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Q Max, being that you're the go-to answer guy and all, I was wondering what the big deal was with these uni-balls I keep hearing about. I've seen them talked about online and people saying that they make it easier to lower your truck and can fix camber problems. How do they work?
Tom, thanks for writing in.
A That is a great question. I have noticed people claiming that they are using uni-balls to get more travel or to get their truck to go lower as well, but I fear that they are misinformed. I think that the misconceptions come from the off-road world where everyone uses spherical parts and they are getting travel numbers that are measured in feet, not inches. The thing is that spherical bearings, as they are technically referred to, rarely offer as much useable travel as a stock upper ball joint does. So, technically they cannot offer more travel when used in the traditionally mounted ball-joint fashion, but if you were to turn the joint on its side and mount it so that the bolt runs through the joint from front to back instead of up and down, you can get infinite ball-joint travel at the cost of limited steering angle, which in my opinion is not bad considering most 'bagged vehicles seeking more travel are probably running large wheels and have limited steering anyways.
Q First off I want to thank ya'll for puttin' out such an awesome mag! Secondly what is the deal with stitch welding and why is it so bad? I've heard old timer welders say that they would never trust a stitch weld, but I've been stitch welding for a long time cause that's how my dad taught me and we haven't ever had any problems. They look good and seem to hold well-why are they considered bad?
Royal Oak, Michigan
A Bruce, I too have heard people comment on how bad it is to stitch weld (or spot weld) and having done it myself more than once, I can attest to its ability to join two pieces of steel beautifully. Although no one has ever told me definitively why stitching is so bad, I do have a few guesses why it is frowned upon. Anyone who has tack welded for a length of time has undoubtedly had a tack that looks good, but simply did not fuse the two pieces together. Being that stitch welding is just a series of tack welds, you can see how that might be an issue. Also, the grey scale that is on the skin of most hot-rolled material does a great job of making a crappy weld and without generating the heat needed to burn that scale away, the weld can be questionable at best. So here is your stitch welding lesson for the day. In most cases, it is favorable to preheat the area being welded with a torch. With mild-steel preheating is not necessary, but if you are stitch welding, a preheated part will weld a lot better. The same goes for removing the grey scale, but to a lesser extent. I am not trying to say that if you do these two things that you will never need to worry about stitch welds being weak again, but if you insist on stitching, these are a good way to help your stitch weld be the best it can be.