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Uca on a budget

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by skaf402, May 26, 2017.

  1. May 26, 2017 at 3:14 PM
    #1
    skaf402

    skaf402 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    OK everyone...I forsee a lot of shit talking maybe about the ucas I'm asking about but honestly, I just want a better alignment and ride comfortabilty. I'm not racing or doing crazy off road but I bought this truck to get dirty and have fun and that's what tacomas are for...so never the less are https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001...tacoma+uca&dpPl=1&dpID=41BDBXnmXHL&ref=plSrch these ever worth messing with or should I just get total chaos or something. Reviews on this product are good and they seem to be ideal for my wants. Also...do you guys recommend just doing some LCAs while I'm under there? If I had a lot of extra money I'd go all out but I'm looking for safe, and quality parts that don't destroy my tires and joints. Thanks for the help
     
  2. May 26, 2017 at 3:17 PM
    #2
    eon_blue

    eon_blue 8" third member

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    Those are SPC Light Racing UCAs, those are highly regarded on this forum....tons of people have them on, including me. I love mine, have had them on for almost a year with no issues and I off-road quite a bit (aka I get a lot of alignments done, have the lifetime alignment package from Firestone).

    They are a solid choice for affordable, adjustable ball joint UCAs.
     
    Solid Seung and devinzz1 like this.
  3. May 26, 2017 at 3:21 PM
    #3
    eon_blue

    eon_blue 8" third member

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    Total Chaos are uniball UCAs, meaning they use a uniball instead of a ball joint like the SPC ones do. Different strokes for different folks, some say uniballs are better but they do cost substantially more. The SPCs are great for the money and will help you get better alignment numbers with your lift. They're greasable so you have to add a few pumps of grease into the ball joint zerks every few thousand miles or so, super easy to do.
     
    Solid Seung likes this.
  4. May 26, 2017 at 3:22 PM
    #4
    skaf402

    skaf402 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Right on...only reason I started off the thread like that is because I found them on Amazon. So did you keep the stock LCAs on there. I got 3 inxh lift with old man emu coils and 33 wrangler 12.5 on 15 inch rims and my alignment can't budge with the stock ucas.
     
  5. May 26, 2017 at 3:24 PM
    #5
    eon_blue

    eon_blue 8" third member

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    yeah I have stock LCAs still. Most people do. The stock LCAs on our trucks are strong, I don't really see the need in upgrading those unless your jumping your truck or something (in which case you'll need a lot more upgrades aside from the LCAs). Most guys that want better protection there get LCA skid plates to protect them.
     
  6. May 26, 2017 at 3:28 PM
    #6
    eon_blue

    eon_blue 8" third member

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    btw I wouldn't worry about people berating you for asking questions in the first gen forum, the 1st gen forum is a chill place with good, helpful people. The 3rd gen forum is where the elementary school playground is lol.
     
  7. May 26, 2017 at 8:48 PM
    #7
    skaf402

    skaf402 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Cool thanks for the help...well you know what I mean, ha I haven't heard of that brand and since I found them on amaxon I didn't know if they were quality parts. Thanks for comments
     
    eon_blue likes this.
  8. May 26, 2017 at 10:55 PM
    #8
    McMash

    McMash The only thing better than light bars? Sarcasm.

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    I'll throw out another vote for the LR UCA's. I've had them on my truck for years, in use with extended-travel coil-overs. It's a DD, work truck and has seen a lot of trails: zero problems. Lots of adjustability; large, strong, greasable high-misalignment ball joint; great build quality. That's a tough combo to beat at that price.
     
  9. May 26, 2017 at 11:10 PM
    #9
    computeruser6

    computeruser6 Nuclear Janitor

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    The SPC arms on my Tundra are great and I would highly recommend them as well. They have really great instructions and a lot of adjustability as well to suit the amount of lift and desired alignment numbers. The ball joint also deals with weather a lot better and contaminants can always be purged by a few pumps of grease.
     
  10. May 26, 2017 at 11:12 PM
    #10
    SoCOTaco

    SoCOTaco Well-Known Moron

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    Another vote for SPC LR UCA's.
     
    skaf402 [OP] likes this.
  11. May 27, 2017 at 12:24 AM
    #11
    Ryan_3TacosIn

    Ryan_3TacosIn Well-Known Member

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    OME Shocks, 883 Coilovers, Synthetic Brake Lines, Dakar Leafs with AAL, Baja Rear Bumper; ES Body mount Bushings, Light Racing UCAs, American Racing Wheels w/ 33" Hercules Tires, and more to come...
    I have them as well and they are great. Greaseable is nice. My tip for you would be- keep a set of the instructions in the glove box when you alignment so they will tell the guys doing the alignment how to do it. I go to the NTB by our house, and I only get 1 guy that does it now. He knows what he's looking at and does a great job.
     
    skaf402 [OP] likes this.
  12. May 31, 2017 at 5:25 PM
    #12
    skaf402

    skaf402 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    OK so bottom line...I'm going to be picking me up a pair of these this week. What else should I get for the repair since I'm under there. I'm going to change the lower ball joints while I'm under there and check the tie rods...what other parts or accessories should I make sure and have on hand for this repair so I do it right and not have to make trips to the parts store. Sorry for the repetitive thread questions...
     
  13. May 31, 2017 at 6:03 PM
    #13
    tony2018

    tony2018 Well-Known Member

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    Good to hear and good to know. Thanks for the review guys.
     
  14. May 31, 2017 at 6:08 PM
    #14
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    OP: from your sig it looks like you have 5100's. With the amount of lift that 5100's can give you, you don't need UCA's. You should have enough adjustment in your stock alignment cams with only 2.5" lift. More than that, and yeah, you'll probably want some UCAs.

