I am going to try to replace my lower control arms as I have noticed that the plastic boot that protects the balljoint is torn. This seems to be a big job, but I think that I can do it myself. I am hoping that some one can give me some tips/advise on where to start. I am unsure on what tools that I will need. Will I have to compress the coil spring? How do I remove the strut rod from the lower control arm as it looks like it is pressed in? Basically what I need is a list of tools and parts needed to do job correctly and safely. Thanks for any input provided!
before you take the lower control arm off mark the camber position(the bolt that holds the control arm to the frame) so it wont be too far out of alignment when you put it back together, mark it on the frame as the little circular plates are part of the bolt. You will need to get an alignment done after changing the control arms.
the only thing pressed into the control arm are the bushings and ball joint. the strut rod bushing is a couple smaller bushings held together by a nut, remove it and the bushings will fall apart and make allow the strut rod to come out of the control arm.
you don't have to compress the spring, just jack your car up and the spring will be unloaded
Also, when putting everything back together, DO NOT torque the bolts until your car is at ride height (sitting on its front tires with all its weight on them) with its weight pressing everything down otherwise it might damage the bushings.
as for tools...impact wrench and torque wrench, what ever sockets with the bolts/nuts.
might need a strap to hold the front spindle in place as you do not want that thing moving around after you disconnect it from the lower control arm as that might screw up the alignment even more.
since you are replacing the lower control arm, might as well replace the upper arm too and the swaybar end links (end links are a 10 minute job, really easy) possibly even the outer tierod end things. Chances are if the lower ball joint is shot, the rest of them are too.