Planet 4x4 - Donahoe Racing Upper Control Arms

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Donahoe Racing Upper Control Arms

Donahoe Racing came out with a sweet Uniball Billet Upper Control Arm setup for Toyota Tacoma's. Check out how the install went and how it performed on the trail.

With a rear optional locker combined with a good wheelbase a stock Toyota truck is a pretty capable trail rig. However, one of the drawbacks is the front independent suspension. While providing a nice ride on the road, it lacks a decent suspension travel for the trail. In steps Donahoe Racing with a line of products to address that exact problem. One of them is a new control arm with a Uniball setup to replace the old ball joint system. This is stronger and allows for more flex. Since this truck already had their Extended Travel Performance Coil over Shock, it needed the new upper control arms to take the most advantage of the system.

Here's what we got in the box. Both control arms, the new Uniball Joints, dust covers, and a set of instructions. The new upper control arm is a work of art. It just looks good sitting there. We laid it on top of the arm still in the truck and you can see a massive difference in beef right off. It was going to look great on the truck. You can also see the heim joints on the end of the arm so there is no bindage anywhere.


Removing all the old hardware went sort of smoothly. The ball joint remover tool that we rented was a universal model and did not work all that great. We ended up cutting the top of the joint off and stacking a large bolt over the top to get everything lined up. Once we had figured out the process, the rest went real smooth. We were able to fish out the long bolt holding the base of the control arm out with out even opening the hood. The instruction called for removing the draglink for the steering on both sides. We did it for one side but not the other and didn't notice any difference in installation. Here it is all stripped out and ready for the new parts.


Big difference in the old ball joint and the new Uniball. We pushed the old one apart getting it out. Here you can see the difference in the two. The new part should be stronger and allow for a wider range of motion.

 


Instead of getting pressed in, the Uniball gets bolted in. This was a very tight fit. We ended up cleaning out the hole with a wire brush and adding a little WD40 to get it to slide in while tightening the bolt. Its not going anywhere.


With both arms off, they were laid side by side. The difference in beef is easily seen and one of the really nice parts is those heim joints at the base of the arm. They allow good movement without binding. The old rubber mounts just cant hold up.


After the Uniball was in and tightened, the install of the new arm was very straightforward. One step that will make things easier is to drop the arm on top of the Uniball first before trying to line it up to the holes back on the frame. Its much easier to use the arm as leverage to move it around. We had no trouble getting the travel we needed on the Uniball that we needed with the suspension totally dropped. this was a good sign. Here it is all bolted in with the bust cover to protect the top of the Uniball installed.

Well it looks nice but does it work? We headed out to find out. We found some deep ruts up one of the local trails and started flexing things out. The first thing we noticed was that we were not having very much luck getting a tire in the air in the usual spots. Getting one hung used to not be a problem. We finally found a hole big enough. All the old spots didn't have it anymore. Well here it is! We got the suspension to cycle through its full range of motion. We measured a good 13" plus of travel at the tire!

It was a whole new truck. We played around a bit and the extra suspension travel on the front end made a big difference. Spots where the truck could get big air now either there was no air or a tire barely left the ground. One spot we did get about a foot or air where before the truck would nose up into the sky. So if you really want to wake up the front suspension on your truck check out what Donahoe Racing has to offer at www.donahoeracing.com!

 

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