    Because the SPC UCAs use the oem style ball joints, you won't really get any more articulation or durability out of them, so primarily just the additional camber/castor adjustment. If that's all you need, they are your best bet. But if you are looking to upgrade the rest of your suspension later with extended travel ICON coil overs (or even just nicer coil overs - Fox, Sway Away, ICON, etc...), my vote would be for uniball UCA's. Since you have 5100's now, you don't need UCAs now anyway, so that'd give you time to save up the extra cash for Camburgs or maybe All-Pros ($650ish).

    As for other things to look at, maybe consider new bushings (I have urethane).

    Just my 2 cents
     
  15. May 31, 2017 at 6:53 PM
    #15
    McMash

    McMash The only thing better than light bars? Sarcasm.

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    Besides the LBJ's, inner/outta tie rod, it's a good time to do a Tundra brake swap... and maybe a supercharger. :thumbsup:
    Make sure you have a decent ball joint puller and IIRC some c-clip pliers come in handy.

    :facepalm:Just quoting myself from another thread, since this misinformation regarding these UCAs keeps coming up. Besides the LR comments, your advice is spot-on.


    Uniballs are really great in many aspects, but they're not mind-blowingly angelic. While certainly capable and at times justifiable, there's much more to consider. So for similar function, you end up comparing a $430 UCA to $650-$950 UCAs. Given my experience thus far with the LR's, I can't really justify the extra $200-$500. :notsure:
     
    elnip likes this.
  16. May 31, 2017 at 9:17 PM
    #16
    skaf402

    skaf402 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Maybe a silly questions...1. Why tundra brake swap? 2. What parts do I need for this swap? 3. IIRC? 4. To the first response...bushings that go where?
     
  17. May 31, 2017 at 10:15 PM
    #17
    McMash

    McMash The only thing better than light bars? Sarcasm.

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    1. Good, simple mod that increases braking performance. Easy to do later if your brakes are currently sufficient. 1st gen front brakes are prone to warp rotors.
    2. If by swap you mean replacing the UCA, the kit comes with every piece you need. The rest is just proper tools and time.
    3. IIRC = If I remember correctly.
    4. UCAs come with new bushing. You can look at the LCA bushings and see if they need to be replaced.

    Here's the install instructions for the UCAs: http://www.spcalignment.com/instructions/25460-INS_WEB.pdf

    Getting the long UCA bolt that holds it to the frame can be tricky to get out, given the tight quarters. It's definitely doable, though. A ball-joint puller and c-clip/snap ring pliers will be helpful. Some people get lucky and the ball joints come out of the spindle fairly easily. Others aren't so lucky. You may need a small sledge hammer, some PB-Blaster and/or some heat to get them out. If you do some searching on the forum, there's a good bit more info on installing UCAs that will give you finer details and an idea of what to expect.

    Good luck and enjoy the mod!
     
    skaf402 [OP] likes this.
  18. Jun 1, 2017 at 7:40 AM
    #18
    Ryan_3TacosIn

    Ryan_3TacosIn Well-Known Member

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    Tyler, I did the "while I'm down there" and damn near replaced everything... Literally.

    ALL NEW:
    -Lower Ball Joints
    -LCA Bushings
    -Re-Painted LCAs
    -Re-Coated Frame
    -Tundra Brake Upgrade
    -SS Brake Line Upgrade
    -New Outer Tie Rods
    -New Rack and Pinion (Steering Rack) Bellows

    You can see what I did here:

    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/ok-so-here-we-go.486087/

    Totally up to you, but I did basically everything, and if you have any questions, I'll be happy to help.
     
    skaf402 [OP] and McMash like this.
  19. Jun 1, 2017 at 9:23 AM
    #19
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    First, interesting info on the uca's. Thanks.

    But I wasn't comparing a $430 uca with a $950 total chaos uca as if they were the same. Obviously, they are not. I was just saying that, in *my* opinion, if you're planing to spend a bunch of cash on more suspension upgrades because you plan to beat the tar out of your truck, it might be worth the extra $150 or so to get a bona fide uniball set now.

    I'm of the mindset that it's better to spend $650 once, rather than $450, then $650 again when you realize that the relatively minor performance increases from the $450 UCAs (compared to other more expensive ones) don't cut it for what you intend to use your rig for.
     
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  20. Jun 1, 2017 at 10:29 AM
    #20
    McMash

    McMash The only thing better than light bars? Sarcasm.

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    I totally get the "buy once, cry once" routine, and certainly advocate it. All I was pointing out was the return on investment aspect, and self-inspecting your needs and truck use. Uniballs likely have an edge in out-right strength. They're also are more susceptible to weather and dirt intrusion, are prone to loud squeaking, and require frequent maintenance and/or replacement compared to the LR's due to wear. Conversely, while weaker to some extent, the LR's are sealed, easily lubricated, last longer, are much larger and stronger than stock, offer a large amount of alignment adjustability and still accommodate mid-travel setups with ease.

    As you said, it's about intended use. If I were using my truck strictly as a desert-bomber or rock-crawler (and didn't SAS), where absolute strength is paramount, it'd be uniballs plain and simple. But given my particular use (daily driver, work vehicle, hitting moderate trails, extended back-country exploring), which is similar to many others, the LR's have a lot of benefits all while saving hundreds.

    Good points and chat, sir. In the end, I'm just happy we even have UCAs and not MacPherson struts :thumbsup:
     
    Inferno__Taco and jbrandt like this.

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