Ball Joint Vs. Uniball UCAs: What To Know Before Buying?

If you only spend 5 minutes browsing through an off-road discussion forum, you’ll see there are lots of topics on aftermarket control arms discussions, also called UCAs. Anywhere you go, you can also find a discussion about Ball Joints vs Uniball UCAs as well.

When searching for UCAs, there are two types of joints available; Uniballs and Ball Joints.

Which one works for you will be determined by your build goals.

Upper control arms (UCAs) are commonly used with a Uniball joint or ball joint. Despite being a common debate, you may wonder: What is the best product out of many? Read on to find out.

Ball Joint Vs Uniball UCAs: Head To Head Comparison

Ball Joint UCAsUniball UCAs
The ball and stud are made of steel and the bearing surface is enclosed in steel.The bearing features a 52100 steel race with PTFE lining and oil coating
It is best for off-roading with light-medium loads and OE operating anglesThe malalignment spacer can adapt to any mounting style or taper that is required
Misalignment:- Not required, factory taper is sufficientAdapt the profile to the right one
Durability:- MediumHigh
Greaseable:- YesNo
Sealed:- YesNo
Suggested:- Use streets to moderately off-roadStreets to extreme off-roading
Service Life 5-7 years, 50-70k miles2-3 years, 20-30k miles
Installation:- Push into place with snap rings to secure positionSnap rings secure position when pressed into place
Replacement Parts:- AvailableAvailable

Ball Joint Vs Uniball UCAs: A comparative analysis

Why Do You Need Upper Control Arms (UCA)?

Front suspension is centered around the control arms. Essentially, control components connect your car’s wheels to its front suspension. Your car’s wheel assembly is connected to one end of this cable. Another end is attached to the car’s frame.

Upper control arms connect the upper part of the forward wheel. Located at the front wheel’s lowermost area, the lower control arm is connected to it. Both arms are then attached to the car’s frame. In a similar manner, independent rear suspensions are constructed.

A control arm is usually part of a suspension’s lower link. In some designs, the upper link attaches to the lower link, usually via a wishbone. From the upper arm, a radius rod extends.

What Are Ball Joints?

A ball joint is similar to a hip joint in that it consists of a ball and socket. Plastic or urethane boots prevent the elements from entering the ball or socket area and lubricating it. However, ball joints can be extended in lifespan when appropriately used, misused, or over-extended. They can fail also. You pivot your steering knuckles with the ball joints of your front suspension. The control arms allow you to control your vehicle accurately and provide a smooth, safe ride.

What Are Uniballs?

Bearings with spherical rollers that enable precise angular movement. The strength and durability of Uniballs make them an indispensable tool for extreme off-road adventures. As well as the outside elements (sand, salt, moisture), uniballs are also susceptible to noise and need to be replaced or rebuilt continually. Assemblies with pivoting suspensions such as A-arms commonly use OEM ball joints.

Example Of Use

The semi sealed construction of the Ball Joint keeps debris and the elements out. As a result, the joint is longer lasting, and can be used on a daily basis in a vehicle. In contrast to Uni-Ball, it is formulated for off road racing applications. Every race, the team disassembles the vehicles and replaces worn-out parts.

The Uni-Ball was not designed to be used by everyday weekend warriors who use their vehicles primarily for transport and do not go off-roading often. Because the Uni-Ball is open on the inside, debris such as dirt, salt, dust, and other substances can enter and wear down the component prematurely.

Life Expectancy

It is often forgotten about ball joints because they can last so long! It wears out over time and generally lasts shorter than the vehicle. They work harder on winding roads, bumpy roads, so it would depend on the condition of the vehicle and its mileage. In most cars, ball joints wear out in the same way on both sides, so they are most often replaced in matched pairs or sets.

The superior strength and durability of Uniballs make them ideal for severe stress conditions. In fact, they can withstand severe use for a longer period of time. Compared to standard ball joints, they also have many other advantages.

Movement Range

The range of motion is 90 degrees with the Ball Joint. Meanwhile, the Uni-Ball can be moved through 66 degrees. There is no other product on the market today that can match that range of motion! With the best Ball Joints, your Toyota 4Runner will handle even the most challenging off-road journeys.

Maintenance

If you need maintenance performed on an off-road vehicle, a Ball Joint will make the process easier. How so? Uni-Balls must be removed from control arms, pressed out, washed, and re-lubricated by hand. Put the control arms back on the vehicle, and then press the control arms into place. Nevertheless, the JBA Ball Joint is equipped using the grease fitting for faster maintenance.

There Are Two Types Of Upper Control Arms: Ball Joints & Uniball Joints

Aftermarket ball joints provide additional travel and are usually stronger. Tundra comes standard with ball joints. In reality, Uniballs are simply a variation of heim joints.

Manufacturers of upper control arms:

  • SPC Light Racing: Ball Joint
  • Toyota Stock UCA: Ball Joint
  • Camburg: Uniball
  • Total Chaos: Uniball
  • Icon tubular steel: Uniball
  • All-Pro: Uniball
  • Pro Comp: Uniball
  • Icon machined aluminum: Uniball
  • Fabtech: Uniball
  • MCM Fab: Uniball
  • JBA: Ball Joint
  • Tuff Country
  • Mevotech: Ball Joint
  • PRG: Uniball
  • ReadyLIFT: Uniball
  • Zone Offroad: Ball Joint
  • Blitz Auto: Uniball
  • Rogue Racing: Uniball

FAQs.

What’s better: Ball Joint Vs. Uniball UCAs?

Uniballs are more durable and strong than ball joints under severe stress conditions. In other words, they will hold up better under severe strain. Furthermore, they provide additional advantages over standard ball joints. In general, they can handle more fantastic angular movements.

Are upper control arms necessary?

In addition to determining wheel travel and suspension durability, control arms also affect wheel alignment. You may not need to replace the upper control arms if you are making any kind of suspension modification.

Replacement of a control arm is a good idea?

In addition to a suspension lift, replacing a control arm is usually intended to increase wheel travel. However, with a better control arm, you can get more than just a higher ride and more journey:

  • Enhancement of the arm’s durability
  • Expanded options for uniball/ ball joints
  • Replacement coilovers are more compatible

Summary

Consider the upper control arm when you install a lift kit on your car. It will impact wheel travel, the performance of the suspension, and the alignment of the wheels. Ball Joint Vs. Uniball UCAs: what is really helpful for vehicles? A control arm replacement is a good place to start if you’re looking to improve the performance of your vehicle without compromising safety.

According to the car, usefulness, and comparing price range, you can choose your preferred one. However, Uniball can move in a more extensive angular range. Basically, double-shear uniballs offer enhanced stud mounting strength.

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