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GMFS Military Member
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For those of you fortunate enough not to have had to do this, then consider yourself lucky. GM in all their infinite wisdom (wont ever own anything else though!) decided to not make the Upper Control arm ball joint's greaseable. This leads to eventual failure and results in you having to replace the UCA Assembly. I found this out after taking my truck in to get a simple alignment:flame:. Didn't figure much was wrong with it since i just rolled over the 75K mark... I decided to take this negative and make a positve, so here's the result. Please don't bust my balls too hard since this is my first "How To" and real contribution to this forum. Hope this helps someone else out. I'll try to be as accurate a possible.

Tools:
Beer & Tunes
Floor Jack
Jack Stands
1/2" ratchet
8mm wrench or socket with applicable ratchet (Zerk Fittings)
10mm wrench or socket with applicable ratchet (Speed sensor bracket)
18mm wrench (balljoint nut)
7/8" socket 1/2" Drive (for lug-nuts)
13/16" socket 1/2" Drive (for UCA pivot bolts)
May need 15mm for sway bar endlinks (read why further down)
Torque wrench 140 Ft lbs / 1680 In lbs (UCA Pivot bolts)
Torque wrench 37 Ft lbs / 444 In lbs (ball joint nut)
18mm 1/2" Drive Crows Foot (torquing ball joint nut)
4 lb mallet
Pickle Fork Ball Joint Separator
Grease Gun
Misc adjustable wrenches..

Approx time:
4 hrs

Here is the subject of this write up: 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE Crew Cab 5.3 Z71
080100_223400.jpg


I got the complete control arms from Rockauto.com and paid a grand total of $210.93 for both including shipping. Definitely a steal IMO..
Driver P/N: K80669
Passenger P/N: K80670
They showed up in different boxes but all was fine..just different packing...? Dunno WTF was up with that.
2011-05-29_10-21-41_988.jpg


I recommend soaking all the bolts that you need to pull in PB Blaster.
2011-05-29_16-09-07_345.jpg

It works wonders on rusted hardware. Found that out on the passenger side when i had to drop the strut out and disconnect the sway bar endlink (which i didn't spray). It was a pain in the dick compared to everything i soaked the night before. --I had to drop the strut out because the coil spring was blocking me from pulling the UCA pivot bolt on the passenger side. You may or may not have to do this. That's why i didn't include it in the writeup since you might get away with not doing it.--

2011-05-29_16-11-39_215.jpg

Gotta have the manual for torque values since i prefer not to half ass on suspension. "Good 'nuff" makes me a bit nervous in this dept. I bought the manual and i'll post the values so you dont have to. I used it just for torque. Pulling apart the suspension itself is pretty straight-forward.

The only special tools you will need are a grease gun and a pickle fork ball joint separator.
2011-05-29_12-24-02_453.jpg


Alright so here's where we start.
Step 1 - Wheel and tire removal
ON-
2011-05-29_10-20-39_350.jpg


OFF- Used a 7/8" socket on the beauty caps and Lugs. Dunno the metric equivilent.
2011-05-29_11-56-29_884.jpg

Be sure and use safety here and jackstand this sucker. My 2 ton floor jack folded like a waffle when i tried to lift the front end, and thank god i wasnt under it when it did. Fuckin menards tools...

Step 2-Unbolt the wheel speed sensor/ brake line bracket mounted on the control arm (FROM HERE IN, CONTROL ARM IS REFERED TO AS CA OR UCA) The bolt is 10mm and there's no nut holding it on.
2011-05-29_11-56-37_652-1.jpg


Step 3 - Mark where your alignment cams line up on the frame ( I used a scribe and made an outline. Should've used a white paint pen.) and loosen up the nuts holding them on. These are the UCA pivot bolts.
2011-05-29_11-56-29_8842.jpg

Put a jack under the LCA due to the fact that the suspension will droop a little when you pull the UCA out. It wont go far because the strut holds it but having it under there will make it easier when it comes time to reassemble.

After you remove the nut (use a 13/16" deep well socket) and pull out the pivot bolt that looks like
2011-05-29_12-23-32_707.jpg

your frame will look like this,
2011-05-29_12-23-42_787.jpg

The cams can stick to the frame because of the factory undercoating GM uses. This is fine. If they come off, no biggie. Just remember how they go on.

Step 4 - With an 18 mm wrench (i did all this without touching the half-shafts for my 4wd), loosen the nut holding the UCA ball joint to the spindle/hub assembly. Don't pull it all the way off, just loosen it to the point where its finger tight. That way it wont blow apart when you separate the ball joint from the spindle with the pickle fork and a 4 lb mallet. If its still tight to the point where you need a wrench, then when you break loose the balljoint, it will spin like mine did and you'll need needle nose vice grips to hold the ball joint stud to pull off the nut. There is a place for an allen wrench in the end of the ball joint stud but i have the straight allen wrenches, not the 90 degree ones so i had to improvise with the vice grips. My replacements came with a castle nut and cotter pin. Way better design IMO.

