We talked with Todd Keller, the mind behind Keller Performance Products, about the origin of the famous Keller Ball Joint, the partnership between Keller and SuperATV, and his love for riding and the outdoors. Read on to hear from the man himself and don’t forget to check out the interview video to hear exactly what he had to say.
Hello, I’m Todd Keller of Keller Performance Products. We’re here at SuperATV today going over some of the benefits and key elements of the Keller Performance Ball Joint.
I came up with the design for Keller Ball Joints after multiple failures of the OEM snap ring. The OEM snap ring would give up, and the ball joint would shoot out of the A-arm. We were racing Ultra4 and having ball joint failures. You couldn’t drive five miles without a machine with ball joint problems!
That year, in ‘14, I started sketching on the 28-hour drive home from California. We got home, opened CAD, and drew a ball joint. It’s been basically the same design ever since.
The reason we chose a screw-together design for our ball joint was to eliminate the snap ring failures. Notoriously, ball joints would be driven out of the A-arm because the snap ring would fail.
When we looked at that, we laid out multiple different scenarios that could improve a ball joint. We addressed every single issue. That’s why our ball joint is so different from everything else on the market.
We started out with a Polaris ball joint. We didn’t want the snap ring below the A-arm. So, we reversed the way the ball joint went into the arm. When we did that, we knew we didn’t want to use the snap ring anymore. We had the ball joint in the A-arm in what we felt was the correct position. Once we confirmed that, we added a cap so that we had the ball joint completely captured in the A-arm.
After that, we had to start looking at materials. We need it to be stronger not just because of snap ring failures, but because of pin failures as well. We considered all types of materials and heat-treating because we needed the pin to be as strong as we could get it.
We wanted our customers to have a serviceable ball joint that they could take apart, clean it, and put it back together. If they had a boot failure, they could replace the boot, clean the joint, and put everything back together. There’s no reason they’d have to go out and buy another ball joint.
I chose to join the SuperATV family after seeing their direction and resources—and a lot of discussions. I felt we could grow the Keller Performance brand beyond what it is today and improve our current ball joints and the products we’ve been working on in the background that haven’t been released yet—honestly, that we didn’t have the time for. I’m getting old!
What I love most about the UTV industry is being outdoors, and the group of people that enjoy the outdoors with us. I started out riding ATVs—a little Honda 90—years ago, and everything just got bigger, better, faster through the years. Now here we are!
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