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Old November 15th, 2009, 07:52 AM   #1
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Default Currie's Johnny Joints or Ballistic's Ballistic Joints?

I'm ditching the leaf springs and going 4 link very soon. Can't decide which joints to go with, so I need some advice.

They appear to be almost identical in every way. Both forged housing. Same basic dimensions. No doubt, both a great product.

The ballistic joints appears to have a few advantages:
5/8" hole available (instead of only 9/16")
threaded retainer (instead of snap ring) allows you to adjust out play from wear instead of replacing the races
better races (?) available
possibly a better warranty

Price is not an issue, they are so close to the same.

How about customer service between the two companies?

http://www.currieenterprises.com/CES...nnyjoints.aspx

http://www.ballisticfabrication.com/...nt_p_1636.html

Has anybody ever worn out or broken a Johnny Joint?

Any info is appreciated.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 08:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knaffie View Post
Has anybody ever worn out or broken a Johnny Joint?

Any info is appreciated.
Yes. I have Ballistic's. I'm not real happy with them. I have the 9/16" version with the threaded retainer on one side and the spiral ring on the other. I've been running them for about 1 1/2 years and within a couple months I started to feel like they were loose. Not really a big deal but just seemed sort of sloppy. At that time, I was on vacation so I just tightened them up with a chisel without actually pulling them out. Certainly not a good way to verify consistent settings.

I've replaced the poly inserts in my upper front (3-link) because they were oval-ed out real bad. The first time I found it oval-ed, I was out of town on a trip & just tried to tighten the retainer real tight. After a couple runs, I discovered that the spiral ring was half pushed out so I've determined that they can't be tightened as much as I would like.

I wouldn't consider myself an extreme wheeler. My wheeling is a mix of sand dunes, local Michigan parks, trail riding and 4-6 trips out of state per year. I manage to wheel in some fashion about 15 timer per year. I don't do a lot of highway driving, just the usual from a campground to trail (5-30 miles) and the occasional trip into town for some ice cream. It's definitely not a daily driver.

I'm about to pull all the rear links and suspect they will all need to be changed. I'm going to take a closer look at where I need full swivel on both ends and where I can use the rubber bushed version. The panhard bar can go to bushing for sure.

I plan to look at a better way to retain the spiral ring side of the insert. Without spending tons of money, the best repair for the moment will be to tack the spiral ring into place. I'm also looking at making my own replacement for the poly insert. We use a specialty bronze material at work that is a very high wear material. (not ampco) So, I'm thinking of making a run of those inserts to try them out. The down side may be that these are not forgiving at all and will have a negative effect on ride and life.

I know Tab has run the Currie's for about a year now & I think he's happy with them. I know I've got a few more runs on mine than Tab so I'm not sure how good a direct comparison can be made.

I've got no knowledge of heims. Some like them, others don't.

Jim
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Old November 15th, 2009, 08:28 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info. Do you have the injection molded races, or the solid nylatron races?
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Old November 15th, 2009, 08:49 AM   #4
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So far I do like my Curries. I have the 9/16 versions with only the 1" shaft. I got the 1" because I already had my lower link tube here from some other projects and that was the size that best worked for the inserts. I have had no real wear issues (I just went over them last month) but I have bent one shank but it was more due to the jam nut being knocked loose by a rock. Jim has a lot more trips and miles on his though, plus a couple of extra ponies although I beat on it pretty hard I still have the stock 4.0L.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 09:14 AM   #5
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I have these

http://www.ballisticfabrication.com/...it_p_1229.html

You can see the voids from the injection molding. To me, this makes them weaker.

I can't find replacement billet ones which may be the better solution to try. If you see where they have them, a link would be great.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 09:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
I have these

http://www.ballisticfabrication.com/...it_p_1229.html

You can see the voids from the injection molding. To me, this makes them weaker.

