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Ball Joints vs Uniball UCAs on your 1st Gen?

Discussion in '1st Gen Tundras (2000-2006)' started by Mctodd, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. Sep 13, 2020 at 12:58 PM
    #1
    Mctodd

    Mctodd [OP] New Member

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    Hey Everyone,
    I'm needing to replace the ball joints on my stock UCAs and looking to make the plunge and upgrade. There's a lot out there debating the merits of something like the SPCs with a ball joint vs switching over to a uniballs (Total Chaos or Camburgs), but most of the talk is on taco forums or for later version Tundras. It ain't cheap so I'd like to hear from some first gen tundra folks to hear what your running and what you liked/didnt and why.
    I've got an 03 SR5, 2" lift up front, Icon Add a Leaf in the rear, and running 285/70/17s. It's a daily driver for me so i see a lot of road miles but try to get out in the dirt on the wknds as much as possible. The old girl has a lot of mile (220ish) but looking to keep building out and eventually turn it into more of an off road adventure rig.

    Thanks for the your insights and opinions
     
    Darkness likes this.
  2. Sep 13, 2020 at 2:27 PM
    #2
    Darkness

    Darkness Allergic to white

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    I live in Southern California :hattip:
    I've been running Camburg since 2010 and no real trouble to speak of other than for the first month they groaned like hell whenever I turned the steering wheel. Once that went away all was good. I just replaced the bushings and balls around December 2018, hope to see another decade of use.

    Important note about them is you might have seen complaints about ball squeak. I am pretty sure that was from the original design where they used Aurora balls. Like I said mine groaned the first month, when i replaced the balls I went with the newer FK balls (standard now on new arms) and not a bit of noise.

    Not sure what part of California you're in but I don't drive on any salted roads in my truck. I've done the occasional run up Big Bear or Shaver Lake but I rinsed after getting home.

    Back when I bought Camburgs they were $599 and TC were $750, there were no other options. Now both of those prices would be considered a steal and there are options like SPC or JBA. Several members here happily run those.

    20190128_191026.jpg
     
    bmf4069 likes this.
  3. Sep 13, 2020 at 2:30 PM
    #3
    FirstGenVol

    FirstGenVol Allergic to Darkness....

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    Too many
    I went with SPC primarily because of cost. So far, no complaints. But I have heard of some people experiencing premature failure of the SPC ball joints. JBA just started offering UCA's for our trucks and I've heard good things.

    I will say that if you go with uniballs you may have to grind down the edge of the bucket. Total Chaos for several people and at least one person with Camburg. Though others with Camburg said they clear.

    https://www.tundras.com/threads/first-gen-spc-mevotech-upper-control-arms.60591/#post-1588027

    Here is a picture of where they might touch. It's really not a big deal but made me wonder how they managed to screw that up.

    [​IMG]
     
    SouthPaw, bmf4069 and Darkness like this.
  4. Sep 13, 2020 at 11:20 PM
    #4
    Mctodd

    Mctodd [OP] New Member

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    F. Fabtech Dirt Logic 2.5, Icon 1.5 Add a Leaf pack 17' Wheels/Cooper Discovery AT3s
    thanks guys gents.
    I'm up in Sacramento so I do a little driving in snow/salt when i head up to Tahoe but not a ton.
    @Darkness I had read a few folks complaining about the noise issue with Camburgs but it sounds like that may have been addressed so thanks for the info. The price point is certainly a little more agreeable with them then the TCs, do you any other big differences other then the name?
    Also have you found you've had to do much regular maintenance with your camburgs? from what i'm reading it seems like the Uniballs were built for more 4x4 racing applications where you'd be tearing things down and rebuilding fairly regularly. Given i'm running mine as a daily driver and don't really want to be under there making sure they're not getting all jammed up they may be overkill for me at this point.
    As for the SPCs, they also seem pretty great, and certainly a more favorable price point. How long have you been running yours @FirstGenVol? Thanks for the heads up on potential fitment problems

    Anybody else out there weigh in on the up/downsides of Uniball vs Ball joints, or the SPCs vs JBAs (I hadn't seen much on these so i'll be looking into them
     
  5. Sep 13, 2020 at 11:30 PM
    #5
    empty_lord

    empty_lord They see me rollin'

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    I run the uniballs on all my Toyota trucks. My 01 Tacoma had total chaos arms that were put on in 2006. 2013 I rebuilt those arms not because of noise but because they were getting sloppy. 7 years of trouble free life in the salt belt, I only run uniballs now. Tundra has camburgs and I have icon uppers on the 01 Tacoma’s new frame.


    Only maintenance I’ve done is greasing the bushings once a year
     
    Darkness likes this.
  6. Sep 13, 2020 at 11:32 PM
    #6
    empty_lord

    empty_lord They see me rollin'

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    All that being said the SPC will offer more adjustment. The uni all setups are a fixed increase in castor
     
  7. Sep 14, 2020 at 5:18 AM
    #7
    FirstGenVol

    FirstGenVol Allergic to Darkness....

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    Too many
    I've only had mine about 14 months, maybe 7,000 miles. @Festerw has put a lot of miles on his though.
     
  8. Sep 14, 2020 at 6:33 AM
    #8
    Festerw

    Festerw New Member

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    About 35k at this point. Nothing bad to say about them. Ball joints are still tight and tires are wearing evenly.
     
  9. Sep 14, 2020 at 8:57 AM
    #9
    Darkness

    Darkness Allergic to white

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    @Mctodd I've heard people say that they need a lot of maintenance, but I don't find that to be true at all. Once a year I loosen the pivot bolt and grease the busings, then tighten the pivot bolt. That doesn't require aligners anything so its a simple maintenance. For the uniballs the first year I had them i would wipe them down after car washes and put a few drops of triflow lube on them. Eventually I got too lazy and stopped doing that, nothing bad happened.

    I too, like Empty Lord, only rebuilt mine because my uniballs were a little worn. Thats not any different than changing a ball joint occasionally except that ball joints are a bit cheaper.
     
  10. Sep 14, 2020 at 10:50 AM
    #10
    Kimosabe

    Kimosabe New Member

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    I have SPCs that I'm waiting to install on my Tundra, but I ran them on my T4R and loved them. I think its probably personal preference and price. The only thing I've heard is Uniballs don't necessarily do well with salty/sandy conditions and aren't adjustable.
    I'm sure if you hose them off or add a little lube after driving in those conditions they'd be fine.
    I add a little grease to the balljoints on the SPCs every time I do an oil change.
     
  11. Sep 14, 2020 at 10:59 AM
    #11
    snivilous

    snivilous New Member

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    I would get ball joints. I have uniball uppers on my 4th gen 4runner and ball joint uppers on my tundra (both camburgs) and the uniballs squeak except immediately after a car wash and lubricating them. Any dirt and squeak city, and I'm on my second set of uniballs so these ones are as fresh as possible. Less maintenance, less cleaning, less noise, same capability from the ball joint and the aesthetics of the two are essentially identical (you wouldn't know the ball joint wasn't a uniball since it's hidden underneath a cap). I see no advantage to uniballs unless it's a high performance application.
     
  12. Sep 14, 2020 at 4:05 PM
    #12
    Mctodd

    Mctodd [OP] New Member

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    Thanks guys, at this point I'm certainly leaning towards the ball joints. They seem a little easier to maintain, less noise considerations, and easier on the wallet. If was was building a performance race truck it might be a diff story but I'm not, just looking for something tough and reliable.
    SPCs seem to be the go to in this category, reliable, tough and adjustable which I like. I was a little concerned that the adjustability would create more weak points but I haven't read anyone having issues like that.
    The JBAs seem pretty nice too (although not a fan of the red color), y'all know anyone running those on their first gen...it looks like they haven't been making them for too long for Tundras?

    Any other good options out there I'm missing? Looks like ppl like the Icons too but they seem priced pretty high.

    I also came across a video of a dude (Filthy Motorsports?) reviewing UCAs and he had some good stuff to say about the Moog, Problem Solver ball joints. they are pretty cheap and solid according to him? ... i guess they could serve to kick the can a little further down the road and put off dropping a chunk of change on a UCAs this week ;)
     
  13. Sep 15, 2020 at 5:08 AM
    #13
    bmf4069

    bmf4069 Yup, that's car parts in a dishwasher

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    @MrAristo just put in JBAs.
     

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