5 Ways Adjustable Control Arms Will Improve Your Ride Quality
Optimising your vehicle's appearance and performance with top-quality upper control arms is a wise investment. While adjustable control arms undoubtedly enhance aesthetics, their functional significance is paramount. If you're curious about the manifold benefits they bring, our expert team is here to guide you. Dive into this blog to unravel the realm of upper control arms, gain insights into their operational mechanisms, and discover how they can elevate your 4x4 driving experience.
What Are Control Arms?
To kick things off, let's delve into the world of control arms and what they entail. Control arms are pivotal constituents within your vehicle's front suspension system. In simple terms, they serve as the vital linkage connecting your front wheels to the chassis of your car. One extremity of the control arm interfaces with the wheel assembly, while the opposite end establishes a connection with your vehicle's framework.
As the nomenclature suggests, the upper control arm affixes to the uppermost region of the front wheel, while the lower control arm secures the lower section of the front wheel. Both arms, in turn, fasten to the car's framework. In the contemporary automotive landscape, comprehensive upper and lower control arm kits are readily available.
Furthermore, you might come across the notion of adjustable control arms. These components are akin to conventional control arms but possess the unique ability to be easily adjusted, enabling you to attain a range of height settings for an enhanced driving experience.
Why You Need Adjustable Control Arms for a Better Ride
Now that we’ve established what control arms are let’s look at the ways they can improve your ride quality.
1. Enhanced Wheel Alignment Precision
A frequently underestimated advantage of integrating adjustable control arms is their pivotal role in achieving precise wheel alignment. Particularly in the case of elevated vehicles like 4WDs, restoring them to their factory-specified alignment parameters can be a daunting task, if not an insurmountable one. The ingenious design of adjustable control arms resolves this challenge by introducing a slightly altered geometry compared to the factory configuration. This unique adjustability not only facilitates the restoration of factory specifications but also bestows an elevated degree of flexibility in aligning your vehicle. For example, you can fine-tune the caster angle to accommodate larger wheels with ease.
2. Enhanced Coil Clearance for Optimal Performance
Upgrading your vehicle with new coilovers can significantly elevate the performance of your front suspension. Thanks to their larger diameter bodies, aftermarket coilovers boast a greater shock fluid capacity, which enhances cooling efficiency. Additionally, these coilovers typically feature larger pistons, affording superior damping control. However, while improved cooling and damping control offer clear advantages, the increased size of shock bodies can lead to clearance challenges when the factory control arms are still in place. These issues may remain inconspicuous until your suspension system faces complete failure, potentially causing damage to the new coilovers and incurring substantial repair costs.
To preemptively address this concern, investing in high-quality aftermarket control arms proves a judicious choice. These specialized control arms are expertly engineered to accommodate larger coilovers, ensuring seamless clearance and safeguarding your suspension system from potential mishaps.
3. Exemplary Quality Surpassing Factory Control Arms
As with many mass-produced automotive components, upper control arms are manufactured to a predetermined standard, prioritizing rapid and cost-effective production to bolster car manufacturers' profit margins. Consequently, factory-installed models are often crafted from economical steel, offering a sufficient degree of strength. While this level of robustness may suffice for everyday road driving, it proves suboptimal for individuals who relish off-road escapades. In contrast, adjustable control arms exhibit a significantly higher level of durability when compared to their standard stock counterparts. These upper control arms boast superior design and are constructed from premium materials, such as billet aluminum or Chromoly steel, elevating their overall quality and resilience.
4. Enhanced Ball Joints for Exceptional Strength
Aftermarket adjustable control arms also excel in terms of durability, primarily due to their superior ball joints. These enhanced components deliver added resilience, assuring you of the control arm's reliability. Although it's worth noting that they may experience slightly accelerated wear compared to standard ball joints, their substantially heightened robustness grants peace of mind and eliminates concerns about control arm failure.
5. Unlocking Wheel Travel
On a related note, not only are the ball joints in aftermarket control arms stronger than those in the factory-installed models, but they also tend to have a broader range of motion. This additional room for movement means that the suspension can access its full range of motion without any binding. Therefore, adjustable control arms essentially enable you to get every centimetre of wheel travel available out of your suspension, particularly when you also use extended travel coilovers.
How Do Adjustable Control Arms Work?
Now we’ve established some of the main benefits for those who buy adjustable upper control arms, it’s time to understand how exactly they work to ensure you get the most out of yours.
1. How They Work
Each control arm is affixed to the vehicle frame through a pair of control arm bushings, enabling vertical movement. At the opposing end, the control arm is securely connected to a steel spindle. This spindle serves as the anchoring point for your vehicle's front wheel. In the case of non-strut-equipped vehicles, the spindle links with both the upper and lower control arms via a ball joint mechanism. This ball joint consists of a steel ball ensconced within a steel socket, facilitating the spindle and front wheel's pivotal left and right rotation. Consequently, this system enables the wheels to traverse the undulating terrain of the road, moving both upward and downward as needed.
2. Coil Spring
Furthermore, a robust steel coil spring is nestled within a designated spring socket, snugly positioned between the control arm and the car's frame. This steadfast steel coil spring bears the responsibility of supporting the vehicle's weight and delivers the essential shock-absorbing cushioning required to smoothen your ride over bumps and uneven terrain.
One of the outstanding advantages of opting for adjustable control arms lies in the flexibility it offers to modify attachment points on the frame. This customization allows you to achieve precise alignment for your control arms, bushings, and ball joints, tailored to the unique needs of your vehicle. It is paramount to seek the expertise of a certified mechanic when adjusting control arms, as their proficiency ensures the proper alignment of the front end, enabling your car to maintain a straight course on the road.
What About Installing & Adjusting Your Control Arms?
When it comes to the installation of control arms, it's crucial to recognise that each vehicle presents a unique set of challenges, and the level of complexity in replacing control arms can vary. In most scenarios, replacing an entire control arm assembly proves more straightforward than swapping out a single ball joint or a set of control arm bushings.
Engaging the services of a qualified mechanic is strongly advised because, without the appropriate tools, even seemingly simple tasks like bushing replacements can quickly escalate into unwieldy endeavors. Initial progress may seem promising, but before you know it, you could find yourself grappling with a broken vise or encountering other DIY mishaps.
Hence, opting for the complete control arm assembly replacement is the recommended course of action. While certain control arm repairs may be manageable in a home driveway setting, more intricate cases may demand greater skill and access to specialized tools that most individuals lack in their home workshops. If you're new to this type of replacement, having a comprehensive service manual at your disposal can prove immensely valuable.
Likewise, gaining confidence in adjusting your control arms may take some time, but with the aid of a manual specific to your adjustable control arms and professional guidance during your initial attempts, you'll soon become proficient. Ultimately, your goal is to fine-tune the caster on each side, a process that also influences the ball joint settings.
Are You Ready to Try Adjustable Control Arms With Your 4WD?
In a nutshell, the installation of adjustable control arms offers a multitude of advantages when it comes to enhancing your off-road experience with Brixton 4x4 Adventure. These arms effectively resolve alignment issues, fortify your vehicle's suspension system, and equip it to conquer challenging terrain. If you're aiming to elevate the off-road prowess of your 4WD, the inclusion of adjustable control arms is an undeniable choice.