I can't find replacement billet ones which may be the better solution to try. If you see where they have them, a link would be great.
I have not seen billet (as in metal) races. If you originally had the injection molded ones to start with, the nylatron ones you linked to would be a nice improvement.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 09:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tab View Post
So far I do like my Curries. I have the 9/16 versions with only the 1" shaft. I got the 1" because I already had my lower link tube here from some other projects and that was the size that best worked for the inserts. I have had no real wear issues (I just went over them last month) but I have bent one shank but it was more due to the jam nut being knocked loose by a rock. Jim has a lot more trips and miles on his though, plus a couple of extra ponies although I beat on it pretty hard I still have the stock 4.0L.
How long have you been using them for? Approximately how many days on the trail and/or miles on the road?
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Old November 15th, 2009, 09:50 AM   #8
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I've been running JJ's on my XJ for about 3 years now, trail only, maybe 30-40days of use and still run like they are brand new. I went back and forth in my selection and was a little apprehensive about the non-adjustable design of the JJ's but to this point I am completely happy with my purchase.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 09:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by knaffie View Post
How long have you been using them for? Approximately how many days on the trail and/or miles on the road?
I have had my jeep running about 16 months. Probably about 40 days or so off road and maybe 100 miles on road. About 400 miles total I would guess.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 10:26 AM   #10
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Great info guys, keep it coming. My decision keeps getting easier.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 11:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knaffie View Post
I have not seen billet (as in metal) races. If you originally had the injection molded ones to start with, the nylatron ones you linked to would be a nice improvement.
The one I posted says it's injected molded nylatron. Looks like the smaller ones are injected & the larger ones are billet.

Ballistic joint rebuild kit includes two Nylatron GS races for rebuilding either the 2.63" Heavy Duty Ballistic Joint or the 3.0" Ultra Duty Ballistic Joint. 2.63" is injection molded and 3.0" is machined from solid billet nylatron.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 11:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
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I have had my jeep running about 16 months. Probably about 40 days or so off road and maybe 100 miles on road. About 400 miles total I would guess.
Yes, and all the hardcore stuff driven by his wife.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 11:31 AM   #13
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Hardkore nontheless. Nomatter who's driving.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 12:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post

I've replaced the poly inserts in my upper front (3-link) because they were oval-ed out real bad. The first time I found it oval-ed, I was out of town on a trip & just tried to tighten the retainer real tight. After a couple runs, I discovered that the spiral ring was half pushed out so I've determined that they can't be tightened as much as I would like.
The problem you are probably having with the races is that the two halves are bottomed out against one another and there isn't any more room for them to compress on the ball itself to tighten them up. The design of those cheap races arent very good, sure they are a nice selling feature but the races really need to be solid like they do in the 3.0" ones. If you were to make new races out of Delrin instead of some oil impregrated bronze you would solve all of your issues. If you make replacement races out of a metal I think you'll tear up the "nickel" coating on the center ball and cause more issues. The only thing that needs to be done is take .050" or so off the mating faces of the 2 halves and then add that onto the back side effectively shallowing the seat that the center ball rides in, that way the halves wont bottom out when they wear.


Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
I'm about to pull all the rear links and suspect they will all need to be changed. I'm going to take a closer look at where I need full swivel on both ends and where I can use the rubber bushed version. The panhard bar can go to bushing for sure.
Why would you replace what's there with a rubber bushing? Using a metal race will get you a glorified heim and that wouldnt make sense. Using rubber bushings will either cause more issues with things deflecting or cause jam nuts to loosen up all the time by forcing one end to all the work


Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
I plan to look at a better way to retain the spiral ring side of the insert. Without spending tons of money, the best repair for the moment will be to tack the spiral ring into place.
By "spiral ring" do you mean the threaded side for adjustment? Have you tried loc-tite? Ballistic changed the design on those, they went to a bigger set screw. If you get into tacking the adjuster ring on I think you're going to screw the threads up pretty quickly.


You can get currie joints with a 5/8" through bolt, you just have to order them that way.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #15
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No, it won't be oil impregnated bronze. Totally different stuff that we use for high loads in the steel mills. And, I don't think it will hurt the nickel plating. It's an experiment I'm willing to try. Taking .050" off of these would cause a worse problem as the ball would start breaking into the voids.

No, I'm not running out of travel on the current nylatron ones. They are wearing in an oval pattern. I guess I'll have to post a pic to show what I mean. I also think the cavities in the current injection molded ones allow them to deflect too much.

Without knowing the characteristics of the nylatron versus delrin & UHMW, it's hard to say which is better. All of the trade name plastics have various grades.

The track bar swings in one basic axis which means it doesn't need the amount of motion that other joints do. With the unique bends in my track bar, every time I look at it, it's cocked in one direction or another. I'll see what the joints look like when I take it apart.

