Control arm replacement sequence - TCCoA Forums
 1Likes
  • 1 Post By 97 V8 Swap
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
Control arm replacement sequence

In another thread, I found some bad looking parts in my suspension.






I have new upper and lower control arms and sway bar links to start with. I decided to tackle the left upper control arm first. It wasn't too difficult to remove the old one. Only 1 of the 3 bolts was properly tightened. So nothing was too tight. The new upper control is loosely installed. The manuals say to tighten the bushings with the arm in horizontal position. It's a bit hard to judge the best position of horizontal with the car on jack stands and not being familiar with it.

Since I will be replacing everything connected to the spindle, what order works best? It seems like I may need to connect the upper control arm to the spindle in order to separate the lower balljoint. The manual says to support the upper control arm when the lower control arm is removed so the bushings aren't stressed. Maybe it would be better to do the lower arm first. Any tips on the sway bar links would help too! Thanks!

Last edited by 97 V8 Swap; 08-22-2018 at 07:14 PM.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 11:52 AM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

Moderator
 
Grog6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Harriman, TN
Age: 56
Posts: 10,114
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by 97 V8 Swap View Post
In another thread, I found some bad looking parts in my suspension.






I have new upper and lower control arms and sway bar links to start with. I decided to tackle the left upper control arm first. It wasn't too difficult to remove the old one. Only 1 of the 3 bolts was properly tightened. So nothing was too tight. The new upper control is loosely installed. The manuals say to tighten the bushings with the arm in horizontal position. It's a bit hard to judge the best position of horizontal with the car on jack stands and not being familiar with it.

Since I will be replacing everything connected to the spindle, what order works best? It seems like I may need to connect the upper control arm to the spindle in order to separate the lower balljoint. The manual says to support the upper control arm when the lower control arm is removed so the bushings aren't stressed. Maybe it would be better to do the lower arm first. Any tips on the sway bar links would help too! Thanks!

You're removing/replacing almost everything, or you should be.

Upper and lower control arm replacement is pretty straightforward; do the upper, leave the bolts slightly loose.

Support the spindle with a large releaseable wire tie to the upper shock spring, so it's not hanging from the brake lines.

Put the lower arm on, leaving is slightly loose at the frame and shock absorber.

Replace the LCA side strut rod bushings; you may have to leave this a bit loose until everything is partially assembled.

I'd replace the shocks, if they're original.
Tokico Blues are recommended, unless you want to spend even more.
Ready-struts are an option, but you won't be happy with how soft they are.

Replace the sway bar endlinks.

Put the lower balljoint back in the spindle, and tighten it up.

*Use components that are regreaseable.*

After everything is loosely reassembled, put the jack under the LCA, and put enough pressure on it to move it up into place, then tighten everything up.

You will need an alignment, so I'd do both sides first.

Here's a good thread; we just need to fix the picture links.

http://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensio...t-numbers.html

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


"War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength." - George Orwell.
Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote
Grog6 is online now  
post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
I'm sure the right side will go quicker than the left. I'm replacing 3 commonly replaced parts and if there is a wrong order to do it, that is likely how I'm doing it.

I removed the upper arm first. I bolted the new one in with the upper arm horizontal. At that point, the ball joint stud wasn't close to going into the spindle, even with a jack lifting the car by the lower ball joint. Then I read about tightening the upper control arm with the weight of the car in on it. So I loosened the nuts so the bushings are loose. Then it seemed like the sway bar link was limiting movement. So I removed the sway bar link. One thing that wasn't mentioned in anything I read is that it is necessary to unbolt the caliper. The sway bar link hits the metal brake line unless the caliper is rotated slightly. I suppose the metal brake line could be slightly tweaked. But moving the caliper was simple enough once I found my Torx T55. I loosely bolted in the sway bar links.

So now the new upper control arm is not connected to the spindle and wired out of the way. The sway bar link is connected. The spindle is bungee corded to the spring to keep it upright. I decided to loosen the lower ball joint nut next. I was able to get it loose despite the sway bar link that was limiting movement of the wrench. Next time I will leave the sway bar side disconnected until the lower ball joint is tightened.

