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Light Racing UCA - Ball Joint Failure

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Old 10-18-2012, 11:13 AM   #1
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Thumbs down Light Racing UCA - Ball Joint Failure

Just had a chance to tear apart my front suspension (1. ugh, hate that long UCA bolt, 2. need a BJ separator)

For the last 6 months I've been suffering an increasingly bad squeaking noise over bumps from my front driver's side. After extensive "armchair tacomaworld diagnosis", I'd figured it was my rubber LR UCA bushings.

One thing I couldn't reconcile was the squeaking as I turned the wheel... Now that I've got it apart, the rubber bushings are in fine shape, but my balljoint is toast! The driver's side BJ is packed full of mud/dust, no grease left. The boot appears intact.

I'm bummed out by this. After only two years and 30-40k miles, with rare, light offroading (logging roads, etc), what is supposed to be a non-serviceable part has failed? How long should I reasonably expect these to last?

With the amount of money I'm spending to rebuild these arms:
$25 - New SpecRide poly bushings
$82x2 - New Ball Joints (will replace both and keep the one remaining 'good' one as a spare
- $35 on shipping and ?? on duty+brokerage
- $50 for new powdercoat on arms
- $100 for a fresh alignment

I'm kind of wishing I went with TC uniball arms...

Anybody have a similar experience?
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:29 AM   #2
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it doesnt make sense that it is packed with mud and the boot is intact, usually when it has dirt/dust inside, typically it is from a torn boot.

as far as new bushings and getting them re-powdercoated, it seems like a waste of money.

just replace the balljoints and get it aligned, or contact light racing and see what they have to say
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:29 AM   #3
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pm Brutalguyracing

He's rebuilt his LR UCA's a couple times

In all fairness , new bushings ( you said yours were fine ) and re powdercoating aren't costs directly associated with the BJ failure
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:46 AM   #4
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Right, trooper and OZ are making fair points. My bad armchair diagnosis caused me to preemptively order new bushings and boots, in the blind hope that they were the cause.

Since I have it apart, and I have the bushings on hand, I'm going to pre-emptively replace the bushings.

Same logic on the paint. Since I have it apart... Perhaps I should save my coin and just spraybomb them? doubt how long that will last.
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:38 PM   #5
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Was just about to post a rant about how SPC wasn't working with me, when Brad @ SPC called me back... They are eating most of the cost of expedited fedex shipping to me.

Cost of the balljoints is still on me- which is fair on a 2 year old part.

For anybody shopping for SPC BJ's, SPC sells them directly for $82 each, while Wheelers sells them for $65- but if you have the arms already, SPC does have a reputation for standing behind their products- which they've certainly lived up to in my mind.
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:41 PM   #8
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After searching for the source of my squeak/creek for over 6 months I finally determined it is my LR UCAs.

I took off the LR UCAs and put the stock UCAs back on and finally the squeak is gone.

So now I'm trying to fine out if its the ball joints or the bushings. I have tried to spray lube on the bushings while they were on my truck and the squeak remained, so i think its the ball joints.

The boots on the ball joints are not sealed and there is a lot of sand in there.



Probably just gonna buy 2 new BJs and leave bushings alone for now.

I'm concerned this will happen again soon. Squeak started about 14 months after install.
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:48 PM   #9
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There is not any excessive play in the ball joint. Just a lot of dirt/sand and grease that has come out.

I wish there was a zerk so I could fill the inside with fresh clean grease. Metal parts do not appear to be worn.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDD View Post
After searching for the source of my squeak/creek for over 6 months I finally determined it is my LR UCAs.

I took off the LR UCAs and put the stock UCAs back on and finally the squeak is gone.

So now I'm trying to fine out if its the ball joints or the bushings. I have tried to spray lube on the bushings while they were on my truck and the squeak remained, so i think its the ball joints.

The boots on the ball joints are not sealed and there is a lot of sand in there.



Probably just gonna buy 2 new BJs and leave bushings alone for now.

I'm concerned this will happen again soon. Squeak started about 14 months after install.
from my exp. it is your bushings
easy way to tell move uca up n down.....check for any movement....
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:03 PM   #11
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My balljoints failed (plenty of slop and packed with mud) within 8 months on my first pair of arms, the bushings also were destroyed. SPC sent me new arms under warranty and I noticed along with re-designed bushings they had re-designed the boots on the BJs. The new boots are a MASSIVE improvement.

I think you could probably fill em with a needle adapter from the bottom. I'd use 3-5% moly grease.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brutalguyracing View Post
from my exp. it is your bushings
easy way to tell move uca up n down.....check for any movement....
Interesting.

Why do you say that? My bushings look ok, no tearing, no excessive play.

When the bolt is tight and I move the uca up and down it doesn't squeak. When I loosened the bolt, sprayed some lube on the bushings, tightened the bold and drove, the squeak still remained.

The bushings are so much cheaper, but installing them is a big job compared to installing BJs.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxamillion2345 View Post
My balljoints failed (plenty of slop and packed with mud) within 8 months on my first pair of arms, the bushings also were destroyed. SPC sent me new arms under warranty and I noticed along with re-designed bushings they had re-designed the boots on the BJs. The new boots are a MASSIVE improvement.

I think you could probably fill em with a needle adapter from the bottom. I'd use 3-5% moly grease.
What makes the new boots better? Can water/dirt still get in?

The picture from SPC looks the same.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brutalguyracing View Post
from my exp. it is your bushings
easy way to tell move uca up n down.....check for any movement....
I took a closer look at the bushings today.

Looks like they do need to be replaced. The metal insert is still connected to the rubber. But when I flex the rubber I can see cracks. After some time the metal insert will start to become disconnected from the rubber completely.









Your thoughts?
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:06 PM   #15
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thats u squeak.......
welcome to the world of pos uca's
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDD View Post
I took a closer look at the bushings today.

Looks like they do need to be replaced. The metal insert is still connected to the rubber. But when I flex the rubber I can see cracks. After some time the metal insert will start to become disconnected from the rubber completely.









Your thoughts?
Are they the SpecRide bushings ?
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:35 PM   #17
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Let me check my garage to see if I still have them but I did have when I moved 3 months ago a brand new set of SPC bushings. I was going to replace mine and cut too far thru and got the metal sleeve...

Any body that wants them can have them if I still have them for shipping cost.
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OZ-T View Post
Are they the SpecRide bushings ?
No. These were the older type.

Just ordered a set of the specride to replace these.
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:11 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by nfs257 View Post
Let me check my garage to see if I still have them but I did have when I moved 3 months ago a brand new set of SPC bushings. I was going to replace mine and cut too far thru and got the metal sleeve...

Any body that wants them can have them if I still have them for shipping cost.
What did u do with the arms
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:13 PM   #20
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U can check my build and a guy named paps build threads for pics of the bushing swap
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