Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

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Thread: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

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    Default Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    First time poster, but long time lurker. Great information here.

    Picked up a used tundra not long ago, and it's a great truck, but it's now clear that LCA bushings need to be replaced. I am sure the UCA will go out eventually too, but don't know if I should do both at the same time. It increases the cost, obviously. Any recommendations?

    I've read the previous threads on LCA replacement and it looks like the best way to go is to get the entire assembly rather than just the bushings, and I will probably do that.

    Also, is this something I can reasonably do on my own? I have performed my own maintenance before and consider myself fairly handy. Even if it's an all day job, I am willing to do that. I realize the cam bolts may have to be cut off.

    The reason I ask is that the best quote I have received so far for the job from a shop is to replace both, and the cost is $1,000. Might be half that if I just do the LCA. Don't know exactly. Thanks so much.

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    Senior Contributor jack mccarthy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    What a coincidence. I'm in the process of doing mine.

    If you've had lower ball joint recall done, be prepared to use an impact tool at 150psi to get that 24mm nut off along and maybe a drill to get the oversize cotter pin out. Bastards!! Another dealership also overtorqued my steering rack when replacing it, so I need a two foot breaker bar to free the nuts and bolts.

    I think the repair manual mentions that you need to pull back the steering rack a few inches to back the back end lower control arm bolt out, but the dealership recently told me you have enough clearance when you take the nut off the tie rod ends and pull back the dust boot; we'll see who's right.

    Ordered my LCAs, but they came beat up in a manufacturer's box that was taped together with the plates spinning on the end of the sleeve. Distributor states the spinning plate on the sleeve is okay, but the manufacturer didn't. Thankfully, they are taking them back and sending me a new set, so I'll have to see how bad of an issue it is if the new set has a plate that spins and doesn't hold the sleeve within the bushing in place. I'd hate to go though it all over again a 2nd time round.

    In any event, good luck and use a lot of PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench ahead of time to loosen up the nuts and bolts. Saving some of the CAM hardware will save you a lot of money if you don't have to replace it.

    I'll post when I complete the job. Hopefully it won't be too cold out after thanksgiving.
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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    So are you doing both the upper and lower control arms?

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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceWrangler View Post
    So are you doing both the upper and lower control arms?
    Just the lower ones. The upper ones are fine. I'm not sure if there's any advantage to be leveraged from in removing the LCAs to do the UCAs. Someone else would have to chime in on that one. It is good time to replace you front shocks though, since you'll be pulling out the coil over shock assembly.

    If your paying someone to do it, I'm sure it would be cheaper to do the shocks along with the lower control arms.
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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    u might want to go long travel.. spend a little extra and take your truck out for fun!

    search google for total chaos and camburg. also look on craigslist.

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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    Anyone have any idea whether it is best to do both at the same time or just do the lower control arms? Thanks.

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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    [QUOTE=SpaceWrangler;1840170]Anyone have any idea whether it is best to do both at the same time or just do the lower control arms? Thanks.[/QUOTE

    Its not harder to do the uppers later if the bushings are good save the money to up grade them later if you have a compressor its not hard to DIY get a repair manual its got good pics and if your not changing the struts then u don't need a spring compressor but get a pry bar and a hammer a BIG ONE, I've been doing mechanics for 18 years

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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    since you have the ability and likely the money to buy the parts, i recommend doing it all at once and being done with it. this includes shocks, steering rack and sway bar bushes.
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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    [QUOTE=toy4wd198292;1840175]
    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceWrangler View Post
    Anyone have any idea whether it is best to do both at the same time or just do the lower control arms? Thanks.[/QUOTE

    Its not harder to do the uppers later if the bushings are good save the money to up grade them later if you have a compressor its not hard to DIY get a repair manual its got good pics and if your not changing the struts then u don't need a spring compressor but get a pry bar and a hammer a BIG ONE, I've been doing mechanics for 18 years
    Thanks. I ordered a manual. I will inspect the uppers and decide then. I am glad you told me it doesn't require a spring compressor for the lower, as I wasn't about to try that.

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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceWrangler View Post
    Anyone have any idea whether it is best to do both at the same time or just do the lower control arms? Thanks.
    I'd say it's a matter of how tough your knees are.....you're going to be crawling around on the ground for a while.....maybe hours.....my knees hurt just thinkink about it!
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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    Sorry to hijack thread, but how are the control arm bushings tested for integrity other than a visual inspection?

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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by yamatoy View Post
    Sorry to hijack thread, but how are the control arm bushings tested for integrity other than a visual inspection?
    It's primarily visual. It's the rubber in the bushing that allow the arm to pivot, so if you want to test it under the most stress, do a visual for any tears both before and after you jack up the front end; the latter being when it's under stress. It's also important when replacing them to torque the bolts when the truck is level and flat to the ground which is when the bushing are under the least amount of stress.
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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    I just had to remove my LCA. I was kinda worried about doing it also, but it was very easy.

    Since you are just replacing the bushings, not the whole LCA, the manual says to remove the lower ball joint from the arm. You do NOT need to do this if you are NOT replacing the LCA itself. And get a bottle jack or something, to support the hub/spindle/CV/rotor/caliper assembly....I imagine its not a good thing to just let the whole thing hang from the upper ball joint.

    All you need is a 14mm, & 19mm boxend wrench AND sockets; either a 22mm boxend OR a socket; and a breaker bar, or high-torque impact wrench. (I use the pipe shown in one of the pics below, to slip over the breaker bar for more leverage.)

    Took me about 45mins because I had to remove mine with the strut attached...

    Make sure you keep the LCA bolts and cams separate, by putting them in a labeled baggie. (You DID remember to place matchmarks on both sets of inner AND outer cams, right?.. )

    The middle pic is why I had to remove the LCA to get the strut out. The inner shock bolt sleeve is seized, right up against the rear mounting tab. I'm gonna have to go at the sleeve/bolt with a sawzall once I cut the shock off.
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    Last edited by Stone_Blue; 11-20-2012 at 09:34 AM.
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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    My understanding is that you need a press to get the bushings out of the LCA if you plan on just changing the bushings. Sounds to me like it would be easier just to change the arms?

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    Default Re: Lower Control Arms Need Replacing - Do upper at same time? Also, DIY or not?

    Four new bushings are gonna run you around $200 for OEM; Two new A-arms with bushings, are gonna cost around $400. And you still need to rent a rod end set to remove your LBJs/tie-rod ends.

    I would get a 12 ton press from Harbor Freight ($130, $6 S&H), and do the bushings yourself....I've found quite a few uses for my 20 ton HF press. If you dont want to keep the press, sell it for like $70....That would be $60 you spend to press your own bushings in....If you were to take your A-arms to a shop, I'm sure it would easily be about $60 or more to have them done....

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