Volume X, Issue 7, Page 89

Check out part one here.

In the last issue of giant DRO, we took an initial look at aftermarket front suspension a-arms.  The truth is, stock front suspension bits that rolled off the Detroit assembly line were not (and still are not) exactly optimized for trips down the straight and narrow.  Case-in-point: Camber change as the front end goes through its travel during a wheel stand.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientest to note how goofy the front wheels look on some cars as they dangle in the air.  With some of these combinations, as the car comes down to earth, the drama can unfold rather quickly as the car comes crashing down to earth.  Usually, it manifests itself as hairline cracks on stock a-arms.  That’s one good reason why top of the line materials are important when it comes to front suspension hardware. Ditto with the welds and finishing.  A-arms are no place for bird crap welds and poor material choices.

The other big issue with a-arms is controlling the suspension travel.  Too much travel can be a good thing on low powered cars, but increasing the horsepower and simulataneously increasing the hook can result in unwanted wheelstands.  In some racing categories (plenty of “street car” setups), wheelie bars are prohibited.  Yup. It’s entertainment for the masses, unless of course, you’re trying to steer a 1500+ HP monster on the back bumper.    That’s where you really need some form of travel limter. 

So far so good.  What follows is a close look at those topics and more.  Check it out . You won’t regret it.

You can’t see it here, but both the upper and lower a-arms are constructed from chrome moly (4130) steel.  Each arm is assembled in a fixture (in fact, more than one), then TIG welded.  Not all a-arms out there are built from chrome moly. Many are constructed from mild steel.  Some of the less drag race oriented arms available have large diameter tubing and many are wire welded (and quite a few aren’t exactly what you’d consider good looking).  Once complete, these Autofab a-arms are detailed and sent off to be powder coated in a hammer-tone finish.  It’s a durable setup.  Light too.  Depending upon the application and the configuration, you can cut as much as 30-35 pounds off the nose of your race car with such a setup (compared to a stock system, as shown in the second photo).  And much of the weight reduction is unsprung, which ads more to the performance benefit equation.

You can often purchase tubular a-arms for two different spring configurations – coil over and conventional springs.  Coil over setups allow you to play with ride height and offer plenty of spring tuning capability.  On the other hand, some folks will tell you the OEM springs tend to be a bit more reliable than some of the tapered coil over springs. These a-arms are setup for conventional springs.