Bad Lower Control Arm Bushings?

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-08-16, 01:54 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,933
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Bad Lower Control Arm Bushings?

I've been dealing with the same issue for a couple years now and haven't been able to pinpoint the cause. I've been concentrating on the brakes because it is most noticeable when braking, but I'm beginning to think it may be suspension related. The issue is the suspension bounces at 45 mph and 23 mph when braking (presumably the resonant frequency of the suspension). I've replaced every single brake component aside from the master cylinder and proportioning valve and the problem still persists. I had the rotors turned on-vehicle yesterday and things drastically improved, but this morning while driving to work it bounced again violently when braking from 70 mph to 30 mph. Another issue that just popped up is that ever since earlier this week when the temps have been in the teens, it feels like I have a severely unbalanced tire when driving at highway speeds. I thought I had a flat tire or threw a weight, but the tires looks fine. Oddly, it only happens in the morning on my way to work. On the way home, everything is fine. For that reason, I have pretty much ruled out the brakes and have decided to focus on the suspension. I had an issue with one of my lower control arm camber bolts last year, which was causing my steering wheel to shimmy, so I'm betting one or more of my other bolts or bushings is worn as well and causing these weird issues. I'll be checking things out this weekend. What do you guys think?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-08-16, 03:44 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
When it comes to front end work, the first thing that I do is to jack up the front wheels off the ground. Grab the wheels as if you were going to turn them left & right. With all your strength, push them in both directions & take note of how much play is there. If there is a lot of play, the Pitman arm or idler arm could be bad.

Do the same with the ball joints but grab the tires on the top & bottom. See if there is play, in that direction.

You didn't say if the vehicle is front or rear wheel drive. The results might differ.
 
  #3  
Old 01-08-16, 03:49 PM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,859
Received 38 Votes on 30 Posts
Year/make/model? IF FWD a bad cv joint will exhibit some, but not necessarily all, of the symptoms you describe.
 
  #4  
Old 01-08-16, 03:52 PM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,859
Received 38 Votes on 30 Posts
Oops, just realized we're in the truck forum vice autos, so probably RWD.

Shocks/struts also on the list of possibles in addition to pulpo's items.
 
  #5  
Old 01-08-16, 05:13 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,933
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Sorry, it's a 2WD 2004 Toyota Tundra, so no pitman or idler arm. Short-long arm suspension with rack and pinion. I planned on getting a crow bar and prying at the LCA to see if there is any movement. BTW, drove home from work today and no issues. So bizzare. One minute everything is smooth as glass and the next it feels like the wheels are going to fall off.
 
  #6  
Old 01-08-16, 05:29 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Even on a FWD car, I would still check to see if there is play in the front end.
 
  #7  
Old 01-08-16, 06:44 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,933
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
The bouncing has been an issue for a couple years and I have checked by pulling and pushing. I've never tried moving the control arms though. I bet it's the bushings because that make sense with the issue being intermittent. Like it's sticking and freeing up, then sticking again.
 
  #8  
Old 01-10-16, 10:31 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,933
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Okay, I jacked the front end off the ground and started checking things. No slop in the ball joints and no slop in the steering rack. Although the wheels do move quite a bit left/right, but they move in unison and the steering wheel moves too. So I figure that is normal. Next I checked the lower control arm bushings. I used a small 10" crow bar and both of the front bushings had movement in them. I'd say about 1/8". No scraping or knocking sounds though. Seems normal. Then I checked the rear bushings and could not get them to budge whatsoever. Maybe this could be my issue? The front of the LCAs are able to flex but the rear cannot? I also checked the motor mounts and they seem fine. About a quarter inch of movement when prying on them with a 24" crowbar.
 
  #9  
Old 01-10-16, 10:39 AM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
So I figure that is normal.
I'm not sure if that's normal. Wasn't the steering wheel locked? Did you have the key in the off position?
 
  #10  
Old 01-10-16, 11:17 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,933
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
The key was out, but I didn't lock the wheel. Guess that would help. Any comment on the control arm bushings? I know my steering rack seals leaking, but the balljoints are good. Plus a bad rack wouldn't cause the truck to bounce up and down intermittently. To reiterate, when I say intermittently, I mean one day it does it and the next day it doesn't.
 

Last edited by mossman; 01-10-16 at 12:06 PM.
  #11  
Old 01-10-16, 06:21 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Even though I've done a lot of front end work over the years, I couldn't picture the front end of your vehicle. So I did a Google search & there were many hits. Apparently, you weren't notified but there were 2 separate recalls both involving 2004 Tundras.

Toyota Recall For Lower Ball Joint Issue : Toyota Tundra Common Suspension & Steering Problems

That still may not be your problem but I thought that I would mention it.

Plus a bad rack wouldn't cause the truck to bounce up and down intermittently.
I wouldn't be so sure of that either. Jack it up again & shake the wheels, this time with the steering wheel locked.
 
  #12  
Old 01-10-16, 07:43 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,933
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I had the recall taken care of in 2008.

Since the bouncing is worse when it's cold out, worn bushings makes sense. Cold rubber is stiffer and doesn't allow as much movement. And to be clear, the steering wheel is typically nice and steady when the bouncing occurs, which is another reason I think the rack is fine. If I don't conclusively determine what the cause is, next warm weekend the control arms are getting replaced. I can do both sides for $150, plus I'll need an alignment.
 
