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Discussion Starter #1
My truck has 170K on it, and was bone stock when I bought it at 155K. I cranked the bars all the way and put some extended 5100s on it when I got it. It rides fine, but I'm real close on the frame to UCA clearance. It has just a little play in the steering and has a clunk when going over speed bumps and when off road. (I've already replaced the intermediate shaft - that's not the source of the clunk) Upon inspecting the front end components, i found that the inner and outer tierod boots are torn, and little or no grease remains. While the truck was on jackstands, I moved one tire side to side while watching the steering components, and saw some pretty bad slop with the naked eye. Needless to say, my front end needs to be completely rebuilt. The other issue I want to correct is that with both bars fully cranked, the passenger side sits much higher than the driver side, and the truck leans badly side to side. So, I want to install keys to give me just a little more adjustability.

I know that my tie rods and pitman/idler need to be replaced. But I am unsure on my upper and lower balljoints. Since cranking the bars, the upper ball joint angles are less than desirable. The lower ball joint angles seem to be perfect. I will probably do the Cognito UCA's to correct the upper angles and also replace the upper ball joints. But, I cannot decide if the money/effort to replace the lower ball joints is worth it. Should I worry about the lowers? Also, should I replace the idler arm pivot? Am I correct in thinking that the centerlink is not a wear item, and doesn't need to be replaced unless I was building a bullet proof frontend?

As far as parts, I've read 7 pages worth of threads on this topic, and I'm leaning towards the following:

Cognito UCA's, Cognito Idler/Pitman Brace, Moog Idler/Pitman Arms, Rare Extreme Duty Tie Rods, Coginto Keys

I don't need to build a sled pulling/ boosted launch capable front end, but I don't want to have to deal with this again for a while. Please let me know if I am missing anything, but my main question is whether or not to replace the lower ball joints.
 

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If your close on the UCA to the bump stop you don't want keys. NorCal Nick is the guy to talk to about Cognito. You should keep 3/4" or more between there. Its called the green zone.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've read Nick's sticky on leveling these trucks several times, and understand the green zone, but it is my understanding that the purpose of the Cognito UCA's is to allow you to crank the bars to level the truck while maintaining the stock UCA to frame geometries. With both bars cranked all the way, I'm at about 1/2" between the frame and uca's now. I need a little more on the driver's side to be level side to side (which I cannot get without adding keys). I would not be dumb enough to add keys and still crank them all the way, I just need a little more adjustment than the stock keys allow.

Just to humor me.... would the Cognito UCA's allow for 3" of lift in the front and still be good on the ball joint and tie rod angles? I know... just humor me.
 

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Your CV angles will be very poor
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Update: I just placed an order with Norcal Truck for the Cognito UCA's, Keys, Idler/Pitman Arm and Cognito Brace Kit, Rare Tie Rods, Norcal Sway Bar End Links, and Sulastic Rubber Springs. Good thing my wife was asleep. Thanks to Nick for his informative write up on leveling do's and don'ts. I figured I should reward his involvement in this forum and give him the business. I just hope everything comes in by Friday, so I can knock this project out this weekend!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I got a call today from Burt with Norcal Truck; he said the rare tie rods are on backorder, but he had the new, redesigned cognito tie rods in stock. I've only got one free weekend to knock this out, so I went with what was available. They are supposed to be a much better design than the old Cognito's, and for my purposes, I'm sure they be plenty strong.
 
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