Reinforcing LCA, should I do it while they are out? (Spoiler alert, I did it!) (1 Viewer)

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I have the lower control arms out to press new bushings into them.
They are wire wheeled down to spotless in prep for a fresh coat of paint.
And I got to thinking that if I was to reinforce them, now would actually be the right time:
- no rubber bushings to cook from weld heat (the ends shouldn't get that hot anyway if done properly - over time with stitch welds)
- the steel is scrubbed spotless, no contaminates.
- They are on the bench, ready to go.

But something is holding me back and I can't place my finger on it.
It seems like a good idea, but I'm not building a rock hopping machine, just a very capable remote camping/hunting rig.
Could a few of the wiser and more experienced builders tell me the pitfalls of reinforcing the LCAs? Other than adding weight, what would be the down sides?
 
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Clovis, CA
 
 
I have the lower control arms out to press new bushings into them.
They are wire wheeled down to spotless in prep for a fresh coat of paint.
And I got to thinking that if I was to reinforce them, now would actually be the right time:
- no rubber bushings to cook from weld heat (the ends shouldn't get that hot anyway if done properly - over time with stitch welds)
- the steel is scrubbed spotless, no contaminates.
- They are on the bench, ready to go.

But something is holding me back and I can't place my finger on it.
It seems like a good idea, but I'm not building a rock hopping machine, just a very capable remote camping/hunting rig.
Could a few of the wiser and more experienced builders tell me the pitfalls of reinforcing the LCAs? Other than adding weight, what would be the down sides?
The only downside I could think of is you could have purchased new beefy control arms with bushings already installed and saved time.

Now that you’re this far into it, I see no issues provided the welds are done well.
 

BlueCruiser84

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Yea just do it. It doesn't take a substantial hit to bend one with a heavy 80. I have bent 3 of them and I'm not wild or heavy. They are low hanging fruit for sure.
 

80t0ylc

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Been thinking about this for a while now, and I guess this is as good as any place to bring it up. Why aren't the rear LCA's solid, like the fronts???:hmm: Doesn't have to be the same design, but exposed as they are it would seem to make sense, especially as often as they get damaged. I bet some motivated, entrepreneuring person could make a mint. They could offer several models, depending on lift to do the job. Keep it simple, but durable and don't overthink it, keeping the cost down and they'd sell like hotcakes.
 
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This is what I did. I added 3/8” to the length. I bought my DOM at Onlinemetals.com. I ordered 48” and cut in half.


 
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Been thinking about this for a while now, and I guess this is as good as any place to bring it up. Why aren't the rear LCA's solid, like the fronts???:hmm: Doesn't have to be the same design, but exposed as they are it would seem to make sense, especially as often as they get damaged. I bet some motivated, entrepreneuring person could make a mint. They could offer several models, depending on lift to do the job. Keep it simple, but durable and don't overthink it, keeping the cost down and they'd sell like hotcakes.
Although the fronts are solid, they are not necessarily any stronger than the rears. I've bent mine wheeling and I'm not particularly hard on the truck. The fronts are solid because they're cast to create the required shape, not to make them stronger. Since the rears are just a straight shape, tube is the simple/cost effective way to make them. Although one could definitely make the argument Toyota should have used a thicker-wall tube. A solid bar would be way overkill and also unneccesarily heavy for the application.
 
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I could see adding some length to rotate the pinion back to square with with the transfer case output.
Do you put the un-welded assembly back into the truck to ensure proper alignment then tack it all together?

Not sure I need to add length, though it would make the pinion angle perfect, as I have a 3" lift. But that's why I stopped at 3" inches, the angle isn't off by enough to cause vibe issues. (that and my short legs)
The more I read, the more rabbit holes I need to go down.

I dropped a piece of 1x1x 1/8" angle on tonight and I like the way it wraps further around the tube than the 3/4" angle. I'll use .25 thick for the real thing, I have 1/8" laying around for projects. Also, it looks like the ends could be trimmed with the angle grinder to wrap around the bushing boss a little so I can form a hermetic seal when welding. Not sure if that would cause clearance issues with the brackets. Would need to clamp a piece on and confirm full range of motion.

I feel whatever I put on needs to be fully sealed so as to not trap moisture and rot the LCA out.
 

80t0ylc

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Although the fronts are solid, they are not necessarily any stronger than the rears. I've bent mine wheeling and I'm not particularly hard on the truck. The fronts are solid because they're cast to create the required shape, not to make them stronger. Since the rears are just a straight shape, tube is the simple/cost effective way to make them. Although one could definitely make the argument Toyota should have used a thicker-wall tube. A solid bar would be way overkill and also unneccesarily heavy for the application.
I disagree, but this is not yours or my thread, so rather than hijack to make a point that probably wouldn't benefit the OP's original question, I'll concede.
 

cartercd

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I think with your intended purpose of building a "very capable remote camping/hunting rig" would generally suggest that the stock LCAs are adequate. There are those that intentionally go in harm's way and those that don't. Figure out which one you are and modify according.
 

John Young

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At the risk of offering a thought when I have no experience with a bent rear lower control arm...

Part of the reason that the rear lower control arms are made out of tubing is that tubing is stronger by weight than solid rod (and as noted above, they don't have to be a funny shape to fit the running gear). Four Wheeler had a nice little chart showing this:

1603250502963.png


Welding some angle iron on the top or the bottom of the LCA will strengthen it, mostly in one plane. I'd be slightly concerned about whether the heating from the welding might do something negative to the LCA. Perhaps if suitable tubing is available, even thin wall tubing, pressing a tubing jacket around the LCA might be a technically better solution.

(I now back slowly out of the room....)
 
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Although the fronts are solid, they are not necessarily any stronger than the rears. I've bent mine wheeling and I'm not particularly hard on the truck. The fronts are solid because they're cast to create the required shape, not to make them stronger. Since the rears are just a straight shape, tube is the simple/cost effective way to make them. Although one could definitely make the argument Toyota should have used a thicker-wall tube. A solid bar would be way overkill and also unneccesarily heavy for the application.
I (mostly) agree. The fronts are actually forged, not cast. A few months back I was shocked to find that one of mine was bent laterally...have no idea how/when that happened. I was even more shocked when I put it in my press and straightened it....that is, by how little force it took and by how little "overbending" it took to come true again. Will definitely keep a close eye on the front arms from now on.

If I were working with stock rear arms I would not hesitate to weld-on some reinforcing. Not a worry of mine tho...have a set of aftermarket adjustables from Trail Tailor. Lots of beef, and with easy-to-service Johnny Joints...been real pleased with them.
 
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I could see adding some length to rotate the pinion back to square with with the transfer case output.
Do you put the un-welded assembly back into the truck to ensure proper alignment then tack it all together?

Not sure I need to add length, though it would make the pinion angle perfect, as I have a 3" lift. But that's why I stopped at 3" inches, the angle isn't off by enough to cause vibe issues. (that and my short legs)
The more I read, the more rabbit holes I need to go down.

I dropped a piece of 1x1x 1/8" angle on tonight and I like the way it wraps further around the tube than the 3/4" angle. I'll use .25 thick for the real thing, I have 1/8" laying around for projects. Also, it looks like the ends could be trimmed with the angle grinder to wrap around the bushing boss a little so I can form a hermetic seal when welding. Not sure if that would cause clearance issues with the brackets. Would need to clamp a piece on and confirm full range of motion.

I feel whatever I put on needs to be fully sealed so as to not trap moisture and rot the LCA out.
I measured the stock eye to eye length. Then the cut stock LCA in half. Sleeved into the new tubing. Pre drilled for rosette welds and beveled edges down for more penetration. Then set my measurements and welded on a flat surface to make sure both ends stayed in alignment. Once done I took the other LCA and inserted into the tubing and layed the completed LCA next to it, used longer bolts to through both LCA’s to make sure the lengths were equal. Basically using the completed one as a jig and welded up.
 

SNLC

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I have done it multiple times. Angle iron will do it right for cheap. You can even get fancy and build some skids into it on both ends. Works good for sliding over rocks.

Cheers
 

80t0ylc

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Although the fronts are solid, they are not necessarily any stronger than the rears. I've bent mine wheeling and I'm not particularly hard on the truck. The fronts are solid because they're cast to create the required shape, not to make them stronger. Since the rears are just a straight shape, tube is the simple/cost effective way to make them. Although one could definitely make the argument Toyota should have used a thicker-wall tube. A solid bar would be way overkill and also unneccesarily heavy for the application.
I (mostly) agree. The fronts are actually forged, not cast. A few months back I was shocked to find that one of mine was bent laterally...have no idea how/when that happened. I was even more shocked when I put it in my press and straightened it....that is, by how little force it took and by how little "overbending" it took to come true again. Will definitely keep a close eye on the front arms from now on.

If I were working with stock rear arms I would not hesitate to weld-on some reinforcing. Not a worry of mine tho...have a set of aftermarket adjustables from Trail Tailor. Lots of beef, and with easy-to-service Johnny Joints...been real pleased with them.
Did either of you guys grind material off your front arms for tie rod clearance because you installed castor plates?
 
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In my case, no. They were unmolested radius arms in good shape, not rusty or ground down or anything. They did have some crap yellow bushings at the time, not sure if that may have been a factor. Slid off my line wheeling in the wet and got a little wedged up in the rocks. I wasn't hammering it or doing anything particularly stupid, but it was a bad line.

 
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