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Whiteline Bushings, TC Alignment Tabs, SPC UCA's and Home Alignment

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by gunn_runner, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Nov 12, 2018 at 8:14 PM
    #1
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    I just completed a weekend project that's been in the books for many months. The backstory starts with lifting my 2013 three years ago with an OME kit and Dakars. At that time I threw on a set of SPC Lightracing adjustable upper control arms. Not knowing much about them, I struggled with getting an alignment shop to even touch them (a common occurrance). My alignment was "in specs", but the truck begged for more caster with terrible bump steer and too much pulling towards the grade. After 3 alignments I accepted defeat and just drove the truck.

    Fast forward three years and the alignment cams had rusted, the stock LCA bushings wore out (73k on the odometer), and the alignment tabs had flattened on the front. All of this is seen all too often with our Tacomas and a big pain in the rear when you go off roading and your alignment changes after every session. I'd had enough...

    I decided to teach myself to weld and fix the alignment issue with the stock cam tabs by welding in a set of Total Chaos tabs. At the same time, I ordered new OEM alignment cams and bolts, new Moog lower arms and pressed in the Whiteline bushings. Heres some highlights from the project:

    My very first weld project: TC cam tabs
    20180326_195616.jpg
    With the new tabs assembled, I removed the stock tabs with a chisel and mini sledge. Of course, this was after I cut out the rusted cam bolts with a sawzall! First, I drilled the welds out, then hammered them off. It took about 30 mins per side and was a little tedious.

    20181110_163905.jpg

    Now it was time to burn in the new tabs. I have a Hobart Handler 140 that runs on 110v and it's the perfect welder for almost anything on my truck. I setup the tabs over the cam bolt slots and welded them in. This is where it took the most time: setup, check fitment, recheck fitment, tack weld, recheck again, weld in, touch up with flap disc, let cool, paint. Do this times 8!

    Welded in cam tabs:
    20181110_121536.jpg
    Painted:
    20181110_122152.jpg

    With the tabs welded in, it was time to remove the Moog bushings from the new Moog arms I got off Amazon and press in the Whiteline bushings. I was impressed at how quickly the stock bushings came out with some heat and a bottle jack. Just place the bottle jack between the arm and put moderate pressure on the bushing, then heat the LCA around the bushing and it pops right out!

    Removing the stock LCA bushing is easy with heat and a bottle jack:
    20181031_082807.jpg

    I saw posts showing a select few using a ball joint install tool to press the Whiteline bushings in, but after borrowing one from Autozone, I couldn't make it happen. I decided to use the shop press at work, which made quick work of installing them. You will need a balljoint adapter kit; it's available at any parts store to borrow.

    This is a 100 ton press, but it only took about 1500 lbs on the gauge to press the whiteline bushings in.
    20181102_171653.jpg

    Look at those beauties:
    20181102_172032.jpg

    20181102_175204.jpg
    Time to install the arms! Putting everything back together was straightforward; I used liberal amounts of anti-seaze on the cam parts and bolts and set them to neutral before lightly snugging them down. Reassembled the spindle/hub to the new LCA, tires back on and time for the alignment!

    Here's where the fruits of my labor are realized: doing your own alignment puts you in control to set your truck how you want it. I despise anyone working on my rig, and up until last year, the alignment technician was the one person I HAD to visit. After following @jberry813 DIY alignment thread, I easily set my camber, caster, and toe in that order.

    For this job, I wanted to follow SPC's advice in their manual and maximize caster at the lower cams to free up space behind the front wheel, then adjust camber at the upper control arm.

    Caster almost maxed out on the lower cam adjusters:20181111_135710.jpg

    20181111_135725.jpg

    As stated above, one of the benefits of SPC Lightracing adjustable upper control arms is that you can max out caster to gain space behind the front wheel, and easily get your camber back to specs by adjusting the uppers.

    This pic shows my front driver's side wheel at 1/2 turn to full lock. Look at the space between the wheel and fender. It used to almost touch!
    20181111_135306.jpg

    Driving Report:
    The truck feels so much better at the steering wheel. It tracks straighter, doesn't wander, doesn't pull when braking, and the steering feels so much tighter. The OEM bushings with 70k on them were tired and worn out. It's hard to explain, but there used to be this weird dead zone around center where nothing happened at the steering wheel until you pushed the wheel a little further... all that is gone!

    The added caster has helped out a lot, too. The truck barely pulls toward the grade now. And... no more rubbing!

    The entire job took about one and a half days to do by myself. The right tools were essential, including a mini sledgehammer and chisel for the old tabs (or air chisel), torque wrench, a large tie rod puller for the lower control arm balljoint adapter, and definitely a torch to help persuade stuck or rusted bolts. The sawzall was needed to remove the driver's side lower control arm cams that were rusted, and a bottle jack was used to get the moog bushings out. Finally, a shop press and the adapter kit for a balljoint tool is needed for the whiteline bushings. Rounding out the list, an impact gun helped big time!

    I hope this write up helps you with your project. Rusted cam bolts, flattened cam tabs, worn out bushings, rubbing problems, and alignment shop woes are five complaints we see all too often on TW. I tackeled all of them this past weekend and I wish I had done it years ago.

    20181112_231425.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  2. Nov 13, 2018 at 7:31 AM
    #2
    Zac of all trades

    Zac of all trades FWP Fabrication Vendor

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    Nice work! I will be installing new bushings, spindles, and alignment tabs soon myself. Although i hope to not do it by myself.
     
    gunn_runner [OP] likes this.
  3. Nov 14, 2018 at 9:37 AM
    #3
    SeanBonham

    SeanBonham Well-Known Member

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    I am on the fence with either buying aftermarket LCAs or doing this bushing change on the OEM. My cam bolts are seized and need to be replaced. I think my alignment tabs are okay though. OP you have a link to the bushing kit you bought?
     
  4. Nov 14, 2018 at 2:31 PM
    #4
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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  5. Nov 14, 2018 at 11:49 PM
    #5
    azzwethinkweiz

    azzwethinkweiz Well-Known Member

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    Great work man, saving this for when I get the gusto to finally do this. Bet it feels good to have it done.
     
    gunn_runner [OP] likes this.
  6. Nov 15, 2018 at 11:42 AM
    #6
    JohnnyRed

    JohnnyRed Well-Known Member

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    Nice dude! I just did the exact same thing 2 weeks ago. Except I didn't do my own Alignment.

    What size tires are those? That's a fair amount of space between the fender and tire.
     
  7. Nov 15, 2018 at 1:15 PM
    #7
    mbrogz3000

    mbrogz3000 Well-Known Member

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    Priority for me next March. Your method of using new Moog LCAs, and throwing away the Moog bushings is probably best. Are the Moog LCAs the of the same build quality as the OEM LCAs?

    Great write up for the weld-on alignment tabs btw. I assume the stock tabs were mangled by the alignment shop?
     
  8. Nov 15, 2018 at 2:55 PM
    #8
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    Thanks. They are 33's.
     
  9. Nov 15, 2018 at 2:57 PM
    #9
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    Upon inspection of material and welds, they look identical and just as strong. Reports from the field have said they last, and that's why I trusted putting Moog arms on my rig.
     
  10. Nov 15, 2018 at 4:45 PM
    #10
    JohnnyRed

    JohnnyRed Well-Known Member

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    I also taught myself how to weld for this. Your welds look a lot cleaner than mine. I used a cheap forney 125 flux core arc welder though. Good work!
     
    lo2hi and gunn_runner [OP] like this.
  11. Nov 15, 2018 at 7:33 PM
    #11
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    Thanks man. I need a lot of practice, but I know they have penetration.
     
  12. Nov 16, 2018 at 6:43 AM
    #12
    DesertRatliff

    DesertRatliff Well-Known Member

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    Nice work!

    Are the TC cam tabs to reinforce a weak area or are there other benefits?
     
  13. Nov 16, 2018 at 8:45 AM
    #13
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    The stock cam tabs are stamped lite gauge steel and bend/flatten out under hard wheeling or when the stock alignment cams and bolts rust, thus making it hard for an alignment tech to get the truck into specs without accidentally (or purposefully) flattening them.
     
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  14. Dec 4, 2018 at 11:39 AM
    #14
    SeanBonham

    SeanBonham Well-Known Member

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  15. Jan 31, 2019 at 1:42 PM
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    Nateurboy

    Nateurboy Active Member

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    I have been searching for a step by step on this very issue, glad I found this thread. I am in the exact same situation with my 2008. It looks as if you haven't done a CMC to fit your 33's. Any rubbing issues? I'll be needing new tires after this project and am torn on 265's or 285's. Also, what setting did you use on the UCA's?
     
  16. Jan 31, 2019 at 2:01 PM
    #16
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    Yep, I did the cmc. Stock neutral settings on UCA, but I did adjust the uppers for camber.
     
  17. Jan 31, 2019 at 2:07 PM
    #17
    BassAckwards

    BassAckwards Well-Known Member

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    Is that a crack on your frame rail, or just the paint chipping off? nice write up
     
  18. Jan 31, 2019 at 3:34 PM
    #18
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    Good eye. Definitely looks ominous. It's the paint.
     
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  19. Jan 31, 2019 at 3:58 PM
    #19
    BassAckwards

    BassAckwards Well-Known Member

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    Glad its just the paint!
     
  20. May 25, 2020 at 10:08 PM
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    rhetto

    rhetto Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure I'm missing something, but why do you need to remove the balljoint adapter for this? I have Moogs currently, but am also doing the Cam Tab gusset install this week and am going to replace the bushings while I have the LCA out. I can't figure out why that knuckle would need to be removed, though?

    Sorry to bump an old thread!
     

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