Mopar Action is alive and well!
What do you have against the excellent stock setup? Tough to beat it!
I have written extensively re: aftermarket K-members and suspension, here’s a re-cap, touching only on the main points (there are more negatives, esp. the LCA design)…
I have studied these extensively, and had them analyzed by respected engineers. Not one of them come close to meeting anything like factory durability standards. Heim joints, brakes without environmental seals, hubs with no hubcentricity provisions, etc., are major impediments to real street use. Now, let me make this clear: If I were running a drag car, I’d probably install one of these myself. They save a ton of weight, allow easy chassis tuning, provide tons of header clearance, etc. For said drag car, they are absolutely golden.
But for a street driver — by that, I mean a car that sees lots of miles, curb cuts, potholes, etc, — not just an occasional cruise to Mickey Dees — I have extreme reservations. Referring specifically, now, to the AlterKation setup, here are my concerns:
> There is now only one single crossmember tying the front longitudinals together, in place of the factory K-braced design. If anything, as some really expensive engineering / testing time I witnessed recently shows, these cars need MORE rigidity up front, not less. This change also HUGELY reduces crashworthiness.
> There’s no locating device for the K, it can move around (vs. stock tapered locating screws).
> All suspension loads are now carried by those same longitudinals, not the stock T-bar X-member. This is a radical redesign of the car’s front end; I believe that a through-the-firewall roll-cage bar tying into what is now the spring tower would improve this situation significantly.
> Hemi joints! While boots are made for these, there’s no way to lubricate them, street life is typically no more than a few thousand miles. Luckily, they do not typically fail catastrophically.
> No steering pot coupling. With that gone, I fail to see how compensation is made for chassis flex / bumps. I suspect the breakaway plastic pins in the column do just that – break. Somebody needs to explain this to me please.
> The scariest part of the O’Reilly (Al.K.) setup, to me, is the cantilevered outer tie-rod end. Just picture the stresses on this part (the stud or long bolt) should the car slide into, say, a curb or nasty pothole while the steering has some significant input.
> I’m sure all the welds are top quality and well suited to the task. Still, did you ever see a welded suspension component in any stock Mopar? There’s a reason for that.
Of the bolt-in suspension conversion setups for Mopars, clearly the O’Reilly and the (now dead) XV Motorsports are the best. That still does not make either one of them even close to factory durability. XV did, however, much to their credit, a megadollar engineering analysis (Done by Multimatic in Toronto). Still, even XV didn’t do the long-term testing that would be required to sell something like this to an OEM. From an engineering point of view, it’s usually easy to prove a problem, but much more difficult to prove that there’s NO problem. Look back at the Boeing 737 rudder problem and you’ll see what I am referring to.
Here’s what I’m up against, and why I feel compelled to warn my readers about these products: Clearly they are designed for use by knowledgeable, technically-savvy, hands-on “fabricator type” guys. This type of customer can see the shortcomings clearly and will realize what the system is intended for. But as these kits become more widespread, more and more neophyte “duffers” will have them installed at the local gas station, etc., and drive off in blissful ignorance. That’s what I’m trying to prevent. In that same vein, O’Reilly’s instruction book has a clearly worded, bold-headed disclaimer in several spots, warning “off road use only”…and “typically subjected to uses that far exceeds it’s mechanical limits…” and “…not held responsible or liable…” and “…you assume all risks…”.
I hope I have made my point of view clear. This isn’t a personal attack on anybody’s mother, their engineering or fabricating skills, their sphincter or lower intestines, etc. It’s simply an explanation for my rationale for stating that I don’t think these should be sold or used for extended street (or road race) use.