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Unread 09-30-2016, 08:31 AM   #1
Darklight
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Default Light Racing Bushing and ball joint replacement

I rebuilt my Upper control arms the other day. Light Racing SPC sent me warranty replacement bushings & ball joints. Big thanks to Paul and Tom from SPC for their help.

Removing the arms was straight forward. I didn’t have an issue with either side. I did try to mark where my ball joint was mounted for camber placement to stay close to the same. Even though my prior alignment about 6 months ago sucked. I added an extra degree of caster on the new ball joints to help compensate for this as well. Setting them to the C position instead of the prior D position.

On to the install.

Jack up vehicle, remove tire and support vehicle on jack stands, using a jack slightly raise the lower control arm near the lbj and support it. This helps prevent the brake lines from being to stretched.


Old prior to removal:



First, remove the 2 brake hardline mounts, one on the frame and one on the knuckle 12mm 9 lbs torque
Second, remove the 1 abs line attachment on the uca, 10mm 9 lbs torque
Third loosen the long pivot bolt 17mm on both ends, 87 lbs of torque

Remove spindle/knuckle cotter pin and loosen nut 45 lbs of torque, until is barely threaded, then using a bfh lightly smack the spindle on the flat part a couple good times. If this doesn’t loosen the ball joint then use a tie rod/ pitman arm separator,

Using a small bungee or ratchet strap be prepared to secure the spindle/knuckle assembly from falling over or stretching the brake lines. I used the two rectangle shaped holes in the frame, one on each side of the assembly,
Once secured, remove the ball joint portion from the spindle, then remove the long 17mm bolt holding the pivot bolt on top. From access under the hood pull the long pivot bolt out of the frame mount/uca. This might take some maneuvering, a trick is to keep the washer on the end of the bolt close to the mount. Now with the UCA removed it is time to remove the ball joints. Break free the 32mm nut on top of the ball joint. Take notice or picture of the orientation of the ball joint cam plate. Make sure to try and mark a line across the middle of the bolt on to the uca. This will help keep the camber close to where it was. Now set the new ball joints cam plate just like the old one or add caster using the SPC chart and instructions.

Remove ball joint. DO NOT INSTALL NEW BALL JOINT UNTIL THE NEW BUSHINGS HAVE BEEN INSTALLED ,
Removing the old bushings was a real PITA at first, I do not have a bench vise or press and had to struggle removing the first bushing to the point of frustration. Then I grabbed my sawsas and tried to cut the old busing out, and it helped but I couldn’t keep it in place very well. What ended up working for me was using a medium size chisel and a hammer. I removed the inner edge of the bushing lip, then using the back side of a large socket, 35mm I hammered the old bushing almost all the way out and finished it out with a couple smacks of a hammer. The first bushing took me about 30 minutes of sweating and swearing. The next three took about 5 minutes each tops.

The new bushing goes in with the small lip/ side on the inside and the larger FLAT part of the bushing and side with logo/part number on the outsides.

This side goes on outside. Two per arm, one per sleeve as well as one washer on each outside bushing.



Pressing the new bushing in was a challenge too. I tried numerous things and began to get frustrated, they recommend using some all thread ˝ rod that is about 8” long. I didn’t have any. After fumbling around I came up with the perfect homemade press, my foot, lol. I pressed the new bushing on by stepping on the control arm and it worked like a charm and only took about 10 seconds each. It will push it in about half way or more. Use a rubber mallet to get it all the way in place. Piece of cake  DO not add grease to the outside of the bushing. SPC say to add a small amount of soapy water to assist with pressing in the new bushing if needed.

Once the bushing is installed add the supplied grease to the entire inside of the bushing, then slide the metal sleeves inside the bushing/arms.


Removing the old bushing after cutting the inner lip surface off:



Pressing in the new bushing



Now install the new ball joints. Make sure they’re set up in the same orientation as the old ones to keep the caster the same. Tighten all the way down. It is easier to torque them once on the vehicle.

New ball joint on and tightened



Then install the new arms. It is best to put the one new washer on the long pivot bolt prior to installation and keep it close to the mounting surface of the stock frame/tower, fish the bolt all the way through the frame tower mount. Then add the other washer and washer to the outside. You can then tighten and torque to spec 87 lbs of torque, with the new specride version of bushings it can be torqued loaded or unloaded. (Never torque a bushing on a Control arm when the vehicle is unloaded or not on its own weight with RUBBER bushings. )

Then the spindle nut spec 45 lbs of torque,
Then the ball joint top nut 32mm spec is 150 lbs of torque,
Then reattach the abs line, 10mm bolt. I added antiseize
Then reattach the two brake hardline one on the spindle, one on the frame, 12mm bolt
Tires and add NLGi #2 moly grease to the ball joints, a good 10 pumps. I used M1 full synthetic chassis lube.

