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Story and images by John Dinkel and Chirag Asaravala.

A couple of issues back we introduced you to John Dinkel and his roller spring perches. We learned about John, a FordMuscle subscriber, through the Forums, where he had been assisting fellow enthusiasts in making rollerized coil spring perches for their early Mustangs and Falcons. What we learned about John (who goes by the handle Opentracker in the Forums) is that he is dedicated to helping out his peers in this hobby, even if it means losing a sale. You see, John also owns Opentracker Racing Products, a business specializing in early Mustang and Falcon suspension upgrades.


John Dinkel shows off his OpenTracker roller spring perches.

One might think that giving away your recipes to anyone who asks is not the formula for a successful business. Or is it? John started his business because he was frustrated with the high-costs and low-quality of many of the big-name suspension companies. When he'd contact them with questions and ideas for improvement they'd show disinterest. Like most of us this sort of customer service is enough to make our blood boil. John however knew that if those businesses were that out of touch with their customers then he could be successful in putting the enthusiast first. His philosophy had always been to provide his peers with as much information that he had so they could re-create what he had done. When guys started telling him that they just wanted him to build them a set, he knew that the trust and confidence they had in him was worth turning into a business.

Opentracker Racing Products is a small but fledging operation. John and his partner work out of a shop in Carmel Valley, California where they currently build and sell roller spring perches, roller idler arms and lower and upper rollerized control arms. Each unit is made to order and each product is made to last. John's creations stem from many hours of open-track racing and abuse of his own cars. He sees that fellow racers need high-strength products with unlimited serviceability. They also need products that look stock and can be used in vintage-class racing. This is designed into each of their products. For instance the lower control arms featured in this article can be quickly serviced to replace the bearing or ball-joint. His competitors charge more for arms which must be replaced entirely if any of those pieces wear out.

Improving upon Stock
Outlined below are John's steps for building a set of boxed and roller lower control arms. The process is not difficult if you have welding skills. Some of the materials required however are custom machined. If you contact John he'll be happy to share the specifications. We're using a set of new Moog replacement control arms with press in ball-joints for 1967-1968 Mustangs. On page 2 you'll also see John's recommendation for screw in ball joints for ultimate servicability.


Here is what I start with. A new set of Moog or Mcquay-Norris lower control arms for either 65-66 or 67-68 Mustangs. If you are doing this at home there is no reason you cant use your old arms so long as the ball joints are in good shape. (See side bar.)

The 1/8" steel plate is from any hardware store. The bearing sleeve is custom machined for me and there are two different sizes depending on model year. 65-66 control arms use a 1-1/8" OD sleeve while 67-68 is 1-1/2", this also impacts the bearing size (see caption 2)


Closer detail of the "bill of materials" for the bearing end of the arm. 1) This is a custom machined bearing sleeve. Note the bearing position lip machined on the inside which locates the bearing position. 2) This ring gets tacked into place to lock the bearing into position. Item 3 is a custom machined bushing (two needed) for the lower control arm to chassis bolts. The tapered roller bearing (4) is from National Precision,
65-66 bearing # MS14102-12
67-up bearing # MS14104-12

     

Using the template I use a grinder and cutting wheel to cut out the shapes from the steel plate. A bandsaw would work as well with more precision.
 
Here is the metal brace after cutting from the template. As the Opentracker Racing Products business grows this brace may be a stamped product to save on time and labor and increase precision.

(How to Make Roller Lower Control Arms)
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In This Article:
The second in a multi-part series, we take a look at a track-inspired suspension modifications designed by John Dinkel of Opentracker Racing Products. In Part II we show to make and install your own roller lower control arms for early Mustang, Cougar, Falcon or Comets.

Also See:
Part I: Roller Spring Perches


The focus of this article is how to build your own rollerized lower control arms. If you aren't up for the labor Opentracker Racing Product's will happily sell you set.
 

The rollerized coil spring perch was John Dinkels first product and what led to the development of a fully rollerized front-end suspension system for early Mustangs and Falcons.
 

John's latest creation are these fully beefed-up and roller bearing upper control arms. We'll cover those in the third segment of this article series.



 

 


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