No, it has a spiral ring on one side and a spanner nut on the other side. The spiral ring pushed out. Loc-tite doesn't help in that application. Nor is there a set screw or threads to screw up in that area.

I guess I'll go snap some pics.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 01:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
No, it won't be oil impregnated bronze. Totally different stuff that we use for high loads in the steel mills. And, I don't think it will hurt the nickel plating. It's an experiment I'm willing to try. Taking .050" off of these would cause a worse problem as the ball would start breaking into the voids.

No, I'm not running out of travel on the current nylatron ones. They are wearing in an oval pattern. I guess I'll have to post a pic to show what I mean. I also think the cavities in the current injection molded ones allow them to deflect too much.
When you make new ones, change them so they arent a direct copy of the current ones. The hollow design is the problem, not the material, like you have found. they deform too easily. I still think the two halves are bottomed out and therefore not preloading the ball enough and allowing them to oval out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post

Without knowing the characteristics of the nylatron versus delrin & UHMW, it's hard to say which is better. All of the trade name plastics have various grades.
"hard plastic" vs. "self lubricating metal" is all I was trying to differentiate between.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
The track bar swings in one basic axis which means it doesn't need the amount of motion that other joints do. With the unique bends in my track bar, every time I look at it, it's cocked in one direction or another. I'll see what the joints look like when I take it apart.
Each end moves in it's own path, without looking at it one end might move more than the other in any given direction but what good is one bushing going to do? Why not just make replacement races out a "hard plastic material" and tighten one side up a little more than the other, that should take care of any flopping going on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post

No, it has a spiral ring on one side and a spanner nut on the other side. The spiral ring pushed out. Loc-tite doesn't help in that application. Nor is there a set screw or threads to screw up in that area.
I thought they had a machined shoulder that a hardened washer bottomed out against? I must be confused... either way, have you tried replacing it with a cir-clip?

Pics would help.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 01:35 PM   #17
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I can't help you much with the joints, but I ordered some high steer arms from ballistic and it took them nearly 3 weeks to get here. I called after about a week and a half and they said "oh... uh yea, their getting put in the mail today."

I hear this is a pretty typical problem for them.

I really like their stuff though.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 02:08 PM   #18
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OK, since the Lions are losing, took some pics and found something interesting while I was at it.

First, a new bushing from a purchased rebuild kit and a worn out one. Pretty easy to see the wear.



Another one.



When I looked at the back side I was surprised to see that the original bushing is the injected style with the voids and the replacement one is solid. I may solve the problem with just replacing with solid ones.



Regarding the backing, threads, spiral lock, here is the spanner side.



Here is the spiral lock side. It is a spiral ring into a snap ring groove. A washer butts up against. I don't think it shows in the pic but I can see where the washer has deformed, causing yet another problem.

By the way, a cir-clip is not as effective holding an axial load as a spiral ring.



Regarding my track bar, here is the track bar on the frame side. See how it's cocked? It's always that way. I think a bushed joint at the adjustable end would solve this but still allow it to flex enough.



Here it is at the axle end.

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Old November 15th, 2009, 02:29 PM   #19
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TSC, tractor hiems, problem solved.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95geo View Post
I still think the two halves are bottomed out and therefore not preloading the ball enough and allowing them to oval out.
I had measured one up completely but I'll be damned if I can find the drawing. It might be at work. Therefore, I can't determine the actual ball size. So, I did some simple measurements. You can lay them out if you're so inclined. Using the replacement bushing shown in the pic, I measured it up. Keep in mind I'm using calipers, by eye on a piece of plastic.
Large dia measures roughly 1.776.
Small dia measures roughly 1.275
There is a land on the small diameter. It looks to be offset from the back side by about .060
Bushing thickness is roughly .556

Using those numbers, you can lay out points & create an arc. I came up with a ball dimension of roughly 1.75". I looked on the Ballistic site but can't find that measurement anywhere.

Mirror the bushing around the center of a 1.75 ball & you come up close to .25" between bushings. Take my numbers as being way off & there's still going to be 3/16 or so gap between the bushings. Note the pic of the spanner wrench plate in the pics above and you can see that there's no way the spanner nut is crimped in 1/4".

I had also checked it when I had it apart & found the gap to be pretty significant. At the moment, I can't remember the number.

Trust me, they're not touching.
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