Powerflex Mk4 - Non Squeak Edition! - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 78 Old 07-06-15 Thread Starter
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Thumbs Up Powerflex Mk4 - Non Squeak Edition!

So many of you have had Powerflexed upper arms and subsequently ended up with a squeaky ride. In honesty, mine often ended up sounding like an old bed in an "establishment of ill repute" on a regular occasion

This is something I have been discussing and theorising about with Ned & Craig @ Autolusso for some time now and last week we decided to try a modification that has the potential to solve the problem for good!

Essentially the issue is that over time, the bush works all of the grease out and squeaks. The only fix is to grease it again and the problem is that the grease needs to go inside the bush. This requires the bush to come out as you cannot get any kind of spray grease to creep inside enough.

So what we decided was that an old-school solution was needed!

Each of the upper arms was removed from the car and drilled, tapped and sheathed to take a grease nipple. This way, when they eventually run out of grease, all you have to do is jack up the car, attach a hand held grease gun and apply the grease to the inside of the bush in place.

Craig ran some tests last week and it all looked promising so my car was up on the ramps for the first set of greasy nipples

IMG_0338.jpg IMG_0334.jpg

We were feeling brave so to prove the point we fitted the bushes into the arms DRY with NO grease and attached them to the car. Once they were fitted we greased them with the nipples while on the car and I took it for a drive round the block to see if we had squeak.

IMG_0340.jpg IMG_0351.jpg

Silence

It does not squeak, and has not squeaked yet. Given I do a couple of K of mileage a month I will be able to report back as to the longevity of this fix.

I believe that Autolusso will be able to modify existing powerflex installations as required by customers, and new customers can request this additional modification. This of course extends past the 159/Brera/Spider and is relevant for the 156/147/GT crowed as well as they all suffer the Powerflex Squeak as well!

Here is a very happy looking Craig, extremely pleased with himself and the solution

IMG_0342.jpg IMG_0352.jpg


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Last edited by JabawokJayUK; 11-06-15 at 07:05.
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i've seen folks doing the same on 156 upper wishbones
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I completely silenced the upper arm bushes on the 147 using this here Silkolene grease - Silkolene Pro RG2 500g | Demon Tweeks
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Will the hole clog over the winter months with grit, ect clinging to the oil or lube? And if so wouldn't that act as abrasion friction on the inside of the bush causing a simlilar issue? I guess only time will tell
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Weakening that part of the wishbone is bad news - just ask any Maserati 3200 or 4200 owners. It can lead to catastrophic failure so please test it fully before widespread implementation.
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Originally Posted by IAMBRERA View Post
Will the hole clog over the winter months with grit, ect clinging to the oil or lube? And if so wouldn't that act as abrasion friction on the inside of the bush causing a simlilar issue? I guess only time will tell
The hole is where the grease nipple screws in to....this can be seen in the pictures of the arm on the car.
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Grease Nipples. Can't help feeling this solution is going backwards in engineering.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAMBRERA View Post
Will the hole clog over the winter months with grit, ect clinging to the oil or lube? And if so wouldn't that act as abrasion friction on the inside of the bush causing a simlilar issue? I guess only time will tell
The new Grease nipples have a sprung loaded ball that prevents the ingress of contaminants. The only thing that gets in is grease under pressure from a gun. Also. The powerflex bushes eventually get contaminants in from the edges when the grease eventually fails. (regardless of what grease you use it WILL eventually fail).

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Weakening that part of the wishbone is bad news - just ask any Maserati 3200 or 4200 owners. It can lead to catastrophic failure so please test it fully before widespread implementation.
I had this discussion with Craig. The consensus is that that the creation of the hole that is then filled with a steel brace part (sleeve) and then filled with the nipple, will reduce the ability for the area to flex which is where a failure would most likely occur. Yes the overall amount of cast metal is now reduced but it is at the lower point where pressures should be least.

Time will tell of course.

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Grease Nipples. Can't help feeling this solution is going backwards in engineering.
Probably OE, but then you are an advocate of solid engineering principles and much like the Morgan that swapped the automatically engine lubricated suspension for old fashioned grease nipples, sometimes the simplest solutions are in fact the best for the job.

Lets see how it pans out. All I know is the car handles better than it has in a long time
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Weakening that part of the wishbone is bad news - just ask any Maserati 3200 or 4200 owners. It can lead to catastrophic failure so please test it fully before widespread implementation.
Adding to Jaba comment it is also worth noting that the top wishbone is locating only and doesn't take the weight of the car. The weight of the car is taken by lower wishbone and through the damper / spring.

Personal opinion but I wouldn't worry about grease nipples here and have previously fitted them to both of my son's 147s. It is a trick from one of the Italian forums.
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Have costs been decided for this mod?
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(Post Link) post #11 of 78 Old 08-06-15 Thread Starter
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Speak to Ned.
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Quote:
I had this discussion with Craig. The consensus is that that the creation of the hole that is then filled with a steel brace part (sleeve) and then filled with the nipple, will reduce the ability for the area to flex which is where a failure would most likely occur. Yes the overall amount of cast metal is now reduced but it is at the lower point where pressures should be least.
I'm still not convinced that removing best part of 50% of the cross section and then inducing some additional stresses by sleeving the hole is not going to have an adverse effect on the strength. The hoop and to some extent the longitudinal resistances must have been severely compromised. With such a safety critical part I'd need to see some proper testing before fitting to my car - I'm out..
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Weakening that part of the wishbone is bad news - just ask any Maserati 3200 or 4200 owners. It can lead to catastrophic failure so please test it fully before widespread implementation.
That is exactly what I was thinking with them being cast ally but if there are no wishbone failures over the next 12 months , it does have some appeal.
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although you can see that some manufacturers put nipples on similar positions on their spherical rod ends solutions

http://www.rbcbearings.com/images/si...dendsphoto.jpg

http://static.speedwaymotors.com/RS/...784315A4&01NA=

one have to notice next few things:
  • powerflex bushings are not spherical joints, which means that they take some moment with them, meaning stress situation is bit different
  • depending on the load cases, max stress position will move, but normally should be in the area of the transition between cylindrical section and the rod
  • by checking this picture it seams that AR has not made non-concentric hole to make gradual change (increase) in cross sections from the "tip" (side opposite to the rod direction) for stress and material optimization
  • meaning that on the side fully opposite to the rod you might be having excessive material and potential winning position for the nipple (please bear in mind that the load cases are not known to me, so this would be only the best guestimate!)

  • 146s 1.3 & 1.6 boxer (man I loved those cars!)
  • 156 1.6TS (sold it only since I wanted more power)
  • 159 2.2JTS SW (sold it only since I wanted more power)
  • now driving 159 3.2JTS Q4 SW Ti
  • now driving also Vespa GTS 300ie Super
  • now driving also Aprilia Moto 6.5
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Very interesting thread and, in my opinion, a great idea. Please keep us updated- I'm poised with my tap and die set ready to go!
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So i started to squeek last week.

I jacked up the car, attached the greese gun and regreased each side. One side stopped squeaking instantly. On the other side, one of the bushes still squeaks slightly so when I get some more time this weekend I am going to loosen the bolt slightly before greasing again to see if more gets in.

The ride was immidiately improved though! I think a regular greasing once a month as part of general maintenance will be the order of the day.
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Powerflex Mk4 - Non Squeak Edition!

Just wondering, the power flex are available in different properties. Is it worth trying the different ones? Looks like you are using the black (the hardest right?)

The most flexible might be a bit more compliant and stop some of the rubbing/ squeaking?


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My Brera is going in on the 1st September for a full Powerflex setup......Sign me up for nipples Ned!
 