Step 5- Pull out the old UCA and throw that POS in the dumpster. I don't have any pics of this step.. Sorry. Hands were kind of full. Don't let the spindle/hub assembly flop around too much (it will try to) or it could put unwanted strain on the brake lines/ speed sensor harness. Just keep any eye on the fucker and everything should be okay.

Step 5- Take new CA's out of the boxes and install the Zerk Fittings in them. The zerks take an 8mm socket or wrench and self tap into the blind hole on-top of the ball joint. Snug em down till the shoulder of the fitting is flush with the top of the cap surface.
I also lubed the sides of the control arms where they contact the frame. They probably dont even move here but i did it to be safe than sorry. Got the grease from my local tractor supply.
2011-05-29_12-25-47_63.jpg


Step 6- Put the new CA in the old CA mount and MAKE SURE you have the alignment cams on the right sides of the CA mounts. (Make sure the indexing studs on the mounts are in the arched slots on the camber adjustment cams) Ask me how i know this... If nothing lines up, then you have it wrong. Remember, the heads of the bolts are on the inside of the CA near the strut, the nuts are on the outsides of the mounts. There are no washers, just alignment cams. You should wind up with something similar to this
2011-05-29_13-44-50_861.jpg

The cam slots that i described are here
2011-05-29_12-23-42_7872.jpg
and

Step 7- Almost done! (...with one side :evil:) Go ahead and put the castle nut on the UCA ball joint and snug it up. Torque that sucker down using the crows foot and torque wrench to 37ft lbs/444 In lbs of torque with the 18mm crowsfoot. Once you have it torqued, install your cotter pin. which looks like
2011-05-29_13-45-15_175.jpg

I know, I know. There are some out there who will say that the cotter pin is in wrong and that it's not bent up and down rather than side to side. Who cares. Its in there and not going anywhere and a heck of a lot better than no cotter pin...

Step 8 - Torque to UCA pivot bolts with the vehicle either on the ground, or the suspension compressed. I took the compressed route, torqued them, and re-torqued the nuts after the truck was sitting on the ground. Double safe.. With the suspension compressed, which is 19" from the top lugnut with the rotor centered to the fender lip. Torque them to 140 Ft lbs / 1680 In lbs using your 13/16 socket. Definitely need the extra room without the wheel and tire to get a good torque.
2011-05-29_13-13-23_762.jpg


Step 9 - Bust out your grease gun and load it up with all purpose grease.
2011-05-29_13-45-21_406.jpg
Got mine from the tractor supply store. Clean off the zerk fittings and go ahead and grease the ball joints till they're firm (some people say its bad for the boot seal, I go till some old grease comes out of the boot) While you have the wheel and tire off, now would be a good time to grease the tie rod ends as well. Mine needed it. Give everything a wipe down and slap your wheel/tire back on.

Step 10 - Once you get back to this point
2011-05-29_10-20-39_350.jpg

go ahead and torque those lugnuts in a star pattern. Torque em to 140 Ft lbs / 1680 In lbs.

Step 11 - Repeat steps 1 - 10 for Passenger side.

Step 12 - Get a decent alignment and enjoy your newly found firmer and overall less sloppy front suspension.

Hope this helps anyone out there who is planning to take on this venture in the near future... Don't bust my balls too much about the dirt/rust! This is my DD and N.D. roads love to eat vehicles alive. When i get my lift, I'll powder coat everything..till then, suck it. :devil2:

Side note: If you need anything specific out of the Chilton manual, shoot me a PM an i'll try to help you out. Nothing too ridiculous though...I mean no requests for instructions on a complete engine overhaul/ rear-end rebuild lol..I'm talking about torque specs and wire colors :shake:
 

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get down or lay down
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Nice write-up. The manual isn't really needed for the torque spec, they can be found readily online.
You're right though, gm messed up by not putting grease zorks in the balljoints.
 

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GMFS Military Member
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Discussion Starter #3
Nice write-up. The manual isn't really needed for the torque spec, they can be found readily online.
You're right though, gm messed up by not putting grease zorks in the balljoints.
Yeah but I don't trust the interwebs lol. Plus I wanted the book for when other parts of the truck start falling apart so why not post the legit torque specs from the manual...:crazy:
 

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GMFS Military Member
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Job well done Tekker! Thank you for this great How-To, this would be very helpful to me...and also thanks for providing clear illustrative pictures... great job!
It's not that hard to do just time consuming. I just traded that truck in and moved up to the Dirtymax anyways LOL!
 

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fuck me.... this is the same shit I have to do to my truck and I literally rolled over 75,000 miles yesterday. mother fucker I'm pissed lol.

Failed inspection because of it too and headed out on a trip today. Oh well, im sure Va state police will pull me over seeing the rejection sticker.
 

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GMFS Military Member
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Discussion Starter #6
fuck me.... this is the same shit I have to do to my truck and I literally rolled over 75,000 miles yesterday. mother fucker I'm pissed lol.

Failed inspection because of it too and headed out on a trip today. Oh well, im sure Va state police will pull me over seeing the rejection sticker.
GM is awesome but the design of their control-arms = GAYNESS. They should take a hint from cognito LOL! That's why i stepped up to a 2500HD Dirtymax :head:
 

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GMFS Military Member
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Discussion Starter #7

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GM is awesome but the design of their control-arms = GAYNESS. They should take a hint from cognito LOL! That's why i stepped up to a 2500HD Dirtymax :head:
Ive really been considering going to a 2500 DMAX, but I owe hardly nothing on this truck and want out of the payments.

Also found that there are different torqe specs (Thanks HYBRID AWD!) depending on what wheels you have. I got mine from my chiltons manual. Heres a couple of resorces to make sure you're correct!
http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=98561
http://gmcowners.com/gmc-forum/showthread.php?t=17686
Yeah I deleted my previous post because I saw online at a couple of places it said 140... so I was wrong. Guess I should start torquing them down more than just going with 100 lb ft.
 

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GMFS Military Member
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Discussion Starter #9
Ive really been considering going to a 2500 DMAX, but I owe hardly nothing on this truck and want out of the payments.



Yeah I deleted my previous post because I saw online at a couple of places it said 140... so I was wrong. Guess I should start torquing them down more than just going with 100 lb ft.
I LOVE my DMax. I never really knew what i was missing till I got mine. Towed an 18' steel trailer to OK from ND with a 400lb shell of my '49 chevy to my dad for storage and almost burnt up the 1500 Crew Cab that I had. It didn't like the hills or going above 65. In tow/haul i was pushing 2200 RPM just trying to keep from getting run over by traffic. Trans temp was hovering between 210-215 and I was prayin it'd never hit 250. Definately scared me! Traded it in and it had a REDICULOUS lifter tick and the trans shifted a little funny (like it was locking and unlocking the TC at 70mph cruise) Bought the DMAX a week before comming back north and towed the same trailer with my 90 GMC Sierra on it (6000lbs ish) and the duramax didn't even know it was back there! Was running 75mph at 1700 RPM and the trans never even got above 190F. Also love the intergrated trailer brakes and I get 19MPG with a stock exhaust and DPF on average. Sorry this is so long and I'm not trying to sell ya on one. Just letting ya know what you're missing if you're on the fence about a HD. As for gas, I'll never go back. The sound of the turbo spooling is freakin sweet! Gets me outta bed in the morning LOL :rocking:
 

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I LOVE my DMax. I never really knew what i was missing till I got mine. Towed an 18' steel trailer to OK from ND with a 400lb shell of my '49 chevy to my dad for storage and almost burnt up the 1500 Crew Cab that I had. It didn't like the hills or going above 65. In tow/haul i was pushing 2200 RPM just trying to keep from getting run over by traffic. Trans temp was hovering between 210-215 and I was prayin it'd never hit 250. Definately scared me! Traded it in and it had a REDICULOUS lifter tick and the trans shifted a little funny (like it was locking and unlocking the TC at 70mph cruise) Bought the DMAX a week before comming back north and towed the same trailer with my 90 GMC Sierra on it (6000lbs ish) and the duramax didn't even know it was back there! Was running 75mph at 1700 RPM and the trans never even got above 190F. Also love the intergrated trailer brakes and I get 19MPG with a stock exhaust and DPF on average. Sorry this is so long and I'm not trying to sell ya on one. Just letting ya know what you're missing if you're on the fence about a HD. As for gas, I'll never go back. The sound of the turbo spooling is freakin sweet! Gets me outta bed in the morning LOL :rocking:

Yeah my dad has an 03 GMC 2500 DMAX and just the fact of the power that is available vs my 5.3 is ridiculous. I just hate the thought of extending my payments for any longer.
 

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Medicated and Motivated!!
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Thanks for the Reference!!!! Got mine done awhile ago. I think I beat your time...I did it in a lil under 3 hours...HA. I definately LOVE the grease points.
Thanks
Cam
 

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GMFS Military Member
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Thanks for the Reference!!!! Got mine done awhile ago. I think I beat your time...I did it in a lil under 3 hours...HA. I definately LOVE the grease points.
Thanks
Cam
Glad to know it helped out. Its been ALONG time since I got on here. Usually hang out on the DMAX forums LOL
 

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Mine squeak like a eagle fucking a rooster : /. I guess it's cause of my drop
Very nice writeup.
 

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The Barber Shop
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Great write up. I replaced my UCAs with Moog replacements as well this winter with my '08 having a little under 60k miles on it. I had to loosen up the bolts to the struts to get the bolts that hold the UCA on out because of my lift.
 
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