Front Upper Controll Arm Bushing Woes: 97 T-Brd - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Front Upper Controll Arm Bushing Woes: 97 T-Brd

I'm looking for a little guidance. About 6000 miles ago I replaced both left and Rt Front Upper Controll Arms in my 1997 T-Bird 4.6L. I used Dorman 520250 and 520249 controll arms which include the bushings and ball joint. The right side bushing is now clunking badly and the left side is just begining to do so. I'm a little surprized since I've never had a bad experience with Dorman parts. Most of the expense in re-doing this is labor and inconvenience so I want to make sure the parts I buy next are not going to go bad in the next 60,000 miles or so.
Can someone recommend a good mfg to go to? I'm considering Moog, AC Delco or even Motorcraft (most $$$). All of these are more then twice what I paid for the Dorman part. Can anyone tell me which of Moog, AC Delco or Motorcraft is the best bet or even recommend another brand that is good?? Thanks!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 08:27 PM
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Motorcraft. Moog if you absolutely must, anything else, don't bother.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 08:27 PM
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if you can find trw (motorcraft I would assume) parts grab them they are OEM for these cars. moog will also be suitable if you cannot find trw.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 08:48 PM
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I have Raybestos UCA's on my 96. I have had them on for about 2 years and 12K miles with no issues so far.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by sousa632 View Post
I have Raybestos UCA's on my 96. I have had them on for about 2 years and 12K miles with no issues so far.
Yes the raybestos/spicer professional grade UCA's and LCA's are some nice products also, a bit on the thick side for the UCA's arm material, which could be a problem for those pinching every pound on their bird, but I really like the design and durability. I'll be switching to those next.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tweakit View Post
I'm a little surprized since I've never had a bad experience with Dorman parts.
Funny I've had nothing but problems with just about all things Dorman, with the exception of interior panel push pins, and their HELP line of parts.

I actually got a cease and desist e-mail from them once for bad mouthing them by posting on here that 3 of their crappy harmonic balancers had failed under warranty on one of my vehicles. They even asked for me to send them the most recent failure to which I told them send me a prepaid shipping slip and the value of the part and I gladly would do so, to which I got no response. Until then I told them I would just continue encouraging everyone I know, customers and friends to go elsewhere for parts.

-1996 Pearl White Thunderbird 4.6 Sport 4v with many mods:
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-2001 White Ford F-250 Super Duty 6.8 V10, 4-door, 4x4, Limo Tint, BFG KO2's, Bilstein 7100 Remote Reservoir Race Bypass Shocks, 6" Spring lift, Kenwood Double Din, K&N Intake, FlowMaster Exhaust
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 09:59 AM
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Bolts and push pins are all I'd buy from them too.

And those only when I have to, lol.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions and comments. I ordered a pair of Moog UCA's since they were a little less $$ then Motorcraft/TRW and nobody thought they wouldn't at least be OK. Also I dont expect to have my T-Brd for more than another 60K miles so some junk yard would be getting a pretty good deal if I went with Motorcraft! By then the car will have 250K miles! Thanks again for the help!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Here’s a follow up. It turns out that the problem was loose pivot bolts. When I took the car to the installer he checked and tightened the pivot bolts and now the clunking noise is gone! I guess we should all take note that the Dorman UCA’s are not at fault here!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 06:44 PM
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True... before I read through this site I installed a Dorman passenger side UCA (would have been early 09)... no problems thus far. I still recommend Moog/TRW/Motorcraft though.

-Brandon
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tweakit View Post
Here’s a follow up. It turns out that the problem was loose pivot bolts. When I took the car to the installer he checked and tightened the pivot bolts and now the clunking noise is gone! I guess we should all take note that the Dorman UCA’s are not at fault here!
Go figger! Did you ask if he tightened the bolts with Arm in loaded position? Dont badmouth bushings if you install them wrong.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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There's more; On the right side, the installer used two pinch bolts in the pivot bolt locations (uhgg: reminds me of my dad always saying 'if you want it done right you need to do it yourself!'). They fit OK and now that they're tight as I've mentioned there is no more clunking. I'm a little nervous about running with pinch bolts where pivot bolts should be. There's a few things I need a little help with:
First, should I bother to replace the pinch bolts with the original pivot bolts (they're in good shape)?
Second, can I do this with the car on the ground one bolt at a time without having anything fall apart on me?
Third, There is what looks like some kind of electrical junction where two large sections of a wiring harness join (near firewall on right side). I'd like to separate the two harness sections from the junction to make room for a wrench in order to torque down the pivot bolt nut. I'm not sure if the harness sections can be separated from the junction thingy. Does anyone know if that can be done and if so, how? Help will always be appreciated.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 07:36 AM
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I wouldn't pull the pivot bolts out of the UCA with a load on the spindle. The UCA keeps the tire and spindle perpendicular to the ground. If you pulled out one of the pivot bolts the geometry of the suspension and weight of the car would shove the UCA towards the inside of the shock tower. You wouldn't be able to get a bolt back through because the holes would be out of alignment. I'd just leave them alone - if they've been torqued properly you should be fine.

Yes, you can separate the bulkhead connectors; just loosen the 10mm (IIRC) bolt until you can pull off the conector.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 09:17 AM
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"Pivot bolts"!! What? The UCA Bushes should be tightened pinch! That's why it's important to have them tightened and torqued in their 'normal' positions.
IOW either with wheel on ground or LCA jacked till car comes off stands

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris_Murder View Post
Funny I've had nothing but problems with just about all things Dorman, with the exception of interior panel push pins, and their HELP line of parts.
I don't understand everybody's problems with Dorman parts. We use them all the time; AAMOF, we just replaced a 5.4L SOHC truck engine intake with a Dorman last week. We have done several (remember the recall on the NPI plastic intakes) with Dorman parts and have never had one come back.

Actually that's not entirely true. A guy that used to work at the shop several years ago changed one and it came back because he had bolted something in between the mating surfaces (a wire or something - I can't remember exactly) and it was leaking.

Other than installer error, we haven't had a problem!

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