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Unread 04-04-2010, 04:14 PM
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Default Icon Billet Upper Control Arm (UCA) Install

After picking up a used set of these control arms for my truck I needed all the mounting hardware for them. Icon was more than happy to help supply me with the parts I needed. I basically needed all the misalignment spacers, the spindle adapters, the bolts that secure the heim spindles to both the billet UCAs and the spindles themselves. Then to dress it up and protect the main heim balls from the elements, some dust caps that are held with screws on top of the main heim balls.


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Unread 04-04-2010, 04:26 PM
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The mission: replace the stock Tacoma upper control arms with these stronger units that replace the ball joints with much stronger uniballs. Will they give me more travel? I don't know and I don't expect anymore than what the stock lower will allow. I do know that I will need some limit straps to keep them from over-articulating and damaging the uniballs. Also in my case the new setup will allow for some more breathing room for my headers. Things are pretty tight where the control arm bolt washers are located nearly touching the header. I knew I would be changing things in the location and coming across these billet UCA's was just the thing I needed to allow for some more room.



The hardest part of the whole installation of these upper control arms is to remove the factory UCA's. DO NOT attempt to remove these without the proper tools. It's just not too smart to attempt to remove the ball joints thinking you can just get big hammers and go for it. They feel like they are welded into the spindles unless you have the right tools which make life easy for you.

Here we are with this fork tool that you just hammer in between the stock UCA and the ball joint to force them apart. It doesn't take too much force to pop it out with this tool. Of course you destroy the rubber boot and mark up the ball joint to it is no longer usable... well it would be dumb to use it again since they aren't much money to buy a perfectly good new one.



Later, I'll list out the tools I used so if anyone wants to try this in their driveway it will give you an idea of what it takes. I have a friend who happens to have a ball joint removal kit of tools that is made by OTC tools. He also had the socket type adapter tools that Total Chaos makes specifically for Tacoma ball joints and let me tell you they work GREAT.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 06:14 PM
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And now we move on to popping out the ball joint from the upper Tacoma spindle. Once again I'm using the Total Chaos ball joint press tools to remove it nice and easy. Since the tool adapters fit so perfectly it puts even pressure around the ball joint surface to press it out from within the spindle. Without applying even pressure the part won't budge. Buy or borrow these tools!!



Here is an awesome sight! Everything nearly apart. The hardest part is done and my knuckles aren't even bleeding which is a plus! Now the long bolt just slides out the front of the UCA pivot mount and it pops right out.

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Unread 04-04-2010, 06:29 PM
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Now the billet UCA's accept the misalignment spacers nice and easy into the heims. Then you just make sure the long bolt goes through them nice and easy so when you install you won't even need to hit them with a hammer or anything. Now you just need to press the spindle adapter into the upper spindle.



Here is a shot of the spindle adapter before installation. The big washer cup goes under it with a bolt to hold it into the spindle. Icon Vehicle Dynamics did a great job machining these part just right. The spindle adapters press into the spindle just like they should, nice and tight. The misalignment spacers all pushed into the heims without a problem and all the specs were correct. You always gotta wonder which part you will have to file down or machine a little bit to get a kit to work but this bullet UCA kit is really easy to install. The only catch is that it has to be aligned by a pro because you just simply can not judge the heim thread adjustable adapters by looking at them. I'll get a picture of where mine were set so that you have some reference of what is close enough to drive on. I'm hoping they were set somewhat true when they were last used before I got them. I'll be taking mine to an alignment rack first thing this week when I have time.

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Unread 04-04-2010, 06:32 PM
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Here is a close up picture of the billet UCA with all the misalignment spacers and everything installed. Now I have more clearance for my headers. Keep in mind that I have not installed the dust caps that covers the big heim ball. You can see the four small holes waiting for the screws that hold them on.

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Unread 04-04-2010, 06:35 PM
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Here is a probably the only pictures on the internet of the underside of one of the billet UCA's. This shows the complexity of the spindle adapter. That sucker is made from some super strong alloy. I gave it a couple good whacks during installation and you couldn't even tell that it had been hit by a big hammer! Strong stuff for sure.

In this picture I still need to install the main bolt that holds the cup washer underneath the spindle adapter. But you get the idea of what makes up this kit at least.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 06:40 PM
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The UCA's install is nearly done and now I'm just deciding what kind of tires I want to put on my Walker Evan beadlock rims. I was wanting some Maxxis mud terrain tires but they will be on back order forever now that they are difficult to import into the US. Oh well I'll be looking around for another tire. I have always run BFG muds all my life so I was thinking I would try something else for a change.

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Unread 04-14-2010, 11:18 PM
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Here we go again on the other side this time. I've wised up a little bit and used a piece of cable to hold the spindle up loosely so that when I don't have enough hands to hold it up it doesn't completely flop down and stretch the brake line.

I have popped the ball joint out of the stock UCA at this point and loosened the main nut and bolt that the control arm pivots on.

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Unread 04-14-2010, 11:20 PM
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Then prepping the billet UCA to install. Just put the heim misalignment spacers in the heims and making sure the spindle adapter fits into place.



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Unread 04-14-2010, 11:24 PM
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I could only find 1 1/2" grade 8 fine thread bolts locally and I had to shorten them to be 1" for the spindle adapters. If I would have known how much trouble it was going to be to shorten them I would have made sure to order the correct 1" ones online in the first place. But oh NO... have to do it the hard way.



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Unread 04-14-2010, 11:26 PM
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And to shorten some misalignment spacers to size for the heims:


Then basically here is the whole unit ready for installation. Had to make sure the heims were all moving ok and the spacers were to the proper sizing.

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Unread 04-14-2010, 11:29 PM
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After removing the Toyota upper control arm it's time to press the ball joint out of the spindle. Basically the c-clamp type tool presses the ball joint downward and there is a collar that you use that holds the spindle around the ball joint while the joint is allowed to fall down while being pressed from above. You can see the spacer near the brake disc as it fell down when the joint pressed out and the clamp is then removed.

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Unread 04-14-2010, 11:32 PM
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Next the UCA just bolts to the coil bucket with the long bolt and then the spindle adapter lowers down and you can see how it gets pressed into the spindle.



Then it was time to screw in the 1" grade 8 bolt (with the big washer) from underneath which holds the spindle adapter in place.

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Unread 04-14-2010, 11:35 PM
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And that's pretty much it. It takes a couple tries to get the large heim to the proper angle to which you can press the spindle adapter in. Hard to explain this part but you just have to align things and bolt them together. It's pretty basic once you see how it's done once.



And all done looking much better.

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Unread 04-14-2010, 11:37 PM
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All done and back on the road. And of course once things were bolted up I had to drive it straight to Big Brand Tire to get a laser alignment done. Luckily these UCA's had been installed on a truck previously so they were adjusted just right. I just needed a small adjustment on one side as the toe was out a little bit. Drives great now though.

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