1987 Corolla SR5 front suspension repair

Hello!
This post (hopefully to become a thread) is a follow-up to the (very short) thread "1987 Corolla SR5 steering repair--need help from
experienced mechanic" that I started after my recent (fortunately not-too-bad) collision with this car. The steering is now repaired, but the close inspection I did during that repair found a few new problems. Since (like Hachiroku) I love this car (a "hachiroku", i.e. an AE86), I am determined without a doubt to repair everything that is wrong with it, even if it costs several thousand dollars (US). (The logic for this is that I can't imagine finding another car I'd be as happy with for several thousand dollars). However, right now I'm looking at repairs (recent past and recent future) which I expect to come in at around $1,000 US total, including the steering repair of the previous thread. By the way, my car has only about 104,000 miles on it.
If all goes well, this will be the first in a series of threads that I will start about a series of repair projects that I have planned to do on this car this summer. About half of these stem from the recent accident and/or a hard pot hole strike the left front wheel took about a month or two earlier, mentioned in my previous thread. The others are projects through the winter I had been planning to do once the warmer weather came (and I had saved some money by working through the winter). Here is a list of all of them, prioritized:
1. damaged suspension control arm --accident repair * starting with this post * 2. front left wheel bearing noise --pot hole strike-related? 3. body work (fender and bumper) --accident repair 4a. A/T output shaft lateral play and leak --pending thru winter 4b. vibration at speed: driveshaft imbalance? --pending thru winter 5. valve stem seals & tailpipe smoke @ warm-up --pending thru winter
And, if all goes well with the projects above, I will tackle: 6. when cold until warmed up: runs rough, stalls, related issues --pending thru winter
Some of these issues are further described (incidentally) in the explanation of the dynamics of the collision at the end of this post.
--------
Now, to address the control arm, the main subject of this post. When repairing the left steering tie rod, I did a detailed inspection of the front left suspension, comparing against the right side, and I discovered that the end of the control arm outboard of the strut bar (which triangulates the control arm) was bent rearward, with its rear edge bent upward. In the ball joint, the neck of the ball might also be slightly bent; I did not remove the boot to inspect it. I have learned that the control arm and ball joint are an indivisible factory unit, so that the ball joint will have to be replaced with the control arm anyway. The strut bar is OK and was not stretched; on both sides of the car, I measured the distance between the staked nut and the first hole in the strut bar and found it to be 14-5/8" (right on spec, within the accuracy of the measurement).
A local dealer parts department (Central City Toyota on Chestnut St. in Philadelphia) wants $212 US for the part. Because of the high price, I am considering buying a used part, either salvaged stock or U-pull-it. However, I am slightly concerned about the unknown of a used ball joint regarding durability and reliability. I need advice: Is it worth the $212 for a new control arm and ball joint vs. a used unit with unknown mileage wear and lubrication history? Can I expect a used ball joint to last the 100,000 more miles that I want the car to last? If a used part may be a good idea, should I only accept one I can inspect first (for example from a U-pull-it yard), and if so, how should I inspect it?
After writing the last paragraph, I have also found the part new at ToyotaPartSales.com (Dallas Toyota) at a discounted price of $150. (They list $212 as the MSRP.) They will ship within the continental US. Any caveats/words of caution? If I buy new, I'll probably go this way.
Also, are there any things to watch out for when replacing the control arm? I know it's recommended to bounce the suspension a few times before final torquing of all fasteners, and I'll do that. Anything else?
Finally, here are the physical dynamics of the collision, that I have deduced, which caused the damage to the left front suspension and steering: The collision flattened my left fender from its leading edge back to the wheel, exposing the front of the wheel. The exposed leading edge of the forward-pointed wheel then hit the other vehicle, and the wheel was wrenched outward, bending and cracking the internally threaded tube of the steering tie rod end (a.k.a. the outer tie rod). The rearward force against the tire was transmitted through the wheel, knuckle arm, and ball joint to the control arm, which was successfully braced by the strut bar, causing the end of the control outboard of the strut bar to bend backward. (This force also possibly bent it upward at the rear; the alternative is that the previous pot hole strike incident had already bent the end of the control arm upward at its rear.) The knuckle arm, wheel, wheel hub, and MacPherson strut assembly appear undamaged. Complicating matters, there was and is a preexisting condition of noise with rotation of that same (front left) wheel bearing, apparently indicating a wheel bearing problem; this may have been caused by the pot hole strike. Weeks before the collision, this noise was rarely and barely detectable but became progressively more noticeable over time; the problem remains (of course) after the accident but is not substantially worse than it was just before it.
About the apparently undamaged parts, I invite and request any suggestions about concealed damage which might have been done and that I should specifically inspect for. The same goes for any damage that may be invisible but that, in the spirit of conservative engineering, I should assume occurred.
Many thanks in advance to all who will contribute. Keep those Toyotas rolling!
Stephen
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Front wheel bearings are relatively easy to replace.

Driveshafts generally do not go out of balance unless they are damaged. If the vibration developed over time, check wheel/tire balance; check for broken belts or unusual tread wear in the tire; and make sure the u-joints are not binding. If you decide to unbolt the driveshaft, use different colored paint to mark bolts, nuts, washers, and holes in the companion flanges so that they all go back in the same combination to avoid causing other balance problems.

Try Chevron Techron or Toyota fuel injector cleaner and see if the problem clears up. Sounds like a cold enrichment problem or a vacuum leak.

