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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading the threads for about 2 hours now... I haven't really found it so if anyone knows or finds a thread already spoken about it then i apoligize in advance!

I'm just stressing out right now and have been reading the CHILTON book FRONT TO BACK, researched the internet until my eyes got all blurry...


i cant apply for JOBS with it sitting on my driveway (grunts):poke:



ANYWAYS here's my question- i havent really understood the DOs and DONTs of removing the control arms

1) Is it okay to remove BOTH arms (ONE SIDE @ a time)? I wanted to clean and paint it as well do the bushing/ball joint myself (thanks to LOAN a TOOL)

2) Passenger side lower control arm has few cracks nearby the shock bolts (****!!)
can i just take the arm to a local welder or it has to be replaced?? not terrible but its visual

Tomorrow i plan to get my hands dirty! exactly at 8am tomorrow!! so i'll be keeping an eye on this thread----hopefully someone can give me some insights


Just to add I've already removed the wheels, i've cleaned the area free of grease or crust, i've already written down ALL the THREAD counts

***i plan to do those in STEPS let me know if im making any mistake*****

CAR IS ALREADY JACKED UP

1) JACK the lower A arm to compress the spring then use a spring compressor, loosen the jack-

2) Remove the front shock through the bottom

3) undo ALL the bolts (UPPER/LOWER control arms/tie rod (ONE SIDE @ a time)

4) remove the spring and disconnect tie rods from the sleeve, REMOVE bushings & BALL JOINTs

5) sanded/painted/PRESSED BUSHINGS (4)& 2 ball joints

6) Assemble everything back in reverse



DID I MISS ANYTHING?? I mean i've gone it over and over in my head, hell i've even drawn out the steps and visualized every part possible like a 3-d in my mind and on paper so i dont want to be surprised or stumped as i start on it tmw
 

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Looks good to me, i did remove both sides at the same time. If you have a sway bar remove it first or you wont get the arm to come down far enough to remove the springs.
The NUMBER 1 thing i missed was when you go to tighten the bolts back up on the bushings they need to be tightened as if it were sitting on the ground (preloaded as they call it) otherwise there will be squeaks and it can destroy your nice new bushings.
 

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Biggest thing: BE CAREFUL! If something goes wrong and your spring comes flyin out, itll kill ya! Iv seen people go as far as chaining the spring in place just as a precaution.

Good luck!
 

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In my opinion, the most important "don't", is don't use a spring compresser. You might want to see if a shop near you will press in your new bushings and the new lower ball joint for you. There's a couple reasons why you may not prefer to use a spring compresser. First of all, they're extremely dangerous. If you don't have a top quality American made unit, they can snap, and those G-body front springs hold a lot of energy and can do a lot of damage. There is an alternate, safer, procedure to set the front springs in place. Once your new parts are installed, just fasten the lower arm only at the ball joint to the spindle, with the two frame bolts out and then, place a floor jack under the center of the lower control arm. Place the uncompressed spring in place with the pig tail properly positioned, and start jacking up the lower arm until you can line up the control arm bushing holes with the holes in the frame saddles and insert the bolts. It's much easier if you have a partner to help line them up, but you can do it alone. This way, (1) you don't need to acquire a quality spring compressor, and (2) the installation is much safer.
 

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I'd unbolt the shock at the bottom, then unbolt and break the lower ball joint loose with a pickle fork with a floor jack in place jacked up and touching the lower A-arm. Then, lower it so it is fully extended down. The spring will not fall out because the lip on the control arm is holding it in place. You can use a pry bar to dislodge the spring, which cannot go anywhere because the shock is through the middle of it. Dislodge it and remove.
 

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The question I have is why is the lower control arm cracked? I myself have never seen, not saying it doesn`t happen, any cracks in lower control arms,,, I have done a bunch,, so here is what I would do if you can,, go get a salvage yard set or buy a good non-cracked arms from another member here ,, redo them with new parts, have them sitting there ready to go,, and within just a few short hours your ready to go to the alinement shop for proper settings. Now your ready in a safe manor to start putting in job apps,, just my .02,,, Matty man
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm just kinda pissed that the 4 different shops i've taken it to over the last 4 months for various reason including in the beginning a "FULL/SAFETY" inspection..

