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Old 04-21-2021, 06:29 PM #1
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Suspension Conundrum

Greetings,

So, about 13,000 miles ago I decided to do a major upgrade to my front end. My ĎRunner had just turned over 200k, and it was time for some original parts to be replaced. So I did the following:

New Fox 2.0 coilovers
New OEM Toyota Lower Ball joints
New Lower Control Arms
New inner and outer tie rods

Lately Iíve been having some issues...

A few months ago I replaced the bushings and grommets on the front sway bar, I decided to upgrade to poly bushings (which I sufficiently greased). About a month later I drove thru some serious mud, and deep puddles. Shortly after that a squeak developed on the left (driver side) suspension. I assumed the grease from the poly bushings washed away. I wasnít in a particular hurry, and over the course of a few weeks I not only re greased, but replaced the bushings, still a squeak. So I went back to rubber for the end link grommets, still a squeak. The steering rack had some play, so I replaced the rack and pump. I also felt the end links with the rack off, no problem. So, it had to be the upper ball joints, as they were original, and the boot was torn. Nope, a day later the squeak came back...

So after almost $1k in parts and labor, I brought it to my suspension guy, he said the only time the a squeak is that loud, is with a Lower Ball Joint. But It couldnít be, I just replaced them with OEM Toyota parts 13,000 miles ago. So as a test my suspension guy put a needle end on a grease gun, and squirted some grease under the LBJ boot. After one complete stop to stop rotation of the steering, the squeak is gone...

So my steering guy said the LBJ was just dry, donít worry about it. That it was probably a part that had been sitting for years and the grease dried out. Iím not as optimistic. As Iím sort of obsessive, and a ball joint failure will surly total my rig (and maybe kill me), Iím replacing the left LBJ with a part from the dealer. Iíve decided to leave the right one alone since itís not giving me issues at the moment, and has no play...

Question: Am I being too cautious about this? Would the simple replacement of the grease be good enough? Should I still replace both even though the right one only has 13k miles? Did my coilovers contribute to my LBJ issue?

Thank you for listing to me ramble, and Iíve lurked here for a long time, but this is my first post.


Rig:

2001 4Runner Limited 4WD
Fox 2.0 Coilovers in front
Bilstien 5100 w/ OME 2906 springs in rear
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:03 PM #2
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Poly bushings are truly not a bush to absorb impacts. I saw a well respected offroad channel 4wd247 said not to use poly-(bushings) on suspension as that can cause the ears in suspension arms/axles to flex and crack.

Where did you buy the OEM LBJ's?

I recently replaced all front and rear bushings OEM and the truck rides like my brand new tacoma.
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:36 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nissanh View Post
Poly bushings are truly not a bush to absorb impacts. I saw a well respected offroad channel 4wd247 said not to use poly-(bushings) on suspension as that can cause the ears in suspension arms/axles to flex and crack.

Where did you buy the OEM LBJ's?

I recently replaced all front and rear bushings OEM and the truck rides like my brand new tacoma.
eBay ��

With Toyota packaging and labels...

I actually like the stiffer feeling the poly bushes give with the sway bar and steering rack. I’ve been told since the sway bar doesn’t bear vehicle weight, it’s not an actual suspension component...

On other suspension components I’m sticking with rubber...

Last edited by ats90mph; 04-21-2021 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 04-21-2021, 10:17 PM #4
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If that fixes the issue then it fixes the issue. When i first replaced my LBJs I had a persistent squeak for like 2 weeks before it suddenly stopped. If you don't detect any play I'd hold off on it for now. However you might be interested in these which will be available for preorder soon. They utilize the same uni-ball Total Chaos puts in their UCAs, and will make an LBJ change a $75-100 expense instead of $200+. Expected to cost around $600
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I saw a well respected offroad channel 4wd247 said not to use poly-(bushings) on suspension as that can cause the ears in suspension arms/axles to flex and crack.
That sounds like a bit of a stretch to me
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:33 AM #5
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my $0.02, if one of your LBJs was messed-up, replace both. one simply can't know without careful examination. as you correctly state, an LBJ failure can result in catastrophe. i like to replace all paired components in pairs. i realize that's more expense than everyone can manage all the time, but generally it produces more predictable behavior, not only with alignments, for instance, but also the wear tends to progress evenly and thus in a few years (?) when it's time to replace again, you don't have to remember which one is the most recent or whatever.

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That sounds like a bit of a stretch to me
agreed. while poly bushings *are* firmer than fresh rubber, they do compress. if they didn't, we wouldn't be using them as bushings. those ears take a *lot* of abuse, and if they were to flex and crack due to poly bushings alone, we'd be seeing trashed rigs and recalls due to the most minor bumps. old rubber gets *really* hard, harder than fresh poly bushings. i just cannot get on board with a claim like that.

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Originally Posted by ats90mph View Post
I’ve been told since the sway bar doesn’t bear vehicle weight, it’s not an actual suspension component...
if the swaybar doesn't bear vehicle weight, what weight does it bear? whoever told you that is stepping onto a narrowly defined slippery slope there. if it doesn't bear vehicle weight, then it serves no purpose other than bearing its own weight. if your source means it bears no *static* weight, yep, 100% correct. if suspension parts are only those that bear weight with the vehicle at rest, on perfectly level pavement, then lots of components aren't suspension components -- rear control arms and panhard bar for instance. you can take those all off and the vehicle doesn't collapse on the garage floor.
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Old 04-22-2021, 01:01 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photoleif View Post
my $0.02, if one of your LBJs was messed-up, replace both. one simply can't know without careful examination. as you correctly state, an LBJ failure can result in catastrophe. i like to replace all paired components in pairs. i realize that's more expense than everyone can manage all the time, but generally it produces more predictable behavior, not only with alignments, for instance, but also the wear tends to progress evenly and thus in a few years (?) when it's time to replace again, you don't have to remember which one is the most recent or whatever.
Normally I would 100% agree with you, however at 13,000 miles the joints should be at only 13% worn (assuming a 100k expected life). Already my suspension guy thinks I’m insane for replacing the left one after adding grease. Another reason I’m replacing the left one I’d the possibility of contamination. Since this started after I went mudding, part of me thinks something got in that particular joint. Also, if the joint was dry enough to squeak, perhaps there was some abrasion from lack of lube. I won’t know until I get it off, and take the boot off. At that point I might as well put a new one on...

With no symptoms on the right, and only 13k on it, I feel as that would be a waste. I don’t feel it’s had enough mileage on it to replace it solely for “even wear”...

(Edit: sorry to sound like a jerk, since I know I asked the question. Ironically defending the suggestion of replacement helped me come up with an answer that I’m comfortable which, so thanks ;-)

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However you might be interested in these which will be available for preorder soon. They utilize the same uni-ball Total Chaos puts in their UCAs, and will make an LBJ change a $75-100 expense instead of $200+. Expected to cost around $600
Thanks for the link, the guy that fabricates those is relatively local to me, and I might donate my old LBJ’s to him if he wants them...

But uniballs for my situation are a bit overkil. Since my rig is a daily driver first, and an off road rig second, although I’d like it to do both relatively well. If I trailered it, and it was only for off road, this is definitely something I’d think about...

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Old 04-22-2021, 08:31 AM #7
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Originally Posted by ats90mph View Post
Normally I would 100% agree with you, however at 13,000 miles the joints should be at only 13% worn (assuming a 100k expected life). Already my suspension guy thinks I’m insane for replacing the left one after adding grease. Another reason I’m replacing the left one I’d the possibility of contamination. Since this started after I went mudding, part of me thinks something got in that particular joint. Also, if the joint was dry enough to squeak, perhaps there was some abrasion from lack of lube. I won’t know until I get it off, and take the boot off. At that point I might as well put a new one on...

With no symptoms on the right, and only 13k on it, I feel as that would be a waste. I don’t feel it’s had enough mileage on it to replace it solely for “even wear”...

Thanks for the link, the guy that fabricates those is relatively local to me, and I might donate my old LBJ’s to him if he wants them...

But uniballs for my situation are a bit overkil. Since my rig is a daily driver first, and an off road rig second, although I’d like it to do both relatively well. If I trailered it, and it was only for off road, this is definitely something I’d think about...
broadly speaking, i feel your logic with calculating the wear is a good place to start in the absence of disassembly and some arcane metric none of us could agree on. i concur about the potential contamination, and don't think you're being over-cautious; i like your odds of a safer vehicle having replaced that one. i don't think your response was at all jerky. if an opinion requires yelling to impress or dominate, that's jerk material. you formulated a reasonable math-based approach that helped you reach a stable conclusion. no harm there at all.

i contacted total chaos last year, or maybe it was 2019, and asked if they have uniballs for my '99, and at that time they didn't. since then, i have learned through disassembly and testing that their uniballs i've had on my '95 pickup for many years are the source of the truck's irritating squeaking. at this point i don't really think i'd go for them in my 4R. i do need to order more for the truck, since putting them in entails boring out the holes larger, so once i've done that, the knuckle is altered and i'm forever a total chaos customer :-)
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Old 04-22-2021, 10:32 AM #8
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Looks like imitators have gotten very good at replicating Toyota packaging/labeling. I thought I had bought real RayBans off ebay and they looked very legit. I started to have suspicions so I bought a real pair from RayBan directly. The Ebay variant was super close and you'd never know unless you had the two, brand new, side by side. Looks like auto distributors are playing the same game. I'm now only ordering parts from Toyota dealers, including online ones.... First world problems...

Fitting comment that is sad but true: I can't believe I just head someone say, "if you don't want to get ripped off go to the dealership."

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Old 04-22-2021, 12:27 PM #9
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Ok, who is the seller?

Recently I wanted to replace O2 sensors in my 4Runner and found densoaftermarket has a universal sensor for $47 while the same thing is on ebay for $27 shipped! I noted two differences: Longer wire length and gasket (cheap aluminum) on ebay seller while denso site shows short wire length and factory like gasket. These made me to spend a bit and get it from a reputed seller.

Vital parts buy it from the dealer: partsouq or a dealer on ebay. Just call them to verify that they are real.
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Old 04-22-2021, 09:32 PM #10
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Originally Posted by Jubsz View Post
Looks like imitators have gotten very good at replicating Toyota packaging/labeling.
Jubsz, i'm not disagreeing with the issue, but i am curious why you posted this to a random thread that has nothing to do with fake parts. the issue isn't specific to 3rd-gen or heck any gen. if you're wanting to get the word out, why not make a new post and give it a useful title, and then put the link.
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Old 04-22-2021, 11:43 PM #11
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Jubsz, i'm not disagreeing with the issue, but i am curious why you posted this to a random thread that has nothing to do with fake parts. the issue isn't specific to 3rd-gen or heck any gen. if you're wanting to get the word out, why not make a new post and give it a useful title, and then put the link.
Random thread? I'm not trying to make a front page news story about corruption but when the OP says they bought "OEM" parts off ebay, stating they have Toyota labels and packaging, then they post about having issues with a 13,000 mile LBJ, I think it's a reasonable proposition to explore. Especially when they are considering spending money to remedy said issue. Why not ensure you have the right part, if it's something that's going to bother you, and compare to the bad one?

Personally, this issue would bother me until I bought one from a Toyota dealer to ensure the best possible outcome. Buying sunglasses, which do not have a failure mode leading to potential death, made me question enough to buy them from a reputable source and the cheaper ones proved to be fake. You're right that fake parts aren't a 3rd gen specific issue. However, a potential fake LBJ on a 3rd gen has a lot more consequence than a potential fake air filter for a Toyota Camry. I'm not disagreeing with your idea to make a new post with a useful title, but I am curious why you posted this to a random thread that has nothing to do with Public Service Announcements.

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Old 04-22-2021, 11:57 PM #12
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Random thread? I'm not trying to make a front page news story about corruption but when the OP says they bought "OEM" parts off ebay, stating they have Toyota labels and packaging, then they post about having issues with a 13,000 mile LBJ, I think it's a reasonable proposition to explore. Especially when they are considering spending money to remedy said issue. Why not ensure you have the right part, if it's something that's going to bother you, and compare to the bad one?

Personally, this issue would bother me until I bought one from a Toyota dealer to ensure the best possible outcome. Buying sunglasses, which do not have a failure mode leading to potential death, made me question enough to buy them from a reputable source and the cheaper ones proved to be fake. You're right that fake parts aren't 3rd gen specific. However, a potential fake LBJ on a 3rd gen has a lot more consequence than a potential fake air filter for a Toyota Camry. I'm curious why you posted this to a random thread criticizing my entertainment of the idea of these ebay parts being fake.
i was concerned you might react this way. as i said, i am not saying this is a fake issue. i am not taking you to task at all for wanting to raise awareness. the issue appears to be very real. my thought here is: a concern like this that spans multiple models and years, should at a minimum get its own thread, rather than being one post in an unrelated thread.
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Old 04-23-2021, 02:17 AM #13
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Ok, who is the seller?
The eBay seller was “parts2lan”, and this was back in 2019

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Originally Posted by Jubsz View Post
Random thread? I'm not trying to make a front page news story about corruption but when the OP says they bought "OEM" parts off ebay, stating they have Toyota labels and packaging, then they post about having issues with a 13,000 mile LBJ, I think it's a reasonable proposition to explore. Especially when they are considering spending money to remedy said issue. Why not ensure you have the right part, if it's something that's going to bother you, and compare to the bad one
If the eBay ball joint was a fake, it’s a damn good one. The powder coating, machining, boot thickness and packaging were all identical to the new joint I picked up from the dealer today (which leads me to believe the eBay part isn’t a counterfeit). The only difference (which gives credence to the low grease theory) is the joint itself. The eBay part could not be moved by hand. The dealer part I picked up today could be easily moved by hand.

While I’m not in the counterfeit business, I don’t see much point in copying low volume, relatively low price parts such as a ball joint. However something like oil filters makes sense. They move a lot of them, and it would seem to be worth setting up all the tooling and printing to produce fake oil filters. You could also slip them into the logistics chain overseas and it not be noticed, just my $0.02...

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i contacted total chaos last year, or maybe it was 2019, and asked if they have uniballs for my '99, and at that time they didn't. since then, i have learned through disassembly and testing that their uniballs i've had on my '95 pickup for many years are the source of the truck's irritating squeaking. at this point i don't really think i'd go for them in my 4R. i do need to order more for the truck, since putting them in entails boring out the holes larger, so once i've done that, the knuckle is altered and i'm forever a total chaos customer :-)
Thanks for the validation that uniball probably isn’t the way to go for me. I’m always very hesitant to do any modifications that can’t be reversed. There was a bull bar that I wanted, and it’s mounting required cutting and tapping the frame rails, a bridge too far for me. Even though I plan I keeping it until the end, I don’t like doing something I can’t bring back to factory condition....

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Old 04-23-2021, 09:00 AM #14
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I would strongly suggest doing some simple tests before you go and blow lots of money on work for a mystery squeak. The LCA bushings are a very common culprit for the same thing you are talking about. When I am off work I'll give you a list of things you can do to easily test separate components without taking the vehicle apart if you would like.
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Old 04-23-2021, 10:08 AM #15
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i was concerned you might react this way. as i said, i am not saying this is a fake issue. i am not taking you to task at all for wanting to raise awareness. the issue appears to be very real. my thought here is: a concern like this that spans multiple models and years, should at a minimum get its own thread, rather than being one post in an unrelated thread.
Respect for not feeding the flames. I did not interpret it completely as you taking me to task but had to have some fun with it. I did not initially write it mirroring your wording but when I re-read it compared with your post, I re-wrote it in that way because it made me laugh. I also may have had a few beers first. Thanks for being a good sport and I did not really intend to start anything. Either way, my personal feeling is that those PSA posts pretty much fall on deaf ears and it seemed highly relevant here. If OP did find that the joint appeared to be a "fake" Toyota part, that would definitely warrant a PSA.

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The eBay seller was “parts2lan”, and this was back in 2019



If the eBay ball joint was a fake, it’s a damn good one. The powder coating, machining, boot thickness and packaging were all identical to the new joint I picked up from the dealer today (which leads me to believe the eBay part isn’t a counterfeit). The only difference (which gives credence to the low grease theory) is the joint itself. The eBay part could not be moved by hand. The dealer part I picked up today could be easily moved by hand.

While I’m not in the counterfeit business, I don’t see much point in copying low volume, relatively low price parts such as a ball joint. However something like oil filters makes sense. They move a lot of them, and it would seem to be worth setting up all the tooling and printing to produce fake oil filters. You could also slip them into the logistics chain overseas and it not be noticed, just my $0.02...
I'd tend to agree with your sentiment here but figured I'd throw it out as a potential. It's actually interesting the differences you noted here. Most good ball joints that I've installed are very hard to move by hand. I'd probably be doing the same thing if I were you and just put on the dealership part and call it a day. It's either that, buy an aftermarket solution, or decide a 3rd gen has a risk of critical failure that you're not willing to take. There's so many of them on the road that I do not see it as being that high of a risk. There is another post suggesting that OEM LBJ's have decreased in quality as of late which does cause some concern.

Last edited by Jubsz; 04-23-2021 at 02:55 PM.
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