Lower Control Arm mounts crushed in

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

Dec 29, 2005
Craig, CO
I'm trying to track down a pretty bad pull to the left on my 96 T100, 262K miles. Yes I know, wrong forum, T100 is a bastard child. The suspension is the same IFS of the earlier trucks. Stock truck, daily driver.

Truck was aligned, new idler arm, new tie rods, did Toyota ball joints in the last several years. Pull has been present since alignment. Have not had it back on rack, they swapped the tires side to side, said try that, did not help. Both spindles are worn and I have had issues with wheel bearings loosening up. Re-set the drivers side, wear on spindle may be a problem, but it is not loose now, pulls the same. Mechanic recommended I look at control arm bushings as possible issue. Especially original uppers.

In the process of looking everything over I noticed the passenger side, more so than the driver side, had the lower control arm bushing brackets on the frame crushed in due to tightening the adjuster bolts. The bends are visibly evident with cracked paint and distortion of the frame on the inboard side of each mounting point. I thought it was strange, as I had cut the bushings and bolts out 100K miles ago due to them being seized and replaced them. On the side that was crushed down the bushings are even a little smashed, peeling some of the exposed rubber back. I know the shop messed with that side this past fall.

I'm considering new bushings top and bottom and new spindles on each side, ($$$) to try and fix this once and for all. But the lowers are probably okay, except for this issue. Do I need to pull that side apart, get new bushings and rework the frame. I'm thinking the shop tightened the crap out of it and smashed it, but I can't figure out how. I thought the sleeve in the bushing was robust enough to hold the brackets apart at proper bolt torque. These are smashed enough the face washers have been driven back to the outside sleeve. Is this a real problem? Arms are not binding or rubbing, but I don't like bent frame components. Maybe this is just a symptom of many years of use and bolt tightening.

I also pushed and pulled on all the joints under there. I can't see anything really worn out with average wiggling and moving. Of course with long prybar you can move any of the rubber bushed parts, and I can even make the ball joints and brand new tie rods deflect with a bar, but I think that is beyond what wear will do. Where do I pry to check the ball joints, or if I get no wheel wiggle they are good? The ones I took out years ago were still tight and smooth operating. The upper control arm bushings do not move around. I watched them as I loaded and unloaded the suspension, as the tire droops down they show cracking as the rubber rotates, but that seems normal, nothing seems separated, so I don't know that they are worn out, but I'm aware they must be fatigued, obviously.

Any advice welcome.
I'll have to get them later, everything was within factory specs when it rolled off the rack, pulled right away, but I was headed out for a month long once in a lifetime hunting trip and couldn't get back in for awhile. The better shop and mechanic mentioned cross caster could be the issue. Rear thrust was not addressed, but it is minimal from prior alignments, the aforementioned mechanic did not think thrust would be the issue. Tricky part is that it sometimes goes away, I was focused the on worn spindles perhaps being the issue, but now I'm unsure.
Pics of what you're dealing with would be good too.
May be tough, I'll see if I can get a pic.

As for the measurements, machine spits out the readings of course:

Front Left Front Right
Camber 0.5 deg 0.5 deg
Caster 1.2 deg 1.2 deg
Toe 0.06 deg 0.06 deg

Cross Camber 0.1 deg
Cross Caster -0.1 deg
Total Toe 0.12 deg

These are all within the specs of the machine range and the FSM as far as I can tell. Had my wife run the steering back and forth Sun night, nothing is moving or pushing and pulling as I was trying to see if a control arm bushing is flexing or giving. I'm going to double check the balljoints, but I put Toyota ones in several years ago. I assume they are still pretty solid. Truck still pulling, even a little shimmy at times, maybe the bearing is coming loose again.

On a positive note, shifting has gotten progressively worse, had wife run the clutch pedal for me, nothing seemed funky underneath. Checked the pedal height and it was way out of wack. Truck has a shiny new clutch pedal bracket installed before I got it 10 years ago, I think the tech botched it from the start. I raised the pedal and reset the freeplay and now it shifts much better, always engaged way too fast, short throw. Pedal was 20 mm short. I see in the FSM there are different specs, I think they missed the Extra Cab spec, which is what mine is.
Sorry, those numbers did not format out the way I typed them in, had more if a table going.
Either your guy is a wizard or those numbers are bs.
Its almost impossible to match these trucks.
Those numbers say your truck should go right with the road crown.
If you have a left pull you have a sticking caliper or shyt tires. Or you actually need an alignment :flipoff2:
I agree, never have seen the numbers match perfectly side to side. And actually they shouldn't match. There should be a little difference to counter the crown in most roads or the truck will slowly pull to the right.

Do not overlook the possibility of rear brakes being out of adjustment. Normally this would only show with the brakes applied, but I've seen it give a slight pull when not.

My technique for these front wheel bearings is to tighten the snot out of them while spinning the hub. Get them too bloody tight to be able to spin the hub by hand. Then back then off to less than hand tight, but not loose. Using the socket only I then tighten them nearly as tight as I can twist the socket with greasy hands before installing the locking washer & nut. These are big bearings, they can take some pre-load. I use Redline CV-2 grease in wheel bearings and in CV joints & Birfields.
I wondered that too about falling off the crown and the exact match. Usually you have to put a little bias left for the crown. Brake pads are wearing symmetrically, brakes pretty straight, no oh my god pull in a panic stop. IR gun does not show difference in heating of rotors. Not sure what else to look for on a sticking caliber. Had one hang bad on my FJ60, wore one pad clear out. I manually broke the cups loose, worked it some and put new pads on, been better ever since. Worked the left caliber on this truck and watched while applying the pedal, nothing was froze up.

As for rear end, went through all of it for that very reason, new shoes, cleaned up cylinders, new rear wheel bearings. Rear end is good, no change what so ever before or after rear end service. I had had some end play on the rear right bearing, thought it was walking out enough to push truck left. In reality the original rear bearings were worn, but not shot, and the new bearings have a little end play too.

For the front wheel bearings, the spindle wear seems to be just enough on the underside of the spindles, that I cannot get the bearings to seize while tightening, just can't get them to seat that hard. I have the drivers torqued down pretty hard right now to get about 12 lbs on the fishscale. Pull did not change. Bearing actually does a little clunk sound sometimes, not sure why, when gently rotating by hand while setting preload. Newish Koyo bearings, replaced them a couple of years ago to try and cure the wear issue. Hence, I think I need to spring for spindles.
Got a few pictures of what I'm concerned about.

Difficult to see but the pic above shows the cracked paint above and to the left of the cam bolt where the bracket has deformed inward. Welds are sound, it is just cracked paint and subsequent rusting you can see.


This shows bending of bracket tabs at cam bolt, this is the rear passenger. The arm is almost touching on the back side, and has made recent contact.


Looking up, forward passenger side. I assume the bracket should stay more square? Peeled rubber evident on right end of the bushing.


Face washer pushed back


Drivers side, similar problems, brackets not quite as squished. Again you can see the face washer is driven back and taking the shoulder rubber with it.

I replaced these about 60,000 miles ago looking at my records. I can still read the made in Japan label in the rubber shoulder on one of them. But I don't know what brand they were exactly, they were a good deal and said they were an OE replacement. As I said, I had to cut the originals out with a sawzall and no less than 16 blades due to frozen adjusters.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom