Blackhawk 4×4 have identified a requirement for a program supplying replacement Upper control arm’s (UCA) that are fitted to a wide range of late model IFS vehicles. As a result we have developed the Blackhawk program – a product that will bolt in with marked improvements over the OE design.
The evolution of the Blackhawk UCA’s…
When a vehicle has raised suspension and this can be anything from 30mm or above, it will disrupt the vehicles relationship with factory set geometry and create issues such as…
- Reduced caster correction – causing vague steering and response
- Bump steer resulting in reduced handling – with an out of control feeling
- Clearance issues to suspension & wheels/tyres – larger wheels can hit suspension components
- Some standard vehicles can have an issue of the UCA hitting the coil on full droop,
- Strength of OE equipment in offroad scenarios –
Roadsafe 4WD have developed their UCA range of product drawing from over 30 years of experience in the manufacture & supply of chassis parts including but not limited to steering & suspension components. The Blackhawk UCA’s have been designed in conjunction with industry experts to ensure vehicle fitment is comprehensive. In this process we identified a large number of issues that can be present, resulting in a list of features we included to overcome these issues…
3 degrees of fixed Caster correction, we’ve identified this as a good amount of correction required for lifts ranging from 30-70mm, by providing a bulk – fixed amount of caster, this offers the ability to utilise the factory adjustment to fine tune the caster required for your vehicles lift, with the UCA not being the limiting factor for increased droop relative to the other components.
Camber change to meet OE spec, if your application requires increased camber, we can offer offset bushings to provide more camber.
Clearance to larger aftermarket wheels & tyres – we often see larger than standard size tyres with wheel offsets having clearance issues to the OE UCA, our Blackhawk UCA’s minimise this as much as possible.
Clearance to suspension components & chassis – a large number of OE UCA’s hit the coil or the chassis mounts on during the suspension travel limiting the amount of travel you can achieve, with revised bends and clearances identified the Blackhawk UCA’s will not contact the strut or the chassis limiting travel unless specifically designed to do so.
Fixed position balljoint – Blackhawk UCA’s do not use an adjustable balljoint, with a fixed location balljoint we are able to offer OE specification for the ball joint itself.
- The position of the balljoint housings have been rotated to ensure the balljoint is not the limiting factor with maximum down travel. Roadsafe specifically chose a fixed ball joint for a number of reasons – in offroad applications the ball joint receives a large amount of “bump” loads, which over time can either knock an adjustable ball joint out of position leading to increased tyre wear due to a change in caster. Changing from a fixed balljoint mount reduces the structural integrity of the mount and the mounting platform of the balljoint, with any remote traveling we need to ensure strength and reliability is not compromised.
- There will never be a need to adjust or re-adjust your caster once established with the Blackhawk arms as the balljoint cannot be knocked out of position.
Maintain OE specification ball joint & bushings – regardless of where you may go, if you need to replace a balljoint or bushing you can use genuine replacement parts or aftermarket OE specification replacement items, regardless of how remote you are at home or abroad.
Ball joint binding – Often we see the ball joint limiting the amount of down travel because the OE ball stud hits the side of the ball joint housing, this creates a stress point on the ball stud creating an environment for potential terminal failure of the ball joint, it also limits the amount of down travel possible when used in conjunction with aftermarket suspension and longer shock lengths.
Securing ABS lines – we incorporate tabs and mounts where practical so the OE lines can be secured discreetly where possible, reducing the potential of sticks and other debris from damaging the sensitive lines.
Increased strength compared to the OE design – The design of the Blackhawk arms have shown with the use of FEA to be much stiffer than the OE arms, providing the driver with increased handling and response when the Blackhawk arms are fitted when compared to the OE arms, this is illustrated by the amount of deflection the FEA results have provided, with 3 times less deflection in the Blackhawk UCA’s.
Does this rigidity negatively transfer to the vehicle – No, because the Blackhawk arms use OE Rubber bushing, any NVH (Noise, Vibration and harshness) is absorbed in the rubber bushings before it makes it way to the chassis, you may find an increase in wear in the bushings which is directly related to how you drive the vehicle, the bushings are a consumable component of any vehicle, however you should expect years of trouble free service before the need to replace the bushings.
Heavy Duty Long life Balljoints – Roadsafe 4wd specially redesigned the OE balljoint into a heavy duty application, due to the nature of the application the 4wding community require a serviceable component, so we have a balljoint that is manufactured in the “hard to hard” style with a locating nylon disc that the ball stud terminates against, grease is pumped into the assembly through the top keeping everything lubricated and keeping any potential contaminants out of the boot region. The ball studs and seat area of the housing are all heat treated forming a hardened surface with the purpose of long life and limited wear.
Dust Cap – Blackhawk arms that utilise a press in balljoint feature a machined alloy dust cap which is anodized black with engraved Blackhawk logo to deter corrosion etc, as a result creating a sealed housing to remove the balljoint from the elements such as water, dust & mud ensuring they are in the best possible environment.
Finish – All arms are sand blasted upon completion and E coated black for a durable discreet finish, E coating is the same process the vehicles manufacturer used for the original equipment you are replacing.
OEM & Blackhawk Upper control arm samples have been computer modeled and subsequently FEA tested with static and bump/lateral load tests, these results have been reviewed and certified by VASS Engineers locally who unequivocally confirm the design and materials chosen to manufacture the Blackhawk arms by long term suspension manufacturer Roadsafe Automotive products, and that they are of sound design and furthermore exceed the original equipment by design in strength and functionality.
A key feature identified by the FEA testing was the amount of deflection seen between the OE component and the Blackhawk UCA, with the Blackhawk arms being 3 times stiffer than the original equipment, resulting in significant increased handling and feel of your vehicle as the suspension cycles.
The manufacturing process is controlled by Roadsafe with a range of Quality Assurance procedures in place, some of these include…
- Welding specifications, Material & procedure
- Material selection
- Manufacturing jigs inspected for conformity regularly
- Random post manufacturing QC checks
- IATF number 0224504 – Manufacture of steering and suspension parts
Based on years of experience in manufacturing a large volume of suspension components, Roadsafe is able to ensure the manufacturing process is of standard delivering a high quality component to market