Ball Joints, Bushes and Bearings - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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Ball Joints, Bushes and Bearings

I am accumulating parts for the rebuild of a 1984 GTV6 - transaxle dedion 116. Can anyone offer any advice regarding the various brands for suspension/steering components? I have read that FRAP doesn't last and heard conflicting stories about OCAP and TRW. There are also other brands like MOOG, VEMA, LEMFÖRDER, MEYLE and DELPHI. LEMFÖRDER seems to be the best but they don't make the parts for this car anymore.

I have a complete set of FRAP ball joints and tie rod ends which were included with an unfinished project I bought but I don't want to use them if they are junk - I will try and hunt down other parts if they are a lot better.

Having looked at all the vendors there is also a big price difference on the bushes and wheel bearings. With bearings I will just get SKF or FAG as they seem to always be high quality (albeit expensive). But with the bushes there is no branding - are they all the same and the vendors just charge different amounts or are some made by the OEM and others cheap knockoffs that will just fall apart? I've also found NOS ones online but I guess they are 20-30 years old and I wonder if their age will have affected them.

Any advice or experience with the different brands of ball joints, tie rod ends, wheel bearings and bushes would be most appreciated.

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 10:46 AM
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Andy Kress at Performatek is my go-to guy for GTV6 suspension parts. He will only sell good stuff.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 11:12 AM
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First of all, what are you doing with the car? Are you racing, for prize money? Or are you building a street car?

I know that in years (many ago) past, FRAP had quality issues. I had a very old FRAP ball joint right out of the packaging with play - twice - but this was really old stuff. Firsthand experience with the modern production FRAP stuff seems to be way WAY better. Also, I would not use NOS rubber bushes. New production stuff is usually excellent. My last GTV6 front end and steering rebuild (race car, actually) I used all rubber parts from Centerline (quality Italian stuff) and a set of ball joints and tie rod ends formerly purchased from Performatek. And, the last Milano front end I put together was a "suspension kit" from Centerline, except for the upper control arm bushings which were sourced from Trail Auto. No issues with any of those parts. I can second the Performatek quality stuff, even if the prices are occasionally higher. Andy is a great guy too.

The lower control arm bushings are getting difficult to find and are usually due for replacement.

I've not driven any of these cars enough miles to wear out a wheel bearing once replaced so can't comment on the quality of available bearings.

Advice in a nutshell? If it's worn out, replace it with a new one from a vendor in the USA. And then once everything is installed, worry about a proper alignment and quality performance tires.

One other personal nugget: it entertains me to see discussions take place on an obsessive level about brand names and other minutia, and then it turns out the owner of the car doesn't put a good set of tires on the car. Or thinks he should run with regular 87 octane gasoline. Not suggesting that's what is occurring here, but it is worth mentioning.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback - it is a street car. Good to know that new FRAP is fine. I am not trying to squeeze the last drop of performance out of the car. I am intending on replacing/renewing most of the suspension and steering components purely for my own enjoyment and am amassing all the necessary items at the moment. I'll likely revise my opinion about it being for enjoyment once I encounter impossible to undo fasteners - but hey it will be nice to drive a GTV6 with all new steering, suspension and driveline components (and good tyres and alignment). I just don't want to find out that the components I use are poor quality and that after a few thousand miles I have to do the job again.
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