View original topic: Boxed 3x3 trailing arms, or tube?
thesatelliteguy Wed Dec 23, 2020 5:34 pm

Its finally come time to get some 3x3's on the baja bug. I haven't been able to find out which type of design will work best for my use.
I tend to drive on the streets, in the woods, and would like to get some more time out in the desert.

What style of arms should I get?

What brand do you suggest?


66 Shorty Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:36 am

I suggest you talk to Nate at Buggy Barn Fabrications. (I found him on Facebook when I had an account on there) I bought the Boxed 3 x 3's. Not knowing which to purchase either... I'm NOT going crazy off-road or anything though. Mine is mainly street use & some fire trails & such... We don't have any Dunes to go thrashing in over here in Rhode Island... LOL!

dustymojave Thu Dec 24, 2020 7:04 pm

Over several decades of offroad racing and play, I've not observed any notable difference in strength between tubular trailing arms and boxed plate arms. as a generality. Certain ones might be weak, certain others might be strong. But I can't say whether tubular arms or plate arms are stronger. And I suggest that listening to others who tell you there is a difference one way or the other would not be wise. Which style you choose is entirely a matter of personal preference.

One factor that is VERY important is the camber. Some builders of longer than stock trailing arms have made a jig based on either a right side arm or a left side arm. That produces one side fitting well with the wheel near zero camber, but the other side has substantial camber. Other companies have made arms that the camber is just plain OFF, no matter which way they're installed.

The only sources for arms that I can personally recommend are McKenzie's Offroad or Kartek. The arms that are sold by Kartek were designed by a close associate of my son and are welded by another (who does a LOT of welding for Trophy Trucks).

thesatelliteguy Fri Dec 25, 2020 10:46 am

Shorty and Dusty, thanks for chiming in.
After talking to a few other people, specifically Nick at Buggy Bar Fabrication (he responded very fast by the way), it seems as though which style of arms is just a personal preference of aesthetics.
I checked out Buggy Barns trailing arms and they look really nice and the price was fair. I mean, you can buy mass produced trailing arms from a factory that has no idea what they’re building, or for the same price, you can buy an American made product from an Indiana farm boy with a nack to build things better.

richardcraineum Fri Dec 25, 2020 2:47 pm

i dont know for sure, and it could vary depending on material used, but i was thinking that tube arms were lighter?

dustymojave Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:55 pm

They may LOOK lighter, but if the tubing is strong enough, they really are not. If the tubing is too thick walled, then they are heavier than needed. Same for the box arms. If the plate is too thin, the arms will be weak. If the plate is too thick, the arms may be strong enough, but will be heavy.

I've seen both types fail on race cars and on play cars.

Bad_chopper Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:15 pm

mine are tube arms by muddy rudder, if your going to have them made make sure they are building them to your actual ride height and not some standard setting, so you get the proper camber.

Scott SD Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:43 pm

I will second the recommendation for arms from Kartek. A friend just bought some 3x3s and they are beautiful. He also has the +1s on the race car and they are still straight after multiple roll overs. When I go to 3x3s on my car they will definitely be from Kartek.

dustymojave Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:23 pm

I'm looking at buying a Chenowth right now that has Kartek 3 x 3 plate arms. The quality of the arms is a potential deal breaker when looking at buying a car, unless the price is good enough to allow purchase of other arms without the price of the car exceeding its value.

Says bad_chopper -- Quote: if your going to have them made make sure they are building them to your actual ride height and not some standard setting, so you get the proper camber.

That is an absolute factor. Many arm builders don't consider that.
Lots of builders of quality arms still build on a single jig for left and right. That will always produce positive camber at ride height.

Something like 40 years ago, I was building arms by fastening the hubs to a piece of tubing and set at ride height under the back of the car. Then the arms were built out from the pivots to the hubs. No positive or negative camber at ride height.

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