Need input/advise on replacing lower control arms (balljoint) - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Need input/advise on replacing lower control arms (balljoint)

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!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by W.Cup View Post
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.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 06:58 PM
 
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as for tools, you will also need a pickle fork and/or a balljoint puller to separate the LCA from the spindle. also have some deep sockets avail just in case.

a can of wd40 or pb blaster (i think thats what its called) will come in handy.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-30-2009, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by the_doug View Post
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.
Good advice.

I would also replace the rubber strut rod bushings too at the control arm-strut rod bushings if they show any wear. The 4 pieces are around $40 retail at a Ford dealer for all 4, they may need a day to get them in.

The only problem you may find is weld-like corrosion, this can turn a 2 hr job into days. Your lower strut bolt may be very hard to get out, also the bushings in the lca-frame, and even the strut rod bushings! In the salt belt this is an utter nightmare. If I had this to do over I would cut it out with a sawzall.

You can search the forum for some horror stories with this. In GA though they probably don't salt so you may not have this problem, or it will be manageable.

I also suggest going to advance and renting a front end kit to remove everything. There is a duckbill type tool that can make the sway bar end links and tie rod pop right out. Harbor freight is another option.

Reassemble everything with antisieze, especially it it goes into a sleeve.

95 4.6L Rusty Survivor!
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