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UCA or tie rods??

 
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Old 11-27-2010, 03:09 AM
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UCA or tie rods??

Ok, only have the money to fix one, the upper control arm or the inner and outer tie rod ends....which is the most important?

I definitely have play in the steering wheel but haven't really seen anything wrong with the UCA...or maybe I just don't know how to figure out if its bad.

Soooooo, what are the symptoms of a bad control arm?
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Old 11-27-2010, 04:21 AM
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Re: UCA or tie rods??

I'm no mechanic, but I'll take a shot for ya.

Bad control arms:

Wandering front end
Clunking over bumps
Check for "play"
Worn bushings (just look at the rubber)
Metal to metal sound
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Old 11-27-2010, 12:06 PM
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Re: UCA or tie rods??

How many miles?

Bushings would be my first choice if you have loads of miles. (I know you said control arm or tie rod ends but bushings will firm the car right up too..)

Tie rod ends would be my 2nd choice because there seems tome to be more wear there faster then the UCA in my past experience.

If you could afford to replace the bushings though I would start there.
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Old 11-27-2010, 08:24 PM
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Re: UCA or tie rods??

If you can jack up the front end, get the tires off the ground. Place your hands at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock. Push and pull using your hands while looking at your upper control arms, in particular, the upper ball joint. If you see movement of the joint, then it's bad. If you seen any movement, I would worry about those first. I would ignore the bushings, as those are in no way shape or form a safety item. If you either of the other 2 parts ( control arm, or ball joints) break, you could be in a serious accident. Have you had anyone like jiffy lube or a tire shop look at your car? Do you know those parts are bad for a fact?
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:55 AM
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Re: UCA or tie rods??

Yea I took the car to precision tune last week to get an alignment since the car was in a wreck, and they told me they wouldn't do the alignment cause the ball joint in the UCA and the tie rods are bad. I just wasn't sure which was worse...I know that if the ball joint separates the wheel basically falls over, and the if the tie rods mess up then the wheel just spins in any direction it wants to go, which are 2 major bad things...

Buuut I got my stepdad over here earlier to take a look at them, since he is a mechanic, and he told me that they're "good" for now...meaning I don't have to change them yet so I can save up the money and do them both at the same time :)
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Old 11-29-2010, 01:06 AM
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Re: UCA or tie rods??

Do the upper control arms yourself. When I was quoted for UCAs, it was $150+ per side plus $120 in labor. So, $400+ for the job. Go on ebay and you can buy the UCA pair for $130 or so. The upper control arm replacement is 3 bolts - one castle nut at the ball joint and two on the top. Get harbor freight tool #99849 (3/4" Forged Ball Point Joint Separator) and it makes separating ball joints painless. Those bolts are in super easy locations, low torque and very low chance of being seized by rust.

I did tie rods also myself (tie rod inner + outer L&R pair) is around $50-$60 on ebay. You need a long wrench to loosen the jam nut and a inner tie rod tool to take the inner tie rod out.

So, I'd say get them both done but do the UCA yourself.
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Old 11-29-2010, 01:23 AM
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Re: UCA or tie rods??

haha Hell I'll do both myself :P and I <3 Harbor Freight! Especially all the coupons they have :)

But I'll just borrow the tools from my stepdad when I go to do them...just gotta save the money :(
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:36 AM
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Re: UCA or tie rods??

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Originally Posted by LilRed View Post
haha Hell I'll do both myself :P and I <3 Harbor Freight! Especially all the coupons they have :)

But I'll just borrow the tools from my stepdad when I go to do them...just gotta save the money :(
I think an even cheaper way is to go to the junkyard to get the UCAs. A lot of Accords have the same UCA part and for about $30 you have almost new UCAs. I say Accords because for every prelude in the junkyard, there are 10 accords.

In fact, the day after I got my UCAs done, I saw a lude at my local junkyard with almost brand new UCA with the black paint not even rusted off. I could have saved myself a $100 if I had just gone there a week earlier.
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:40 AM
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Re: UCA or tie rods??

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Originally Posted by mr0x View Post
I think an even cheaper way is to go to the junkyard to get the UCAs. A lot of Accords have the same UCA part and for about $30 you have almost new UCAs. I say Accords because for every prelude in the junkyard, there are 10 accords.
I was wondering if the accord ones would fit but couldn't find an answer. You're sure it would fit? I only found 1 4th gen prelude in ALL the junkyards around here and go figure, in that one, the ball joint was already separated :'(
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:43 AM
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Re: UCA or tie rods??

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Originally Posted by LilRed View Post
I was wondering if the accord ones would fit but couldn't find an answer. You're sure it would fit? I only found 1 4th gen prelude in ALL the junkyards around here and go figure, in that one, the ball joint was already separated :'(
Hmm. I don't know if the Accord fits :( From what I see from the parts stores, they don't. Sorry.

Another solution is just to get the ball joints for $40 but you need a machine shop with a hydraulic press to press out the old ones and press in the new ones.
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