One of the more common inquiries we get around aftermarket F150 upper manage arms is "when should I add them to my truck?" or "at what leveling elevation do i actually need UCAs?" together per usual, if I"m putting a blog post together about the issue, it"s no a an easy answer. Despite how innocent and also straightforward the line of questioning appears, the price really involves down how much leveling girlfriend have, how hard you"re going to press your F150 off-road, and also the problem of your factory UCAs. In general, a set of aftermarket UCAs is never a bad idea, however whether they"re worth the price tags is walk to rely on a pair of factors.

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What are UCAs?Before we get into the hows and also the whys, we"ll need a little of the "whats" in a refresher course for the uninitiated. The 2004-2019 F150s use a double-wishbone former independent suspension whereby both an upper regulate arm and also lower regulate arm attach to a big steering knuckle to locate the wheel. The factory upper regulate arm attributes a low-cost stamped stole construction and a likewise low-cost ball joint because that connecting to the knuckle"s top spindle. In general, there"s nothing naturally wrong with the stock upper regulate arms on the F150. ~ above a truck at share ride height or with a full 4" or 6" suspension lift that keeps the stock angles that"s used primarily on the street, the stock UCAs room fine. They execute their task as they to be intended in ~ a perfectly reasonably price point.


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Aftermarket upper control arms run on the same ethics as the stock upper manage arms, but are more powerful than stock and also feature slightly revised design that allow them to clear the coilover spring as soon as your van is either leveled or totally articulating off-road. Aftermarket UCAs also use one of two people uniball joints or high-angle round joints that permit you to squeeze the end a wee bit more wheel travel than share (at least prior to you"re minimal by the CV and also tie rod practically immediately after). There"s a few variations in architecture when it comes to aftermarket UCAs, however they all generally role the exact same way. Inspect out our Upper regulate Arm failure Video on ours YouTube Channel, if you desire to obtain into the nitty-gritty of UCA varieties and applications.


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The Leveling and also Geometry ConsiderationThe very first reason you might want to consider installing UCAs is early out to adding a leveling kit to her F150. Any leveling kit because that the 2004-2019 F150s (be it an easy strut spacers, new struts, coilovers, etc.) throw off her suspension geometry to at least some extent. This i do not care an concern in regards come the manufacturing facility UCAs for 2 reasons: feather contact and ball joint stress (we"ll get back to this).


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Spring call occurs due to your leveling kit of selection causing the angles of your UCAs (and the rest of the former suspension) toe be thrown off. The sharper edge of the UCAs, an unified with the fact that the remainder of the suspension travels much more than the UCAs can reason the inner part of the UCA"s eight to come into contact with the feather of her front coilover assembly during travel. It can take place as at small of 2" that leveling, yet doesn"t really start becoming a vast issue till 2.5" of leveling. Spring call beats up both the UCA and also the spring, and is there is no a doubt, no a great thing.


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Granted, if you"re not fully articulating your suspension, girlfriend aren"t going to obtain spring contact, so an aftermarket UCA may not even be necessary. So even with geometry issues, there"s not a red line. If you"re in ~ 2.5" leveling or higher, climate it"s a great idea to in ~ least consider an aftermarket UCA, yet leveling elevation alone doesn"t typical you absolutely, 100% need aftermarket upper control arms.


The application ConsiderationSo if geometry isn"t the solitary determining aspect in even if it is or not you need to grab a collection of aftermarket UCAs, climate maybe how you"re utilizing your van is. If there"s definitely a an ext compelling argument, there"s tho a the majority of nuance when it involves finding that magical red line whereby a UCA is absolutely necessary. The determining factor of even if it is your application warrants UCAs is going to be exactly how much tension you"re putting on the UCAs. Because the stock UCAs are just stamped steel through a pretty simple ball joint holding them to the knuckle, either continuous or incredibly violent off-road usage will see something fail eventually.


The most common point of fail on the manufacturing facility UCAs is their round joint. The round joint gets placed under a lot of strain throughout articulation, and also the anxiety from the suspension loading and also unloading ~ above the ball joint it s okay exacerbated by geometry concerns from leveling (I told you we"d come ago to it). Geometry issues from leveling cause an ext load to it is in on the sphere joint than there otherwise would be at share ride height. Merged that extra strain v some pretty aggressive off-roading, and it"s not difficult to in reality pull apart the stock sphere joint and really destroy your day. It"s also not totally impossible to cracked the arms themselves or rest the framework mounts, yet I haven"t heard of it happening on typical F150s.

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Does this average that because your F150 look at dirt that you have to instantly take a UCA? Hell no. If girlfriend take her truck camping two or 3 times a year ~ above well-maintained woodland roads, UCAs are most likely still no a compelled upgrade for you. Heck, also our 2014 F150 hunting Truck construct kept the stock UCAs. Our rationale was that the Fox 2.5 coilovers we installed were only collection at about 1.5" of height of the box, the share UCAs were in pretty great shape, and we were only going to really flog that off-road when or twice prior to selling the off. So us did some mental math, and also made an executive, management decision to simply stick with the share UCAs. Now, the truck is an outlier, and nearly all of our other builds have had actually a UCA, yet we room not nice to most of our trucks and also use lock off-road both regularly and also aggressively.


In the end, there"s a not really a red line. Your final decision of whether or not to upgrade your F150"s UCAs is dependent on both your leveled height, application, budget, and also how you"re honestly going come be utilizing your F150 during the time you own it. We"ve claimed it before, however there is no "best". Everything"s ~ above a scale, and also you know how you usage your truck and also what her plans are better than us do. If you are going to it is in leveling her truck and running about off-road, then a UCA is definitely a an excellent idea, and we very recommend one, but that doesn"t average one is an absolute necessity.