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Caterham A Frames - check them as part of your annual maintenance


Croc
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I ordered one  2 years ago as mine was bent when I lost a wheel bearing, and then the wheel, while on track. I mentioned viewing the A-frame as a wear item to Bruce Beachman when ordering a replacement  and he said he wasn’t aware of them giving problems. And that applied to their Caterham race cars which get much harder use.

 

In any event, having had  both rear bearing hubs fail at different times, with attendant dramatic and $$$$ consequences, followed by endless waits for replacements, I would add them to the list of items to replace on a semi-regular basis.

 

Whoops, just noticed I have made this point earlier in this thread. Oh well, maybe it bears repeating:).

Edited by Kitcat
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Thank you - I have a bunch of stuff coming from Bruce and was surprised when he told me he wasn't aware of the issue. Bruce is very helpful and knows the cars. Despite paying to ship parts back and forth across the country I like to get stuff from him. He guided me towards the stronger front hubs, axles and bearings, and I need to check the rear wheel bearings and upgrade those if I have the old ones. I am going to have all the suspension apart to replace the bushings with Power flex bushings. I hadn't considered how the A frame / lateral link worked, but it is under a twisting moment. I do not understand why they would do that. I am either going to replace it or at least have it magnafluxed. A friend of mine regularly runs against a guy who races a Caterham. I am going to speak to him as well. I am not putting urethane bushings in the A frame. The more compliant rubber will reduce the bending moment on the tube. Getting my car back from body work next week. Hope your car is fixed or close.

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Just to defend the honor of the A frame a little, the bent A frame I got last month came after a track weekend at COTA on slicks. I looked back at the video and I was getting 2g lateral force at really bumpy parts of the track, particularly some of the bad curbs. I raced a well sorted E46 a few weeks later there, the engine belt came off at the Esses the vibration is so harsh.

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I think it is lots of track time that makes the A frame a risk.  My A frame on the 420R broke at roughly 10,000 track miles.  All high G loading tracks.  I don't run with slicks but rather the Avon ZZS (it always rains in the UK so why bother with slicks).  I do use the curbs which would not help.  I also have the benefit of storing my car with a group of Caterhams which are even more heavily tracked than mine so I get to see and hear about more regular failure points on these cars under heavy track usage.  

 

This is a non-issue on road cars with mild track usage unless they were quite aged.  Carl's car was extensively tracked by its previous owner so it is worth him checking for peace of mind.  

 

 

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My interest was in understanding maintenance requirements both the intervals and the procedures. I have a race car background and want to insure reliability. These cars are about halfway between a race car and a production car, and the maintenance is about halfway as well. The more track time the more maintenance.    

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