For those of you that run aftermarket control arms with Currie Johnny Joints or similar, some regular maintenance is required to keep things working 100%.
But what is required? I know some that never check their joints, and others that rebuild them every 5k miles. Ultimately, it depends on many factors, but a big one is your location and off-roading habits.
Let me elaborate. If you live in a state, where no salt is ever sprayed on the road, and the off-roading you do is limited to light trails, or mall parking lots, a simple squirt of grease in the zerks is probably enough.
The opposite of that spectrum, if you live in the “rust belt”, or you have your vehicle submerged every weekend in the swamp or ocean, you’ll need to step up your maintenance game.
Here’s what I do. After every wheeling trip, I grease all the U-Joints and driveshafts, as well as all the upper and lower control arms. Some of the zerks can be hard to get to, but there are some nifty 90′ grease gun fittings available, that help tremendously.
Use a good grease, a few pumps goes a long way. Don’t overdo it.
Then once a year, I remove the lower control arms, one at a time, and disassemble the joint. Curry makes a tool that aids in the disassembly and reassembly, and also sells rebuild kits.
I have a bench mounted barrel vise, that is the perfect size for my Metaltech 4×4 LCAs, and I mount up the arm, and remove the joint. One thing to look for is tightness and corrosion of the jam nut in relation to the arm and joint. If the nut is loose, or rusted to the joint, the whole joint can move in the tube, and will start to damage the threads, which can ultimately lead to the “pulled out joints” we see every now and then.
Next up is the joint, With the Curry tool, it quickly comes apart, and all pieces should be inspected for excessive wear, tears and rust.
I keep some rebuild kits on the shelf, and found the bushings ripped, so I replaced all the internals.
I grease up the new components, and reassemble the joint. I reinstall it on the LCA tube, with a dab of anti-seize on the threads. I set my length, and tighten the jam nut. I then add some torque seal, for a visual indication of things being tight throughout the year.
This is what works for me, and it may not work for you. As always, “your mileage may vary”. But the bottom line is that the joints have to be inspected and maintained for proper operation.
Make sure the jam nuts are keeping the joint tight, and are not (rusted) tight on the joint. Thats a false indication of a properly functioning joint, and will ultimately lead to failure.