Words and pictures by: Jamil Mizirawi
I think I've stopped kicking myself long enough to write this. I know, I know, I should've known, I should have known. People don't know. They never know. But what is worse, I didn't check.
On the last episode of Project TOE-FUNGUS, I knew I had to replace upper control arms because they would cause the truck to shake like an cold and abused chihuahua. Or so I was told. Trying to conserve time, I bought these control arms as soon as I purchased the truck from my favorite parts website that I'm not going to name unless they pay me. (Sponsors for Project VeSUVian anyone?) I then put all my tools and these controls arms on my totally awesome motorcycle and rode up to Sacramento from Fairfield. After we jumpstart the truck, again, we drive it into my friends garage. There, in my eagerness to get started, I proceed to almost kill myself, by having my friend jack up Project Creamy-Behemoth while I foolishly stuck my head underneath the truck. It fell off the jack and landed on its wheels with my noggin miraculously unharmed. As soon as we have the front in the air properly we noticed my folly.
The best way to determine if any front suspension part is bad is to try and wiggle them. If the suspension assembly wiggles in incorrect ways, then there's a bad part. Then, you would look to see what part wiggles and replace that part. Get it? Got it? Good!
The control arms were wiggling in all the right ways and none of the wrong ways. What's more, there was evidence that it actually had already been changed recently but never given an alignment.
Nothing was loose. Everything moved like it should, and nothing moved like it shouldn't. The control arms installed are already new. The suspension was in great shape. The problem wasn't the condition of the suspension, it was the tires. Balding, cracking, and with cantaloupe sized tumors. It's like a terminally ill patient on Grey's Anatomy.
Here's the rub; I don't need new control arms. I bought new control arms. They are $40. I do need tires and an alignment. I don't have those. That is close to $800 for cheap tires and about $100 for an alignment. Gah!
Amazon.com to the rescue! They are delivering 4 new 33" tall tires to the truck in Sacramento. When they get in I will CAREFULLY drive the truck to the tire shop get these new shoes on and get an alignment for Project MERRY-GO-ROUND-OF-MISERY.
Until then, we found which two tires on the truck were the best and stuck them on the front where it mattered. I can proudly say that it no longer shakes like Shakira while high. It now only shakes like her sober. Woot! To celebrate, my friend and I did a victory lap around the block and found out that with excessive tire wear and age comes the tendency for the front end to push. Who'd have thunk it?
However, driving this American truck in the California sunshine without it trying to kill me signaled a tiny victory that would make bald eagles shed a tear of joy. The jerry-rigged glass pack muffler was a glorious sound against the backdrop of progress on what is bound to be a fun adventure rig.
At least I hope.
I think I just heard it misfire...
Want to sponsor me or help name my project truck? Check out my insta @jsmizira and send me names!
Jamil Mizirawi is an overly ambitious if not slightly delusional Californian who fancies himself to be a good mechanic, a great husband, and really crap writer. Follow his adventures on DWA!