2004 Nissan Frontier - Suspension questions for a pro

I have double wishbone suspension (6 cyl, VG-33E, 2dw, automatic). My bushings were worned out and my ball joints cracked, #1 -shall I have all (4) the control arm replace? #2 - or do I just replace the broken parts only and not the whole control arm? #3 - “Aftermarket” parts that matched my truck descriptions, does it mean when installed it will be as a double wishbone suspensions like the original parts? I babied this truck; located in sunny part California, so no snow - no salt on the road - thinking my control arm (Main) should still be ok or was I wrong?

Replacement control are are exact FIT to the ones on the truck. They may not be the same QUALITY as the Ford parts which lasted 18 years and ??? miles. Rubber degrades over time and wear. Ball joints wear out no matter how well you treat them.

The easiest, and lowest labor cost way to repair and refresh your truck’s front suspension is to just replace all 4 A-arms with new parts complete with new bushings and ball joints. That’s why they sell them that way. Just replace all 4 arms.

Don’t buy the cheapest parts on Ebay. You pretty much get what you pay for.

Rockauto sells control arm assemblies for your Nissan that just bolt in.


I’d only replace those parts which are worn.


Correct me if I am wrong, but the upper control arm/ball joint is far more likely than the lower to need replacement. That was the case for my 1999 Civic. The right top one was making noise and I replaced both with Moog. Before the warranty expired, one of them started making noise and I got a free replacement from Rock Auto.

BTW, replacing the tops is a much easier DIY job than the bottoms. If you replace them with the front suspension dangling, don’t do the final tightening of the two side nuts/bolts until you have driven the car around for a while to settle the suspension. Otherwise you might have a severe twist on its bushings, which makes for squeaks and probably shortened life.

You don’t have to drive with loose bushing hardware.

Just make sure the vehicle is at ride height (sitting on the ground) before tightening the bushing hardware.



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After all suspension work is completed the truck needs to go onto the alignment rack.

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As a finance person and not a mechanic pro, you don’t piecemeal front end work. You do both sides at the same time with replacement of whatever is worn. It’ll make for a much happier and cheaper in the long run experience.



not on this truck

The lower ball joint is load bearing

And I agree with @bing . . . you do EVERYTHING in one fell swoop

Complete arms upper and lower, sway bar bushings and links, as well as the idler, pitman, drag link and all the tie rod ends

The truck will need an alignment, anyways, so you might as well do everything. That way, it will be good to go for several years, maybe it’ll even last as long as op keeps the truck


First, you may not need anything done. If the ball joints were cracked, you could not drive the truck as the wheels would be laying on the ground with the steering knuckle. What is cracked is the rubber boot covering the ball joint.

You really can’t see if the bushing is worn out, but what you do see is the rubber checking, that is small cracks on the surface of the rubber. Most of the rubber is still solid.

But it is likely you will enjoy a new car like ride by replacing these items. The labor to remove them from the control arm could easily be higher than just getting whole new assemblies so that is the way to go.

The lowers go first so if you wanted to, you could just do the lowers, but do both sides. The uppers usually last twice as long, more or less. But the rubber covers will still be cracked and the rubber in the bushings will still be checked, so your call.

As stated earlier you will also need a complete front end alignment. You may want to consider new shock absorbers as part of this package too if you want a really good ride.

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