The Ford control arm plays an important role in the suspension system of your vehicle, cooperating with other suspension parts to add stability and safety to your vehicle as it travels down the road. Stable and agile steering is assisted by the Ford control arm, as well as good front-end alignment. The Ford control arm works with the suspension to insulate the vehicle from the vibration and bumping of the road, absorbing much of the impact before it reaches the body of the vehicle, helping to avoid the stress that such forces can place on sensitive vehicle parts. An upper and lower Ford control arm is positioned at every vehicle wheel, each equipped with a rubber bushing at the pivot points. These rubber bushings are crucial to the operation of the Ford control arm, helping to absorb the vibration of the road and cushioning the Ford control arm against damage as it moves against other suspension parts. These bushings can become worn away as the mileage of the vehicle climbs, or become cracked and brittle from exposure to the elements and winter road salt. The Ford control arm is a durable component, standing up to the abuse of rough roads for a great many miles, but an especially hard impact from a bump or pothole hit while traveling too quickly can cause the Ford control arm to bend or break. If your vehicle has a damaged Ford control arm, the handling may become quite sloppy, especially as you steer around corners. Our user-friendly online catalog carries a selection of Ford control arm replacements at great low prices. Ordering is always easy and secure on our well-organized site, or our courteous customer service can make ordering your Ford control arm on our toll-free phone line just as convenient.
Ford F-150 Control Arm Buyer's Guide
- Ford introduced the F-150 in 1975 as part of the blue oval’s F-series. Backed by its sales record, the F-150 continues its legacy as the ultimate pick-up truck in America.
- A control arm is the metal connector that binds the wheel to the frameIt is part of the car’s suspension system that pivots in conjunction with the wheel's movement.
- A control arm usually costs around $60 - $700.
- A faulty ball joint, cracked and damaged bushings are just some of the indications that your control arm needs replacement. Often times, a bent control arm due to impact is also a clear indicator that it needs to be replaced.
The Ford F-150 was introduced in 1975 as part of the blue oval’s F-Series. Straight up, the truck projects an impression of superiority and muscle that continues to be its selling point for over four decades. Without a doubt, the F-150 remained to be the ultimate American full-size pickup truck, leading the sales chart for over 30 years straight.
Since toughness is in the Ford F-150’s name, it needs to have the perfect suspension system to fit the claim. One important part of the suspension system that should not be missed is the control arm. In able for the wheel to move up and down with ease, there needs to be a set of control arms reinforcing the suspension system. Let’s find out about this piece of metal connector and why a damaged one should be replaced immediately.
What is a control arm?
The control arm refers to the metal connector that binds the wheel to the frame. As part of the car’s suspension system, the control arm guides the wheel as it moves upward and downward. The inner end attaches to the vehicle’s chassis, serving as the pivot point whenever the wheel moves up and down. The outer end, on the other hand, connects to the steering knuckle.
Parts of a control arm
Control arms feature a simple mechanism consisting of three parts. Despite the control arm’s architectural simplicity, it is an engineering ingenuity that’s considered to be a critical part of suspension systems.
The metal arm comes in varying shapes and designs but the most common one is the A-shaped design, which gave it the informal name A-arm. Modern control arms nowadays exhibit unconventional designs as products of extensive research and developments, especially in trucks and other performance vehicles.
On the inner end of the control arm is a set of rubber bushings. These bushings are fitted to prevent metal-to-metal rubbing when the arm pivots in conjunction with the wheel. The bushings also keep the cabin from vibrations caused by uneven road surfaces.
The ball joint is found on the outer end of the control arm and is connected to the steering knuckle. It serves as the pivot point between your car’s suspension system and the wheel, making it possible for the wheels to freely turn.
Types of control arms
Trucks like the F-150 utilize a front double wishbone suspension that comes with two-control arm setup; the upper and lower arms.
Upper control arm
This control arm features the upper ball joint which serves as the secondary pivoting point for steering. This is typically shorter than the lower arm and is also referred to as the upper wishbone.
Lower control arm
The lower control arm receives most of the load because the coil spring is directly mounted on it. It consists of a lower ball joint responsible for allowing the wheel to turn freely. Lower control arms are also known as the lower wishbone.
Choosing the right fit
There are eight rich generations of the Ford F-150 truck since it was introduced in the mid ‘70s. Each generation features varying part sizes. To help you find the most accurate fit for your truck, remember to use the website’s search field’s filter tab and indicate the year, make, and model.
How much is a replacement F-150 control arm?
Prices for an OE replacement control arm vary depending on your F-150’s year model and variant. OE replacement parts can cost anywhere between the $60 and $700 mark. Parts could come as an individual piece or in sets so it’s best to know and locate the part you need first before making any purchase. While it is possible to install the part on your own, we strongly recommend visiting an experienced mechanic to ensure secure and proper fitting.
Indications that control arms needs to be replaced
If you notice strange movements on any wheel, act responsibly by immediately consulting your mechanic. If it turns out that the issue is caused by a damage control arm, the only best thing to do is to have it replaced as soon as possible. Here are three issues that may arise if your F-150’s control arm is damaged.
Faulty ball joint
The ball joint comes as an integrated part of the control arm. If it fails, it could pop out from its mount and can cause catastrophic consequences. The best possible way of finding out a damaged ball joint is by having an experienced mechanic check it.
Cracked and damaged bushings
The bushings play a significant role in the pivoting movement of the control arm because it prevents friction between the frame and control arm connection points. It also silences the noise that could happen due to a contact of two metals. In addition to that, the control arm absorbs vibration on rough roads, preventing it from reaching the cabin. When control arm bushings fail, the up and down movement of the wheel will be compromised due to loose contact between the control arm and chassis.
Bending on the metal as result of impact hits
The clearest indication is a bent control arm. Since your car’s overall weight is distributed on the suspension system, the control arm experiences intense stress. A crash or hitting a bump at high speed can bend the control arm. A vehicle with one or two bent control arm is unsafe to drive because it has the tendency to lose control.
Factors to Consider when Buying a New Ford Control Arm
Also known as the ‘A' arm or wishbone, the control arm is a component of your Ford vehicle suspension system. Like all the other vehicle components, your Ford control arm must be replaced over time to maintain their productivity. Here are some aspects to take note of to help you choose a control arm wisely.
Designs of Control Arms
There are three main kinds of control arms that are characterized by their design: press in, bolt in, and unitized.
- Press in:This type is best suited for heavy vehicles and industrial applications. The ball joint is bigger than the control arm opening, making the whole system stays securely in position.
- Bolt in:This type is used in the Macpherson type of suspension system and has a stamped strut-type body.
- Unitized:This type is cost-efficient as it has a built-in ball joint. However, if either the arm or ball joint malfunctions, the whole unit must be replaced.
Types of Material Construction
Ford control arm isnormally made of three kinds of materials: drawn-over-mandrel (DOM) mild steel, aluminium, and chromium-molybdenum (chromoly) steel.
- DOM mild steel:This is a process by which the steel tubing is made. The DOM steel is electrically welded and has measurements that are more consistent in relation to the inside and outside measurements of the tube itself.
- Aluminum:The CNC-machined aluminium provides light weight and superior strength. This material construction is not recommended for use in all-out drag application, as the material is not designed for vehicles with greater horsepower. Unlike steel construction, aluminium has a limited fatigue life, which should be considered for load-cycled construction.
- Chromoly steel:Though not as lightweight as the aluminium, the chromoly steel is still lighter than mild steel and has high tensile strength, as well as great psi strength. This steel is easily welded.
Different Bushing Styles
There are different materials for the assembly of your Ford control arm. It can be rubber, polyurethane, all-steel rod end, combination of polyurethane and rod end. Each material and combination has its own pros and cons.
- Rubber:Rubber bushings are highly efficient. Due to its softer material, rubber offers a smoother and more relaxing ride, absorbing vibration or shock from jolts and potholes. In addition, it minimizes road noise. However, rubber degrades faster than polyurethane. It breaks down faster when exposed constantly to extreme temperatures, road salts, and other road conditions.
- Polyurethane:Most vehicles for street use are fitted with control arms that are assembled by using polyurethane bushings, yielding to better resistance to deflection and longer service life. Though it is more durable than rubber, polyurethane bushings release much louder noise.
When sourcing for a suitable control arm, suppliers usually offer control arm kits to help provide easy installation. The kits mostly include all the tools needed, such as the pliers and jack stands. To select the appropriate kit, you should take note of your vehicle make and model, plus your budget. Some of these kits include ball joint or a bushing.