Flipped UCAs

rockstar

Original poster
Member
Dec 14, 2011
14
I got my Liftmeister 2.5 inch lift installed and took the truck in for a front end alignment. Then I'm poking around and start reading all these posts about flipping the UCAs. Don't want to pull everything apart right now and then have to get it aligned again. At what point would it be necessary? Is the 2.5 inch lift pushing the limits of the upper ball joint angle? Would like to see what everyone is thinking concerning this matter.

Right now it drives, feels and looks awesome. And I love the extra ground clearance. Can't wait to get new tires.
 

fishsticks

Member
Nov 21, 2011
433
rockstar said:
I got my Liftmeister 2.5 inch lift installed and took the truck in for a front end alignment. Then I'm poking around and start reading all these posts about flipping the UCAs. Don't want to pull everything apart right now and then have to get it aligned again. At what point would it be necessary? Is the 2.5 inch lift pushing the limits of the upper ball joint angle? Would like to see what everyone is thinking concerning this matter.

Right now it drives, feels and looks awesome. And I love the extra ground clearance. Can't wait to get new tires.


Mark's "old style" lift doesn't require flipping the UCAs. His new style does IIRC.

Regardless, flipping them with any lift put the upper ball joints at a much healthier angle.
 

revamp

Member
Dec 22, 2011
223
Mansfield, TX
This is the first I have read about flipping the UCAs. How significant is this tweak? Educate me more on the pros and cons of this.

Thank you! :thumbsup:
 

Regulator

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,496
Pro - Better upper ball joint angle will promote long life for the ball joint.

Con - It is a little bit of work to do and you have to align your truck afterwards.

I would suggest to anyone that has lifted their truck to go ahead and flip their upper control arms!
 

fadyasha

Member
Dec 21, 2011
1,134
Regulator said:
Pro - Better upper ball joint angle will promote long life for the ball joint.

Con - It is a little bit of work to do and you have to align your truck afterwards.

I would suggest to anyone that has lifted their truck to go ahead and flip their upper control arms!

Now that's interesting! The things you learn here man :biggrin: I'm do for changing my UCA's anyways due to the beautiful noises lol! Think will hold back a bit on replacement til I get the MarkMc lift :thumbsup:
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Just so we're all on the same page in case somebody reads this thread in the future, the process includes removing BOTH, putting the driver's side UCA on the passenger's side of the vehicle and vice versa, and also flipping them upside down. Fender interior sheet metal will also have to be bent out of the way to get the UCA mounting bolts out. GM's assembly line put the body on after the suspension was assembled, and the goofball designers didn't model this process so they made future maintenance unnecessarily difficult.
 
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Heepish

Member
Dec 4, 2011
67
I've got Mark's old style lift, but I plan on flipping my UCA's when I go in to re-gear :wootwoot: Good to see a thread on this subject
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
I would add that no one has found a negative effect to having them flipped, at least not that has been reported.
 
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rockstar

Original poster
Member
Dec 14, 2011
14
I would like to know if anyone has reported any negative effect to not having them flipped?
 

Heepish

Member
Dec 4, 2011
67
rockstar said:
I would like to know if anyone has reported any negative effect to not having them flipped?

Premature upper ball joint failure, I believe? Please correct me if I'm wrong, someone :redface:
 

v7guy

Member
Dec 4, 2011
298
Heepish said:
Premature upper ball joint failure, I believe? Please correct me if I'm wrong, someone :redface:

This is correct, there are also a few fears that the upper balljoint may eventually break at some of the higher lifts. To this point I haven't flipped mine and I'm lifted pretty high. Nothing has broken. I am pretty uncomfortable with it the more I work on the truck and am going to flip them this week.
 

djthumper

Administrator
Nov 20, 2011
14,955
North Las Vegas
rockstar said:
I would like to know if anyone has reported any negative effect to not having them flipped?

