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AT4 UCAs Trashed at 30k Miles - 2" RC Leveling Kit and 35" Toyo Tires


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FYI.  My 2019 AT4 has 29,500 miles and around 15,000 of those miles with the Rough Country AT4 specific 2" leveling kit and Toyo Open Country 285/75/18 (i.e., 35") tires.  Truck has seen limited and light off road use.  Mostly highway miles.  The left upper control arm bushings are really trashed.  There's about 1/8" - 1/4" play in the bushings.  The right also show they're on the way out with significant bushing wear but nowhere near as bad as left.  UCA ball joints seem fine and tight.  I heard the left UCA making noise which is what alerted me that there was an issue.  The lower arms are fine.

 

Took to dealer today and they are replacing both UCAs under warranty.  They know the truck is leveled 2" with a leveling kit and of course know I have 35"s on it.  FWIW, I have a really good relationship with my service advisor.

 

I'm not certain the leveling kit and tires destroyed the bushings but I'm at a loss to think what else it could be.  Truck is otherwise stock.  Posting just to give you guys a heads up.  The truck was aligned after installation of leveling kit.

 

I hope I'm not going to be replacing UCAs every other time I get the oil changed but I am concerned...

Edited by rikhek
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11 minutes ago, AdamAT4 said:

How long will it take everyone to realize stacked leveling kits will destroy the stock UCA, luckily it was the UCA and not a cvd coming apart.

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Well, if the truck were level from the factory I wouldn't have had to install a "leveling" kit on top of the factory leveling kit you reference.  I appreciate what you're saying but I'm just sayin'.....

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To be fair it’s a factory lift, not level. They aren’t level on purpose.


There’s posts all the time about blown out CV axles, broken upper ball joints, etc. from leveling kits. I mean it’s like one a week between here and Facebook. Worn bushings seems like the best case scenario. These trucks really just don’t like it.


I dunno, I buy new so I don’t have to worry about a wheel falling off. Aftermarket UCAs are the only way I’d do it.

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Just my opinion, but I never did understand what the real purpose of a so called leveling kit was, when the first time you add weight to the bed or hook up a trailer at night the head lights are shining up in the trees. ???  Or in somebody's eyes..

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2 hours ago, OnTheReel said:

To be fair it’s a factory lift, not level. They aren’t level on purpose.


There’s posts all the time about blown out CV axles, broken upper ball joints, etc. from leveling kits. I mean it’s like one a week between here and Facebook. Worn bushings seems like the best case scenario. These trucks really just don’t like it.


I dunno, I buy new so I don’t have to worry about a wheel falling off. Aftermarket UCAs are the only way I’d do it.

That's the somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment I made in last post.  Mostly all vehicles anymore have a stink bug stance that I despise.

 

One of the reasons I made the post is that I'm unaware of people having problems with bushings with the setup I have.  It's why I posted the ball joints are in great shape.  I was surprised I have a bushing issue.

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15 minutes ago, rikhek said:

That's the somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment I made in last post.  Mostly all vehicles anymore have a stink bug stance that I despise.

 

One of the reasons I made the post is that I'm unaware of people having problems with bushings with the setup I have.  It's why I posted the ball joints are in great shape.  I was surprised I have a bushing issue.

Weight and travel. How much do the new tires and wheels weigh over stock?  15, 20 pounds? Put a one pound batting weight on a bat and hold it out straight and then move it up and down quickly. Try that again with a 3 pound weight. The forces are huge. The bushings are the fulcrum. This is a class two lever. The tire is the force, the shock centerline the load. 

 

Ever hear of these guys?  https://www.energysuspensionparts.com/about-control-arm-bushings.asp Much stronger. 

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If the level was installed without relaxing the arm pivot bolts while the truck is at ride height, the bushings are always in a twisted/bound position which will undoubtedly significantly reduce the lifespan, not to mention worse ride and handling. I see this on 95% of lowered/lifted vehicles when i go to align them at work.

30k on the audi bushing pictured e1894b63716007b42cad8d188b070ecb.jpg

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

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2 hours ago, WhiteLTZ01 said:

If the level was installed without relaxing the arm pivot bolts while the truck is at ride height, the bushings are always in a twisted/bound position which will undoubtedly significantly reduce the lifespan, not to mention worse ride and handling. I see this on 95% of lowered/lifted vehicles when i go to align them at work.

30k on the audi bushing pictured e1894b63716007b42cad8d188b070ecb.jpg

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

BINGO we have a winner. 

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6 hours ago, WhiteLTZ01 said:

If the level was installed without relaxing the arm pivot bolts while the truck is at ride height, the bushings are always in a twisted/bound position which will undoubtedly significantly reduce the lifespan, not to mention worse ride and handling. I see this on 95% of lowered/lifted vehicles when i go to align them at work.

30k on the audi bushing pictured e1894b63716007b42cad8d188b070ecb.jpg

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

I thank you for your insight.  I don't believe the bolts were loosened when installing the kit to allow them to relax and re-index themselves.  I followed the Rough Country directions and they never mentioned this.  I'm a bit embarrassed I didn't think of this while installing.  Worse yet, I now remember loosening the bolts on my last truck when I installed a leveling kit as I could feel they were in a bind after installing the "spacers" and putting it back together.  Humiliating.... 

Edited by rikhek
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21 hours ago, Grumpy Bear said:

Weight and travel. How much do the new tires and wheels weigh over stock?  15, 20 pounds? Put a one pound batting weight on a bat and hold it out straight and then move it up and down quickly. Try that again with a 3 pound weight. The forces are huge. The bushings are the fulcrum. This is a class two lever. The tire is the force, the shock centerline the load. 

 

Ever hear of these guys?  https://www.energysuspensionparts.com/about-control-arm-bushings.asp Much stronger. 

Wheels are stock.  Weight difference would be the differential between a 33" DuraTrac and a 35" Toyo.  Not insignificant and surely a contributing factor.  That's why I included the fact that I was running 35s in my post.  I'm familiar with energy Suspension bushings from race cars and have used teir products.  They don't show an application for anything newer than a 2013.  Thanks for your input.

Edited by rikhek
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serious question, I had a level on previous truck for years with no UCA issues. 

 

How common are UCA issues with a spacer level? The posters above mention how common issues are but I dont really see it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, RPaul said:

serious question, I had a level on previous truck for years with no UCA issues. 

 

How common are UCA issues with a spacer level? The posters above mention how common issues are but I dont really see it.

 

 

The issue mentioned above deals with spacers on TB's and AT4's where the suspension is already lifted.  Most people who stick with 1" spacers are fine, but once you go above 1.5" and start getting in the 2" range, there are significantly more reported issues with ball joint failures.  Rikhek is dealing with a bushing failure, something seen not nearly as often and might be the first instance I have seen on the T1's

Edited by Gangly
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