you only need to replace what you need to.
Exactly. Thats a rear toe assy worth having.

Whether anyone has ever needed to replace parts in the aftermarket toe assy's ...I dunno.

The fact that they CAN.....was my point.

Again, the stock toe assy is throw away. I've seen many hit the lid on the dumpster as they were tossed inside..

If the rod gets loose enough that it cannot stay where you move it, its junk. Not worth your life when the inner socket allows the rod to separate and come apart.

Regarding the rear stiffness/harsh ride. The toe assy has nothing to do with the ride quality. Thats 99% rear mono-spring and 1% quality shocks.
if you have '84 Z-51 that is the hardest/harshest/fastest spring rate of ANY year model C4. The spring rate got softer each and every yr after that,. and the hard spring had to be special ordered in later yrs. Your Z51 spring is 499 in/lbs of misery. For example, a 92 rear spring is around 270 in/lbs.

There are several softer springs available that will fit your car. Look at the TAG on the top side of the spring, right side. There is a code there. Get the code list by a search here to find the code for something in the 300-375 lb range for a much much more comfortable ride. It will not be soft or sloppy, just comfortable. Toss the cheap shocks and invest in the Bilsteins. Bilstein is the factory performance shock because it has "progressive dampening" that makes the 1st inch of travel firmer for sport driving, and the remainingtravel of the shock gets softer the further it moves so the bumps get absorbed better. AT $80 each....the Bilsteins are well worth it. Best part is they are completely rebuildable and you can order your shocks set up any way you want them. Try that with the parts store brand ! or even KYB.

Your spring will cost about $250-400 more or less. Depends on new or used and where you buy it. Plenty out there. Easy to do. 30 minute job.
Look on FleaBay for used springs ad the usual Vette catalogs...all you need is the code for what you have now, and the chart that shows what replacements are available. The toe assy will make the car seem more "sure-footed" and stable but not softer.

if you;ve become used to the ride of the '84 with Z51....a different spring will feel like you;re in a TownCar.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:31 PM   #10
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O.K., thanks again for all the good advice. Heim jointed toe rod assembly and Bilstein shocks are on order. Hopefully my rides won't be quite as "exciting" after they're installed...
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredd1 View Post
O.K., thanks again for all the good advice. Heim jointed toe rod assembly and Bilstein shocks are on order. Hopefully my rides won't be quite as "exciting" after they're installed...
I know exactly what you;re referring to... !

Yrs ago I somehow failed to pull the left rear tie rod end all the way down into the knuckles hole. The nut went on and felt tight,. so the cotter pin was installed and forgotten about.
The car seemed to have a "weird" feel...something I couldn't quite figure out because it only happened at speed under certain circumstances...

It was the 1st trip driving in the rain that REALLY got my attention !

Each time I touched the gas on the freeway the car wanted to loop...the back end would try to swing around. Each time I let off the gas it tried to do the same thing...the other way. Scared to crap outta me. Finally got to SEE what was going on. I could hang out of the driver door and watch the rear wheel as I applied some throttle...and watch it tilt (toe in/out) almost 1/2" and it would go back inward as I let off. That was forcing the rear end to steer in a straight line and fight the opposite side wheel. In the rain it was just plain scarey.
I went back to find the tie rod end was able to work up & down in the hole and that being a tapered fit, gave a lot of slack to the toe setting...so the wheel could turn when torque was applied or released. Same thing as loose rods...if they will allow the rod end to move in or out..lets just say that rear steer is best left to boats..
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:30 PM   #12
fredd1
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Default Post Mortem of Rear Toe Rod inner joint

On the plus side it does corner well on right turns

FWIW, here's what the failed inner ball joint looks like:

Click the image to open in full size.

I have a feeling the tech doing a recent alignment might have torqued the connecting link to adjust the toe-in without putting a wrench on the inner link, and unscrewed the retainer (since the inner rod threads were seized up). Can anyone recommend a reliable alignment shop in central NJ?
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:30 PM
 
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