Saturday, July 14, 2007

Upper A-arm ball joint spacer

After I installed my extended front shock absorbers, the upper A-arm moved down quite a bit and the ball joint angle became too steep, the rubber boot kept popping off the joint.( I have about 23" between the hub center and the fender, unloaded)

Also it looked like I ended up with too much negative caster.

I made a spacer that bolts in between the joint and the upper arm, it moves the arm up a bit and it also tilts the ball joint.

There is a retainer plate that secures the spacer in place with one bolt through the center and two bolts through the original ball joint mounting holes.

I may have to make a different one later as I have not done a wheel alignment yet.


Dustin said...

Crazy. My friends and I were in the middle of designing a spacer almost exactly like that for our Senior Design Project when we stumbled upon this. What timing...

Our project is actually to correct the negative camber caused by lifting a 2wd vanagon and we've been deciding which would be the best route to go (redesign upper control arm, adaptor between the upper ball joint and spindel...etc.)

How is the handling with the spacers in there? Any suggestions, comments, problems?

Herman said...

Yes it is funny sometimes how that works.
My van isn't on the road yet so I will have to wait and see how the alignment turns out with the Westy interior installed, because this adds quite a bit of weight and will compress the suspension more.
I think that it will be OK, it is a lot simpler than making a new A-arm.

Riley said...

I am working with Dustin on the same project. I am trying to figure out what material you used for the spacer. I left a message on's forum about this as well. Thanks

Herman said...

Hi Riley, it is made out of 1-1/2" mild steel, cut out with a band saw and then machined on a lathe.
I made an adapter to hold it while machining.
I just re-measured it and it tapers from 1.135' down to 0.635"
I have left some pictures of the adapter etc on my Picasa site.

Peter said...

Hi Nice site some very interesting ideas. How does your Syncro drive with the spacers?
Like the idea of utilising the rear chevy shocks aswell. Have you any more information about them.

Herman said...

Hi Peter,thanks.
I am still working on it, it will hopefully be spring before I can drive it.
The rear shocks are airshocks (High Jackers) that were made for a GMC Safari van (rear), all you have to do is to press out the original bushings and install the Vanagon bushing in there.
The shocks are a bit longer than the Vanagon ones, the van has to be jacked up a bit higher in order to get the wheel off the ground.

bouldersyncro said...

Why did you taper the spacer? Couldn't it be even? I think I speak for syncro owners everywhere when I say that we'd love it if you could build up some of these for sale! Great work!

Herman said...

Thanks bouldersyncro, I did taper the spacer so that the balljoint has less angle on it.
What happened to mine was that the balljoint was almost at its limit of movement and at this steep angle it kept pulling the rubber boot off.
With a flat spacer there is still quite an angle on the balljoint.
I will go and see how much they want for machining a few sets on a CNC mill, doing it by hand takes a lot of time.
If it is reasonable, I will post it here.
Cheers Herman

SK said...

Hi Herman,

can you please send you mail again. I lost it.


Stefan (

lepuska said...

Hello Herman!

You have very nice project. Is it ready to use? How much longer is your redesigned front shocks? How much it lifts your front of teh car? How is camper angle after this lifting? How much this ball joint spacer will repair camper angles? Do you have some diagram or blueprint(AutoCad or etc) about this spacer?? I saw you are wery clever about this kind of project.

Thank you!!


Herman said...

Hi Lepuska, Thanks. I have added 3.5 cm to the shockabsorber lenght which will raise the vehicle about 5 cm. I am still working on the body so I have not had the car in for a wheel alignment, but as it sits now(unloaded)I have about 1 Deg Pos Camber.
I am sorry, but I have no CAD drawing for you, but after I have a wheel alignment done and I am sure that it will work correctly, I will make some drawings.

Cheers Herman