(Post Link) post #19 of 78 Old 06-08-15 Thread Starter
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My Brera is going in on the 1st September for a full Powerflex setup......Sign me up for nipples Ned!
It will cost extra to get your arms modified.
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It will cost extra to get your arms modified.
No problem
 
(Post Link) post #21 of 78 Old 09-08-15 Thread Starter
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So I regreased the side that was still a little squeaky at low speed today. Rather than unbolt anything I just jacked it up, sprayed brake parts cleaner libberally on the bushes to make sure they were totally grease and dirt free, then attached the grease gun and reapplied.

Job done. no more squeak

Seems that it either needed a few miles to work the grease into the bush or cleaning to allow more grease to replace dirt on the edges or a combination thereof!

Either way I'm happy. Squeak to no squeak without a spanner
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So over the last week I have had the absolute test of this mod and can confirm its 100% fixed the squeek issues and NOT weekend the arms in any way

I'll start at the begining.....

A couple of weeks ago, a few of us like minded fools drove to the Nurburg ring in convoy via Reims in France. Including a few aggressive laps of the ring we are talking a 1000 mile weekend of high speed punishment that has tested the strength of the upper arms.

So last week my bushes started to squeek really badly. So badly that everytime I turned the wheel it sounded exactly like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXwHKZctKGc

Although not the same issue it was ideintical in noise and movement so you can understand it was not ideal! people would turn and stair for all the wrong reasons while it was being driven!!

Fearing the worst I thought the rack had gone so set about checking fluids, resovouirs and checking the cost of replacement units But after a week of diagnosing the rack I established it was fine and moved onto the bushes....

I initially tried to greese them using the standard multi-purpose grease I had always been using just by jacking it up and forcing it in like before. This made it a little quieter but had not at all fixed it. Given this ais all I had done before to quiet it down I was less than pleased at this point.

So I thought I should try and clean it all up a little first as it was a right mess of dirt and greese. I used the jet washer to thoroughly clean the bushes and upper arm joints, then used brake parts cleaner to get rid of the last of it then used a water displacing penetrant to finish the job.

I re-applied the normal greese and it was no better. At this stage I thought it was a no go mod and that it was all a waste of time

Not content with such an outcome I decided to get a little more involved in the problem so I jacked her up again, cleaned off the joints again as before and took both front wheels off.

I then switched the greese in my gun from multi-purpose greese to copper greese (seems be be better favoured for the Powerflex) and slackened off the upper arm bolts to ensure that the greese could get all the way into the bush.

When I applied it this time the greese oozed out of both ends of the bush rather than just one end as before so this seemed much more promising.

A quick blast around the block after it was all put back together and its smooth as silk and quiet as a mouse without the squeek!

That as they say is a result

Happy Powerflexing!
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Mine have just started to squeak over certain roads once they get warm, from cold they're fine. I used a lazer gun temperature reader after a 10 mile run and the rear bush on both sides of the upper arms was 100, fronts 88.3. The front brakes discs was 100, & brake pads 130 degrees. So kind of gives you an idea of how much friction & heat is generated from the upper arms. I'm just gonna strip the bushes down & apply Racing Greese when i get sometime spare, shouldn't take more than a hour & half.
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Thats the best way but unfortunatley means your going to need to get it aligned again after. The nipples at least allow the bushes to hold the alignment which is a bonus.
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Thats the best way but unfortunatley means your going to need to get it aligned again after. The nipples at least allow the bushes to hold the alignment which is a bonus.
Very interesting thread Jay, fingers crossed the copper grease does the job.

I would like to contribute another idea for the reason there is this squeak
I think its the way the caster is achieved with the eccentric bushes.

Normally with the rubber bushs the arms sit parallel in location as the arm travels up and down and load is spread across contact patch equally, when you skew the pickup points to move to arm with the eccentric sleeves to get correct caster, you also move the loading pressure point.

For what it worth, my solution would be to have a fixed polly bush and shim those top pickup points forward or back to obtain correct caster.
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