For the most part, ball joints on Toyotas are pretty durable, even when they have not been routinely lubed.
The new part from Dallas Toyota sounds like a good deal.
If you decide to go with a used part, take a look at the boot for the ball joint to see if it looks like it has been greased periodically and is not dry. Also, take a look at the bushings on the control arm to make sure they are not deformed.

Not that I am aware of.

Keep an eye on the rack where the rack end attaches to make sure no leaks develop. Also, check the tire that hit the pothole for a broken belt or blisters.
--

Ray O
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Sorry, I thought I had sent this on Wednesday, but it was still in my "Drafts". Due to the complications of life, I still haven't done anything new on the car, so this is still current. I will post again when I do get something done (or when I see a reply here).
Ray O wrote:

I first noticed this vibration after a shop dropped the rear axle to install a new exhaust. I'm thinking maybe they disconnected the drive shaft (propeller shaft) and didn't put it back the same way. Unfortunately, that was years ago; the car spent a year (ending about a year ago) in semi-storage (wasn't registered and drove about 10 miles all year, mostly from the street to the driveway and back), when I couldn't afford to operate a car. I'm not positive the vibration wasn't there before the exhaust work, but I don't think so. The vibration was never too bad, so I just put up with it, because I was too poor to do anything about it. Now I'm earning a good regular paycheck, so I'm finally addressing all these issues that I have always wanted to address. There's also some gummy residue on the drive shaft, and I was going to clean the shaft before doing anything else. I'm also going to have all four wheels balanced soon (after I fix the front suspension). I have looked at the drive shaft U-joints, and they all seemed to have good bearings (no play) that move smoothly, but I could look more closely and systematically, when I get to this issue in detail.
You imply an interesting point, that just switching the bolts around could change the balance. Somehow, I can see the mechanics at that shop considering such attention to details unnecessary, so (in my mind) that is a definite possibility. If the bolts were switched around, and/or the companion flange alignment at the differential was shifted, is there a way I could figure out the right configuration so I could put it back?
Something I read yesterday in an (old--from March) thread on this n.g. suggested that burning oil could destroy the catalytic converter. If that's the case, this will be aggressively moved up in priority. I have changed the spark plugs twice (in the 32,000 miles I have had the car), and they all had oil on them each time, so I know there is oil in the cylinders. I presume it's coming past the 19-year-old valve stem seals. I know how to replace those (the less invasive way), but I'd been contemplating pulling the head so that I can inspect inside, fix any valve problems, remove built-up deposits, replace the seeping head gasket, and do the valve stem seal job more easily. Now, I'm thinking I'd better just replace the seals from the top, and pull the head a few years later when doing more restoration on the car.

It's carbureted, but the vacuum leak suggestion is helpful; it's one of the guesses I had considered. Could a carburetor in need of cleaning or rebuild cause it to run rich when cold? (There's a lot more detail to this problem, but we'll tackle that later.)
Last fall, I used Chevron-Texaco gasoline with Techron (went out of my way to the one Texaco station that has it) for about 6 fill-ups in a row, then intermittently about every second or third fill up for a couple months more. It did improve power and smoothness when the engine was warm, as well as fuel economy, which makes me think it was reducing carbon deposits (which is what I was using it for, at Hachiroku's advice [to someone else]). It didn't make much difference in the start-up behavior, so I'm more inclined to suspect a cold start mechanism or something due to thermal expansion. Like I said, there's a lot more detail, and I have evidence that may point to a (minor) valve problem, but I'd rather not troubleshoot too many problems at the same time, so I'll get back to this after the control arm and wheel bearing are fixed.
Meanwhile, yesterday I did a three-hour push-the-accuracy-to-the-max tape measure toe-in alignment adjustment, and I think I achieved an inward toe of between 1/32 and 1/16 inch, measured as the difference in the inside spans between the fronts and rears of the rims of the wheels. (I assume that's where you're supposed to measure toe-in, right?) Previously, it was about 3/8" inward toe, and I saw first hand the "radical" change in steering handling that a manual told me toe-in can cause--the Toyota turned like a big soft-suspension Cadillac. Now, the car handles like it used to (which pleases me very much); the steering is very responsive!

Like my old one? :) (Guilty as charged.) I haven't noticed any signs of wear, but for years (and about 20,000 miles) I didn't know how to lubricate the ball joints, so . . . well, I'm making myself look bad now, so I'll shut up. Anyway, now I lube them on schedule.

I think that settles it. I'll order ASAP.

That same tire is the one that hit the other vehicle in the accident, so I inspected it thoroughly, including rolling it down the driveway to look for irregularities (radial asymmetries) in the rim or the tire, on both sides. The tire looks good. (The trim ring, on the other hand, is toast--somehow, in the accident, this wheel ran over its own trim ring! The ring couldn't have rolled ahead; the car only continued about 2 to 3 feet from the point of collision. The ring must have somehow gotten flipped out in front of the tire. When I got out of the car, the wheel was squarely on top and in the middle of the trim ring!)

Thanks again, Ray! I'll post again once more work gets done.
Stephen
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It is possible that the shop replaced the drive shaft out of phase. If the shop had marked the companion flanges before removing the driveshaft then they can avoid putting it back out of phase.

If the residue is on the driveshaft in big globs, then that can cause an out of balance condition. If the driveshaft is just sticky then it is unlikely to be the cause. I'm also going to

If you want to try it yourself, mark the companion flanges and bolts so that in the worst case, it goes back together the way it is now and best case, the problem is solved.

Yes.
Check to make sure the choke is setting during cold starts.

Take it to a shop and get a 4 wheel alignment.
--

Ray O
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