Cheap Lower Control Arms - Nissan Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old Apr 20th, 2017, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Cheap Lower Control Arms

So I lost a chunk of rubber off the lower control arm bushing and now I have a clunk as the control arm slides a little. I think (from time to time) I've heard a groan that could be the ball joint. So, I'm going to change the lower control arm. Prices range all over the place for generics and brand names as well as country of origin.

I found these

2 Front Lower Control Arms for Nissan X-Trail 2005-2006 Made in Taiwan | eBay

Offered and was accepted C$200 for a pair, free shipping.

I'll update when I see and install them

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post #2 of 12 Old Apr 20th, 2017, 03:27 PM
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Hi MikeHJ
You will enjoy having new front control arms. I hope those are good for you. I originally replaced mine 4-5 years ago with some from an unknown brand. Had to replace them a couple of years later as on one the ball joint got damaged when I had both front bearings replaced, and then the other side had a bushing that crapped out. Later may have been improperly installed and the first one may have been mechanics error, but for both I later bought the Beck/Arnley's from Rock Auto which supposedly are top tier aftermarket with really good ball joints. I will say their boots are bit different design that seems a bit tougher than the first ones I bought.
Anyway I think Nissan is still making the X Trail Classic in Taiwan or were until recently so you may be getting them from a company that supplies to the factory there. Sure beats Nissan prices which I think are now in the 265 dollar range each. When I first needed them they were 430 each, and aftermarket ones from NAPA were the same price at the time.
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post #3 of 12 Old Apr 20th, 2017, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quadraria10 View Post
I originally replaced mine 4-5 years ago with some from an unknown brand. Had to replace them a couple of years later as on one the ball joint got damaged when I had both front bearings replaced, and then the other side had a bushing that crapped out.
Actually, it was a post of yours from a few years that kinda sent me off on a search expedition. I found the US ebay store that you had bought from (and posted the link) and then I found a bunch of ebay stores that were using the same pictures and the same phrases in the description. I then found the same pictures and same worded descriptions on a bunch of non-ebay websites: WrenchMonkey, PartsGeek, etc.

Obviously, they must be coming from the same supplier who is providing the pictures and descriptions. I suspect it is probably the same supplier who is doing a lot of the "econo" versions for a number of brand-name suppliers. Both Mevotech and Bern-Ackley have different grades of control arms at different price points. It appears that most brands are using Made in Taiwan components and are either assembling them here or are adding their own ball joints, etc.

I got fed up with trying to figure out which websites were selling the "premium" lines of the brand name and which were just selling the econo line of the same brand. NAPA is actually honest enough to sell both lines of Mevotech and use the different Mevotech part numbers. Their part number for the Mevotech's econo line shows up on a LOT of websites marketed as a "premium" part with a premium price. A lot of people probably don't know that Mevotech sells 2 different qualities of control arm for the same vehicle. They pay the premium price and they get economy version.

In short, I think I just bought the same thing as the economy line of most brands for a pretty good price. Will it last as long as the premium version? I guess I'll find out. But don't just go by brand name, cross-reference by the brand's part numbers

Last edited by MikeHJ; Apr 20th, 2017 at 05:09 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old Apr 20th, 2017, 06:57 PM
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I am sure those are going to be fine. The first ones I got actually looked to be better alloy than the Beck/Arnleys. First one was OK until a mechanic I hired to do my front bearings broke the boot on the ball joint, and the second one lasted 3 years until I hit and went over a curb near Billings Bridge now that I think about it. And checking my notes, it was the ball joint that went bad on it as well though I remember seeing some cracking in the large bushing on it after it was removed.
Sad thing is we are only ever one good pothole from having a problem with one, and God knows the roads have been getting worse over here on the Gatineau side the past few years.
Only difference with the B/As was the way their ball joint boot was more like a yurt style tent with sides and a hat, rather than the bell shaped kind of boot you normally see. Rubber seemed a bit thicker as well. Seems to me they were also a bit cheaper when I bought them as the Cdn $ was worth more.
I just haven't been using Ebay much anymore, but yours look to be a good find and I notice they even ship from Vancouver so delivery should be fairly quick. I will be curious to hear how you think it affects the quality of the ride of your X.
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post #5 of 12 Old Apr 20th, 2017, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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I imagine they will be better than the clunk I have now!

What I'm finding with the Xtrail is that, probably because it is an orphan car here in North America, is that the "buyer-beware" aspects of the third party parts industry are more prevalent. Sure, there are a lot of cheap chinese parts (just like for any car), but because there isn't a large domestic supply or demand, there is some serious sketchiness in brands, labeling, pricing, etc. going on.

There are still good parts out there, but there's a lot of rip-offs, Maybe I notice them more because the more prominent north american part names (like AC Delco, Raybestos, etc.) don't carry full product lines for the Xtrail, I dunno.
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post #6 of 12 Old Apr 20th, 2017, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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What I mean by "rip-off" is trying to figure out what you're getting or the seller simply trading on their brand name to basically relabel cheap parts. There are a ton of places buying plain chinese brake rotors, for example, then drilling and slotting in North America. Just enough work that the "Made in wherever" label can be slapped on them and then selling them as "premium" products. Sometimes, they are easy to spot (they don't sell any plain rotors, for example)

Same is going on the these control arms. Most of the metal part is made in Taiwan for a lot of them. Not a big deal as few control arms fail because of poor metal. The economy ones also get fitted (in Taiwan) with rubber bushings and Taiwan-made ball joints. Other ones have the metal part brought here and then fitted with bushings and ball joints here. A lot of people think that the bushings and ball joints made here are better, but they're often only the same quality or are actually even another foreign part just assembled here. Good companies (like Bern-Ackley) actually do make good ball joints and use them in their premium line of control arms, but the rest of the arms is still probably the same Taiwanese metal. Some companies also sell an economy line which may have the same old quality ball joint as anyone else. So just buying a brand name isn't a guarantee either: 3rd party parts sellers might be selling the economy line at the premium price or they might be selling the premium line at the premium price.

So what are you really buying? A completely made in Taiwan part, a part that is assembled here from Taiwan parts or a part that is assembled here from some foreign parts and some really good domestic parts? Price and brand name really aren't good indicators anymore, particularly with global nature of the supply chain.

Okay, so that was a bit of a rant. In short, I don't know what I just bought, but then again I rarely really know what I'm buying anyway. Maybe I found a great deal, I'll update later

Last edited by MikeHJ; Apr 20th, 2017 at 11:45 PM.
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post #7 of 12 Old Apr 21st, 2017, 06:55 AM
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I hear you. It can quite confusing separating value from marketing hype. Throw in international supply chains and companies always trying to save a buck on the manufacturing end, and it becomes downright puzzling. For all we know the better quality stuff may be coming from Mexico or China in some cases as they have gotten more production know how over the past decade. I kind of like checking out RockAuto because they do some sorting for you into economy, daily driver and performance parts, but even then who knows if the differences are worth the price. And lets not forget that even Nissan now offers a value line of parts as distinct from its OE parts.
With the X trail we are often penalized as its not really included in a lot of North American aftermarket part supply chains, and I have found that parts for it seem to contain a premium similar to the luxury brands. But as you can probably tell from a number of my posts, I have made it a bit of a mission to find and share info on less expensive parts and ways to maintain the car that do not cost a fortune.
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post #8 of 12 Old Apr 21st, 2017, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by quadraria10 View Post
For all we know the better quality stuff may be coming from Mexico or China in some cases as they have gotten more production know how over the past decade.
Exactly. I just don't automatically accept anymore that foreign-made = inferior and Made In America = high quality. I don't mean to imply that I think the opposite is true, either
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post #9 of 12 Old Apr 21st, 2017, 03:35 PM
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Re clunking you might also consider changing the swaybar bushings. Its surprising the noises those little chunks of rubber can make. They are about 9 bucks each at the dealer.
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post #10 of 12 Old Apr 22nd, 2017, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quadraria10 View Post
Re clunking you might also consider changing the swaybar bushings. Its surprising the noises those little chunks of rubber can make. They are about 9 bucks each at the dealer.
I discovered yesterday that the big clunk in the back of my '06 is indeed a swaybar bushing. Thanks for the heads up on the dealer price.
Which dealer do you deal with? I'm in Lac Ste. Marie 80 km north of Gatineau.
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post #11 of 12 Old Apr 22nd, 2017, 11:09 AM
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Hi XHale
Welcome to the forum. I have used both Hull and Gatineau. Usually get dealer parts from Hull, but not very often.
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post #12 of 12 Old Apr 22nd, 2017, 07:20 PM
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Hi XHale
Welcome to the forum. I have used both Hull and Gatineau. Usually get dealer parts from Hull, but not very often.
I ordered them from Cote on St. Joseph. $8.39 each.

2006 X-Trail LE 5 speed
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