What Are Pillow Ball Mounts?by William Zane
A vehicle's suspension is comprised of dozens of different components, all of which work together to provide the desired ride and handling. Generally, where the suspension components are connected to the chassis and other suspension parts, rubber bushings are used to provide a better ride for the occupants. However, if a vehicle is being modified for more performance, it may be desirable to replace some of these components for better performance, response and handling.
In stock form, almost all cars use rubber bushings in the suspension. The reason for this is that rubber bushings absorb much of the force produced by the vehicle's suspension when it is driven over bumps and road imperfections. This in turn isolates the occupants and provides a more comfortable, compliant ride. One of the issues with rubber bushings though is that, because they deflect more, the suspension can lose precision. This is generally not a problem for normal driving, but if a car is modified for better handling, a more rigid setup may be desired. Among the solutions to make a suspension more precise are urethane bushings as well as a more extreme solution, which are pillow ball mounts.
Pillow Ball Mounts
Despite their misleading title, pillow ball mounts are solid metal mounts that are used in areas such as the upper strut mount. The rubber normally used is replaced with a metal spherical bearing. Rather than deflecting from the cornering forces like a conventional rubber bushing, pillow ball mounts do not move at all. This translates into a far more precise feel from the suspension and steering.
Where to Find Them
Pillow ball mounts are not available for every make and model of car. They are generally made for vehicles that are popular as bases for modified cars, many of which are Japanese. Among the companies that make pillow ball mounts are HKS and Tein, both of which are Japanese companies.
While pillow ball mounts definitely increase a vehicle's handling and steering response, they do so at the cost of comfort. The metal bearings will transmit far more vibrations from the road, which will make the vehicle less comfortable. They can also rattle and squeak. This may be fine if the car in question is not a daily driver and used for recreational driving or track driving. However, if the car is driven frequently on the street, pillow ball mounts may be too extreme.
William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.