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Old 07-17-2013, 05:25 PM
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DIY adj control arms - Metalcloak Duroflex joints

This will be my thread walking through the building of an eventual full set of adjustable control arms using Metalcloak's Duroflex joints.

I say eventual because these are getting built in stages. The truth is, they are actually a bit cheaper to buy already built from MC; however, taking the DIY route is allowing me to spread the cost out for the materials, while still remaining productive with what I have in the meantime. It is also allowing me to select the DOM sizes and specific joints that I choose to use.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

My original plan was to use Currie Johnny Joints. It is no doubt the JJ has been the undisputed flex joint king for many years. With that said, I have been very intrigued by the reviews of the Metalcloak Duroflex joint. I am typically interested in trying newer things, and the majorly positive reviews make that an easy move for me.


I am starting with the rear upper arms. I have a SYE and CV ds sitting in boxes waiting to be installed and the rear uppers are one set of the two (lowers being the other) that I will need on hand to dial in the pinion.

After some deliberation, I decided to go with a single adjustable end....one end will have a fixed, welded on flex joint housing and the other will have a welded-in tube insert and a threaded flex joint.
I intend to follow this path for all of the sets of arms.
I decided on this route for a few reasons....simplicity, strength, and overall cost savings.

There were a couple conveniences I had to consider losing by not doing a double adjustable CA. One was that it is easier to adjust them with two adjustable ends. Another was that if I ever do a stretch, I could reuse the joints with new DOM tube and inserts and save the expense of rebuying joints.
My counter justifications for these are that once I do the initial length adjustments, I won't need to mess with them again and if I do a stretch/4-link, I will likely use all larger joints.



I started this build thread now because I just started receiving parts today.

I ordered the DOM and tube inserts from Ruff Stuff (cheapest prices and FAST shipping). And I of course the Duroflex joints from Metalcloak.

The DOM and inserts came in today.
I went with a 1.75"OD x .25"wall - 1.25"ID
And a corresponding 1.25" OD insert with 7/8" threaded shaft part.

Did I overdo the upper arms?





The Duroflex joints I am using going with are these:




2-1/4" OD x 2"W - 7/8" straight spud

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Old 07-18-2013, 07:44 AM   #2
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Interesting choice for material and joint size.....why not go with thinner wall tube and larger-shank joints? It'll work just fine but I'm partial to using the same shank size all around and just using smaller tube up top.

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Old 07-18-2013, 07:45 AM   #3
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Feel free to make me a set of the uppers too. LOL

Saw the pics of your TJ with new shoes. Looking great! When you gonna wheel it?
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
Interesting choice for material and joint size.....why not go with thinner wall tube and larger-shank joints? It'll work just fine but I'm partial to using the same shank size all around and just using smaller tube up top.
Honestly, I was thinking .120 wall tube would be too thin. I know the uppers don't see any contact, but wasn't sure the thickness would be up to the task. I do have the same OD DOM tube with .120" wall that I can use. Do you think I should use it instead...with a larger 1" shank? The only piece I have not ordered yet is the threaded joints.
Would it be worth using the thinner walled DOM to use a thicker shank (1" vs the 7/8" I planned on)?

I could've used a 1.5" OD tube, but with a 1" ID, I would still end up with a 7/8" shank from what I can see.

For the lowers, I was anticipating using MC's 1-1/4" shank joints.


I am definitely open to suggestions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by erickpl View Post
Feel free to make me a set of the uppers too. LOL

Saw the pics of your TJ with new shoes. Looking great! When you gonna wheel it?
Let me get these ironed out first and we'll talk

Thanks! In the shopping mode for a F 8.8 to build for the rear.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:29 AM   #5
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You already have the tube....it's not going to hurt a thing by using the thicker wall and smaller shanks....but the thinner wall tube would be lighter and well up to the task.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:32 AM   #6
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
You already have the tube....it's not going to hurt a thing by using the thicker wall and smaller shanks....but the thinner wall tube would be lighter and well up to the task.
Fair enough.
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
Interesting choice for material and joint size.....why not go with thinner wall tube and larger-shank joints? It'll work just fine but I'm partial to using the same shank size all around and just using smaller tube up top.
Does this mean you would use the .120 on uppers and .250 on lowers? Not arguing against it, just making sure I understand it before I place it in the knowledge vault.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:03 PM   #9
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When talking DOM tube, yes. I would and I do.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
When talking DOM tube, yes. I would and I do.
Sweet, thanks.
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
When talking DOM tube, yes. I would and I do.
What OD do you/would you use for the uppers and lowers?
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:51 PM
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Fixed end joints arrived today.


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Old 11-19-2013, 09:22 AM
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So I made a bone-headed move when I originally started this project. When I ordered the 1.75" OD tube, I did not realize the MC joint tube was only 1.5" wide.
I just only a week ago came back to this project to get working on it. Between the baby and new house, I just haven't had time to think about it.

I pulled out the tube and joint to get things laid out and that is when I realized my error.

Since I was already partially into the project, I went ahead and ordered some new DOM tube. Went with 1.5" OD tube and tube adapters. I will bevel the edge of the tube before welding to the joint sleeve to gain a larger weld surface.

The new tube and adapters showed up yesterday.

I also got a call from Metal Cloak yesterday thanking me for my order and letting me know they were working on my order.
I know MC is known for 2-3 week lead times, so no worries there. I figure I will get started on the fixed joint end, and then when the threaded joints come in, I will take final measurements to trim the DOM where I will start with stock 13.5" minimum length.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:10 PM
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So let's try this again. Here is the new DOM and adapters.

I suppose I still went overkill with the 1/4" wall tube. It leaves me with a 7/8" joint thread vs. a 1" shank that would've been possible with 1/8" wall tube. I am hoping I don't find any reason to regret that decision.
The DOM is 12" long, which is the minimum length anyone offers. I will have to trim a little from each tube to aid in reaching the overall minimum control arm length.

I ordered the material from Barnes4wd and they don't offer tube adapters with a hex end for using a wrench with the jamb nut. Rather than making two separate orders with different companies, I just went with the standard adapters. Since I have a fixed joint end, I should be fine without the hex-end adapter.
Barnes has the best shipped price on DOM I have found. They only offer three sizes, but they are common use sizes.


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Old 11-27-2013, 10:08 PM
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The threaded links showed up today. Pretty excited to get these welded up.


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Old 11-27-2013, 11:22 PM   #16
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Looks like they will be nice and beefy!
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Old 11-28-2013, 01:23 AM   #17
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Double adjustable would be nice! Just turn to adjust!
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:43 AM
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Double adjustable would be nice, but I will tough through the adjustment process.
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Old 11-29-2013, 03:04 PM   #19
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How much do the joints run. Might b interested n making me some been thinking about it to get rid of those crappy skyjacker arms
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Old 11-30-2013, 06:21 AM
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98 TJ, it is cheaper to buy them ready to go vs the way I am doing these. From the start, my intent was to build them myself for the experience of the project, but also to spread the cost out.
The DOM and tube inserts come to about $30 shipped. The weld-on joints are like $75 shipped for the pair, and the threaded joints were about $130 shipped for the pair.
Then you have to cut and weld to assemble, and then paint or powdercoat.
Theirs are already done for that same price.

If you just want the fab project or are trying to spread the cost out, this makes sense. Otherwise, just buy them ready to install.
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Old 11-30-2013, 06:40 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXST8tj View Post
98 TJ, it is cheaper to buy them ready to go vs the way I am doing these. From the start, my intent was to build them myself for the experience of the project, but also to spread the cost out.
The DOM and tube inserts come to about $30 shipped. The weld-on joints are like $75 shipped for the pair, and the threaded joints were about $130 shipped for the pair.
Then you have to cut and weld to assemble, and then paint or powdercoat.
Theirs are already done for that same price.

If you just want the fab project or are trying to spread the cost out, this makes sense. Otherwise, just buy them ready to install.
Yea I saw them. Which size ones did u get that will fit in the mount I may just buy a set of the joints themselves to replace the chromolly hiems in my rear upper adjustable arms then buy a set at a time.
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 98 tj sport View Post
Yea I saw them. Which size ones did u get that will fit in the mount I may just buy a set of the joints themselves to replace the chromolly hiems in my rear upper adjustable arms then buy a set at a time.
the 2.25" x 2" joints fit in the upper mounts. You will need to see what diameter your threaded end is on your SJ arms. They have 3/4", 7/8", and 1" shanks available in that joint size.

