Replace the Entire Control Arm Assemble to Fix the Cause, Not Just the Symptom

Apr 2022 | Tech Bulletins

Replace the Entire Control Arm Assembly

It is not always appropriate to simply replace a worn ball joint or bushing. Replacing the entire control arm assembly is recommended in the following circumstances:

  • When the OEM control arm is not specifically designed to receive ball joint replacements
  • When the time, labor and cost of replacing either the ball joint and bushings alone or together outweighs the time, labor and cost of simply replacing the entire control arm assembly
  • When other steering or suspension components become worn or damaged prematurely, there is an increased likelihood that the control arm is bent or damaged and should be replaced

For example, GM control arm no. 2086-9200 (FITS: 2007-2013 Chevrolet Avalanche/Silverado 1500, Cadillac Escalade including ESV 2007-2015, Cadillac Escalade EXT 2007-2013, etc.). GM does not offer a stand-alone ball joint replacement for these applications – they recommend complete control arm assembly replacement. Below we detail the difficulties and potential dangers associated with replacing this control arm’s ball joint alone.

  • Stand-alone aftermarket ball joints are available for these applications (K6541 and FPD no. DM15.46541), however the OEM control arm is not specifically designed to easily receive a
    replacement ball joint (Figure 1 of flyer)
  • Even under ideal conditions and with the proper shop/press equipment damage can be done to the control arm when removing and replacing the OEM ball joint
  • Before pressing out the OEM ball joint, the metal locking tabs must be bent or chiseled away to allow for a proper press out (Figure 1 of flyer). (If you press out the OEM ball joint without removing the tabs you will ruin the control arm.) When removing these tabs, you risk damaging the ball joint seat, which can lead to its replacement “swimming” ultimately resulting in premature ball joint failure. Even if you successfully remove the tabs and press out the ball joint a misaligned press, or any burs/hard edges (Figure 2 of flyer) left over from removing the tabs can further damage the ball joint seat (Figure 3 of flyer) making the install of any replacement dangerous and negligent.

The O.E.Brand by FPD solution to the above problem is our part no. CL20869200*. The advantages of using our complete control arm assembly over simply replacing the ball joint:

  • Reduced install time and labor cost
  • New bushings (not the case if replacing the ball joint alone)
  • A ball joint with snap ring (no locking tabs) to allow for easier press out and replacement of the ball joint in the future if necessary
  • A greaseable/serviceable ball joint instead of the sealed OEM style
  • A metal-sintered internal bearing (for increased load distribution and wear resistance) instead of the internal plastic bearing which comes with the OEM design

*These attributes are specific to this part (CL20869200); no two designs are the same as they vary by sku and application.