"Softball" Control Arm bushings - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums
E31 850 CSi and E24 M635 CSi M635 CSi (E24) 1983-89 and 850 CSi (E31) 1992-96. The Ultimate Grand Turismo by BMW M.

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post #1 of 14 Old 26th November 2012, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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"Softball" Control Arm bushings

Everyone has heard about the spherical ball joint upper control arm bushings being used in the E24/E28/7 series/8 series. Typically these are solid metal machined bushings with a spherical ball joint installed. They are a considerable improvement over the standard BMW bushings, modified 750 bushings, and even the solid urethane parts. In E39 M5 circles these are often called "monoballs" (aka Dinan). I call them "hardballs" because they have no give and can transmit a lot of harshness and road noise into the cabin. I am also concerned that over the long run, these will induce metal fatigue and cracking in the mounting sheetmetal in our cars, particulalry the older 80's vintage vehicles.


Some years back (mid to late 80's), Frank Fahey invented a considerable improvement over the "monoball" or hardball design. It consisted of a layer of urethane bonded between two metal sleeves. The outer sleeve pressed into the control arm, and inner sleeve was used to mount a spherical ball joint, as in the monoball. The advantage was you had some cushioning of shock from the front axle to the body, but still had the suspension control of the monoball construction. He also built monoballs for his race cars but found them too noisy for street use. He stopped production in the late 80's as popularity of those cars decreased.

Fast forward to 2007/2008, I resurrected the "softball" design after considerable discussion with Frank. I was sick and tired of replacing control arm bushings every 30k mi or so. So I built about 5 pairs of bushings as prototypes and sent a few pairs to Frank for installation in his customer cars for long term testing (even though he still has customers with his original 80's version that are going strong) as we wanted to be sure the urethane would hold up. My prototypes were built with the latest in urethane bonding technology which was not available in Frank's early products. I have had a set in my Dinan E24 M635 since 2007 and they are going strong. I have about 40K mi on them and the only issue I have had is a bit of stiction noise (due to the tight tolerance of the Aurora bearings I use). The problem was resolved with a little teflon grease on the ball (and no need to pull the arms from the car!!!). I found out Frank is using one set in his 840 and is very happy with the results.

I am considering cranking up production if there is enough interest. I also am planning to extend the design to the E39/X5 vehicles as well. Any feedback would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 14 Old 1st January 2013, 04:39 AM
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D'Arcy,

I own 3 E24 M6's and 1 E31 1997 840Ci same as (Frank's 840Ci)

I will be definitely using your amazing product !

So far I am using the East Cost vendor making the Hard Design and they are very harsh and not as good as your !

I will be seeing you soon to pick up the parts my friend they are mine.

Go for in production can't go wrong E24 E28 E31 E34 E53 E39... !

Regards
Anri

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post #3 of 14 Old 14th February 2013, 02:43 AM
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Hello. I am interested. Do you have any already made up? What is/would be the cost of a set?

Are you doing only the UCA or the LCAs as well?

Thanks,

Eric
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post #4 of 14 Old 15th February 2013, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericono View Post
Hello. I am interested. Do you have any already made up? What is/would be the cost of a set?

Are you doing only the UCA or the LCAs as well?

Thanks,

Eric
I have one spare set from the original prototype runs available. These are for use only in the upper control arm (thrust arm). You can use the 850/840 lower control arm for the LCA. It already has a spherical joint in it and is aluminum as well. I am using a set on my E24 M635. BMW part number for the 840/850 LCA is
31 12 1 138 478/477.

Please PM me for pricing and payment info.

D'Arcy

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post #5 of 14 Old 15th February 2013, 04:39 PM
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Unfortunately I can't PM as I don't have the required # of posts yet. I can read PMs though. Could you PM me an email address? I have some other questions for you. I am still interested. I am a mechanical engineer and by trade am somewhat anal about understanding how things work. Sorry if I ask too many questions.

Thanks,

Eric
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post #6 of 14 Old 15th February 2013, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericono View Post
Unfortunately I can't PM as I don't have the required # of posts yet. I can read PMs though. Could you PM me an email address? I have some other questions for you. I am still interested. I am a mechanical engineer and by trade am somewhat anal about understanding how things work. Sorry if I ask too many questions.

Thanks,

Eric
I did PM you but I don't know if you got my reply. Post an email address where I can reach you and I'll send you standard email.

No problem about the questions. I am an engineer myself so I understand where you are coming from.
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post #7 of 14 Old 18th February 2013, 01:58 PM
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post #8 of 14 Old 19th February 2013, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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post #9 of 14 Old 27th February 2013, 03:49 AM
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Sorry for the delay. Somehow I can't find your email, can you send me another one?

Thanks,

Eric
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post #10 of 14 Old 27th February 2013, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ericono View Post
Sorry for the delay. Somehow I can't find your email, can you send me another one?

Thanks,

Eric
Sent you another. Hope I got your address right. I used underscores (_) between ronin/ono and ono/usa, correct?

The first part of your address reminds me of that geat movie Ronin, especailly that car chase with the E34 M5 (driven by that IRA chick Diedre).
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