April 21, 2016
It’s easy to forget all the work that your suspension system is doing while you casually cruise down the road. As your truck is going over bumps and dips in the road, your axle is moving up and down and side-to-side — making sure that more than two tons is going exactly where you point it. Keeping the axles correctly positioned under the body while all that’s going on is a tough job, but somebody has to do it. That somebody is your control arms.
Traditional OEM control arms are designed to restrict side-to-side movement, which adds stress to the suspension system. Additionally, as the suspension moves up and down, the angle of the Track Bar changes. This causes a change in the side-to-side position of the axle and adds even more stress. Even so, factory control arms are adequate for a truck that sees no off-road use and no modifications. Once you hit the trail with a lift kit and oversized tires, though, those factory control arms could cause some serious problems — poor ride quality, dangerous handling, and possibly, catastrophic failure.
Solve these issues with well designed, high-quality aftermarket control arms from Hell Bent Steel. Each HBS control arm is built with two heavy-duty spherical end-joints that allow the Track Bar to move slightly. This eliminates binding and reduces stress on the steering system components. Each end-joint holds a self-lubricating, graphite-impregnated polyurethane bushing to improve noise and motion damping. The end-joints are also built with grease-injection ports, so you can add lubrication after hitting extra-nasty terrain, just to be sure.
Adjustability is another concern with OEM control arms. The cam bolt adjustment that these systems use is limited, and, in many cases, true alignment simply can’t be achieved — even when the cam-bolt is maxed out. Many aftermarket control arms provide more adjustability than factory components, so they work better with lift kits, leveling kits, and larger wheels and tires. Hell Bent Steel control arms provide more than three times the adjustability, in fact.The greatest advantage, however, with Hell Bent Steel control arms, is the ease with which all of these benefits can be achieved through adjustment. They’re adjusted on the vehicle, installed, with the wheels in place. That means you install them ONCE, adjust as needed, and go.
Another concern with OEM control arms is strength. For off-road applications, the stress can be enough to wear them out quickly or even break them. Hell Bent Steel has taken care of the strength issue as well. Most aftermarket systems use steel tubing instead of the steel plate that OEM systems are made from. The tubing is a huge improvement over the plate, but it still isn’t good enough for Hell Bent Steel. They use precision-machined 1 3/4″ bar — much stronger than plate or tubing and designed (and guaranteed) to last the life of your truck.
Your factory suspension setup is just fine if you plan to stay on the pavement and leave your wheels and drivetrain stock. If your plan is to lift your truck, increase tire size, or add horsepower, though, you’ll need to beef up your suspension so it can handle the added stress. Control arms are an area of the suspension that are commonly overlooked when suspension upgrades are being implemented. They may not be as sexy as a suspension lift or as flashy as a new set of shocks, but they’re just as important when it comes to off-road performance, handling, and safety.