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removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

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Old 10-28-2017, 09:50 AM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

I needed a nipple just like you to get the spring to compress enough. My spring compressor did the same exact thing with the bunged threads but mine was a loaner tool and I just returned it.
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Old 10-28-2017, 01:59 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

fossil foumd in spring pocket


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Old 10-28-2017, 04:30 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Control arm removal - beginning to end

Even if you don't watch the full hour, the little "oops" just after the 24:00 mark is worth a look.

Lots of screaming and chain-sawing background noise.

Post-apocolyptica

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Old 10-29-2017, 01:37 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Yikes. I cringed at the strut coming down. You could have been really hurt there.
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Old 10-29-2017, 01:44 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

The lord looks out for fools and small children.
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Old 10-29-2017, 02:11 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Tell that horrible line to the billions of starving ones across the world...


seriously if your going to be posting videos for other members (possibly newcomers) to follow along SAFETY should be #1 priority!!!

The previous post you made you laughed and made a joke about not doing a "ow my *****" technique... Watch that part tootie is referring too... That was a close call to your family jewels....!!!!
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Old 10-29-2017, 03:34 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Raining today, so not good weather for lying in the driveway.

Examined the old strut-mount towers.

I now see exactly in what manner these towers fail.
The rubber tears pretty dramatically.

These towers are 29 years old on a car with 86K on the odometer.
V6 motor.

This is the tower from the driver's side.
Passenger side was equally perished.

A way to visualize exactly how these towers are put together is to imagine the Russian nesting dolls.

In the case of the third gen, the strut tower is made of four "dolls."
Top and bottom "dolls" are metal (big black metal flanges).
The two middle "dolls" are heavy duty RUBBER.

The two middle "dolls" are riveted together by six rivets, which also serve to keep-centered the ball-bearing bushing that supports the shaft of the strut.

So, with all these dolls sandwiched together, the strut has a flexible, but sturdy, mounting point.

With age, and use, the rubber (the two middle "dolls") begins to rip. Eventually, both middle dolls will tear 360 degrees around the center ball-bearing bushing, and the strut will punch the the bushing completely out of the "dolls' nest."

Dead struts like were on my car probably slow the progress toward the catastrophic punch-through.

Arrows show where mine was ripped.

View from the top


View from the bottom
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Old 10-29-2017, 03:48 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Getting the new tie-rods ready.

Ball-pivots of the old ones were still reasonably tight, but seems worthwhile to bring as much of the steering parts as possible up to 2017 condition. 1988 was a long time ago.

And the old tie-rod parts were crusty and disgusting (even if they weren't completely worn out like some of the other suspension parts).


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Old 10-30-2017, 10:03 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Yep...I'd say you get all the miles out of those mounts.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:23 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Installed the second control arm today.

Control arm went in OK, but got no farther in the re-assembly of that side due to death of the Autocraft spring compressor today.

Spring-compressor action begins at 26:45

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Old 10-31-2017, 08:55 AM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

I don't think you are supposed to torque the control arm mounts to spec until the suspension is completely assembled, and the vehicles weight is on the tires. In other words, probably on a drive-on lift, or a pit.

The reason is, once tightened, the bushings are now pinched tight in their mount. As you noted, very hard to move now. That's because you are twisting the rubber bushing. And some amount of movement is by design. But beyond that designed amount of twist, the bushing will be destroyed. That's why you torque them with the car on the ground, under load. That becomes the "mid-point" of their travel. They can now travel some in each direction without destroying the bushing. As is, you may tear the rubber just pushing the arm up to meet the strut.

I destroyed a spring compressor with air tools once...welded the nut right to the threaded rod...got too hot turning it too fast under a high load. I've turned these by hand ever since, and not had another problem. Slow, but it doesn't destroy the tools. Most might argue with that, but that was my experience. I was fortunate...the nut was just about to the end of it's travel when it failed, so when I cut the bolt with a torch, there was little to no tension on the spring. If it had been fully compressed, that would have been another ball game.

High Pressure Lube (HPL) on the threads is a (thread) life saver. You can get little tubes of it at your auto parts store. Coat those threads well. It's cheap insurance.

My compressors are external style, like you might use on a strut. The only good thing about one failing is that when I bought another set, I now have 3. So I can spread the load more evenly than with 2. Won't help me much when I have to do my springs on the T/A though.
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:10 AM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Thanks Dave.

I guess we will find out about the bushings.

For what its worth, I put lube on the bushings and lube on the flanges where the bushings make contact.

If torque against the bushings were harmful, wouldn't the violent movement of the control arm as the car is driven cause equally-harmful torque forces against the bushing?

The range of motion of the control arm once everything is tied together is at least as great as the range of motion to lift the control arm to the point where one may begin to install the steering knuckle and strut.
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:13 AM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

third gen Camaro control arm - spring compressor and installation

Raw and UN-edited.

Video runs 1 hour and 45 minutes.

TLDW version:
  • Begins with wrasslin' match with Autocraft AC685 spring compressor.
  • Has a moment of uncertainty when I think the compressor has crapped-out prematurely, without compressing the spring as far as I wanted.
  • Resumes when I realize there is no way I'm getting the spring in the car without compressing it more.
  • Much fiddling around trying to get top of spring to align with top of spring pocket and pocket on control arm.
  • Much fiddling around to position the jack.
  • Eventually realized it would work better if I de-scaled the top of the spring pocket, and lubricated it with a little grease.
  • Finally got the spring to seat at the top of the pocket.
  • Jacked-up the control arm, and compressed the spring further.
  • Bolted steering-knuckle/spindle/rotor assembly to the control arm.
  • Almost forgot the dust boot on the ball joint.
  • Demonstrated the aphrodisiac qualities of the 10mm wrench.
  • Bolted the bottom of the strut to the steering-knuckle.
  • Bolted the strut-bearing/strut-mount to the fender.
  • Bolted the top of the strut to the strut-bearing/strut-mount.
  • Lowered the jack and prematurely declared victory.
  • Realized I had forgotten to remove the spring compressor from the spring.
  • Jacked the control arm up again.
  • Removed the sping compressor.
  • Officially declared victory.
  • Boo-Yahhhh!!!!

Last edited by W.E.G.; 01-08-2018 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:19 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

On the road again!

Front end definitely sits higher than before.

Handles like a completely different car.

It was a lot of work, but I am SO GLAD I did it.

Will be playing with the alignment a little over the weekend. Tires are old, so not sure I will accomplish a lot in the alignment department. It drives great just as-is.

Booo-Yahhhhh!!!


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Old 11-06-2017, 05:05 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Crucible road test today.

WOT --- 5th gear --- straight road --- hands off wheel

Cruised straight as an arrow until crown of road caused it to drift toward the downside of the crown ever so slightly.

Nice.

Gotta say I REALLY LIKE also being able to turn into parking lots without the air dam scuffing the pavement.
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Old 12-20-2017, 01:52 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Follow up post.

Been driving this car a lot. Still tracking straight, and not nearly as "sporty" going over rough pavement.

Went to re-install the cone-shaped caps on the new strut-tower mounts. Discovered that the inside-diameter of the new part is too small diameter to allow the cones to snap into place. I might be able to whittle on the cone-caps to make them fit (sort of). I think that would look pretty half-***, so I think I'll just leave them off.
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Old 12-20-2017, 01:53 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

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Old 12-27-2017, 07:00 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

I swear you look familiar... where in NOVA are you from? I mean really familiar. I'm in Laurel, MD, used to be very active with the local f-body groups with a black '97 WS6 TA, but I almost feel like it's from something more recent... maybe we should take it offline.

Nice videos but a few comments:
  • 90% of the time the easiest way to get the ball joints out on these cars is to rest the control arm on some support (2 boards on the outside edges of the control arm) and just whack the top stud of the ball joint with a sledgehammer and it comes right out. When it doesn't I've found the easiest way is some black iron plumbing adapters and a press. One of those tools is only really meant for doing the job on the car.
  • the best and safest way to pull springs is to support the control arm with a jack and then pull the pivot bolts. It's a little more work to line up the bolt holes to re-assemble it, but it's MUCH safer. Even if the spring does get hung up and releases with some force, you have the strut, spindle, brakes and control arm between you and it, and none of that can come out far enough to "bite" you.
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Old 01-01-2018, 09:16 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

I like the idea of using the control arm and a jack to sandwich the spring back into the pocket. Especially since the $30 compressor tools turned out to really only last for one use.

