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Discussion Starter #181
Nice build! Looking to do the same set up to my rear suspension and was wondering what the benefits\difference is by adding the 2.5 degree axle shims are? Thanks ahead of time
It helps decrease the angle of the differential input shaft. When you lift the rear, the driveshaft-to-input angle is increased... in other words, there's more angle at the U-joint between the center driveshaft and the input of the rear axle housing. So the higher you lift the rear (as in: the farther away the axle is from the chassis) this angle increases.

To high of an angle can cause more drivetrain noise, weird vibrations, premature u-joint wear, etc. The shim helps tilt the front of the axle housing (and thus the input shaft location) upward to decrease the angle, to help prevent the issues I just mentioned.

EDIT: A lot of people try shims if they get weird vibrations/noise at certain speeds (even with stock suspension); I did not have any of the issues, I installed the shims as a preventive measure since I was taking the rear suspension apart already when doing the upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter #183
Alright that helps explain it, thank you for the info and good luck on your build..
Thanks. Don't need the luck... just the ca$h LOL::wink::
 

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Discussion Starter #185 (Edited)
Total Chaos UCAs and OEM Nissan Camber Bolts - Suspension Upgrade, part 2 (01.15.16)

(UPDATE 07.14.19: Replaced with SPC Adjustable Upper Control Arms, see #890)

For the front the first item on my list was a pair of aftermarket upper control arms. I did not want to deal with coil bucket contact at all, and since I originally planned to do a 2.5" lift up front, I knew for sure that I needed an aftermarket UCA. I looked at PRG, SPC, Calmini, and after a few phone calls I had myself a brand new set of Total Chaos upper control arms for a sweet price.


Fresh new Total Chaos upper control arms after installing the bushings and bump stop.


While on the subject of arms, I also addressed the lower control arms with a set of OEM Nissan LCA camber bolts. I like how the Nissan camber washers were keyed into the bolt much better than all of the aftermarket versions I saw (which had one flat side that I noticed were not as accurate). The local Nissan dealer in my area wanted $132+tax (!) so after some Internet searching I ended up ordering 4 OEM camber bolts, camber washers, and matching nuts from a Nissan dealer all the way out in New Jersey for $90 total shipped.


Brand new set of OEM Nissan lower control arm camber/caster bolts.


OEM Nissan upper arms compared to the Total Chaos set, you can easily see the differences.


New upper control arm installed.

Install notes for Total Chaos UCAs - If your left rear UCA bolt is pointing to the rear, you’ll have no problems with the steering linkage being in the way - fortunately my truck had the bolt this way, so removing the OEM upper control arm was easy. Make sure you have a Dremel handy, as some trucks (mine included) have two small metal “bumps” in each of the mounting brackets for the UCA; Total Chaos notes this in their instructions. It only takes a few seconds to grind those bumps flat, so that the aftermarket UCA rotates smoothly. Also, use a lot of grease during installation, and make sure to pick up a 23mm open wrench and 25mm long socket for the ball joint.
 

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Those look sweet in there.

Nice write-up! I like that you detail everything really well. The more information we can get out to people, the better.
 

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Discussion Starter #188 (Edited)
What is your reasoning behind selecting TC over the other aftermarket brands?
I'm going to be straightforward with my reply here - I spent a good amount of time weighing in my UCA options, and I looked at five options (in order by price):

eBay ($200) - Not going there, not for a vital suspension component. I work at a place that deals with overseas manufacturing, and my boss actually knows one of the factories that produce some of the aftermarket UCAs I showed him on eBay. Let's just say that not all metal is good metal; there's a reason why the eBay UCAs are cheaper than the rest. I'd rather spend more on something that I'm confident will be quality made and reliable.

SPC ($510) - Not bad, pretty decent for the price. SPCs have urethane solid bushings and the adjustable ball joint position seemed useful. I was actually thisclose to buying them until I got the deal on the Total Chaos arms. But if I was on a budget I think these are the best buy.

Calmini ($590) - seems like a good design, but from the start I was specifically avoiding anything with heim joints because of the added noise - and these have heims. I've had other vehicles with heim joints and sure, the suspension feels tighter and more solid - but on the other hand the daily ride does suffer. Every single noise from the road gets transmitted to the steering wheel and/or cabin, and I didn't want that.

PRG ($570) - I'm aware that a lot of people in this forum use the PRG arms (some fanboy them LOL) but there seemed to be a fair amount of threads complaining about noise and squeak. I've seen a lot of people say the heim joints allow for adjustment and the "good customer service" are what make choosing the PRGs better. The adjustability is valid, but on the other hand we're back to heim joints and I already said I wanted to avoid heim joints.

As for that second reason, I mentioned this in another thread but it's been such a pain in the *** to contact PRG! Some people here seem to get through (maybe they're pals) but I've gotten through to them only once (out of 9 times) via email, and a grand total of ZERO times through the phone. I even tried calling super early in the morning like some suggested... and then I realized "What the hell is this? Why do I have to go out of my way to try to contact PRG?" Turned out that I could easily call SPC (and I did), Calmini (and I did), and Total Chaos (and I did too) at anytime during business hours and someone ALWAYS answered the phone. Because of these phone calls and talking to the company people, they helped me on my decision.

Total Chaos ($745) - Don't forget: I did not pay $745. I mentioned earlier that I got a deal for a few bucks more than the Calmini/PRGs, so this was a factor. I still spent the most but I decided on the Total Chaos UCAs not just because of the price deal, but because:

2. I liked how they had easily replaceable urethane bushings instead of heim joints;
3. I liked how (related to the heim joints also) they are a direct bolt-in and I don't have to adjust anything (heim joint length and position, etc.);
4. Customer service is great, they answer the phone all the time and stay on the phone with me through all my questions and concerns; and...
5. (the biggest reason) I rode in numerous vehicles that had Total Chaos UCAs installed, and they felt great. No noise, no squeak, drove like having OEMs. Also, I know a lot of people who have TC UCAs, and they all recommended them.

I never heard a complaint from them either about the quality or any other issues, and to be honest - I'll take the opinions of people I personally know or trust > any amount of internet forum threads any day.

So there you go. Long answer I know, but I wanted to cover all the bases. My comments above may draw some criticism from people with other UCAs but frankly I really don't care - my answer is based on my personal experiences. I've been driving on the Total Chaos UCAs now for about 2.5 months and all is good, tight, and quiet.
::grin::
 

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Discussion Starter #190
I wasn't expecting such a detailed response, but THANK YOU! I'm sure that folks in the market will find your comments extremely useful. And YES, customer service DOES MATTER!
You asked for my reasoning, and making my decision was (obviously) a lot more involved than just flipping a coin or reading forum threads LOL

Plus I'd rather give a complete answer once, than to give a vague answer 20 times. It's more efficient hahah
 

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Congrats on the TCs! They should treat you well, I have many friends that run their kits on other trucks and all have been bulletproof. Only reason I have eBay arms is that I was on a super tight budget and got a screaming deal on a used set. I also believe that most of the low cost comes from the absolute **** uniballs and hardware they provide. With quality uniballs and hardware now installed, I have had zero issues with them and have beat on them pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter #192
Congrats on the TCs! They should treat you well, I have many friends that run their kits on other trucks and all have been bulletproof. Only reason I have eBay arms is that I was on a super tight budget and got a screaming deal on a used set. I also believe that most of the low cost comes from the absolute **** uniballs and hardware they provide. With quality uniballs and hardware now installed, I have had zero issues with them and have beat on them pretty good.
Yeah "bulletproof" seems to be the common word I heard when it came to the TCs...

...as for you running the eBay arms, hey brother - if it works for you then it works. So I'm guessing you did the upgrade with the PRG kit? Just curious, what was the total cost (eBay arms + uniball kit + any other related costs)?
 

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I too like the TC UCA but have a hard time with the $700 price tag.
Right now you can get the Frontier ebay arms for $200 and $150 for the hardware upgrade kit. At $350 it is half the cost of the TC arms.
Mind I ask how you got them for $600.

Greg posted a traditional ball join retro fit for his PRG UCA. Both for the Titan and the F/X arms. I am hoping that I can use these for the ebay TC clones. The titan version as it is a 1" ball. I assume yes since all manufactures of the UCA use the same uniball. Note that PRG F/X arms use a 7/8" uniball, and the titan a 1". TC uses a 1" for both. Here are some pictures.


 

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Congrats on the Total Chaos arms .... Just got my TC's installed Monday night, along with the rest of the new suspension pieces!
 

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Discussion Starter #195 (Edited)
I too like the TC UCA but have a hard time with the $700 price tag.
Right now you can get the Frontier ebay arms for $200 and $150 for the hardware upgrade kit. At $350 it is half the cost of the TC arms.
Mind I ask how you got them for $600.

Greg posted a traditional ball join retro fit for his PRG UCA. Both for the Titan and the F/X arms. I am hoping that I can use these for the ebay TC clones. The titan version as it is a 1" ball. I assume yes since all manufactures of the UCA use the same uniball. Note that PRG F/X arms use a 7/8" uniball, and the titan a 1". TC uses a 1" for both.

Yes, $350 is half the cost of TC arms... but the "upgrade kit" only covers half of the whole UCA assembly. You're still using the eBay arm portion itself. So there's no way of knowing what metal tubing was used and if the welding was done right. In my years I've tried/seen instances where eBay suspension arms worked as good as 3x $$ branded aftermarket, and I've seen some fail miserably after some spirited driving... all this is on cars though, but I'd guess that off-roading would put more stress on UCAs than road racing.

Oh and just to be clear again, I'm not knocking anyone who's running eBay arms, or eBay/PRG upgrade combo, etc. All I was saying is that for certain things I'm happier spending more for a proven component (in this case, a vital front suspension component). Like I told glamisdude - if it works for you, then it works for you. I have no problem with that.

Changing subjects - that traditional ball joint interests me (where was that posted?)... since the TC UCAs still have one uniball at the knuckle joint. I wonder if that retrofit would work with my TC arms? Then again I'm not getting any added noise whatsoever with the TCs on.

Congrats on the Total Chaos arms .... Just got my TC's installed Monday night, along with the rest of the new suspension pieces!
Ya boy... what setup are you running?
 

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Nisstec front coil overs with the TC upper arms ..... new 5100 Bilsteins with OME Dakar 2" leaf pack on the rear. (my old springs were done at 71,000 miles) .... Also got the OME greaseable shackles. Only about 15 miles on it so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #197
Nisstec front coil overs with the TC upper arms ..... new 5100 Bilsteins with OME Dakar 2" leaf pack on the rear. (my old springs were done at 71,000 miles) .... Also got the OME greaseable shackles. Only about 15 miles on it so far.
Nice setup... I was looking at the OME LD leaf pack but I put more of my money into the front coilovers first. The AAL is working perfectly fine so far, but later down the road I do want to upgrade to a complete leaf pack eventually.
 

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The info on the ball joint retro fit is on PRG's facebook page. Pretty old now.
The reason I want a traditional sealed BJ is due to exposure. I don't feel that open spherical bearings should be placed on a road going car. On a race car yes, but not one that sees mud, snow, dirt, and salt.
I have some suspension links on my car that have open rod end bearings. What a PITA. My current ones have nitril boot, that is pretty nice. Have not found a suitable boot for a 1" uniball.
 

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Discussion Starter #199
The info on the ball joint retro fit is on PRG's facebook page. Pretty old now.
The reason I want a traditional sealed BJ is due to exposure. I don't feel that open spherical bearings should be placed on a road going car. On a race car yes, but not one that sees mud, snow, dirt, and salt.
I have some suspension links on my car that have open rod end bearings. What a PITA. My current ones have nitril boot, that is pretty nice. Have not found a suitable boot for a 1" uniball.
Sad, even on their Facebook page all you see is "hey been trying to contact you for 2 weeks" or similar lol
 

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I'm currently debating between the SPC arms and the TC's... knowing where you got the TC's for a screaming deal would almost certainly tip the balance that direction! Truck's coming along great man. Thanks for taking the time to share.
 
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