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  1. #1
    Freaking JK Guru TheDirtman's Avatar
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    Control Arm End Joints Comparison and review

    I am going to do a little test and review of the new Metal Cloak Duroflex ends and thought I would throw them up against some other joints I have run in the past.
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    These are from left to right a factory control arm, the Metal Cloak Duroflex Joint in 2 5/8", the Currie Johnny Joint in 2 1/2", and the Ruff Stuff Heim Joint in 5 5/8" with 9/16" stainless steel mis-alignment spacers. Middle photo is the Ballistic Cromoly 2.63" joint. Bottom Photo is the new Rock Krawler Monster Pro joint P#RK02219

    All of the aftermarket joints use a 1 1/4" threaded shaft except the Rock Krawler which is only offered in a 1" shaft.

    The Currie Johnny joint and the Ruff Stuff Heim shown in the photo have been run on my rig over the last year with about 20 days of wheeling one them. Neither joint has shown any wear and are both tight and good to go.

    The Metal Cloak Duroflex joints are brand new and will be installed to be tested over the next year on my double triangulated long arm with 40" tires and tons.

    The factory arm was in my pile of junk, not sure who's it was but I just included it for comparison anyway.

    Factory arm:

    Cost: Call your dealer.

    U
    ses a rubber bushing with steel insert. It offers a combination of a quality ride and decent flex to the joint as well as being inexpensive to replace. These joints are fine for the daily driver and those that run trails and light rock crawling. These are really a pretty tough joint and can be rebuilt simply by pushing the old joint out and pressing in a new one. This joint will return to center at ride height due to is construction.

    Metal Cloak Duroflex Joint:

    Cost:$59
    http://www.metalcloak.com/2-5-8-OD-x...pud-p/7308.htm

    This joint uses a rubber bushing similar to the factory bushing but has a narrower housing and has the metal insert molded into the joint when it is made. The joint housing is made from what looks like a section of dom tubing that machined to accept a snap ring on both sides so it can be taken apart and rebuilt. The dom tubing is welded to a section of all thread. The design of the joint allows for more mis-alignment then the factory joint while still having the ability to "return to center" when the jeep is back at ride height. The joint is locked into place on the control arm with a jam nut. The joint shaft length is 3.72" long and the width of the body 1.88" This joint is reported to give a very nice ride with potentially more articulation then the Johnny joint. This would be a very good joint for a daily driver that hits the trails often. You can buy these in a lift kit, as a stand alone joint, or they offer a rebuild kit for the Currie Johnny joint end. Metal Cloak also sells a rebuild kit for their joints. Update 9/11/13 Metal cloak contacted me by pm and stated that their joints were designed to be used on both ends of a control arm for maximum articulation. So far I am just using them at the frame end and have been holding up fine. My wheeling frequency should start increasing now that I am finally moved to the Reno area and have all kinds of places here to wheel.

    Update: Metal Cloak joints are now using a forged end instead of the old style welded housing.

    Currie Johnny Joint:

    Cost $44.95
    http://www.currieenterprises.com/cestore/Product.aspx?id=2629 and other outlets
    This joint uses a metal ball with integrated mis-alignment spacer with a polyurethane bearing race ($4.99 replacement part) that allows for some ccushion and keeps the joint quiet. The joint also has a grease zert for lubrication. The body and shaft are forged from a single unit and it is then machined to allow for a snap ring for dis-assembly and servicing and the threads are cut in to the shaft. The body of the joint measures 2" in width slightly more then the duroflex joint and twice as wide as the heim joint. The shaft was slightly shorter then the Duroflex joint measuring in at 3.2" long. This type of ball and socket joint will not return to center at ride height and will stay mis-aligned. For years the Johnny Joint has the been the standard by which other joints are compared to for off road vehicles and are used by several different lift manufactures other then curry. This joint offers a relatively comfortable ride and good misalignment for extreme articulation. You can not adjust the preload on the Johnny joint and when they become loose it is time to rebuild them. You can buy this joint in a kit or as a stand alone joint. Currie offers this joint in several shank and body sizes as well as a forged narrow housing and a billet housing. You can buy replacement parts to rebuild the joint on their website.

    Ruff Stuff Heim Joint:

    Cost $50
    http://www.ruffstuffspecialties.com/catalog/125RE.html

    This joint is similar to the Johnny joint in that it is machined from a blank forging or billet that is heat and cyro treated. The joint is not meant to be serviced over time other then oiled. The joints contain a ball that accepts a separate mis-alignment spacer of different widths and mounting holes, the one pictured is for a 2 5/8" wide joint with a 9/16" bolt. The body of the joint is very narrow at 1" in width allowing for the most flex travel of the 4 mentioned joints. The shaft length was also the shortest coming in at 2.2" in length. The inside of the joint contains a thin layer of teflon that is meant to separate and lubricate the otherwise metal on metal joint. This is considered one of the toughest joints on the market but for a daily driver can be rough riding meaning that vibrations can easily be transferred from the axles to the frame since there is no rubber isolation in them. The joints can also be quite noisy if not kept oiled and I would not recommend them for a daily driver. These are sold as a stand alone joint and are not rebuildable. This joint is also a ball and socket and will not return to center at ride height.