  #13  
Old 01-10-16, 08:20 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,933
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Another tid bit of information...the bouncing got noticeably worse after replacing my original front shocks with Bilstein 5100 rideheight adjustables, which are not only stiffer but 3/4" taller. Since they are stiffer, they aren't dampening the vibration as well as the OEM shocks were. My latest theory:

My hubs have excessive run out likely caused by some mechanic over torquing the lug nuts. My hubs therefore degrade my new rotors within a couple weeks, which causes vibrations. These vibrations couple to the suspension and cause the truck to bounce when braking. The bounce is more noticeable now because I have stiffer shocks. Since the hopping mostly went away the other day when I had the rotors turned on-vehicle, came back the next day, but then went away the following day, I likely have worn suspension components, and I suspect the lower bushings.

To remedy this problem, I need to 1) replace the front rotors AGAIN, and either shim the runout out of them (can't find shims for 2WD for some reason) or immediately have them turned on-vehicle before the hubs destroy them, 2) replace the lower control arms (cheaper than paying someone to replace the bushings) or 3) sell the truck or drive it off a cliff.

BTW, yes, I know for a fact that my hubs are warped.
 
  #14  
Old 01-11-16, 07:54 AM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I'm also inclined to think that bushings are the problem. I don't think that you have to touch the brakes again. Can you see the bushings? Are they cracked or worn?
 
  #15  
Old 01-11-16, 11:46 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,933
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I didn't have a flash light to do a real thorough inspection. I just pried on them. I really think that has to be the issue. It's the only thing I haven't really considered and it really does make sense based on the symptoms I'm having.

I'd like to do as much of the work as possible myself, and only have to take it to a shop to get it aligned. Northern Tool has a 12-ton hydraulic shop press for only $179. Will this be enough force to press out the old/press in the new bushings? The next step up is a 20-ton, but it's twice the cost.
 
  #16  
Old 01-11-16, 03:30 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You don't have to spend all that money. You can remove the part & take it to a machine shop.
 
  #17  
Old 01-11-16, 04:39 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North East Kingdom of Vermont
Posts: 2,533
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Pulpo
". . . You don't have to spend all that money. You can remove the part & take it to a machine shop . . ."
Or a small auto repair shop WITH a Bearing Press.

My Volvo was diagnosed as needing new Control Arms (for well over $275) when all it needed was for $23 worth of new Bushings pressed in; but that garage didn't have a Press . . . . so I went on to a new one.

Turned a $400+ job into a mere $75 one.
 
  #18  
Old 01-11-16, 06:44 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,933
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
That's likely what I'll do. I just like to do things myself when at all possible so I know it's done properly. I have yet to find a shop that has earned my confidence. I thought I did last summer but then ran into issues with them telling me that the camber on my Acura MDX couldn't be adjusted without a special camber kit. I've needed a press now and then for other things so I'm not going to let a couple hundred dollars dissuade me. Although these cheaper presses don't have very good reviews. I can see myself getting the controls arms off the truck then the press isn't strong enough to press them out because they are seized. Buying new control arms for $80 per side is still an option. That way I could do everything myself. Only downside is that I'd have aftermarket control arms, but surely they'd be higher quality than my 12 year old ones (if I get the right brand). Moog, Beck/Arnley, and Dorman are my choices.
 

Last edited by mossman; 01-11-16 at 07:08 PM.
  #19  
Old 01-12-16, 06:37 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North East Kingdom of Vermont
Posts: 2,533
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I'm not sure if this is true with ALL vehicles; but I don't think Control Arms actually age. They may get bent due to an accident or some road hazard . . . . or someone may have allowed their Bushings to really get worn to the point that they are cutting into the Arm itself, which should really be noticeable from the Driver's seat.

If the two Bushings and the Ball Joint have been replaced on a timely basis, and the Control Arm hasn't been bent (or cracked), then there'd be no reason to replace the whole Arm EXCEPT for "convenience" . . . . old is just as good as new !

But I could be wrong. I've been wrong before (but can't remember when). I just think you're on the right track here.

A garage with a Bearing Press may be willing to press out the old and press in the new for just the cost of the Labor Time required and as a form of good Customer Relations.
 
  #20  
Old 01-12-16, 02:50 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 17,962
Received 37 Votes on 32 Posts
Its a known issue with the tundras.. Its happening from what I know is the cheap thin frames the tundras have to improve ride and the too stiff rear springs and shocks.. The frame flexes too much...

Put 300 pounds of sand bags in the rear of the bed, and put a cheap softer shock at the rear..

Try the sand first and see if it reduces it.. Then try to soften the rear suspension with cheap shocks if its still there.

Edit: I just read that a guy stuffed a large 3" a pool noodle between the bed and the cab and that stopped it.. The official name tundra owners call it is " Bed Bounce"

Also note my buddy had his whole frame replaced on his 2005 with low miles under warranty because it was rusted out like swiss cheese... ( 100K mile warranty was honored) It took them over a year because the frames are on back order because of this rusting issue.. Related? Unrelated?

The tundra forum would be the place you should be regarding this IMO.. They will help you better...
 
  #21  
Old 01-12-16, 06:23 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,933
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I've already posted on Tundra Solutions. I have been a member for several years and the forum is well aware of my problem. Curiously, no one else has the same issue.

I believe the bed bounce is on later model Tundras, not the 1st generation.

The bounce only occurs when braking and it is the front brakes triggering the bounce. I've applied the parking brake and there is no bounce.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: