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Aftermarket Control Arms or Stay Stock?

This is a discussion on Aftermarket Control Arms or Stay Stock? within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; The front end on my SS needs alignment, but the ball joints are worn out. Usually, when something wears out, ...

  1. #1
    We'll be back... GatorSS's Avatar
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    Aftermarket Control Arms or Stay Stock?

    The front end on my SS needs alignment, but the ball joints are worn out. Usually, when something wears out, I don't merely replace it, but upgrade it, too. So, it would seem to me that this is a good time to install some good aftermarket control arms. Or just replace the ball joints in the stock control arms?

    Obviously, it will be more expensive to get the aftermarket control arms, but I don't mind spending a little more money for something more beneficial. So, give me your thoughts/ideas on the subject. If you suggest aftermarket control arms (and anything else to go along with it), please mention the brand/model for each part and why you would choose that brand/model.

    Thanks in advance for your ideas and suggestions.

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    Member 666ws6's Avatar
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    I'd be curious on this too. I have the same mentality on "upgrading" when needing to repair standard items. If I'm going to do the work, might as well make the investment to make the car handle tighter.
    2000 WS6 TA #2946 - A4, Best 1/4: 12.5s @111mph.
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    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    Do new arms if you can. I replaced all my ball joints,and the front lower ones were a huge pain in the ass. They were oversized cause usually when you replace them,the hole will b all wallerrd. Mine weren't, and I had to use a Volkswagen cylinder hone to open them up. If I would have had the money, I would have replaced them.

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    Member 99yellowz28's Avatar
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    i am in the same boat as you but only control arm bushing i was looking at umi front control arms because i have there rear ones with relocation brackets and all kinds of other stuff but i dont see how it would be real benifical to get new control arms what i did was just went down to summit racing and got energy suspension polyurathane control arm bushings for like 60 bucks so maybe if you want upgrage and dont want to spend a bunch just grab some moog balljoints and some poly bushings. The only real bennifet i caould see and this is why i considered new control arms is because my car is lowered and aftermarket arms can be bought as adjustable to give you more flexability with your alignment

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    We'll be back... GatorSS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by az gt eater View Post
    Do new arms if you can. I replaced all my ball joints,and the front lower ones were a huge pain in the ass. They were oversized cause usually when you replace them,the hole will b all wallerrd. Mine weren't, and I had to use a Volkswagen cylinder hone to open them up. If I would have had the money, I would have replaced them.
    One of the reasons I'm leaning towards aftermarket is because replacing the stock ball joints usually is a major PITA. So, to me, it seems that the money it will cost for new aftermarket control arms is well worth it. I mean it's not really that much money at this point in my life. More like petty cash.

    Now, it's a matter of deciding on which brand to choose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 99z-28 View Post
    i am in the same boat as you but only control arm bushing i was looking at umi front control arms because i have there rear ones with relocation brackets and all kinds of other stuff but i dont see how it would be real benifical to get new control arms what i did was just went down to summit racing and got energy suspension polyurathane control arm bushings for like 60 bucks so maybe if you want upgrage and dont want to spend a bunch just grab some moog balljoints and some poly bushings. The only real bennifet i caould see and this is why i considered new control arms is because my car is lowered and aftermarket arms can be bought as adjustable to give you more flexability with your alignment
    If I were back in my 20s (in college & graduate school, where money was real tight--pinching pennies in four or more--while earning my degrees), then just replacing the ball joints (even though a PITA) and some polyurethane bushings would be the obvious choice.

    But now, the logical choice is the new aftermarket control arms, and most likely the adjustable ones. So that's what I'll do. Now, which ones to buy?

  7. #7
    Are you looking to replace just the lower front A-arms or the upper A-Arms too.

    A-Arms have some benefit but not as big as some other suspension modifications. They come with new ball joints which is a huge plus for you, they are lighter and ours have a better ball joint angle built into them. The different ball joint angles prevents the ball joints from wearing as quick on a lowered vehicle.

    We have an upper and lower kit for $548 and upper ball joints would run another $80.00. Here is one kit for example- www.umiperformance.com/230511

    I hope this helps some,
    Ryan

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    We'll be back... GatorSS's Avatar
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    I will replace both upper and lower arms. I know the limitations of these compared to other suspension modifications. But this is all I will do at this time, because the main issue right now is worn ball joints and all I will replace now are the components associated with the ball joints.

    Since the vehicle in question is my primary daily driver, lowering it any would be foolish, as it already has height issues with some road/parking lot areas. I assume that the ball joint angles with those new arms will aid in ball joint longevity for a stock height vehicle, too, right?

    Out of curiosity and before checking out the UMI kit in your link, I have a quick question: The UMI upper arms do not include the ball joints?

    Then if that kit fits my vehicle, I'm looking at about $628? Then it's just the labor for whoever I have install it (I do not have the time now or for the next few months to install it myself).

    Thanks for the information.

  9. #9
    Correct, although the ball joint angle is improved it will be fine on a factory height vehicle as well.

    The upper A-Arms are supplied with no ball joints but we can add them in for $40.00 each, $80.00 total. We do this because many customers reuse their upper ball joints off their factory arms. I recommend installing new ball joints, but it is up to the customer.

    If you need anymore help please ask and I am glad too!
    Ryan

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    Thanks for the information. Oh yes, I would always install new ball joints since I would already be 'in there' where they are.

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    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=GatorSS;2543854]then just replacing the ball joints (even though a PITA) and some polyurethane bushings would be the obvious choice.

    QUOTE]

    That's exactly what I did. Now, save for the whole K.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by GatorSS View Post
    Thanks for the information. Oh yes, I would always install new ball joints since I would already be 'in there' where they are.
    Glad to help. If you need anything else please don't hesitate to ask.

    Thank you!
    Ryan

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    We'll be back... GatorSS's Avatar
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    I didn't mention that I will also replace the struts. I was wondering if I should try some coil-overs? Who here has installed coil-overs? What can you tell me about them?

    Thanks in advance.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by GatorSS View Post
    I didn't mention that I will also replace the struts. I was wondering if I should try some coil-overs? Who here has installed coil-overs? What can you tell me about them?

    Thanks in advance.
    Shocks are a great mod for these vehicles and will make the car feel and handle so much better. Since you have no plans on lowering the car I don't see any need for a coil over set up? I recommend to keep the factory springs and go with a set of SLP Bilstein shocks, they are around $400 for a set of four and work very nicely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UMI Performance View Post
    Shocks are a great mod for these vehicles and will make the car feel and handle so much better. Since you have no plans on lowering the car I don't see any need for a coil over set up? I recommend to keep the factory springs and go with a set of SLP Bilstein shocks, they are around $400 for a set of four and work very nicely.
    That makes sense to keep the factory springs since I definitely will not be lowering the car. As far as the struts/shocks go, I want to have adjustable ones. Are the SLP Bilstein ones adjustable?

    Any opinions out there on Koni, KYB and others?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by GatorSS View Post
    That makes sense to keep the factory springs since I definitely will not be lowering the car. As far as the struts/shocks go, I want to have adjustable ones. Are the SLP Bilstein ones adjustable?

    Any opinions out there on Koni, KYB and others?
    No the Bilstein shocks are not adjustable, Koni's can be purchased adjustable and are one of the best shocks out there for these vehicles. But you do pay quite a bit more for them. KYB's are okay, I would recommend the Bilsteins over them regardless of the adjustment.

    If you are looking for just shocks right now contact Sam Strano.

    I hope that helps!
    Ryan
    Last edited by Y2KPewterSS; 02-13-2011 at 02:34 PM.

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    Senior Member JoshuaGrooms83's Avatar
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    question on lower a arms with poly/roto combo,
    whats the initial placment for the lower a arm on the RR K memeber so i dotn run into alignment issues?

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    Quote Originally Posted by UMI Performance View Post
    No the Bilstein shocks are not adjustable, Koni's can be purchased adjustable and are one of the best shocks out there for these vehicles. But you do pay quite a bit more for them. KYB's are okay, I would recommend the Bilsteins over them regardless of the adjustment.

    If you are looking for just shocks right now contact Sam Strano.

    I hope that helps!
    Ryan
    Thanks for the info. I saw the KYBs on the web while doing a brief search, but hadn't researched them do to the time constraints of having many projects going on right now (which is a prime reason for asking questions here ).

    Since I'd like to have the adjustability, and don't want anything of questionable quality/durability (KYB?), I'll spend the extra $ and go with Koni. (If there are any out there having 'good' experience with KYB, please chime in here -- I'd like to know.)

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    No one has tried KYB struts/shocks?

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