    Ballistic 2.63" Chromoly Joint:

    Cost $58.99
    http://www.ballisticfabrication.com/Forged-Chromoly-263-Ballistic-Joint_p_1636.html[SIZE=2]

    This is a ballistic forged chromoly rod end. Very similar to the Johnny joint. Body is 1.95" in width. It can be greased and rebuilt. It uses a threaded side cap and a set screw to set the preload on the ball. You need a spanner wrench to tighten the side plate. This might make them last longer since you can tighten them up once you get some wear on them. I will be using them at the upper axle mount. The inner is made of prothane and the rebuild kit cost $13.99 1 set of replacement inners are allowed under the warrantee.


    Rock Krawler 2.5" Monster Pro Joint RK02219:

    Cost $49.99
    http://www.rockkrawler.com/ProductDe...awler%5FJoints

    Rock Krawler sent me these joint to add to my evaluation, while I will not be able to run them due to the fact they are a 1" shank I will give them a visual evaluation with my thoughts.
    The Monster Pro joint is very similar to the Ballistic joint above but uses two adjustable bearing races instead of just one used by Ballistic. It appears you would need a special spanner wrench to adjust the bearing race retainers. The race retainers are locked into place with a recessed hex head screw that presses agains the threads on the retainer. The way the screw locks against the threads could potiantally damage them and cause stripping of the retainer or the body itself. In contrast the Ballistic joint uses the same type of set screw that locks into one 6 notches that are cut into the retainer to prevent any damage to the threads. The bearing races are made from graphite impregnated polyurethane and feel stiff. I would expect them to give a long life but I would expect the ride to be harsher then a joint that use poly, rubber, or clevite to cushion it. The body of the joint is 1 7/16" (1.4375") wide and allow more clearance and misalignment then the Duroflex joint but not as much as the Ruff Stuff Heim. The length of the threaded shaft is 2.75" which will allow for less length adjustment over all the mentioned joints except the Ruff Stuff heim. The joint includes a grease zert so you will be able to grease it for longer life, the inside of the body has a single machined grease channel to allow the grease to move around the entire joint. The fit and finish on the joint is pretty good but was expecting the ball to be polished to a mirror like finish like the Ballistic joint to reduce friction and increase the life of the races. Rock Krawler notified me that I may have received joints that were not put thru the final posishing or may have been seconds. I anyone has photos of the new joint post up a photo of the ball for reference. I do not know if Rock Krawler offers replacement races for sale or if they replace them free for life as they do not state on the website and I could not find replacement parts listed.
    The Monster Pro joints are offered in both left and right hand threads and in 14mm and 18 mm bolt sizes.


    Ballistic Fordged rod end

    Cost $79.99 (look for 15%-20% sales they run all the time)
    http://www.ballisticfabrication.com/...nd_p_1786.html

    I just got these joints in and are by far the heaviest joint I have reviewed yet. The stainless steel center ball is polished and then heat treated and gas nitrated to a hardness of 68rc. The actual housing is forged 4340 billet steel that is machined into the shape you see. This joint uses bronze bearing races and is greasable and re-buildable. The 1.25"threaded shank is 3.25" long and the body is 1.25" wide offering which is second only to the Ruff Stuff heim that I have tested. This narrow body offers 70 degrees of movement. The forged joints adjustment is simular to their Cromoly rod end where it has a threaded retainer that can be tightened down as the joint wears and is set with a hex screw next to the grease zert. There are no plastic or rubber parts in this joint and should really tighten up the feel of the suspension but will ride a bit harsher and will transfer vibrations thru the joint. It is offered in 9/16", 5/8", and 3/4" mounting bolts and either left or right hand thread. Only offered in 1.25" shanks. Ballistic offers a spanner too to ease tensioning and rebuilding the joint.
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    These are not the only joints on the market or am a saying they are the best out there, these are the ones that I have personally used. Other joints are made rubicon express, Ballistic fabrication has several models, teraflex, and I am sure there are others. If any manufacturers have any other info for me to add or if I have made an error in my descriptions I welcome your input and please PM me with any additional information.
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  2. #2
    Breaker of Nice Things Badpunkin's Avatar
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    This should be good. Subscribed
    Breaker Of Nice Things



  3. #3
    Senior JK Freak BadTrainDriver's Avatar
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    Definitely in for your thoughts, Tom!
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself"

  4. #4
    Super JK Freak Alpha Team's Avatar
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    Yup x2

  5. #5
    Freak of Knowledge e-jeep's Avatar
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    I'll be watching this thread. Thanks for doing this.
    Want Jeep Mods? Marcus Has Them!! ~ River City Offroad

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  6. #6
    Driving his wife's Jeep
    Ringer's Avatar
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    Curious to see your write up. I will be running all JJ on all ends of mine.
    RubiXcon
    No matter what you have, there is ALWAYS a better way to do it.
    My build thread- http://www.jkfreaks.com/forums/showt...ld-up-of-JKarl

  7. #7
    Freaking JK Guru TheDirtman's Avatar
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    Sorry, I had to meet some guys for my birthday dinner & beer. My thoughts are finished for now. Updates to come on the new joints.

  8. #8
    Freaking JK Guru TheDirtman's Avatar
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    If any other manufactures feel left out, feel free to send me a set of joints and I will try them out and give my thoughts about them. Just send me a pm

  9. #9
    Freak In Nature mhaines's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday!

    Looking forward to the review on the metalcloaks
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
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