Speed Direct's spherical rod end linkage kit offers smoother clutch operation and more strength for four-speed-equipped Chevy musclecars. Speed Direct's spherical rod end linkage kit offers smoother clutch operation and more str Have you ever looked at an aftermarket performance part and thought, "Now why didn't I think of that?" If so, then you'll know exactly how we felt when we first saw Speed Direct's spherical rod end clutch linkage kit. In all honesty, it was something we had thought about (Editor Terry Cole even built a similar system for his '66 Chevelle back in the mid '70s). In fact, plenty of hot rodders have made similar linkage pieces for their street machines over the years. Thousands more have probably thought about making them, but never got around to it. And as far as we know, Speed Direct is the first company to take the initiative of designing and marketing such a kit. So what exactly is a spherical rod end clutch linkage? Well, quite simply, Speed Direct's kit replaces standard steel clutch linkage rods with aluminum rods that have adjustable spherical bearing rod ends. Owners of four-speed-equipped Chevy musclecars will quickly realize the advantage of this, since factory clutch linkage parts have never had a reputation for outstanding strength. The inexpensive, mass-produced linkage rods are prone to fatigue and wear, especially if your car has a stiff aftermarket pressure plate. By contrast, the spherical bearing rod ends on the aftermarket rods offer greater strength and smooth, precise operation thanks to their Teflon lining. They also feature lefthand threads on one end and righthand threads on the other, which allows you to adjust the length without disconnecting the linkage. We recently installed one of Speed Direct's linkage kits on a small-block- powered, four-speed-equipped '65 El Camino and found it to be just what we expected-a quality component that was simple to install. Sure, it's the type of thing that we could have built for ourselves, but the effort, time, and money we would have invested probably would have exceeded Speed Direct's asking price. We let them do the homework, while we tackled the simple tasks of ordering the kit and installing it. If you've got a muscle-era Chevy (kits are available for most Camaros, Novas, and Chevelles, with Impala kits in the works), you can do the same. The stock upper linkage rod is usually held in place with a cotter pin or clip. After removing the clip from both the pedal side of the rod and the bellcrank end, the stock linkage rod was removed. After removing the clip from both the pedal side of the rod and the bellcrank end, the sto The stock rod on the far left shows the type of wear that can occur to the ends after years of service (as compared to the near-new rod in the center). Wear shouldn't be an issue with the spherical bearing rod end. The stock rod on the far left shows the type of wear that can occur to the ends after year Here you can see the difference between the stock upper rod and the new one. Prior to installing the new rod, we adjusted the ends until it was the same length as the stock part. Since the rod has righthand threads on one end and lefthand threads on the other, further adjustments can easily be made once it is installed. Prior to installing the new rod, we adjusted the ends until it was the same length as the On our application, the upper rod had to be slid through the firewall from the interior side, and the engine-side rod end had to be removed to get the rod through the firewall boot. Once in place, the supplied hardware was used to secure it to the clutch pedal. On our application, the upper rod had to be slid through the firewall from the interior si After replacing the rod end on the engine side (we counted threads to make sure we maintained the length we wanted), the rod was bolted to the bellcrank. After replacing the rod end on the engine side (we counted threads to make sure we maintai Then we moved to the underside of the car to replace the lower linkage rod. As you can see here, the stock lower rod was similar to the stock upper one, in that it used a 90-degree bend and a clip to attach to the bellcrank. Again, the new rod should provide more strength and less slop. Then we moved to the underside of the car to replace the lower linkage rod. As you can see Here's the lower linkage rod after it was bolted in place. Like the upper rod, it has righthand threads on one end and lefthand threads on the other, making adjustments simple. After making final adjustments, we tightened up the jam nuts on all the rod ends and took a drive to try out our new, solid-feeling linkage. Everything worked great, and we expect many trouble-free years (and miles) ahead. Here's the lower linkage rod after it was bolted in place. Like the upper rod, it has righ SOURCES Speed Direct 1901 S. FM 129, Santo TX 76472 Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!