Link to the Future

As this is my very own space to share with readers I have decided that I am going to talk about all manner of topics affecting our industry. I don’t want to necessarily discuss only technical chassis issues. Although, throughout my career I have produced thousands of chassis and certainly am qualified to “talk tech” all day long.  But that’s not what I want to do since there are many other topics that should be of interest to my readers.

This month’s column was supposed to be about something that is a substantial problem in our industry. Something I call “grand theft product.” This is when a company makes cheap copies of someone else’s products. There are many sides to this problem, which drastically affects the automotive enthusiast, and go way beyond simply buying a

component for less money. However, I haven’t finished my research yet. No, my dog did not eat my homework. The more I looked at this, the larger the effect of it seems. So, next month I will share my thoughts and you can decide for yourself how you feel about the subject.

This month, I want to answer a reader’s question. If you email a question or an observation to me at I will occasionally pick an interesting topic to discuss in my column. Sorry, but I will not be able to answer all your emails directly as I don’t have that amount of time. Feel free to email my technical department at for answers about our products or other technical issues.

Here’s an email I received from a reader that at first seems like a very simple question:

I have a question in regards to your 1st Gen Camaro bolt in 4-link rear suspension. Will it handle 650HP (measured at the crankshaft) in a big-block powered 3400-pound car? I will be running an automatic trans w/ a 3200 stall. All figures are approximate...Also, will the front bracket (or any hardware for that matter) get in the way if I decide to expand the wheel wells inboard and mini-tub it?

The correct answer for the first question “Will it handle 650HP” is “maybe.” The second question I will explain at the end. I would like to talk about what I consider to be a very misunderstood topic in suspension components and the reason I chose this topic for my column. “How good is polyurethane for use as bushings in suspension links?”

Polyurethane has reached a status in our industry that has many enthusiasts believing it is the best suspension bushing material available (except for bushings made from unobtainium, which only the luckiest pros can afford). The truth, as always, is somewhat less flattering.

Poly bushings are used primarily for their cost. Being that suspension bushings can be made from polyurethane by simply pouring into open cavity molds, the parts are cheap to manufacture. That is the complete and total reason for its widespread use. All alternatives are considerably more expensive to make. Now just because the parts can be made inexpensively does not make them bad, but it does dictate that it cannot be the best solution, either. Any product can be drastically improved, but it will cost more to make. That is obviously why better parts sell for more, because they cost more to make.

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