What's the point of getting a truck if you're not planning on taking it on rocky trails? We've said it so many times before, but factory leveling components just don't cut it for aggressive off-roading. Numerous aftermarket leveling options should be a priority for you, but you must not overlook the benefit of aftermarket upper control arms. While OEM UCAs are alright right out the factory, wear and tear can take its toll on the component. Even when tested on the most basic of off-road trials, original UCAs can only handle so much deflection before they start to bind and fail. Standard issue ball joints are susceptible to tears if you push them past their unimpressive limits. If your stock UCA is paired with other aftermarket components, then you will quickly notice its limitations. Aftermarket UCAs are the solution to this issue and there's so much crucial information to consider before making a purchase.

Close up of Stage 3 Motorsports' 2019 Ford Ranger 4WD Build muddy and off-road in Sedona, Arizona

What options are out on the market?
Aftermarket UCAs feature a stronger construction, improved arm routing, and better performing joints. Now that its apparent that you should add a UCA to your Ranger's suspension build, you must narrow the gap and decide which one is right for you. With great brands like RPG, BDS, Camburg, and ICON offering kits, you have many options. Tubular steel arms offer a stronger than OEM construction and a more cost-effective design, but its billet aluminum counterparts use a stronger material for more durability on off-road trails. You also have another choice to make when deciding on which type of joint you desire. Between tubular uniball UCAs, tubular ball joint UCAs, billet UCAs, and Delta Joint UCAs, you'll get a kit that far outperforms its stock counterpart. The style of UCA that best suits you depends on your budget, typical type of driving, and whether your focus is on travel and strength or long term reliability. Also, the billet UCAs can adjust for camber and caster; this helps your vehicle's stability and fixes the forward or rearward tilt of the steering axis.

Uniball Tubular UCAs for your 2019-2020 Ford Ranger

The most common joint on aftermarket UCAs are uniballs. Uniballs are spherical bearings inside a cup assembly that provides a wide range of pivot perfect for UCA use. Great for off-road use, these joints have a larger deflection range than typical ball joints and feature greater structural strength to withstand any obstacles you encounter. The downside is that uniballs are fairly exposed to the elements which allows fine dust, road salt and other particles to chew the bearing's liner. This causes a louder operation and a loss of travel over time, which means you may have to replace your uniball after some time. Camburg Uniball Tubular UCAs are available to upgrade your truck suspension. The Camburg 1.25 Performance Uniball Upper Control Arms can make a big difference. The kit increases wheel travel and articulation for use on tough trails. It was designed for 1-3" of lift and uses FK 1.25" PTFE-Lined Uniball Joints. The UCA also requires a wheel with a maximum backspacing of 4.75" to clear a 285 wide tire. Camburg's 1.25 Performance kit uses MIG welded CNC bent tubes and 4130 chromoly construction. The 1.25 UCA is finished in a steel gray powdercoat for a great look and corrosion resistance.

Camburg's Uniball Tubular Upper Control Arms installed on a 2019-2020 Ford Ranger

Ball Joint Tubular UCAs for your 2019-2020 Ford Ranger

Some UCAs opt for a ball joint to anchor its construction. The joints are slightly stronger and feature more deflection than stock. Its most appealing factors are its quiet operation and its longer time reliability over uniball joints due to its fully sealed design. Contaminants will not be able to infiltrate your joint and eat away at your bearing's liner, like what plagues the uniball kits. However, while it does generally last longer, it is weaker than a uniball. Tougher off-road trails could potentially take more of a toll on the ball joint. BDS Ball Joint Tubular UCAs are packages that consumers need to consider. The BDS Tubular Ball Joint Upper Control Arms drop into place and feature 1.5" diameter tubular steel arms with an uprated MOOG balljoint in an indexed housing. The kit is compatible with a strut spacer, replacement strut, and coilover 2-3.5" suspension kits. It will additionally fit on factory Ranger wheels with up to a 285 wide tire and will require a wheel with a maximum backspace of 6.7" to clear a 285 wide tire. The control arms use 1.5" diameter mandrel-bent tubular steel with .120" wall thickness and a semi-gloss black powder coat finish for the toughest, best look possible.

Pair of BDS' Ball Joint Tubular Upper Control Arms for the 2019-2020 Ford Ranger

ICON Delta Joint Tubular UCAs for your 2019-2020 Ford Ranger

The most premium type of joint you can pick for a UCA is an ICON Delta Joint Tubular UCA, which is an upgraded version of a ball joint. It uses a complete metal construction and a unique high angle design. This adds the strength and travel of a uniball joint but also features a fully sealed design for the long term reliability of a ball joint. This gives you the best of both kinds of joints in one package. The one con of a Delta Joint is that it is generally more of an investment than its counterparts, but you sure do get what you pay for. ICON's Delta Joint makes a big impact on tubular construction UCAs. The UCA pairs with ICON extended travel coilovers for 35% more wheel travel and require at least an 8.5" wide wheel with 6" of backspacing to clear a 32x11" tire. Your factory wheels can be reused, but you'll be limited to a factory width tire. The ICON Tubular Delta Joint Upper Control Arms feature 1026 DOM tubular steel and a black semi-gloss powder coat finish. This kit allows for the best alignment specifications and drastically improves handling.

Pair of ICON' Delta Joint Tubular Upper Control Arms for the 2019-2020 Ford Ranger

Billet Aluminum UCAs for your 2019-2020 Ford Ranger

Joints aside, it's also important to consider the construction of your UCA. While tubular control arms offer your Ranger build so much value, the next step up would be some billet constructed UCAs. While tubular UCAs are less of an investment, you'll love the stronger material for even more durability on off-road trails. You will have a more dependable ride with its strong build and adjustments for camber and caster.The ICON Delta Joint Billet UCAs, RPG Uniball Billet UCAs and Camburg Uniball Billet UCAs all offer worthwhile upgrades for your off-road Ranger. RPG offers a billet aluminum UCA that drops right into place of your Ranger's stock UCAs. It is compatible with most aftermarket and stock wheel and tire combinations. CNC machined billet aluminum keeps the UCA strong. The kit even comes four unique colors: black, red, blue and orange, for a stylish application. Camburg has a KINETIC Billet UCA to beef up your build. Both kits increase wheel travel and articulation for use on tough trails. It was designed for 1-3" of lift and uses FK 1.25" PTFE-Lined Uniball Joints. The wheel you pair with it must have no more than a backspacing of 4.75” to clear a 285 wide tire. The KINETIC uses 6061 billet aluminum and a Type II anodized gun metal gray finish for a great looking, reliable UCA. ICON’s Delta Joint Upper Control Arms pair with ICON extended travel coilovers for 35% more wheel travel and require at least an 8.5" wide wheel with 6" of backspacing to clear a 32x11" tire. You can reuse factory wheels, but then you must also use a factory width tire. The UCA uses CNC machined 6061 billet aluminum and a boxed design for lighter, stronger design over stock. It has more deflection for improved droop travel and won't pull apart during heavy articulation.

A pair each of ICON and Camburg's Billet Upper Control Arms for the 2019-2020 Ford Ranger

A Great Buy for Any Off-Road Ranger Build
As you can see, worn stock UCAs can be a liability when traveling across off-road paths. Your truck was a nice investment, so you must keep your truck in good condition. Aftermarket UCAs give you a more reliable tool to tear up off-road trails with ease. With so many choices available, from joints to materials, you don't have to make any more excuses to pick one out for your 4WD build today.

Stage 3 Motorsports' 2019 Ford Ranger 4WD Build using off-road lights on a muddy camping trip in Gold Bar, Arizona

What UCA kit do you plan on adding to your Ranger? Share more about your truck build with us in the comments below!

2019-2020 Ranger RPG Package:

2019-2020 Ranger ICON Package:

2019-2020 Ranger BDS Package:

2019-2020 Ranger Camburg Package: