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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I basically borked my steering and front right suspension by hitting a median and the sign on it. I took it to a mechanic and they quoted me 1700 to replace the struts, knuckle, and lower control arms. Needless to say, I didn't pay the 1700.

Basically, I have a couple dilemmas. I've gotten the right hand strut replaced and the knuckle out. Now the issue at hand is removing and replacing the lower control arm and torquing everything down. Is there any good way to remove the lower control arm? It's super difficult to get off and is in a tricky spot behind the wheel well liner. I have an impact gun, but due to the way it's bolted to the chassis, I can't really get to it. Any ideas?

Also, for when I do replace the control arm and knuckle and get everything back together, I need torque specs for the following nuts/bolts:
Strut mounts (in the engine bay)
Strut to knuckle connection nuts/bolts
Outer tie rod connection to strut
Sway bar end link connection to strut
Axle through knuckle nut
Knuckle set screw (the one that attaches the control arm's extension "pin" to the knuckle on the back)
Sway bar connection to chassis nut/bolt
Sway bar to strut tension arm nut
Brake caliper bracket nuts/bolts
Wheel lug nuts
Anything else I might have missed lmao
I also intend to replace the other strut since it's usually a good idea to replace them in pairs.

I plan to fix the suspension, get it aligned, fix the broken door handle and lock switch, and sell the car to buy a Mustang. The estimated value with an upgraded exhaust, new sound, new stereo, upgraded suspension, and no major problems is 4300 so I'll have to depend on that. Wish me luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So I basically borked my steering and front right suspension by hitting a median and the sign on it. I took it to a mechanic and they quoted me 1700 to replace the struts, knuckle, and lower control arms. Needless to say, I didn't pay the 1700.

Basically, I have a couple dilemmas. I've gotten the right hand strut replaced and the knuckle out. Now the issue at hand is removing and replacing the lower control arm and torquing everything down. Is there any good way to remove the lower control arm? It's super difficult to get off and is in a tricky spot behind the wheel well liner. I have an impact gun, but due to the way it's bolted to the chassis, I can't really get to it. Any ideas?

Also, for when I do replace the control arm and knuckle and get everything back together, I need torque specs for the following nuts/bolts:
Strut mounts (in the engine bay)
Strut to knuckle connection nuts/bolts
Outer tie rod connection to strut
Sway bar end link connection to strut
Axle through knuckle nut
Knuckle set screw (the one that attaches the control arm's extension "pin" to the knuckle on the back)
Sway bar connection to chassis nut/bolt
Sway bar to strut tension arm nut
Brake caliper bracket nuts/bolts
Wheel lug nuts
Anything else I might have missed lmao
I also intend to replace the other strut since it's usually a good idea to replace them in pairs.

I plan to fix the suspension, get it aligned, fix the broken door handle and lock switch, and sell the car to buy a Mustang. The estimated value with an upgraded exhaust, new sound, new stereo, upgraded suspension, and no major problems is 4300 so I'll have to depend on that. Wish me luck.
ok so update: the control arm has been removed from the chassis, now i just need to get the arm off of the strut tension arm. its really stuck on there, any ideas? also i still could use those torque specs if anyone has them, would really appreciate it!
 

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Remove the nut from the end of the tension strut on the rearward side of the control arm. There are flats on the tension strut to put a wrench on keep it from turning while you turn the nut.

The FSM has the torque values.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Remove the nut from the end of the tension strut on the rearward side of the control arm. There are flats on the tension strut to put a wrench on keep it from turning while you turn the nut.

The FSM has the torque values.
so i replaced the control arm and everything is set to go back together. problem is, i cant figure out how to utilize the fsm. i found one, but it skips from the introduction all the way to wiring, which conveniently skips the suspension portion. is there any pdf you use thats reliable for this? i cant figure out which bolts are supposed to be torqued to what degree.
sorry for the inconvenience, this is the first time ive ever worked on a car in depth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
so i replaced the control arm and everything is set to go back together. problem is, i cant figure out how to utilize the fsm. i found one, but it skips from the introduction all the way to wiring, which conveniently skips the suspension portion. is there any pdf you use thats reliable for this? i cant figure out which bolts are supposed to be torqued to what degree.
sorry for the inconvenience, this is the first time ive ever worked on a car in depth.
never mind, got the info i needed!
 

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Be sure to follow the procedure on torqueing the control arm-to-cradle bolt as far as not tightening and torqueing until the weight of the car is fully on the suspension. If you don't, the bushing rubber will fail quickly from being constantly in a twist in one direction at normal ride height, plus being over-twisted in full suspension compression travel on bumps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Be sure to follow the procedure on torqueing the control arm-to-cradle bolt as far as not tightening and torqueing until the weight of the car is fully on the suspension. If you don't, the bushing rubber will fail quickly from being constantly in a twist in one direction at normal ride height, plus being over-twisted in full suspension compression travel on bumps.
so how would i do that? the control arm to chassis bolt is in such an inconvenient position and idk how i’d get to that…
 

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I agree - it is "inconvenient" and awkward, but is possible. I've done it several times - stretch your arm and do it. Shops have the convenience of being able to have the car up on a lift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It us "inconvenient", but is possible. I've done it several times - stretch your arm and do it.
kinda just gotta shove my arm in there and torque it?

is there any way i could lift the other side of the car, loading the control arm on the right side, and torque it that way? or would i genuinely just need to drop the whole car and acrobatics my way in? mostly asking since the torque wrench i have is super long and the cars ride height is already super low, so...
 

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I don't know if jacking the other side will work - that will affect the suspension height while you torque it. I do believe you're right - it's probably impossible to tighten with a torque wrench because there's not enough room to accommodate its length. You just have to make a guess on how much torque you get into it with a shorter ratchet/socket or other wrench.

You also probably have to have a second wrench on the bolt head to keep it from turning while you tighten the nut.

I would err on the side of too tight (within reason) rather than too loose. The bolt is pretty hard for safety factor because it is a safety-critical part.

If it isn't tight enough, the control arm and bolt will move around (relative to each other and the holes in the cradle bracket), continually wearing metal of the bracket away as suspension loading forces and direction on the control arm change as you drive (accelerating, deceleration, turning, braking, etc.), plus you will get an audible "clunk" every time you apply the brakes moderately hard after accelerating, as accelerating and braking cause twisting forces in opposite directions on the control arm - that's not just theory - it's fact, as I've helped more than one person troubleshoot a clunking noise on applying brakes, and that turned out to be the cause.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I don't know if jacking the other side will work - that will affect the suspsnsion height while you torque it. I do believe you're right - it's probably impossible to tighten with a torque wrench because there's not enough room to accommodate it's length. You just have to make a guess on how much torque you get into it. You also probably have to have a second wrench on the bolt head to keep it from turning while you tighten the nut. I would err on the side of too tight rather than too loose (within reason). The bolt is pretty hard for safety factor because it is a safety-critical part.

If it isn't tight enough, the control arm and bolt will move around (relative to each other and the holes in the cradle bracket), continually wearing metal of the bracket away as suspension loading forces and direction on the control arm change as you drive (accelerating, deceleration, turning, braking, etc.), plus you will get an audible "clunk" every time you apply the brakes moderately hard after accelerating, as accelerating and braking cause twisting forces in opposite directions on the control arm - that's not just theory - it's fact, as I've helped more than one person troubleshoot a clunking noise on applying brakes, and that turned out to be the cause.
gotcha, ill just put everything back together and try and get in there. seems like a bit of a pain to do accurately judging from how tight everything is. thanks for the info!
 

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lifting the body and putting blocks under the wheels will lift the car off the ground allowing for a better safe reach to under points.
4 or 5, foot long 2x6 pieces of wood on each side under the wheels as you set it down off the jack and stands.
 

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If you don't have ramps, you could drive the front end on SOLID cinder blocks. They MUST be solid with no holes of any kind!

 

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Any incline angle will decrease the amount of strut spring compression. So that that isn't a factor, drive it up onto same thickness of boards under all four tires - like maybe a progression of 2 or 3 thicknesses of 2x6's or 2x8's - or use a progression of 2 layers of those solid cinder blocks. Typical ramps won't work for doing that.
 

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When I did mine, I turned the steering wheel a bit(left or right) and peeled the black plastic cover thing and was able to torque it.
"peeled the black plastic cover thing"
Not quite following you there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Any incline angle will decrease the amount of strut spring compression. So that that isn't a factor, drive it up onto same thickness of boards under all four tires - like maybe a progression of 2 or 3 thicknesses of 2x6's or 2x8's - or use a progression of 2 layers of those solid cinder blocks. Typical ramps won't work for doing that.
could i jack up the back and put the front on ramps?
 
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