Now go get an alignment 

My new alignment is pretty rad now.
Caster is 4.5
Camber is .3
Toe is in .04
Steer is dead center
Thrust is dead center
Drives and tracks like a dream now.

Totally happy with the results. The weird clang/ clunk I was feeling and hearing is now gone. Problem solved.





SPC instructions:

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Last edited by Darklight; 10-01-2016 at 07:16 PM.
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Unread 09-30-2016, 09:18 AM   #2
RonJR
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In my mind 4.5 deg of caster is how these vehicles should have come from the factory. The difference in stability at speed, and comfort and lack of roll on uneven pavement, from 2.5 or even 3 deg is absolutely amazing. Feels like a completely different suspension.
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Unread 10-01-2016, 02:52 AM   #3
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What symptoms was this rebuild addressing? I have had the older style SPC arms for a year and a half and I would like to check for problems.

Last edited by Wanderer; 10-02-2016 at 01:24 PM.
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Unread 10-01-2016, 08:16 AM   #4
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If you have the older version I would recommend contacting SPC directly. They will send out new bushings. There is a lot of things that have gone wrong with the orginal bushings that they have addressed with the newer design. It will be a real pain to remove the old style but worth it.

As far as symptoms go. I had play in my ball joints and movement in the bushings. Hard to tell on the truck for the bushings but if you grab the arm and see if it moves at all then you will know. There should be no play in the bushing or ball joints. You can do this with the tire on or off. I could actually push on my tire and get the clunk but only one or two clunks then nothing. Mine would rock about 1/4" and make a clunk once or twice then settle when I grabbed the arms, and when I was driving I could feel and hear the clunk when coming to a stop and go.
Hope that helps


Bobby
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Unread 10-13-2016, 09:06 AM   #5
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Damned I see they changed the ball joint design to have a grease fitting on it now! I had swapped mine out earlier in the year too....
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Unread 04-17-2019, 06:22 PM   #6
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Sorry for the thread revival, but I'm planning on replacing just the SPC UCA ball joint. Is it as simple as removing the top nut to of the ball joint and the bolt on bottom attached to the spindle to remove the ball joint? Or do I need to rent a ball joint kit/ C clamp to remove it?
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Unread 04-18-2019, 05:36 AM   #7
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No special tools needed, just loosen the top Nut then remove the spindle nut , stabilize the spindle with a strap or bungie cord. Move the spindle assembly out of the way and remove the top nut the ball joint will come right out.
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Unread 04-18-2019, 05:37 AM   #8
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You will need an alignment after words obviously and mind the trq specs on those nuts! Haha
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Unread 04-18-2019, 08:08 AM   #9
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Thanks for the input. I'm trying to learn to DIY maintenance on my front suspension rebuild - it's a learning process but I'm almost there. Figured after owning my truck for 10 years it's time to learn.
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Unread 04-19-2019, 10:16 AM   #10
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I could NOT get the ball joint taper out of the spindle on one side, and had to get help. Am I to understand that I could have left the taper in place?
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Unread 04-19-2019, 02:34 PM   #11
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Thanks for bringing this up. So if the spindle connection will not break free or is stuck you can strike the spindle in the flat spot in the side of the spindle. That’s actually what it’s there for. Usually a few good whacks with a 2 lb BFH will free it up.
Start by loosening the nut to spindle connection almost all the way leaving the nut on, then whack it a few good times.
You can try to lift the spindle assembly up and down and smack it at various heights if it’s being stubborn but it will break free.

Cheers

Bobby
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Unread 04-20-2019, 08:23 AM   #12
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Yeah, I tried that, but failed. I thought for a minute there was a way to replace the joint itself without breaking the taper.
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RCI skid plates; OPOR lower links, rock sliders, and link guards
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Unread 04-21-2019, 01:40 PM   #13
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No the ball joint is one assembly in the SPC
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Unread 04-24-2019, 07:42 AM   #14
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Having just done this, I used a Pitman Arm Puller to bush the ball joint out from the spindle, it worked like a charm. $14 from Harbour freight.
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Unread 04-24-2019, 12:00 PM   #15
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Nice, I have one too but only had to use it for the tie rods, handy tool to have for sure. Hope everything else went smooth.
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