Cognito Upper Control Arm Install

When Bad things Happen, New Parts Are Installed

Joe Burnside
Dec 1, 2012
Photographers: Joe Burnside
Let’s face the honest truth about truck ownership. At times, bad things happen. Truck parts are designed to have certain longevity or an expected lifespan. However, when things are changed or modified, all bets are off. Case in point is the ball joint installed on the upper control arm (UCA) of our ’07 Chevy 2500HD. Under “normal” use, the ball joint could last upward of 70,000 miles. Change things up by adding a 6-inch lift, 35-inch tires, and a heavier front bumper with a winch, and the life expectancy of these and other parts are significantly shortened. Unfortunately, most parts do not have a wear indicator to signify their impending demise. The passenger-side ball joint decided to fail while we were navigating a sandy wash at speed. As a result, the UCA transformed into a cutting chisel on a lathe and proceeded to turn an impressive 0.2x0.3-inch groove into the sidewall of the General Grabber tire. Thankfully, the DuraGen three-ply puncture-resistant sidewall of the tire withheld this obscene torture, and we were able to return home in one piece.
Photo 2/15   |   01. After 10 miles of driving with a failed ball joint, the upper control arm was damaged beyond repair. Although, to be perfectly honest, with any press-fit-style ball joint it is recommended that you replace the UCA when the ball joint requires replacing.
Fortunately, the ball joint didn’t break in two; it simply worked its way out of the press fitting in the UCA. Had the ball joint bisected, who knows how bad the ensuing wreck and damage would have been. Luckily, our carnage list is a ball joint, a UCA, and one tire. After counting our blessings, we knew that replacing the damaged parts with stock versions was out of the question. We wanted UCAs that were stronger than stock, serviceable, and had bolt-in rather than press-in ball joints. After consulting with Nick Vasquez from Nor Cal Truck we determined that UCAs from Cognito Motorsports would fit the bill.
Photo 3/15   |   02. Force = Mass x Acceleration at work here. It was only a matter of time until the stock ball joint failed. The added mass of the tire, rim, and other aftermarket parts coupled with high-speed, off-highway terrain overcame the friction bond between the ball joint and the upper control arm. This resulted in a nice, deep, wide, symmetrical groove in the sidewall of the General Grabber tire.
“Cognito Motorsports’ UCAs are a tubular frame design with bolt-in ball joints and feature mounting brackets for dual-shock setup. Not only are the UCAs stronger, but they are engineered to solve some of the deficiencies that plague the IFS system in GM trucks.”
Cognito Motorsports’ UCAs are a tubular frame design with bolt-in ball joints and feature mounting brackets for dual-shock setup. Not only are the UCAs stronger, but they are engineered to solve some of the deficiencies that plague the IFS system in GM trucks. With a stock truck, the geometry of the front end limits full suspension travel, and once a lift kit is added, wheel alignment becomes an issue. With one well-designed UCA, the engineers at Cognito solved both problems. Two more features that make the Cognito superior to the factory parts are serviceable A-arm pivot bushings and polyurethane bumpstops, which are much softer than the metal-on-metal stops found on the stock units.
From time to time, bad things happen and stock parts break. Aftermarket companies rely on this fact, and the good ones—like Cognito Motorsports and General Tire—answer the call with superior replacement parts. The next time a part goes south on your rig, look toward the aftermarket for a high-quality replacement.

Sources

General Tire
Charlotte, NC 28288
800-847-3349
www.generaltire.com
Cognito Motorsports
Bakersfield, CA 93312
866-426-4648
http://www.cognitomotorsports.com

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