So now I'm ready to get back to it and take out the lower control arm.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 10:49 PM
Kind of slapped together
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Bossier City, LA
Age: 63
Posts: 4,852
I had to pull down on the upper control arm while jacking up on the LOWER control arm to get the upper ball joint stud into the spindle; while doing this, I slipped the pinch bolt in and then Bob's Yer Uncle!

But yes, I find it a lot easier to do the torquing with the UCA level and disconnected from the spindle; but that's me.

(If you're going to do it on the ground, it may pay to keep the flags on the old bolts so that they won't walk around; otherwise, you get the "fun" of figuring out how to hold the bolts while tightening the nuts, with the rest of the suspension in the way ... )

RwP

Fuelly
RalphP is offline  
post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-05-2017, 05:23 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

Moderator
 
Grog6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Harriman, TN
Age: 56
Posts: 10,114
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphP View Post
(If you're going to do it on the ground, it may pay to keep the flags on the old bolts so that they won't walk around; otherwise, you get the "fun" of figuring out how to hold the bolts while tightening the nuts, with the rest of the suspension in the way ... )

RwP
I never dink with those, because they make it really easy to put back; a dob of grease on the bolt, and it won't fall out easily.

Vicegrips is about the only other way, because the bolt is deformed, lol.

And that's a really bad place for cheap bolts.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


"War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength." - George Orwell.
Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote
Grog6 is online now  
post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-05-2017, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
I didn't have any problem with the flag bolts. It's possible to reach over the fender and hold the flag bolt with one hand and use a wrench on the nut with the other hand. At least it was for me. I also read how people can't reach the nut under the master cylinder. I had no problem getting a box end wrench on it, but it does take a while to remove. Whoever put the control arm in before didn't fully tighten that nut and the metal on the bushing was moving a tiny bit. The control arm was loose, not worn.

Today I bought some 21 mm wrenches. The lower control arm, shock and strut rod are attached with 21 mm nuts and bolts. The rear suspension has issues too. So I'll get my money's worth from the 21 mm wrenches.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-05-2017, 10:24 PM
Kind of slapped together
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Bossier City, LA
Age: 63
Posts: 4,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by 97 V8 Swap View Post
I didn't have any problem with the flag bolts. It's possible to reach over the fender and hold the flag bolt with one hand and use a wrench on the nut with the other hand.
Well, with the flag bolts, towards the end, the flag will keep the bolt from spinning; break the flag off or use a new bolt, and you have to hold it ALL the way down!

(Grog6 is right; a touch of front end grease, and it won't pivot as you're tightening up that first bit as easily.)

RwP

Fuelly
RalphP is offline  
post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 07:17 AM
4th Gear Poster
 
Kenz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: SYR, NY
Posts: 328
I found it easier to remove the Flags. They come off with just a tap with them in a vice. With them off you can get them installed from the inside of the strut (gonna trigger some of you ) tower a lot faster . Of course you want to torque them up on the nut end, you can get them mostly there with the bolt though.

96 Cougar Sport - T45 Swapped
Kenz is offline  
post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
I pulled the lower control arm off. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with it and had probably been recently replaced.

I took some pictures comparing the AC Delco Professional to what was there. The AC Delco seems to have a bigger ball joint with an Allen hole in the stud. In some places the forging is narrower and the AC Delco seems to weigh less. The surfaces that the strut rod bushing ride on seem to have a wider surface area and are machined. But since AC Delco knowingly doesn't always send parts that were requested, I will never consider AC Delco parts again. It's been a poorly run company with quality control problems for decades. These control arms are double the price of some other OEM lines.

Last edited by 97 V8 Swap; 08-22-2018 at 07:14 PM.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 06:01 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

Moderator
 
Grog6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Harriman, TN
Age: 56
Posts: 10,114
Garage
AC delco bought Raybestos line of parts for us.

The ones you show suck, and are the lower cost version.

The good ones have gold, large, balljoints, and grease fittings. 3 years plus on the first set, so far.

Amazon is not showing then as available, and RA is showing the wrong pic, like what you have.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


"War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength." - George Orwell.
Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote

Last edited by Grog6; 09-06-2017 at 06:09 PM.
Grog6 is online now  
post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-07-2017, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
After getting most of the left side together, I know how I'm going to do the right side. I will loosen up everything on the lower control arm first. Remove the shock to lower arm bolt. Remove the strut rod nut. Then disconnect the upper ball joint and remove the upper control arm and secure the spindle to the spring. It was a huge pain to have the spindle disconnected from both ball joints and try to work with the lower control arm. With the upper control arm loosely mounted it's easy to connect to the spindle and that keeps it from tipping. At first, I couldn't get the strut rod into the control arm. But I found I could twist it into a position that would just make it into the hole in the control arm. Then twist it back as you hold it when tightening the nut. Lower ball joint gets connected last.

The strut rod bushings seem OK. I can see the Ford part numbers on them and they don't look stressed.
Natesriv likes this.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-07-2017, 06:47 AM
6th Gear Poster
 
Natesriv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Kansas City
Age: 49
Posts: 584
Garage
When I put my UCA on, I tightened them with the wheels drooping, kept hearing a squeaking rubber grating sound. Had to find level ground, then loosen the two upper bolts, then retighten...no noise. So yeah, level is important! Next for me is the LCA, end links and shock/springs.... oh boy. I'll be reading a LOT of this thread!

God created Arakis to train the faithful... One cannot go against the word of God.........
Natesriv is offline  
post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
Today I followed a better plan on the right side and it worked out well.

I started on the lower control arm. First I removed the through bolt for the shock. It's a flag bolt and it's probably not necessary to hold the flag end. There's a 21 mm nut on the other side. Once the shock was free pulled it back and stuck an Allen wrench in the hole through the control arm and jammed the shock behind it. That gave several extra inches of movement without having to fight the spring. You might have to turn the steering wheel to get the bolt to clear the tie rod.

Then I loosened the stabilizer link and lower ball joint and left the nuts on loosely.

Last edited by 97 V8 Swap; 08-22-2018 at 07:14 PM.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
Clean the area where the alignment bolt attaches to the frame and mark it and take pictures. Ultimately the new lower control should end up mounted in exactly the same position.

Now the Strut rod bushing can be loosened. There should be a rubber steering stop attached to the end of the rod. It can be unscrewed by turning with your hand. Hold the flat part of the strut rod with a big adjustable wrench while you loosen the 24 mm nut. Remove the nut and metal cup. Someone installed the cup backward on this side of my car. It was making a racket! There's a bushing behind the cup that will come out at some point.

From here I went to the upper control arm and replaced it. The old lower control arm is still on the car

Check everything very carefully. My car had multiple issues due to ignorance.

Last edited by 97 V8 Swap; 08-22-2018 at 07:14 PM.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
I wired the top of the spindle to the spring and changed the upper control arm. Someone had done this before and that may be why the main wire harness is not attached to a bracket near the right rear corner of the engine compartment. I unplugged the connector at the AC accumulator and was able to move the wires. I removed the bracket, which was held in by an 8 mm bolt. I removed the 10 mm bolt holding the AC accumulator. Yes, it is possible to get a wrench on that dreaded nut. It's just tedious, doing the old flip the wrench routine. Whoever worked on this suspension before had little concept of how tight things need to be.

The front nut is easy to get to once the air intake tube is removed.

Leave the bushings loose so they barely touch the mountings points and the new ball joint should go right into the spindle tied to the spring. Put the pinch bolt in. You can tighten the nut when you are sure everything is correct.

I see why the manuals say to mount the control arm in a horizontal position and tighten the nuts. It's the correct position, you close the hood and it's done. Leaving the nuts loose makes it so you don't have work so hard to line things up. And you know it's not binding. But it adds several steps to the process.

Last edited by 97 V8 Swap; 08-22-2018 at 07:14 PM.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
Now with the spindle attached to the upper ball joint, it won't fall on you while you change the lower control arm.

Take off the pivot hardware and the ball joint nut. Then carefully separate the control arm from the strut rod. I twisted the strut rod into a different position and pushed it a bit and the lower control arm was free.

Put the strut rod into the new control arm. Mount the control arm to the frame with the ailment hardware and leave it slightly loose. Rotate the alignment cam so the control arm goes as for to the outside as possible. The lower ball joint stud should easily go into the spindle in this position. Make sure everything is correctly positioned and installed before you tighten the strut rod nut.

The last thing I did was to connect the shock. A floor jack and big screwdriver helped get the through bolt in. That through bolt is supposed to be tightened when the car is sitting on tires and on the ground. I think the lower control arm pivot should be tightened in a similar way.

Make sure everything is in place and torque the ball joint nut and strut rod nut.

It was helpful to leave the sway bar link until last. It keeps the spindle from tipping sideways. The caliper needs to be lifted about half way off the brake pads to remove the sway bar end of the link.

And double check everything. Especially if you have junk from AC Delco. The one correct professional or heavy duty control arm that AC Delco bothered to send came with a flange nut. At first, this seems heavy duty and professional. But as I tightened the nut, I could see it was going to pinch the ball joint boot. And if I held the boot away, the nut was still above the surface of the spindle. So if that nut is used, the boot is ruined instantly.

Last edited by 97 V8 Swap; 08-22-2018 at 07:14 PM.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-10-2017, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
I got everything together and it's a tremendous improvement! My arms are sore from wrenching. It's difficult to tighten the bushings at ride height while the car sitting on the ground. I got the nuts as tight as possible while sitting on the ground and made marks with crayon. Then put the car on jack stands and torqued the bushings.

The flag bolts on the upper control arms suck. It would be much better to tighten the flag side. Then you can just hold a wrench on the inside to keep the nut stationary. If they don't stay tight I will break the flags or get different fasteners.

I put a jack under the lower ball joint and lifted the car off the jack stand and tightened the lower control arm bushing and marked the bushing. But when I put the wheels on the car and lowered it, the control arm was in a very different position. It took more than one try and several times on and off the jack stands. I did get the alignment eccentrics back on nearly perfect.

It's good to go through the suspension because there were some improperly installed fasteners and some of the nuts weren't tight. I should have taken it apart before I threw too many parts at it. There were really only two major problems. On the driver side, the bushing cup for the strut rod nut at the control arm was backward. There was a tiny bit of play that caused huge problems. It caused the steering to shimmy and made noise. When the car is put in drive after being in reverse it would really bang over bumps until it shimmied back. The other problem was a badly worn right lower ball joint.

It's nice because I can put a few miles on it and make sure everything is right before getting it aligned. Also, the rear needs attention too.

Last edited by 97 V8 Swap; 08-22-2018 at 07:14 PM.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-10-2017, 01:12 PM
Humble MN12 Genius
Super Moderator
 
XR7-4.6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Roselle IL
Posts: 16,645
Garage
Send a message via Yahoo to XR7-4.6
Putting the jack under the control arm when tightening won't fully alleviate bushing bind, the tires should be on the ground, (i.e. ramps or alignment rack) when you torque the alignment eccentrics as well as shock absorber pivots. The centerline of the tire is further out than than the ball joint so the extra leverage will compress the spring further, also if the sway bar is connected and the other side is still at full droop the side you're compressing will have additional resistance. I mean it's better than tightening at full droop, but it's something to keep in mind.

The UCA flags are convenient if you didn't make note of the arms resting position before disassembly, so if you replace them you can simply drop the car down with the nuts loosened and then tighten. They're especially useful with lowering springs since the position will most definitely be different. If you know the exact position though, I agree, the flags can go.

-Matt
XR7-4.6 is offline  
post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-10-2017, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
3rd Gear Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 134
I read on an old thread that the upper control arm bushing bolt size is M12-1.75 x 55mm. I should have a set of these just in case I need them. Bolts with a flange may stick out a bit further and make it easier to hold with a wrench.

The AC Delco lower control arms had threaded holes for the grease fittings. The "Professional" right upper control up just had a hole that is supposed to be self-tapping. I used a regular grease fitting to tap it and then put the kooky angled one on the came with the control arm. When I pulled the grease gun off the Zerk pulled right out. I won't be wasting money on AC Delco products ever again.
97 V8 Swap is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the TCCoA Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome