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Front Upper Control Arm Axle Bushing Very Loose


ChristopherJ

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Hi guys, I've been using this forum as a resource, but now I need some specific help.

I had my upper control arm axle bushings replaced, and noticed that the passenger side bushing was loose. I can clearly see a gap around the bushing. I took the CA off, and was able to push it out with my finger. I tapped it back in with a very light hammer, and it sunk all the way to the rim of the bushing sleeve. After a short trip down a local trail, it has come back out about a quarter of an inch already. I've been advised to tack weld it in place, but I'm afraid that doing so will melt the bushing inside. Do you think I can tack it in without damaging the bushing if I just hit it lightly at the 3 and 9 position? Or is there another solution? How far should the sleeve be into the axle holes? Probably not sunk right to the rim, correct?

I just bought this TJ, and I'm new to Jeeps, and very new to mechanicing. The TJ had 58k miles on it, but had horrible death wobble, would occur every time I reached 40mph, even on smooth road with no bumps. I was able to eliminate the death wobble by replacing all of the control arms except the rear uppers. I installed a new track bar as well. The only thing I didn't want to attempt myself was pressing out the axle bushings, so I paid a local shop to replace them. I used Moog bushings, part # K3128 bushings. I assumed both driver's and passenger side bushings were the same because I couldn't find anything online to refute that. The driver's side is tight as can be.

Here's a video of one of my first times off-roading. Some buddies from FB met up and attempted to teach me how to handle mud. It was a blast.


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hosejockey61

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Tack weld won't hurt it. I tack weld in three different spots. I tack weld them when they are new so I don't have to worry about it.
 
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hosejockey61

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Correct, even with the bushing in there. I press mine all the way in until the sleeve shoulder is touching the mount.
 
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ChristopherJ

ChristopherJ

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Correct, even with the bushing in there. I press mine all the way in until the sleeve shoulder is touching the mount.
Great. That will make it much easier. Thank you very much. Does the driver's side bushing need to be pressed all the way in, too? It's not, but it feels very tight.
 

AndyG

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That is the weakest of all the front mounts and for some reason plays a hand in death wobble...it may negate the track bars holding force when loose.

I welded on a different mount, then put a Johhny Joint in. Loved it.

Tacking it is fine, but consider a better fix at some point.
 
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ChristopherJ

ChristopherJ

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Great advice. Looking at that video makes me think that the mount on my axle is pinched or damaged. Wonder if they did that taking the old one off? Oh well

Should I try some loctite on it before resorting to welding? I see loctite 660 as being good for "press-fit parts".
 
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ChristopherJ

ChristopherJ

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I agree 100 percent ..I ran one that way. A clevite is pretty tough. You won't hurt it ..and even if you did it will probably still work better than what you have. I'm surprised the steering doesn't feel funny.
It feels a little funny, but I don't know what normal for this thing is. When I got it, everything was shot.
 

AndyG

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It feels a little funny, but I don't know what normal for this thing is. When I got it, everything was shot.
A good example is you'll find yourself having to counter steer a little bit more if the road has crown... Sort of a weird constant adjusting. You will know when you it's right . You can drive without working at it.
 

mrblaine

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That is the weakest of all the front mounts and for some reason plays a hand in death wobble...it may negate the track bars lever force when loose.

I welded on a different mount, then put a Johhny Joint in. Loved it.

Tacking it is fine, but consider a better fix at some point.
What lever force do your control arms have? Bear in mind, it is very hard to have a lever force without a fulcrum.
 

mrblaine

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Great advice. Looking at that video makes me think that the mount on my axle is pinched or damaged. Wonder if they did that taking the old one off? Oh well

Should I try some loctite on it before resorting to welding? I see loctite 660 as being good for "press-fit parts".
A permanent way to repair the mount is to take your bushing down to an exhaust shop and have them expand a piece of tubing until it is slightly smaller than the large shoulder. Slice that to the correct width to fit snugly inside the mount, press the old bushing in a little bit to locate the sleeve, weld that in. Now you have a lot of press fit area, it won't fail, and you can replace bushings several times before you have to restore the press fit.

I don't like tack welding. If you tack it well enough to stay, you are melting the innards and they really need all the help they can get.
 

AndyG

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What lever force do your control arms have? Bear in mind, it is very hard to have a lever force without a fulcrum.
I think of the track bar working as a lever, although I realize it's also a control arm. Maybe lever is the wrong word entirely.

It was actually you that made me realize when that upper front right is loose , you better get ready for death wobble.

Essentially I was trying to say if the track bar is tight but the control arm isn't, you get about the same net effect.

And yes...my welded one didn't hold long now that I think it about it either. Was a temp fix at best.
 

mrblaine

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I think of the track bar working as a lever , although I realize it's also a control arm.

It was actually you that made me realize when that upper front right is loose , you better get ready for death wobble.

Essentially I was trying to say if the track bar is tight but the control arm isn't, you get about the same net effect.
It can't work as a lever without a fulcrum.
 

hosejockey61

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I don't like tack welding. If you tack it well enough to stay, you are melting the innards and they really need all the help they can get.

I don't think you're putting that much heat into making it stay put from my experience. I do like your other solution too though.
 

AndyG

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I don't think you're putting that much heat into making it stay put from my experience. I do like your other solution too though.
He posted something pretty cool above...Blaine knows how to make one take a beating.

My post was off base..I couldn't make it stay welded but it worked short term now that remembered
... Mine had been loose a while...then became death wobble..then I tacked it...then got a heavy mount and crushed it getting carried away with a ball joint press...then got Johhny joints and a pro and got out of the way.

I'd probably run a few large sheet metal screws in on to keep it captive to get by if I had to. (I know that's pretty stupid probably- I won't keep a clevite long in that situation so I wouldn't care) ...then fix ...it'd be cool if they had a circlip on the small side or a keeper. The stock mount is basically sheet metal.

Fixing that is a good step to better steering. That I'm sure of.