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Old 02-20-2012, 03:36 PM   #1
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Building upper control arms

Has anyone ever built there own control arms for there tacoma?

I'm not necessarily trying to build a long travel suspension, more of a mid-travel maybe. Buying aftermarket uppers are selling for anywhere from $450-750+ and i feel like you could build your own for significantly cheaper then that. You would want to make a JIG to make life easier and be able to duplicate them easily. Running a nice quality uniball and bushings on frame end you'd have about $150-170 in your joints. You could build them from box or tube, 4130 would be the best if going tube.

How do you determine the geometry and what would you need to consider?

What else am i overlooking that has me thinking this wouldn't be a bad idea?




I'm a welder/machinist by trade and have done some fabbing. I've got a linked Jeep TJ that i built so i'm not a newb, just never built an A-arm suspension.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:42 PM   #2
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I would like to run it with an ICON coilover up front more then likely. I would build lowers after i had the uppers dialed in. And retaining 4wd would be a must so i'm not trying to get crazy travel out of it. Its for a 98 Tacoma that is my DD and gets wheeled often.

And before you say it, i dont want to SAS it, i had the axle to do it and sold it because i enjoy the IFS in the front of it. It might would eventually happen but not until i've explored all i can with an independent front.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:51 PM   #3
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I honestly don't think it would be that hard to build your own uca. Especially with your background it'd probably be easy to knock out. And the geometry doesn't seem like it'd be that big of an issue since you're gonna be running the same as stock. I would just measure the angles of the stock mounts and angle that the ball joint sits at when at rest and just go from there. I also wanna build my own set I just need a tube bender.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:58 PM   #4
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I'd try to get my hands on a used/borrowed set of UCA's and build a basic jig off of them thru the uniball hole and pin off of the frame mounting locations. Get to cuttin and notching on the 4130 tube and burn it in. Should be pretty straight forward.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:07 PM   #5
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You could also pm TCyota(Tyler) and ask him for advice cause he built him own lt system in his garage.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:31 PM   #6
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That's what i'm thinking. I wouldnt think so atleast that it would be the most difficult thing but i feel like i'm over looking something since i cant find anyone doing it. I wouldn't want to get to much wider in the front as I'm in SC and mainly in rocks, a little width would be beneficial for stability and i could live with it if it was necessary for the travel, but i dont like trying to squeeze through everything and i'm not trying to run glass fenders just to get destroyed.

By any chance is there a link to his build? I've started looking more towards the prerunner/desert guys for reference.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:00 PM   #7
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His build isn't on here. I think he's usually on ttora. But here's a link to his gallery

http://www.tacomaworld.com/gallery/s.../30692/cat/500
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:58 PM   #9
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Your in SC huh... If you make some i want a pair
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:03 PM   #10
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Interesting....
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve97tj View Post
How do you determine the geometry and what would you need to consider?
Geometry is probably the most important for custom UCAs. The UCA sees relatively little load, so it doesn't have to be beefy. The large (1.0" or 1.25") uniball is used purely to get more travel by using a radiused spacer.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:44 PM   #12
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Ya i've pretty much been reading as much as i can about it. Uniballs are definitely where its at. Bushings are fool proof but you can run heims and have them adjustable (i think this would be how you adjust camber?). Seems boxed would be easier to build as i dont have access to a bender that will bend anything small and 4130 is pricey. Looking into it more, I'd have $200 in uniballs and cups, $50-60 in either heims or bushings, and then most likey build box arms with 1/8". I happen to have some metal already but would probably have to pick up some more, i could probably build them for $300. If you look around the cheapest i've seen are $440 and they use a balljoint still, but it is like the 2nd gen style. I'd build a jig from scrap steel i had laying around.

With the A-arm type suspensions, what determines the adjustment of caster and camber?
Dumb question but i've never messed with it or thought about it. http://www.ttora.com/forum/showthread.php?t=54326



I was talking myself into a long travel system, and would benefit from it i think the more i think about it and look into it, but i have manual hubs and wouldnt sacrifice them for it. To keep your 4wd with LT you have to either run tundra axles with ADD or custom with manual hubs and i don't know how i feel about that. I like the thought of being able to run to the parts store and picking a new CV up when i breaking it as opposed to having to buy a custom one that may take a while to show up.

Anyone heard of anyone running a tundra/manual hub hybrid?
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:56 PM   #13
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If you go LT, are you looking to fabricate both the UCAs and LCAs? Keep in mind the suspension calculations become a lot more complex as now you will have to watch for things like roll center migration, bump steer, etc. There are software programs that can help with the math, but you have to know the principles behind it, e.g. http://www.susprog.com/susptype.htm
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:04 PM   #14
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I'm gonna look into buying a tube bender when I get my tax return just a manual one is all I need too. But I'm definitely gonna try and make a set
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:17 PM   #15
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I would run bushings and Uniballs, heims are really expensive more like 70 a peice, and you will have to replace them which would add up. they would give you more adjustability

It would be very very easy to build your own arms from a jig if you can weld and work with metal.

the caster and camber are adjusted on the Lower control arm by adjusting the cams, and the toe is adjusted by the nuts on the steering links.

here is a how to.
http://www.yotatech.com/f123/alignme...ft-info-81538/


And you would just have to use the outer joints on the cv from the tacoma and put them on the tundra axles, but that would be a pain.

Just follow a how to for people who did a manual hub swap on their tundra

make sure to post alot of pics of the project. lots.

good luck
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:19 PM   #16
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My first priority is uppers, but i would probably try and build lowers eventually, and most likely stock replacements unless i could figure out the CV issue.

Does Camburg and Total chaos use the same uppers on there LT kit as they sell individually?
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve97tj View Post
My first priority is uppers, but i would probably try and build lowers eventually, and most likely stock replacements unless i could figure out the CV issue.

Does Camburg and Total chaos use the same uppers on there LT kit as they sell individually?
No both the upper and lower are longer
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:24 PM   #18
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Thats what i figured thanks.

Where on earth are you buying heims for $70 a piece? Ruffstuffspecialties sales them as a pair for $60+ depending on what size you want.

With a little searching i came across this for my question of tundra axles with manual hubs
http://www.tundrasolutions.com/forum...ub-conversion/

I will focus on the building of uppers and coilovers. Maybe down the road i'd do LT.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:38 PM   #19
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The local orw where I live sells uniballs and heims for like $50 iirc.
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:13 AM   #20
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I would becareful when building uca, it takes a lot of trial and error to get all the geometry right. Caster and camber can be affected by the upper arm. If you don't get caster right your truck can wander badly.
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