Will definitely try the sandwich method next time I do this job.

Unless you are into competitive rifle, we probably haven’t crossed paths on the playground. I’m only now just getting back into cars after a 40-year layoff.
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:40 AM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Lowering springs usually have a free height that is short enough to install by just jacking up on the control arm. Stock type springs are taller and I would expect to have to use a spring compressor.

I once installed a set of Moroso drag springs in my car and that was some scary crap. It'll make you pretty nervous picking up a set of springs that have been compressed as far as physically possible. And they still would not install in the a-arm pocket. I had to raise the a-arm using a jack with the springs partly in the pocket, then completely remove the spring compressor and resituate the compressor inside the coils for another round of compression. Oh, hell no I'm not doing that again! And I sold those springs soon after.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:25 AM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

I've never done the sandwich method. But, I have tried to visualize the method others have described. Here is the the sandwich method as I understand it. Please feel free to correct me if I've incorrectly described it.

The sandwich method (as I understand it) works best if you run a strong ratchet strap from one side of the underside of the body of your floor jack, and then over the K-member, and then back down to the other side of the underside of your floor jack.

Without the ratchet strap, you may end up lifting the whole front of the car off your jack stands using the sandwich method.

You will need to take up the slack on the ratchet strap as you pump the floor jack. This better be the best ratchet strap you can afford, because I think this method is asking a lot of the ratchet strap.

I stole an image from another member's post to use as a reference. I added the thick red line on the right. The thick red line is the path I believe the ratchet strap must take when using the sandwich method.

Remember, the sandwich method is using the force of gravity (weight of the car), and the force of a ratchet strap to compress the spring while the front of your car is balanced on jack stands. My biggest concern about the sandwich method is the dance you will have to do with the floor jack under the control arm in order to simultaneously position the control-arm bushings to line up with the mounting points on the body while also using the floor jack to compress (sandwich) the spring.

I almost think you would be best served if you use TWO floor jacks. One to do the heavy lifting of compressing ("sandwiching") the control arm against the spring, and serving as a tie-down point for the ratchet strap. Then, use the second floor jack to finesse the bushing-ends of the control arms into the exact location to allow you to get the control arm pivot bolts installed.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the parts and concepts here, what you are looking at in the pic is the part known as the "K-Member." This is the view of a stripped K-member, viewing from above the car. As if you were, standing on the dash, looking into the engine bay, with the hood removed. Your engine bolts to the K-member by way of two motor mounts. If you look carefully, just to the the left of the red line, you can see the outline of where one of the motor mounts was present before the K-member was stripped. On the opposite side, you can actually see the motor-mount outline a little bit better. The motor mount is actually your friend in the sandwich method, as the motor mount will limit how far your ratchet strap can creep out of position while the strap is being tightened. The spring has to be sandwiched under the circular "bumps" you see on each side of the K-member.



Last edited by W.E.G.; 01-02-2018 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:47 AM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

I'm just about to order everything you've just covered. Great coverage and going to be a great help. Who did you order the parts from?
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Old 01-05-2018, 05:09 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Got most of the parts from Advance Auto.

Advance gives you 20-30% off the listed price and free shipping.

You get better discounts if you clear your cookies before accessing the Advance site.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:32 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

I commend you on doing your bushing yourself. I gave up and had a shop do them, lol.
Everything else was super easy, though.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:26 PM
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Re: removing ball joint and bushings from factory control arm

Thanks.

I’ve had such bad luck with getting any competent or trustworthy local shops to work on my third gen, I came to the realization that I was gonna need to do this stuff myself, or it was never gonna get done, or the car was going to be ruined by incompetent techs who can’t be trusted to do an oil change without ruining something. If something’s gonna get broken, at least I might as well be the one responsible.
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