Lubricating Control Arm Rod Ends

Joel K

Supporter
Looking for some advice on what to lubricate the bolts that go through the control arm rod ends with. I assume there should be some type of lube needed and wonder what others recommend.

Thanks for the help. See a pic of control arms below....

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Brian Kissel

Lifetime Supporter
I have used Cerulean grease with success on rod ends and the bolts going through them for sometime. I previously used other grease, and would end up with squeaking rod ends. Just my opinion, yours and others may vary. There is also a discussion about it here.

Regards Brian
 

Joel K

Supporter
I have used Cerulean grease with success on rod ends and the bolts going through them for sometime. I previously used other grease, and would end up with squeaking rod ends. Just my opinion, yours and others may vary. There is also a discussion about it here.

Regards Brian
Thanks Brian, another question. The more I think about it and look at the rod end control arms, I guess the way it works is the ball of the rod ends are torqued tight between the safety washers and the control arm rod end then rotates on the ball. So in this case the ball does not rotate on the bolt that goes through the ball. Do I have it right?
 

Mike Pass

Supporter
For all metal ball joints a good medium grease. If the joint has plastic liners use a silicone base grease that won't affect/swell the plastic liner.
**Any joint used in dirty/dusty conditions the lubricant becomes grinding paste so regular cleaning or use rubber boots. I still remember changing every single joint (about 20) on a Sports 2000 car that had been used regularly in very dusty conditions where the grease/grinding paste had worn out all the joints.
eg.

Cheers
Mike
 

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Howard Jones

Supporter
The only thing that should be moving is the rod end ball in it's cavity. Nothing else. Other wise:


Or:


Ya another point of view:


Last one:

 
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Neil

Supporter
I prefer spherical rod end bearings that have a self-lubricating "plastic" liner. No lubrication is necessary and the clearance between the ball and socket is nil so dirt & dust does not enter the bearing surface. Of course, like any bearing, it will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. For metal-to-metal rod ends, a lubricant such as "Dri-Slide" is good. It is basically molybdenum disulfide powder finely dispersed in a volatile carrier. The liquid penetrates into the bearing and then evaporates, leaving a dry film that doesn't attract & hold dust.
 
you don't need anything - my rod ends on my sl-c have been fine since ~2010, same on my cobra (~2006), installed them just as is.

but if your safety washers are aluminum make sure you anti-seize the hell out of them, otherwise they'll probably seize on to the bolt when you torque it (then you get the fun of smashing the bolt out with a hammer) ... i replaced all my aluminum safety washers with zinc plated ones and never had a problem again.
 

Terry Oxandale

Skinny Man
Supporter
I prefer spherical rod end bearings that have a self-lubricating "plastic" liner. No lubrication is necessary and the clearance between the ball and socket is nil so dirt & dust does not enter the bearing surface. Of course, like any bearing, it will eventually wear out and need to be replaced.
I concur. I don't daily drive my projects, but of all those that started out with lined rod ends (as far back as the '90s when I could begin to afford them) I not once had to replace any of them due to wear. The non-lined ones, within a year would loosen significantly, and worse within 3 years. I could never keep debris out of the non-lined ends, and never did any maintenance on the lined ones.
 
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Joel K

Supporter
you don't need anything - my rod ends on my sl-c have been fine since ~2010, same on my cobra (~2006), installed them just as is.

but if your safety washers are aluminum make sure you anti-seize the hell out of them, otherwise they'll probably seize on to the bolt when you torque it (then you get the fun of smashing the bolt out with a hammer) ... i replaced all my aluminum safety washers with zinc plated ones and never had a problem again.
Thanks Alex, I see a few others have done this as well. The steel are a bit heavier than the aluminum, but considering I am building a street car I’d rather have the ease of maintenance and if I have to take these apart I like the fact there is zero chance of the washers seizing.
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
DO NOT USE ALUMINUM ROD ENDS for suspension applications...…….ever!!!! They will not bend, they just snap! Right into the fence! Quality chrome molly for anything loaded by the suspension traveling ...………..
 

Joel K

Supporter
DO NOT USE ALUMINUM ROD ENDS for suspension applications...…….ever!!!! They will not bend, they just snap! Right into the fence! Quality chrome molly for anything loaded by the suspension traveling ...………..
Thanks Howard, I think we are talking about the safety washers and not rod ends made out of aluminum. On a slightly different topic, I tried aluminum rod ends on my 1/4 scale RC cars To save unsprung weight and you tap anything while racing and they just break/snap and that’s in a 30 pound car doing only 40mph!
 

Neil

Supporter
The problem with aluminum rod end bearings is the shorter fatigue like of aluminum compared with steel.
 
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