Im researching a bit on long arms for ideas on making my own. i have seen a few kits out there that get rid on one upper control arm. Will losing a control arm affect the on road characteristics at all? Will it interfere with any insurance issues?
Are talking about true 3- link + panhard, or radius arm + panhard on which only the other of the radius arms has the upper arm on it?
True 3-link works great and with the right designs is also very strong. A radius arm system that uses only one upper arm and stock mounting hardware IMO is a no-go. Stock UCA mounting bolt on the axle is a 10mm class 10.9 bolt (or could be replaced with a 3/8" grade 8, which is just as strong or weak) - it does not really require a very big hit to shear it.
If running a 3-link or a "one-upper-arm radius arm" system, the upper arm should use at least 12mm class 10.9 or 12.9 bolt, or 1/2" grade 8 - but preferrably 14mm or 9/16". You do not want that single upper arm bolt the shear off, it will cause a lot of carnage. I know a few aftermarket long-arm systems use a single arm 10mm or 3/8" bolt-type-of-setup - which IMO is simply bad design.
Other than that, there's nothing wrong with it, and there really should be no difference in street manners between radius arm systems that use one or two upper arms. A single upper arm system flexes better and causes quite a bit less strain on the links, bushings and link mounts when wheeling.
Doesn't affect on road handling at all. I think the main reason for a 3-link is better geometry and less bind when flexing. Handles like any other suspension setup when on the road, but the ride is probably better than with short arms.
I've been running a true 3-link (poly performance) for over 2 years. Done multiple trips to the outer banks (6+ hrs) and other long road trips with zero problems. I've also driven 2-3 hours to the trails, done the hardest stuff I could get through on 35's, then driven home. Never a suspension problem in all that time.
If you are talking about the Iron Rock radius arm crap, just avoid it. Or if you really want it for some reason, search. You'd be way better off with a normal radius arm kit like TnT or Clayton. If you want cheap, check out Rough Country.
If you actually have money to spend and want a really quality suspension setup, check out Poly Performance 3 or 4 link, BDS 4-link or the Clayton 3 or 4 link.
well i was thinking of making something similar to Iron Rock, but instead of the upper and lower arm being one piece, I'm thinking of making it two pieces. upper control arm has bushings at either end, attached to the lower control arm. I really don't like IRO's design for UCA adjustability. looks ****ty.