As part of the training programme for all new sales recruits at igus, managing director Matthew Aldridge sets a project. The task is to solve an engineering problem using igus products. For new starter Darren Lane, the challenge was to come up with a way of stopping a classic 1962 Land Rover Series IIA throttle ball joint from detaching while accelerating.
Aldridge has always been tinkering with broken machines and getting them back up and running. At the age of 16, he single-handedly restored a 1969 Triumph Herald 13/60, which he was then able to take on the road when he passed his driving test. The Land Rover Series IIA is his latest restoration project.
“I bought the Land Rover as a wreck 5 years ago,” said Aldridge. “I’ve refurbished it and tinker with it during my spare time, when I’m not driving it off-road. One problem I had was that the throttle ball joint kept detaching under acceleration. Earlier this year it happened four times in one journey, which meant stopping the Land Rover, opening the bonnet and refitting the throttle ball joint - enough was enough.”
For every new sales engineer, a challenge is set whereby a problem is solved by working with igus products. Lane’s project was to find a solution to Aldridge’s throttle ball socket problem that was adjustable and fitted the current ball studs. To add a bit of a twist, one of the studs was badly corroded and, as part of a riveted mechanism that is original to the vehicle, tricky to replace. The other ball stud, which had to be refitted when the carburettor was replaced, was brand new.
“When given the project, I felt excited and a little apprehensive,” said Lane, “after all, it was my new managing director’s own vehicle.” Familiar with the application and having just undergone 6 weeks of intensive product training, Lane was able to identify a potential product range to investigate further.
“I wanted the part to remain as ‘genuine’ to the Land Rover as possible, both aesthetically and functionally,” explained Lane. Initially, he considered using the same sized angled socket joint at each end. But, as one of the original ball studs was riveted in place, it could not be removed. The other one was replaceable. He increased the size of angled ball and socket joint at the replaceable end, choosing 2 igus WGLM-08 M8 ball joint linkages with M8 thread – one was used to manufacture a ‘lock nut’. This enabled a secure and reliable threaded fit onto the mounting bracket on the vehicle. One the other end, he used 2 WGRM-06-LC M6 ball joint linkages.
“Changing the ball and socket size at one end meant having to replace the ‘link rod’ between the two ends,” explained Lane. “It had to have a larger left-handed thread at one end to allow for the larger ball and socket and remain useable for the adjustment of the linkage as per the original.” He added that the replacement parts also met with Matthew’s requirement for replacing the metal parts that had corroded, with igus parts that are maintenance and lubrication free, even in aggressive environments.