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Howe extended ball joints ???

4,609
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20+ Years
Pleasanton: 1/2 way between Sonoma and Laguna Seca

steveespo

Lord knows I'm a Voodoo Child
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Howe ball joints are great, until they break, which they do. I had one go and it cost me a burned out car, others have been luckier and only suffered cosmetic damage when they went off track. I know of 5 instances on "civilian" cars, don't know how many have happened to the pros. Anyway please keep an eye on them frequently, greasing and checking for play, and change them each season if you track hard 10-15 weekends a season.
 

xr7

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Howe ball joints are great, until they break, which they do. I had one go and it cost me a burned out car, others have been luckier and only suffered cosmetic damage when they went off track. I know of 5 instances on "civilian" cars, don't know how many have happened to the pros. Anyway please keep an eye on them frequently, greasing and checking for play, and change them each season if you track hard 10-15 weekends a season.
Steveespo - is the shaft that broke on the howe ball joint? Curious what to watch for. Thanks
 
Howe ball joints are great, until they break, which they do.
Here is an excerpt from an email I got from Howe :

"The Mustangs seem to have an issue with breaking the lower ball joints in competition..... From what we have seen analyzing a couple of broken ones is there is a pin or something in the upright that presses up against the stud and eventually causes a failure point."

I hear all the horror stories of the Steeda ball joint, don't hear much about the Howe ball joint. Is it because of the increased difficulty in installation of the Howe that not many use them???

Like Steve said, be proactive in maintenance.....
 
4,609
4,520
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W2W Racing
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20+ Years
Pleasanton: 1/2 way between Sonoma and Laguna Seca
Here is an excerpt from an email I got from Howe :

"The Mustangs seem to have an issue with breaking the lower ball joints in competition..... From what we have seen analyzing a couple of broken ones is there is a pin or something in the upright that presses up against the stud and eventually causes a failure point."

I hear all the horror stories of the Steeda ball joint, don't hear much about the Howe ball joint. Is it because of the increased difficulty in installation of the Howe that not many use them???

Like Steve said, be proactive in maintenance.....
I wonder what the service life is....
 
I'm surprised at the news regarding the Howe failures, since there seemed to be a sense of general positive feedback (with a few cases of users utilizing them in their hybrid arms). Since I had planned to use them in the future, this information is very important to me. I thought they would be a good choice since they were used by Ford stock in the Boss 302S cars as part of the M-3075-RA assembly (information coming from Watson Racing). I'd be interested to know what the feature of the upright Howe is mentioning leads to the failure, since the mounting area for the balljoint seems free of any interference points. If they're failing at the bottom of the shaft, is there a chance under a significant bump event that they'd collide with their own collar?
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captdistraction

GrumpyRacer
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Phoenix, Az
I've run these for a long time and have gone through 3 sets - I change them from time to time, or if I have an incident where I believe wear or premature failure could be possible:

I had one back out of its socket (I really need to safety wire these) - it can happen, when it came out, some wear was seen on the stud itself. I put an older spare back on the car, but at the end of this season I plan on changing both sides. They're rebuildable and I keep meaning to buy spare parts like the collars or the studs.

I've only seen 2 break in the wild - not my car - but another car had a failure (but had also recently suffered a tie rod failure which I believe led to this failure not long after). In my opinion - the best options are stock, or these howe units (and depending on how hard you are on the car, take advantage of the servicable mounting solution and replace them periodically)
 
4,609
4,520
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Pleasanton: 1/2 way between Sonoma and Laguna Seca
I've run these for a long time and have gone through 3 sets - I change them from time to time, or if I have an incident where I believe wear or premature failure could be possible:

I had one back out of its socket (I really need to safety wire these) - it can happen, when it came out, some wear was seen on the stud itself. I put an older spare back on the car, but at the end of this season I plan on changing both sides. They're rebuildable and I keep meaning to buy spare parts like the collars or the studs.

I've only seen 2 break in the wild - not my car - but another car had a failure (but had also recently suffered a tie rod failure which I believe led to this failure not long after). In my opinion - the best options are stock, or these howe units (and depending on how hard you are on the car, take advantage of the servicable mounting solution and replace them periodically)
These are the same ball joint bodies we've used on stock cars for a zillion years. It is not uncommon to tack weld the ball joint body to the sleeve in the control arm to keep them from backing out...because they do. First day on track all 4 screw in ball joints on my SLA backed out. I torqued them all back down and now I'll check them every time the car comes back from the track. If they continue to loosen up I will be welding them. Sounds like I'll be replacing the ball joint studs every season as well. A broken ball joint can be a BIG problem.
 
51
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Los Angeles
Ball joints are a wear item for sure. I crack check mine every year or two. All of the non-crash failures I have seen have corrosion in the initial beachheads of the crack, so they take quite some time to reach failure and are easily found early if looked for. The extended ones are just worse because the dominant shear load in the stock design turns into a combined bending and shear load which is much more susceptible to fatigue failure when keeping the shaft diameter the same as stock. In AI Ryan Walton had a lower balljoint break on an SLA setup in his fox body, it was about 3 or 4 years old, so all of the suspension styles are susceptible. If you race or track really hard you need to take everything apart - every year, even if it doesn't 'need' it. Seeing, touching and cleaning the parts is the only way to head off a failure on track. I find a lot of stuff just cleaning the car after race weekends, wiping down suspension, body, etc. Cleaning by hand is a really good inspection process!
 

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