I had to find out that i had no rubber bushings at all on the left side (completely shot) my engine mount/tranny mount and sway bar mounts were SOAKED and looks SHOT

i had been driving it 80+mph or played around in the desert with bad ball joints and a cracked lower arm... i cant believe those people jeoparized my life like that... i def chaulked this up as an experience i'll take a thorough inspection the next time

to answer the question "WHY" is it cracked, i have no idea, from the look of it its pushing downward i would assume the car is pushing on it rather than an object impacting it would show an UPWARD
or i could be wrong it was impacted by something then the weigh of the car's been pushing down on it??

i'm on a limited funds as i dont have a job yet... i do have few prospects but they require me to use my car to drive around for clients or the other job would entail me to work as a videophone installer for the deaf people, hence the need for the car...

as of right now i only have less than friggin $200 to do this front end work... (not even $200!! but i'm willing to go hungry for the next 2 weeks) or call up my mom!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'd unbolt the shock at the bottom, then unbolt and break the lower ball joint loose with a pickle fork with a floor jack in place jacked up and touching the lower A-arm. Then, lower it so it is fully extended down. The spring will not fall out because the lip on the control arm is holding it in place. You can use a pry bar to dislodge the spring, which cannot go anywhere because the shock is through the middle of it. Dislodge it and remove. http://www.turbobuicks.com/forums/images/smilies/yup.gif

so let me see if i understand what ur saying

First undo the bottom shock 2 bolts only not the top one? and all the while having a JACK press the arm up (how much of a "TOUCH" or pressure should i apply?)

so ure saying slowly let the arm down with the jack all the while it'll slowly uncompress the spring? and the spring shouldnt fly out due to the shock still in the middle of the spring, that totally makes sense to me (In theory?)

So what about putting the spring break i've been wondering how do i compress it enough to put it back in?
 

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so let me see if i understand what ur saying

First undo the bottom shock 2 bolts only not the top one? and all the while having a JACK press the arm up (how much of a "TOUCH" or pressure should i apply?)

so ure saying slowly let the arm down with the jack all the while it'll slowly uncompress the spring? and the spring shouldnt fly out due to the shock still in the middle of the spring, that totally makes sense to me (In theory?)

So what about putting the spring break i've been wondering how do i compress it enough to put it back in?
Just have the jack saddle near enough to the bottom control arm, that when you break the ball joint union w/ a pickle fork, the control arm immediately makes contact with the jack saddle. Place no pressure up against the control arm. When it separates, lower it with the jack. Yes, just the two bottom shock bolts because you want to leave the shock attached to prevent the spring from jumping out when you pry it off the control arm.

Yes, to your second paragraph.

It doesn't need to be compressed to put it back in. With the inside bolts unattached, the control arm swings down far enough to place the spring in place without compressing. Compress it by raising the jack saddle until you can slide the inner A-arm bolts in place. By the way, front and rear bolts are a different length. Take note which is which, and put them in, in the direction you removed them. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Looks good to me, i did remove both sides at the same time. If you have a sway bar remove it first or you wont get the arm to come down far enough to remove the springs.
The NUMBER 1 thing i missed was when you go to tighten the bolts back up on the bushings they need to be tightened as if it were sitting on the ground (preloaded as they call it) otherwise there will be squeaks and it can destroy your nice new bushings.

help me understand this, how do u preload it? i do have a torque bar a friend loaned to me, so with the wheels up in the air when i torque everthing it wont be enough as i set it down on the ground??

what should i be doing? i'll literally be replacing every mount front end needs except the motor mounts and radiator mounts for another time
 

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Discussion Starter #11
what about the spindle/rotor/caliper

yea i completely got it, i got one more question tho, i'm kind of wondering what happens to the spindle/rotor ?

If i pickle fork the upper and bottom then i'm thinking the spindle will be detached with the rotor and caliper still attached...

am i going to need to tie the spindle to the car as i take the arms off or what?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The question I have is why is the lower control arm cracked? I myself have never seen, not saying it doesn`t happen, any cracks in lower control arms,,, I have done a bunch,, so here is what I would do if you can,, go get a salvage yard set or buy a good non-cracked arms from another member here ,, redo them with new parts, have them sitting there ready to go,, and within just a few short hours your ready to go to the alinement shop for proper settings. Now your ready in a safe manor to start putting in job apps,, just my .02,,, Matty man

believe me i agree with you 100%, sadly in this situation its something i have to bankroll or gamble my baby (the car)'s safety with... a JB weld or professionaly weld

i dont have enough money to buy the bottom control arm... i'm kind of in a dilemma...

i need to know if WELDING is a BIG NO NO or there is a SLIGHT POSSIBILITY that its gonna be alright?? just be honest i can take it!:Eyecrazy:

basically this is my idea, if welding is DO-ABLE then i will be doing that route... once i start getting my paychecks i will be able to buy the tubulars upper and lowers when the time is right for me...
 

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yea i completely got it, i got one more question tho, i'm kind of wondering what happens to the spindle/rotor ?

If i pickle fork the upper and bottom then i'm thinking the spindle will be detached with the rotor and caliper still attached...

am i going to need to tie the spindle to the car as i take the arms off or what?
It will be much easier if you take off the caliper, rotor, and then spindle.
 

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I always remove the brake caliper and hang it off the small brake line with safety wire or a HD zip tie,, dont let the caliper hang by the rubber flex brake line,,, that way you will keep dirt and junk out of the front wheel bearings,, repack them with grease while your down,, Matty man
 

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Discussion Starter #15
wow i kinda didnt count on that, i had been wondering abt the spindle the whole time, i cant believe i was clueless to know something had to be done about the spindle/rotor

so now i'm like seeing its a bigger job than i thought it would be...

i'm more comfortable with taking apart the control arm than i am messing with the bearings

so let me run this by you,

1- remove the sway bar, caliper, rotor, spindle

2- undo the bottom shock bolt

3- Pitchfork the lower ball joint

4- let out the spring and shock

5- from there it should be smooth sailing to take out the ARMS

Now what i'm stratching my head about is the bearings, am i gonna have to remove it to repack it to put it back in??

all the while researching and reading up, it didnt say wether the bearing would be touched or messed wit...

so i'm kinda wondering would i be able to just leave the rotor attached to the SPINDLE but i'll take the caliper off and hang it

i really appreciate everyone's quick replies it gives me a sense of relief somewhat haha i've been reading articles and forums Haynes/CHILTON GOOGLED up everything i could think of...

i'm motivated into taking on this job by myself :) i'm sure i can with your guys inputs and advices! The goal is not to make any mistakes that someone else already went thru lol :beer:eek:r we're just plain dumb(as a human)ha
 

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His&Hers,,, if the bearings are giving you issues,problems,, I would HIGHLY recommend to have someone help you,, the bearings are basic maintenance and the control arm bushings/ball joints are very indepth experienced maintenance,, the spring removal can and will KILL you without even thinking about it,,, I know you dont much money and trying to do things yourself,, but I am seeing an accident waiting to happen,, I am not here to put you down or anything of the sort,, I have wrenching on Aircraft and cars for many years and I dont want to see anyone hurt,, I applaude you for doing this and I am glad to help anyway I can,, this is a major job and if you have never done this then plan on two days + to get her done,,, the bearings are pretty easy to do,, just a good time to repack while your down,, safety always come first,,, always,, Matty man:beer:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
repack while your down,, safety always come first,,, always,, Matty man:beer:[/QUOTE]

whew that got a bit serious for a moment...

i'm not sure how to "rank" my skills, i'd like to think i can handle it but then again i am learning everyday-
i've been doing almost 80% of the work, but anything that involves the anatomy of heads/cylinders/valves i havent really gotten my hands dirty on those part

i've been doing enough "unbolting" and "bolting" them back on to feel that i could take on this job...

but what u said did put hte fear of god into me lol

i guess i'll wrap up the springs before i start taking it apart to ensure nothing happens!

i dont believe i am having any problem with my bearings but i will take a closer/harder look at them

i've had bearing job done on my vw jetta multiple time for whatever reason and know/seen/bough ENOUGH time to know how it works, but its just that i havent done it myself which makes me uncomfortable without having someone experienced working on it with me...

as of right now i'm gonna focus on the bushings and ball joints, tie rod/ends

i'll get to the bearings within 2 weeks or so and possibly replace the lower control arm within 2-3 maybe 4 months??

i went to a local shop they quoted me for $455 just for the friggin bushings (not sure if includes ball joint?) that was just FOR LABOR not including parts...

obviously i just told myself, if i can go to college i can friggin do this!! lol
 

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There's nothing to removing the caliper, and rotor. Just take off the caliper removing to the two pins with a 1/2" or 7/16" allen wrench, then remove the cotter pin and nut that holds the rotor on. The whole assembly, rotor and wheel bearings, slides off the spindle. When you put it back together, just pack the wheel bearings with fresh axle grease. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Update and COST on my front end work on 4'' lifted 80' ELKY

It ended up sounding a bit more serious than it was just to take the front end apart- Any caveman can do it! ;)

Only took us maximum of 2.5 hours to compltely take it apart, we lost 1 hour just on struggling to remove the passenger side spring with the shock stuck in there...

This is for the dude who told me to leave the shock there before removing the spring, TOTALLY WRONG!
REMEMBER THIS remove the shock before you do your springs otherwise the spring wont come out!!


So this is what type of problems i found underneath the car

1- Crack/seperation from the control arm support box to the frame (the box is underneath the upper arm u cannot see it until u remove it completely)

2- Completely missing SHIMS and BUSHINGS shot on the driver side- Ball joints shot too

2.5- Missing SHIMS on passenger side, balljoints/tierods were compltely shot

3- Passenger side lower arm had a crack around the base (not gaping wide but a crack)

4- The passenger side spring were 2 coil longer than the driver side!! unbeliveable!


This is how much the parts cost! I went with Acdelco but this is for those who wanted to see the price difference i learned AFTER i had already bought those stuff

2-upper BJ's: AcDelco $18 ea./Summit.com mevotech $14 ea
2-lower BJ's: AcDelco $24 ea./Summit.com Mevotech $15 ea.

2-OUTER tie rods: AcDelco $21 ea./Summit.com Mevotech $14
2-Inner Tie Rods: AcDelco $18 ea./Summit.com Mevotech $14

L/R Upper/Lower Arm Bushings: Energy Suspension (Poly) $65 (set)

L/R Inner Bearing: Timken $13 ea
L/R Outer Bearing: Timken $13 ea

Front Springs:AcDelco Heavy Duty $87 total (set)
Upper Spring Isolator/Insulator: Energy Susp. (poly) $9 (set)

Front Shocks(set): Monroe Gas-a-just $55 total (set)
Upper Bump Stops(2): Energy Suspension (poly) $10 (upper set)
Lower Bump Stops(2): Energy Suspension (poly) $7 (lower set)

Sway Bar Bushings (2): Energy Suspension greaseable $20
Sway Bar End Links/Bushings(8): Energy Suspension $15 (without the links)

So far i've spent about $430 on just the parts alone, bright side about acdelco is they're lifetime warranty i have no idea about the mevotech i had only learned abt the part/cost after i had already purchased from autozone-

About those mevotech parts their boots are light blue polys which is what got my attention lol but i dont know what their quality is like...

Anyways, the PARTS COST $430, SHOP FEE for PRESSING OUT and IN (including inner bearings for rotors) $75(1 hour rate) then there's the welding house call for a few inches and 10 minutes of work i had to pay $75!
Then i paid my uncle labor fee for helping me $75 so the grand total finale is: $707 PLUS 4 new tires $300 and an alignment $40 :(
(its a close guess not including some taxes somewhere but you get the GIST!)

Give yourself extra room if you budget anything for a project, i know someone has already said this somewhere, but i wanna empthaszie that i didnt understand until it happened to me!! I put aside about $350ish and it will end up costing me $800+ just to do everything myself with some help...

I also bought some spray cans, painted the parts, degreased, hi pressure rinse the parts etc, so everything really really added up, the consumption of gas to drive around looking for the parts that the other store didnt have hwat i needed blah

I bought a "RIGHT STUFF" kit from summit.com for $132 and it included EVERYTHING! but it was such a LOW LOW QUALITY stuff, the antisway bar bushing i could press it down with my hands, that how weak the rubber were... i ended up returning it and chose the lifetime warranity from acdelco!!

I opted to go with polys for my ride due to the fact P.O raised the car about 4 inch all around, and in Phoenix it'll be enduring 110+ heat daily driving, and i probably will beat on it a little bit :)twisted:) but mostly i expect the car to outlast me and my kids lifetime so that it can kids problem free ride!!
 

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It ended up sounding a bit more serious than it was just to take the front end apart- Any caveman can do it! ;)

Only took us maximum of 2.5 hours to compltely take it apart, we lost 1 hour just on struggling to remove the passenger side spring with the shock stuck in there...

This is for the dude who told me to leave the shock there before removing the spring, TOTALLY WRONG!
REMEMBER THIS remove the shock before you do your springs otherwise the spring wont come out!!
Funny ... I never had that problem. :dontknow: I guess because I've removed springs on G-bodies more than a few times and know what I'm doing. Leaving the shock on prevents the spring from flying out and doing damage. When you remove the bottom shock bolts, you have to turn it so when you break the lower ball joint loose from the spindle, the shock doesn't get hung up on the A-arm. No doubt you went with a dangerous spring compressor too on reassembly.
 
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