How much time to replace Lower/upper ctrl arms? - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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How much time to replace Lower/upper ctrl arms?

My upper and lower control arms just arrived. I have all the tools needed, Just need to make sure I have enough time to get it done and still be able to drive to work. Which ones take the most time, upper or lower? Also,can the car be driven a short distance before an alignment is done once the LCA's are replaced? I only have a 8 hour window to do the job this weekend. I have talked to a couple other people and they said if you mark the dials on the LCA bolts, and alignment may not be needed. Thanks for any input!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 01:56 PM
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i would say the uppers are definitely going to be quicker. only three bolts and its out. for the lowers, they may take a bit longer, due to unbolting the strut rod that passes through them. then you have the nut at the spindle, the shock bolt, and the frame bolt. definitely mark that washer, and your alignment will be close upon reassembly. mine was damn near dead on, according to my alignment guy.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by W.Cup View Post
My upper and lower control arms just arrived. I have all the tools needed, Just need to make sure I have enough time to get it done and still be able to drive to work. Which ones take the most time, upper or lower? Also,can the car be driven a short distance before an alignment is done once the LCA's are replaced? I only have a 8 hour window to do the job this weekend. I have talked to a couple other people and they said if you mark the dials on the LCA bolts, and alignment may not be needed. Thanks for any input!
The uppers are easier. Use a cold chisel or quality screwdriver between the bolt head and the spindle to get out the serrated pinch bolt that holds the spindle to the UCA.

The answer depends on the amount of rust you got and your skill. If there is no rust I could probably dismantle the entire front end and put it back in 2-3 hours.

I don't think you will have major issues on a GA car though. One problem you may run into is the lower shock bolt being frozen to the inner sleeve. You may want to try that first since it usually gives the largest headache.

Also if you are planning on salvaging you sway bar links there is a cheap tool to get them apart. It also saves a ton of time.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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Upper Control Arms definitely the quickest job to do. Between the two, driver side is easier than the passenger side due to tight space.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 11:23 PM
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uppers if you have an 18 mm gear wrench. Or you cut off the heads on the 2 inner bolts and just hammer them through. So uppers are gonna be no problem if you have the tools.

The lowers are hard because getting the ball joint stud off the spindel is very tough sometimes, I use a pitman arm puller and that usually does the trick.

Spinning pies like wheels.

DD driving my 20 year old project

Now with new ball joints...again
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 11:45 PM
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This is a pretty easy job, but has the possibility of becoming ugly depending upon your skill level, stuck bolts, etc. The only real hang ups/possible source of problems are the lower shock bolts. I usually air chisel the seam which spreads the sleeve apart enough to allow the bolt to be pounded out (if the lower shock bolt is really frozen). One thing I have learned is that when a time limit is set it is easier to become frazzled and make poor decisions. Eight hours is a long time to set aside for this job, but still remember to work smartly and methodically, not hastily, rushed and unorganized. Good luck!

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 08:26 AM
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This is a pretty easy job, but has the possibility of becoming ugly depending upon your skill level, stuck bolts, etc. The only real hang ups/possible source of problems are the lower shock bolts. I usually air chisel the seam which spreads the sleeve apart enough to allow the bolt to be pounded out (if the lower shock bolt is really frozen). One thing I have learned is that when a time limit is set it is easier to become frazzled and make poor decisions. Eight hours is a long time to set aside for this job, but still remember to work smartly and methodically, not hastily, rushed and unorganized. Good luck!
Very good advice with the sleeve seam. A small craftsman screwdriver helped too. I also chiseled the bolt head - strut body interface to get it to budge.

The other trick that helped was once it budged a bit was to retighten the stud with a long breaker bar to like 500 ft/lbs or more. This stretches the bolt a bit and breaks more rust bonds. Sometimes you have to replace this bolt, it is like 12bucks or so at NAPA.

Without air tools and a car that was in a salt area 8 hrs could be undershooting it. The pounding will tire you out, especially if you don't have a lift. Kroil/PB aren't really that effective, but then again maybe they saved me an extra hour of work.

The bolt went back with TONS OF ANTISEIZE ON THE BODY. It took 3 1/2 years to get that bad! Thats when it was serviced last by a dealer.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 08:33 AM
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i used a 3lb sledge to pound the lca out of the spindle. i wasnt worried about protecting the threads since i was replacing the whole arm, so whack away. hit it from all sides to help break it free. use pb blaster. the shock bolts may hit the tie rods, so you may need to remove the tie rod from the spindle. i seem to remember doing so.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 08:44 AM
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i used a 3lb sledge to pound the lca out of the spindle. i wasnt worried about protecting the threads since i was replacing the whole arm, so whack away. hit it from all sides to help break it free. use pb blaster. the shock bolts may hit the tie rods, so you may need to remove the tie rod from the spindle. i seem to remember doing so.
Was this a Texas car?

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 08:47 AM
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Was this a Texas car?
yep. didnt have any rust, but i used pb anyways.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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i used a 3lb sledge to pound the lca out of the spindle. i wasnt worried about protecting the threads since i was replacing the whole arm, so whack away. hit it from all sides to help break it free. use pb blaster. the shock bolts may hit the tie rods, so you may need to remove the tie rod from the spindle. i seem to remember doing so.
This is seems like a PITA. Was not planning on removing the tie rods!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 08:50 PM
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Removing tie rods takes 2 minutes. One cotter pin, one nut, one hammer blow... done.

lowered, koni sport adjustables, 4.30 tl in aluminum housing, mark 8 trans, j-mod, 93 mark viii ds, antenna hole=gone, kooks headers 1.75" primaries, 2.5" catless duals, midmount magnaflow, 96-97 sport wheels with 255/50/16 sumitomo HTR Zs, optima in the trunk, new motor...94 mark 6/6/08
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2009, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update... I did not have to remove the tie rods. So far, changing the LCAs is no problem; the only real pain so far was putting it all back together, mainly putting the strut rod back into the K- frame. Took 1 hour to do the drivers side.
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