Upper Control Arm Install Tips - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 07-19-2009, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Upper Control Arm Install Tips

If anyone on this forum with a '94-'97 T-Bird/Cougar (maybe '89-'93 is the same; I'm not sure, though) needs to have their upper control arms replaced and are thinking of doing the work themselves, I say if you have even only a little mechanical ability - go for it!! It's NOT very hard! I did mine yesterday, by myself, in about 2 hours. Here are a few tips that might help you:

1. DEFINITELY get an 18mm ratcheting wrench if you do not already have one. I picked up a Craftsman at Sears for $24 (including tax).

2. Reuse the factory nuts and bolts where the arm attaches to the shock tower (the pivot bolts). The factory bolts have a tab or a flag on them to prevent them from rotating while you're trying to tighten the nuts; it'll save you the hassle of having to put a wrench on the bolt head to keep the bolt from rotating. Just use some Lok-Tite on them when you're done.

3. It's NOT necessary to remove the shock/strut & coil spring assembly; I have big hands and easily got my hands behind the springs to put the bolts back in.

4. Put your hand UNDER the master cylinder (on the driver's-side of the master cylinder) to loosen or tighten the rear nut - I think there's more room to swing the wrench on that side. The rear brake line coming out of the master cylinder on the other side is in the way.

5 Loosen and remove the bolt (use a 10mm wrench) holding the clamp onto the A/C accumulator - that'll allow the accunulator to be pushed out of the way a little easier. It's a VERY tight fit to get the wrench on the nut unless you do that. There was also a large wire harness in the way, it went to a large plastic connector (like the one on the driver's-side where the main vehicle harness passes through the firewall) on the passenger-side of the accumulator with a bolt through the top holding the two connector halves together. I loosened that bolt (also takes a 10mm wrench), seperated the two connector halves and moved the harness out of the way.

6. Before you tighten the pivot bolts/nuts for the UCA's, put the tires back on the car and lower it to the ground. You need to tighten them with the car on the ground at normal ride height so you don't distort/damage the UCA pivot bushings. Tighten them to between 65-88 lb-ft.

I was amazed how easy it was; I now have enough confidence to replace my lower control arms/tension strut bushings by myself. I've had the lower control arms for about a month now (they're the correct TRW-made arms for my '97 T-Bird Sport - the same ones the '95 SuperCoupe used!) and was going to pay a shop to do all the work. After I got a $900 estimate (for labor ONLY!), I decided to tackle the work myself - I'm glad I did!

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