Camber out of spec
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Heepish said:
Premature upper ball joint failure, I believe? Please correct me if I'm wrong, someone :redface:
No, you're right, but there are two things going on. Both lowered and lifted vehicles have bad camber because the upper control arm is shorter than the lower. Simple suspension geometry issue.

View attachment 17531

Flipping the UCA for lifted vehicles does a small amount to correct this, and make it possible for some vehicles to be adjusted back into spec. Some cannot (because of slight variations) but they can get closer with the flip than without. You can also machine the slots in the mounting brackets of your LOWER control arms and get more movement out of them and this also helps.

The main risk that the flip reduces is ball joint stud stress that can break the stud or transfer stress to the mount, at full extension.

ucaproblem.jpg


My buddy Teebes had this part let loose on him after a HARD day offroading in the Truckhaven Hills. Amazingly enough, it let go on PAVEMENT in a place we could easily work on it. Lowered trucks have also had control arms break, even redesigned ones, at full compression. Tony (norcalss) modifies UCAs (DJM, I think) to reduce this risk, but he doesn't offer a product for the lifted folks.

View attachment 17530
 

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Pittdawg

Member
Dec 5, 2011
538
Does flipping the UCAs provide any additional room for larger diameter tires to be used, i.e. changes the angle of the ball joint enough to allow for even slightly larger tires than with the orignal UCAs in place?
 

djthumper

Administrator
Nov 20, 2011
14,955
North Las Vegas
Nope not at all. The steering knuckle is still in the way.
 

paul2005tb

Member
Nov 26, 2014
299
Massachusetts
Can someone please post a picture of their flipped UCAs, im in the middle of the MarkMC 3in front lift and I swapped and filpped them and it seems like the upper ball joint angle is very odd compared to the OEM configuration ?


Well I finished the job. As a novice mechanic it was kind of scary. It is not an easy job if you have not done these things before. MarkMC gave me innumerable tips to see me through it, thanks Mark, Thanks also to Salvo.

I took it for a very slow ride around the block and besides the vehicle really feeling much more like a truck, the only other thing that was noticeable was the roll I get now with the sway bar disconnected. I kind of like that feel. Feels like Im riding a big rig ! If you are like me and drive like an old man then you might prefer the feel too. I dont plan on going around curves at 40mph so I doubt Ill miss the sway bar in the next 5 years.

One new mod that I made to protect my upper ball joint boot was to place a 3 in long 3in diameter rubber tube over it. I bought some of that blue flexible pvc hose (that HFT sells) and slipped it over the ball joint. I figure it may let me get another year out of my ball joint since i do have a small tear in the boot. I also squirted some fresh grease in it. Please dont laugh.
 

paul2005tb

Member
Nov 26, 2014
299
Massachusetts
Ill be putting the sway bar links back in soon just for safety sake.


The_Roadie said:
Flipping the UCA for lifted vehicles does a small amount to correct this, and make it possible for some vehicles to be adjusted back into spec. Some cannot (because of slight variations) but they can get closer with the flip than without. You can also machine the slots in the mounting brackets of your LOWER control arms and get more movement out of them and this also helps.

The main risk that the flip reduces is ball joint stud stress that can break the stud or transfer stress to the mount, at full extension.
Can you please explain the machining of the mounting brackets for the lower control arm ? Is there a link or thread on this issue. Also does this allow for greater extension of the supension or greater compression?
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
I can't answer the machining of the lower brackets entirely as I haven't done it, but as I understand it, it involves making the slots in the arm bracket larger to allow for more movement and thus get the alignment back in.

Neither thing (slotting the bracket, flipping UCAs) allows for greater extension as the main limiting factor there are the CV axles. They can only go so far before they bind. To allow for more extension requires the front differential and the disconnect to be dropped down, but because they bolt to the side of the oil pan that isn't really feasible without basically creating a custom oil pan of some sort to allow for the position change.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
I never needed to machine the lowers.
 

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