Installing New Tubular Suspension Rockers
A few of the suspension rockers on the race car had seen better days. We were able to get the car set up right but knew some of the old rockers were bent out of shape because the spring perches did not match side to side when setting ride heights and several suspension links needed different lengths to accommodate the correct caster, camber and toe settings. With new Penske Racing Shocks on the way it was decided to also update the suspension rockers to the new tubular units that were lighter and for now at least perfectly shaped.
Tools and Equipment
Jack and/or Quick Jack
1/2, 5/8, 3/4 inch Wrenches / Spanners
19mm, 22mm, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8 inch Sockets
3/8 Drive Ratchet
Hammer / Rubber Mallet
Pry bar / Large Screwdriver
Long Screwdriver or Tapered Drift
Precision Reamer (If Needed)
Impact Driver (Optional)
Breaker Bar (Optional)
Blow Torch (Optional)
Blocks of Wood (Optional)
Degreaser / Cleaner
Microfiber Towel or Rags
Powder Free Nitrile Gloves (Optional)
Tubular Rocker - Upper Control Arm (UCA) Assembly - Enterprise Part Number LH 1180083A / RH 1180086A
Old Sheet Metal Rocker - Upper Control Arm (UCA) Assembly - Enterprise Part Number LH 1180083A / RH 1180086A
Grease (Red Line Synthetic Oil CV-2)
Tubulars versus Sheet Metal Rockers
The Spec Racer Ford can use either Tubular or the old style Sheet Metal rockers. The Tubular rockers are newer, weigh less (1-2 pounds lighter each) and are supposed to be stronger. They both perform the same function but here you can see the difference between the two rocker designs.
Removing the Old Rockers
Start by braking the lug nuts loose using the 19mm socket and breaker bar or impact but don't remove the wheels yet.
Jack the car in the air and put it on a low jack stand.
With the car off the ground now undo the lug nuts completely and remove the wheels.
Disconnect the sway bars from both sides using the 1/2 inch wrenches, socket and ratchet.
To undo the Ball Joint, start by removing the cotter pin using the needle nose pliers and undo the castle nut. You might need an impact or breaker bar to work the castle nut loose with a 22mm or 7/8 inch socket. If you find the ball joint just spins in place, use a pry bar or screw driver to apply a load between the ball joint and rocker.
You might have to use a hammer on the upper ball joint if it is rusted in place. Do Not Mash the threads you will regret it. Instead I like to thread the castle nut on just enough to protect the threads and then use a mallet to hit. If it is really tough you can use a blow torch to provide some heat be careful not to melt the ball joint dust boot.
The Suspension will want to fall, use a block of wood or low jack stand to support the weight of the upright. Be careful not to over stretch the brake lines.
Disconnect the Damper/Shock Absorber from the inside side of the rocker using the 5/8 inch wrenches, socket and ratchet.
With the Rocker now disconnected from the rest of the suspension you can undo the pivot bolt and nut using 3/4 inch wrenches, socket, ratchet and impact.
You might find that the pivot bolt just spins in place use a pry bar or flat blade screw driver under the head of the bolt against the chassis to work it loose. If it is really stubborn you might have to spin the pivot bolt with the impact as you pry under the head.
With the pivot bolt now removed the rocker and bushings should slide out of the frame, perhaps with a little persuasion from a rubber mallet.
Make sure to catch the two outer spacers.
With the old suspension rockers out of the car, remove the inner pivot.
With the rockers removed from the car you have easier access to clean up all the old grease.
Here you can see the front and back of the old suspension rockers.
Preparing the New Suspension Rocker
There are two types of inner pivots, one is a solid and the other resembles a dumbbell with a center section that has a smaller diameter.
Clean up all the old grease from the inner pivot and inspect it to make sure it is smooth and there are no deep scratches or gouges.
Slide the inner pivot into the new rocker. It should slide in easily and smoothly. If it is tough to get in place you might need to use precision reamer to correct the size of the inner diameter of the bronze bushings.
Make sure to clean up all the old grease from the chassis including the pivot bolt holes.
Installing the New Suspension Rocker
You will need to clean all the old grease from the two outer spacer bushings and make sure their surfaces are smooth.
With all the parts cleaned up and the inner pivot sliding smoothly inside the rocker you can start the assembly of the new suspension rocker into the car.
We have found adding a thin fresh coating of new grease to the outer spacers helps them slide into the chassis easier while keeping them stuck to the rocker.
Slide the rocker and two outer spacers between the chassis mounts. You might find it tough to align everything. A long screw drivers or tapered drift can be helpful in getting all the holes to line up. The outer spacers might need some very light taping with a hammer to get them into the correct position.
Slide the pivot bolt through and nut the end in place. You might have to wiggle or spin the pivot bolt to help everything line up and get it through all the way to the end.
Tighten the bolt and nut in place and check that the rocker arm pivots in place easily.
Before attaching the rest of the car suspension fill the pivot with your favorite grease using the zerk fitting and a grease gun. We use Red Line CV-2 grease. You will know when the area is full of grease when it starts squeezing out the edges of both outer spacers. Wipe up any excess grease as you don’t want it getting all over you or the car.
To attach the upright lift the ball joint up into the rocker arm and hold in place with the castle nut.
Tighten the castle nut into place and install the cotter pin. Bend the tabs of the cotter pin around or over the castle nut.
Then slide the upper shock spacers with damper into the other end of the rocker. Nut and bolt tightening in place. Repeat for the remaining rockers you are replacing on the car.
Before you reconnect the sway bars you will want to perform a full suspension setup. You might find you need to make major adjustments to some of the shocks and suspension links to set the correct ride heights, castor, camber and toe.
Several of our old suspension rockers were tweaked on our car so we had to make changes to fix the castor. With the caster now correct the camber and toe were out of alignment requiring even more changes and rechecking.
Take your time to make sure the suspension setup is correct. It is a lot harder to do at the track. Once you have all the suspension dialed in, do not forget to reconnect the sway bars.
After the first on track session make sure to refill the rocker arm pivot grease using the zerk fitting and grease gun. This will prevent the grease from drying up or overheating the pivot arm which can cause binding in the suspension and handling problems.