Installing high-performance suspension hardware onto your truck is hardly ever a bad thing, but leaving your stock upper control arms on your truck and expecting their bind-prone rubber ball joints to keep up with all your off-roading needs is definitely a bad thing. That's why our friends over at ICON Vehicle Dynamics includes a set of their excellent 2009 to 2014 F150 Tubular Steel Uniball Upper Control Arms as a standard part of their F150 Stage 2 Suspension System. These high-strength, heavy-duty arms feature uniball joint that won't bind during heavy articulation, unlike your stock rubber ball joint. ICON's upper control arms are a great investment for the truck that sees decent amounts of off-road trail riding or the occasional romp through the wilderness. What's even better is that they're a breeze to install, as we found out when we took our 2012 FX4 5.0L F150 Project Truck down to Extreme Performance out in Goodyear.
Technically, the first step of this install is to jack the truck up onto a jack stands or a lift. Luckily for us, our truck was already in the air for the installation of our ICON front coilovers, ReadyLift rear lift block, and ICON 2.0 Aluminum Shocks. With that out of the way, JD and Kris from Extreme made quick work of our upper arm installation.
After the truck is up on your jack stands or lift and the wheels are removed, he first step is to remove the nut holding the factory ball joint to the spindle.
It did take some penetrating oil and a good whack with a mallet to get the ball joint's stud out of the spindle, but it certainly got the job done.
Anyway, with the ball joint of of the spindle, it's time to hit both the forward and rear bolts holing the factory control arm in place. Two sets of hands help, but this part of the job is totally doable with just a crescent wrench and ratchet.
With both bolts removed, the factory control arm should easily drop out of your truck and onto either ebay or Craigslist.
Now JD and Kris went to work preparing the ICON upper control arms for installation, which involved pressing in the uniball joint and the two black polyurethane bushings for the actual body mounts.
After the control arms are prepped and ready to go, JD and Kris got them bolted right back up to the factory mounts with only a little juggling of a flashlight and wrenches.
With the arms mounted, Kris and JD threw some muscle and patience at getting the uniball's stud back into the spindle and bolted down.
The final step for our upper arms was the installation of ICON's uniball covers onto the uniball housings, which we here at Stage 3 include for free in each upper control arm kit. The caps easily install using double-sided 3M tape rings which the caps plop down right on top of for a clean seal.
The end result is pretty impressive, and the uniballs allow the ICON Front Coilovers to work at their maximum potential and gives our project truck a much better range of articulation than stock.