1. Most instruction
manuals will tell you exactly how long your turnbuckles need to be,
but if they don't, use your caliper and get an eyeball measurement
by holding the suspension in position.
2. One of the most
important yet often overlooked parts of assembling turnbuckles is
grease. Spread a thin layer of assembly grease (diff lube if you
don't have any) on the threads to be sure they'll adjust freely,
and to keep the ballcups from popping off every time you try to
adjust them on the car.
3. Twist a ballcup
on each end slowly, making sure it stays straight and threads on
smoothly. You don't have to crank it on very far; just make sure
they're threaded enough to stay on.
4. Using a
turnbuckle wrench (most kits include one) to hold the center of
the turnbuckle, use a ballcup tool or pair of pliers (be careful,
though) and crank the ballcup the rest of the distance. Be sure to
do a little on one side and then the other so that the ballcups go
5. You can
determine the actual length the ballcup needs to go on before you
start, but I prefer to check the length as I go. Adjust your cups
in either direction as necessary.
6. Ballcups will
usually pop on by hand, but for those hard-to-reach areas, use the
flat side of a regular screwdriver to press the cup down onto the
ballstud. You can even use a small piece of foam or a shop rag as
a cushion for extra protection.
Your turnbuckles should be included in your regular
maintenance list. Before you head to the track, make sure
none of your cups are damaged or too loose. Also make sure
that none of the linkages are bent and that everything is
still the right length. Replace anything that may need it; a
questionable turnbuckle is the same as a broken one in my
book. Putting a new one on will keep you from dropping out
of a race early.
After a while, your ballcups may loosen up and be prone to
popping off more easily. If you can't replace it with a new
one, here's a handy little trick to get you through the day.
Using a toothpick or something small, run a bead of CA glue
along the inside edge of the cup. Once the glue is dry,
apply a second layer. What we're trying to do is build up
the opening of the cup to help it hold on tighter. Just be
sure you don't get any glue down inside.
And...we're done! We haven't made building turnbuckles any more
fun, but you'll get better results by taking your time, using the
right tools, and paying a little attention to detail. Checking
lengths and using a small amount of grease will make your life a
lot easier down the road, and taking care of your ballcups will
keep you on the track longer while others drop out early.