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Hmm, I would of thought the were cheaper to make. Actually deleted my last post but missed your last comment on pricing.
I think a lot of people probably think that at first. Once you source all the parts and add it up, they are basically doing the welding and coating for no cost (compared to doing it yourself).

If you are doing custom arms, obviously this is the only option. I am however just making a set of adjustable arms that will be the same length as they offer.
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Old 09-02-2016, 02:50 PM
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Decided to resurrect this project. I honestly just kinda forgot about it. There has been so much else going on, sometimes I forget how many unfinished projects I have.

The threaded inserts are burned in place. Now to cut and notch the other end to make way for the fixed end.

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Old 09-11-2016, 06:07 PM
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I got the tube cut to length and the notching done. I beveled the outside edges. I am hoping to be able to get a bead on there without screwing up the snap ring indent.

I ordered a 7/8"-14 tap to chase the tube insert threads. It should be in tomorrow.

In hindsight, I should've used 1.25" tube for this project instead of 1.5". While considering whether to scrap my progress and start over with smaller OD tube, I can easily find 1.25" OD tube with matching tube inserts, but the DOM is only .120 wall. I know that is very common for steering parts, but I don't know that I have seen anyone use that for upper control arms.
MC uses 1.25" OD, .188 wall tube for their upper arms. I can find the tube, but can't find the inserts for that OD/ID combo.











My Harbor Freight tube notcher that actually works pretty good once you modify it to align the hole saw with the centerline of the tube (a couple washers).

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Old 09-12-2016, 03:41 PM
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Went for it. Pulled it off without damaging the snap ring groove.
Also chased the threads with the new $45 tap.

Just need to buff them out a bit and have them coated.


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Old 09-12-2016, 05:12 PM
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So with the fab portion of this project complete, here are some things I can tell the next person thinking about building homemade Metalcloak TJ rear upper control arms.....


I completed these with 1.5", .250 (1/4") wall DOM tube and tube insert for a 7/8"-14 thread.
I used a 2" wide fixed end, weld-on bushing and a 2" wide adjustable bushing with 7/8" shank. They do not offer the 7/8" shank any longer.




Metalcloak builds their arms with 1.25" OD, .188 (3/16") wall DOM tube. They use the following joints....

fixed end - $39/ea
2" OD x 2" W Duroflex Joint, 2 1/4" Housing


adjustable end - $59/ea
2 5/8" OD x 2 5/16" W Duroflex Joint, 1 1/4" Straight Rod




The adjustable end has a 1" shank. The only weld-in tube inserts I have found are for a 1.25" ID, which pretty much means you would be stuck with 1.5" OD tube....unless you have the ends threaded, which is a good idea, but not as accessible as welding in a bung.
The issue with the 1.5" OD tube that I ran into is the lateral width of the weld-on bushing tube is also 1.5" wide. This makes it difficult to get a full weld bead along the outer edge. 1.25" OD tube would allow a generous weld platform.


Doing this project over today, considering the materials that are available, I would buy the 1.25" OD, .188 wall tube and have it threaded to work with the 1" shank of the joint that is available. For joints and tube, you're looking around $250 shipped. I don't know what the threading would cost.
The arms ready to go from Metalcloak will run you $308 to your door.
With the cost of materials, threading, and whatever you choose for coating, it is quite possible you would be at or above the shipped price for a set ready to go from MC.


My justification for doing it the way I did was #1 to spread the cost out by purchasing a little here and there. #2 was to educate myself on this process.
At the end of the day, if you are building custom length arms, this is the only way to go, but if you are building stock length +/-, just buy them ready to go from MC.
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Old 09-12-2016, 05:50 PM   #28
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Nice ??
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Old 09-12-2016, 05:51 PM   #29
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Had a thumbs up not sure why question marks popped up but nice work
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:57 PM
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haha. Glad they are almost done.

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