Relation Race Wheels Billet Uniball UCAs

RRW Billet UCA

Manufacturer: RRW MSRP: $1500
8.6
Average Score
  • Build Quality 9.5
  • Fitment 9.0
  • Customer Support 8.0
  • Ease of Install & Instructions 9.5
  • Value - Is it worth it? 7.0
Billet Aluminum, Sealed Uniball UCAs For The 5th Gen 4Runner

Lifting a truck for increased ground clearance and the ability to accommodate larger tires is arguably a must for off-road enthusiasts. However, this modification often brings about a crucial question – Do I need aftermarket Upper Control Arms (UCAs)?

Lifting a vehicle alters its suspension geometry and the stock UCAs present limitations regarding alignment. This can lead to compromised handling and potential clearance problems. Upgrading to aftermarket UCAs often remedies this problem while also providing enhanced strength and optimized performance from your new suspension.

For the past 20,000 kilometers, I’ve relied on SPC UCAs. While I’ve never had a problem achieving proper alignment, their design isn’t tailored for extensive off-roading. My ball joints suffered from premature wear, necessitating frequent alignments after just a few trips. Clearly, there’s room for improvement.

The new billet UCAs from RRW promise to address the shortcomings I’ve encountered and are designed for the demands of off-road adventures.

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Technical Specifications

  • 6061-T6 Billet Aluminum Construction
  • 1.25” PTFE lined FK uniballs (spherical bearings)
  • 7/8” PTFE lined FK rod end bearings
  • Compatible with lift heights from 1.5-2.75”
  • Fit 5th Gen 4Runner, GX470, 2nd & 3rd Gen Tacoma, and 3rd Gen Tundra

Benefits

RRW Billet UCA Top View

Aftermarket UCAs become necessary when you lift your truck due to several reasons:

  • Improved Alignment: Lifting a truck alters its suspension geometry. Aftermarket UCAs allow for better alignment adjustments to correct camber and caster angles. This helps in maintaining tire wear, handling, and overall vehicle stability.
  • Increased Clearance: Larger tires might rub against the factory UCAs or other components when the suspension travels through its full range of motion. Upgraded UCAs are often designed to provide more clearance.
  • Strength and Durability: Lifted trucks and off-road driving put additional stress on suspension components. Aftermarket UCAs are often designed to be stronger and made from better materials like tubular steel or billet aluminum.
  • Enhanced Performance: Upgraded UCAs can improve the overall performance of the suspension system. They can provide better articulation and wheel travel offroad and proper alignment results in better on-road handling.

Features

RRW UCA Complete Setup

Let’s break down the features of the new Billet UCA from RRW:

  • Advanced Design and Manufacturing: These UCAs are meticulously crafted, starting with CAD design based on precise 3D scan data. They’re proudly manufactured in California.
  • Unparalleled Uniball Protection: Featuring a proprietary rubber dust boot, these UCAs have a completely sealed uniball, a feature exclusive to this billet UCA. This innovative design significantly extends the lifespan of the uniballs by shielding them from dirt and elements.
  • Premium Construction: Machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum sourced from the USA, these UCAs boast exceptional durability. The Type II clear anodized finish looks great and provides superior corrosion resistance.
  • Precision Engineering: Stainless steel CNC machined misalignment spacers and a dual pinch bolt design ensure secure locking of the rod ends at all times. This guarantees stability and reliability during rugged off-road use.
  • Enhanced Compatibility: Featuring a large inside chamfer, these UCAs accommodate larger diameter springs such as those found on the Bilstein 6112.
  • Thorough Testing for Real-World Conditions: The UCAs have undergone comprehensive Finite Element Analysis (FEA) testing, simulating real-world forces, vibrations, heat, fluid flow, and various physical effects. They’re engineered to withstand the demanding conditions encountered during off-road adventures.

Installation

Installation Tools

The UCAs come fully equipped with all necessary hardware, including zinc-plated grade 12.9 hardware. They arrive fully assembled and ready to be installed, streamlining the upgrade process.

Tools Required:

  • Sockets – 10mm, 12mm, 19mm, 21mm
  • Allen Keys – 3mm, 4mm and 12mm
  • Breaker Bar
  • Wrench – 19mm
  • Torque Wrench
  • Hydraulic Jack and Jack Stands
  • Hammer
  • Bungee or Ratchet Strap

Step 1. Lift Vehicle

Toyota 4runner Wheel Well

To start with, remove the front tire and put the 4Runner on the jack stands. Also, remove the engine splash guards.

Step 2. Detach ABS & Brake Line

Toyota 4runner UCA ABS Line Bracket

Next, remove the ABS and brake line bracketry. This is not required but will give you more space for installation.

You may have to remove the sway bar from the spindle as well for non-KDSS models.

Step 2. Remove Castle Nut

Toyota 4runner Spindle Castle Nut

Remove the cotter pin securing the upper balljoint and then remove the castle nut using a 19mm socket. If the UCA doesn’t break loose, thread the castle nut back a few turns and give some love taps on the top end of the spindle with a hammer until it breaks free.

Keep the spindle supported with a piece of wood or a jack stand before freeing it from the ball joint as it can fall and pull on the ABS and brake lines causing damage.

Step 3. Remove Top UCA Bolt

SPC UCA And Gusseted Spindle Toyota 4runner

Remove the long bolt that runs through the UCA. You will need a 19mm socket and wrench for this. You may have to loosen the power steering reservoir bracket to make up some room to wiggle the bolt to get it out on the passenger side.

Support the spindle with a bungee or a strap to avoid any strain on the brake line.

Step 4. Prep RRW UCAs

RRW UCA With Rubber Protection Boots

Before we mount the new UCAs, assemble the bottom misalignment spacer inside the uni-ball. Next, mount the rubber boot with the bracket and (4) screws (use a 3mm Allen key for these) on the top side and use the provided wire to secure the lower end of the rubber boot.

Make sure the bottom portion of the rubber boots falls into the groove on the misalignment spacer before you secure it with wire.

Step 5. Install UCA

RRW UCA Installed Toyota 4runner

Aside from the misalignment spacers, the RRW UCAs come completely assembled and ready to be installed.

Start by inserting the OEM top bolt through the alignment spacers of the UCA and use the OEM washers. Torque this bolt to 85ft/lbs.

Step 6. Attach UCA To Spindle

RRW UCA Bolted To Spindle Toyota 4runner

Next, insert the uni-ball end pin through the spindle and use a 22mm socket to tighten it to spec. You will need to put a 12mm Allen key on the bolt on top to keep it from spinning. Torque this bolt to 100ft/lbs.

If the UCA doesn’t align with the spindle, you may have to jack up your LCA (lower control arm) until the geometry is right.

Step 7. Re-attach ABS & Brake Line

ABS Line Bracket Install On RRW UCA 4Runner

Re-attach the ABS and brake line brackets. The new UCAs come equipped with threaded holes machined into them for the factory bolts. Additionally, they come with a dedicated shim designed to be sandwiched between the brake line bracket and UCA.

You may have to bend the brackets a little to accommodate the new UCAs. They are fairly easy to bend with pliers.

Step 8. Install Top Caps

RRW UCA Top Cap Install 4runner

Attach the provided top caps for the uni-ball with a 4mm Allen key. The cap helps prevent dirt and grime from getting into the uni-ball which is great for us peeps up here in the North!

Step 9. Wrapping Up

RRW UCA Install Toyota 4runner

Finally, re-attach the splash guards and put the tire back on. Make sure to tighten the lug nuts and torque them properly. Now, repeat the steps on the other side.

Don’t forget, you will need an alignment after installing the new UCAs.

Initial Impressions

RRW UCA Installed On Toyota 4runner

There’s a noticeable increase in the feedback through the steering wheel. Every minor irregularity on the road surface is more perceptible, attributed to the absence of traditional rubber or poly bushings. Fortunately, this heightened sensitivity doesn’t compromise the ride quality; instead, it allows for a stronger connection with the road with much less bump steer than before that I felt with the SPCs. The steering wheel feels tight and solid. So far, there’s no squeaking of any kind.

As far as alignment goes, I managed to achieve 4.5 degrees of caster with my existing 295/70/17 wheel-tire combination. The truck tracks perfectly straight on both highway and city driving.

Final Thoughts

Toyota 4runner C4 Fabrication Baja Designs ARB Snorkel

After installing the new UCAs, the steering now boasts impressive tightness and responsiveness. The sealed uniballs provide a smoother driving experience and I’m confident that they are a sealed design that will last for thousands of miles to come.

I believe these are a standout upgrade for anyone seeking both performance and durability in their off-road adventures and would highly recommend considering them if you’re in the market.

Gallery

RRW UCA Top View Toyota 4runner

RRW UCA FK Rod Heim Ends

Protective Rubber Boot On Lower Misalignment Spacer RRW UCA

RRW UCA With Rubber Protective Boots

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Greg
Greg
5 days ago

They look like nice UCA’s, but from experience, uniballs are such a pain in the ass. So many better options on the market with as much freedom of movement and longer lasting, replaceable joints.

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