NEED HELP Front end rebuild - few questions

Madmac66

Member
Hi folks, first I’m another strangler from the wasteland that is trailvoy. Saw the Pittman puller photo, read the history of the exodus, signed up and here I am. Thanks for having me. Questions, yeah I got questions.

I searched the archives here and at trailvoy looking for answers, read the FAQ, read v7guy suspension rebuild thread. I feel like I’ve done my due diligence in trying to find the answer myself.

I’m midway through replacing several of the suspension joints on my wife’s 2007 Trailblazer LT 4WD. I have removed almost everything, cleaned up and am getting ready to install the new items. I’m doing upper and lower ball joints, upper control arm and wheel bearing hub, on both driver and passenger side.

With everything off I inspected the other joints and I noticed a couple of things

1) CV joint has a fair bit of slack in it. It’s not tight and I can push/pull to feel a definite plop. It’s not quite a clunk, it’s not loud. But there’s definitely 1/8” movement. Does this need replacing too?

2) Shock mount bushing on lower control arm is SHOT. I found the replacement part on RockAuto which is way more cost effective than replacing the arm and bracket unit. My only reservation is how much trouble I will have pressing the old one out and the new one in. I have a ball joint press, but will that be enough? If I can remove the LCA I think it might be best to pay a local shop to press the bushing in/out.

3) I can’t see any definitive slop or slack in the lower control arm bushings, but I’m thinking I should replace these while I’m at it? My feeling is to just replace the bracket with aftermarket as it’s only slightly more expensive than 2 new bushings and all the agro pressing them in and out.

I spent all morning searching the web and on YouTube for definitive answers and my head is spinning. Lots of questions regarding LCA bushings. Specifically how to get the shock arm mount off the LCA, and how to remove/replace the bushing ‘lower at shock’. Do I need to loosen the shock upper mount? How does the arm move off the pin? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated as I’m half way through this job and not sure where to turn next.

Thanks as always
Adam
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Yes, loosen (or remove) the two outer nuts up top. Otherwise, you'll be pulling the lower end and the top will be adding to the resistance.

I had to use the pitman puller to get my shock mount arms off. This particular connection is a bit different than a ball joint in that it will give way 'suddenly' - you see people saying 'popped off', and that's pretty much what happens...you're thinking 'oh, great...this isn't going to work either', as the worm gear gets difficult to turn. Then it pops free.

There's a second way to get the shock out, w/o removing the mount arm - you pry the top of the mount open while moving the assembly outward. But you pretty much need two people to do it, per one of our other members.
 
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Madmac66

Madmac66

Member
Thanks Reprise. I’ll bare that in mind, the sudden pop.

For clarification I’m not trying to remove the shock, it’s the lower control arm I need to get at, and that mount bushing specifically.

Here’s where I’m at with it so far. The 24mm nut is removed. All the other nuts and bolts are loosened on the lower control arm so it is able to flap around in place. The sway link is removed.

There is an 8mm hex on the inside of the shock mount bushing screw. What is that for? Do I need to loosen that? I tried briefly with a breaker bar but didn’t want to push it in case it was wrong thing to do.

I have a pickle fork. I wedged it in there and pounded with a 4lb hammer for a bit. It expanded then snapped right back into place. I soaked with PB overnight the last two nights. And I tried with a Pittman puller earlier but I couldn’t get the prongs around the end of the arm, the prong bladed were too fat, if that makes sense. This was an OEM brand from AutoZone.

So I’ll go back and loosen the shock top mounts and pound on the pickle fork some more and hope I hear that pop pretty soon. All the other joints popped out real easy compared this little bitch, she’s really playing hard to get

Cheers
Adam
 

littleblazer

Gold Supporter
I've never attempted to remove what you are discussing but the pop back into place you described seems like the bushing moving. I believe it is a tapered fit so once it breaks free you're good. Off the top of my head I don't remember what it looks like but I think you'll need a puller of some sorts.

As for the lca bushings just replace the bracket. The inner sleeve on the rubber inside the control arm is impossible to get out of the bracket without an air hammer. Even then you have to hammer it for a solid 20 minutes. Don't ask how I know...
 

Sparky

Moderator
CV axles aren't expensive, so if you have one that has a sloppy CV joint you might as well go ahead and replace it while you have everything apart already.

I had factory original LCA bushings in my 2002 all the way up until it was 14 years old and had 215k miles. The passenger side was a little squeaky, but still tight. I'd be tempted to leave the LCA bushings alone, but if you do decide to replace them, just do the bracket to save yourself the headache.

The taper not letting go of the lower shock mounting yoke is all too familiar. I never got mine to break free when I did the shocks on mine. Really not sure the best route there. Thankfully, that bushing stayed intact on mine.
 
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Madmac66

Madmac66

Member
Sparky, littleblazer thanks for the feedback. I’m tempted to leave these bushings well enough alone at this point. They are in really bad shape though, and if I don’t address them now I think I’ll be in for more money replacing everything again in a few months.

I will just replace the bracket for sure. Makes no sense not to. Unless you’re a “I will not be defeated by a lump of rubber” kinda person. I’m definitely prone to some of that at times against my better judgement.

As for the shock mount, here’s a video showing the bushing moving. The pickle fork just moves the rubber around and does nothing to bolt/shaft.


So I think I’m back to the puller. I may have to buy one and modify it to fit in the tight gap. Harbor Frieght have anything decent, or is it junk?

Thanks again
Adam
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
So I think I’m back to the puller. I may have to buy one and modify it to fit in the tight gap. Harbor Frieght have anything decent, or is it junk?
I got my pitman puller from HF (was $15) Only could fit one of the two legs between the arm and the mount, but it was enough. Came off on the first try (it does take a bit of tightening, so use a 1/2 ratchet or breaker to tighten the worm gear. Don't be surprised if it looks pretty much like what you rented from Autozone. BTW - HF has two different tools they list as ball joint / pitman pullers - get the one that has the worm gear & the two jaws that fasten behind. The other one (black) is good for maybe pushing a BJ out, but I doubt it will pull the mount arm from the LCA.

If clearance isn't enough to at least get one of the two legs in, use your pry bar on the opposite side where the other leg would go - you'll be able to open it up. I didn't have to do this (maybe mine was moved from all of the pounding I did beforhand - ?)

BTW, I tried the pickle fork as well. Didn't do jack - for me, at least. There's a website that says 'tap lightly...won't take much for it to separate' - I cry BS to that one! LOL

There is an 8mm hex on the inside of the shock mount bushing screw. What is that for? Do I need to loosen that? I tried briefly with a breaker bar but didn’t want to push it in case it was wrong thing to do.
I wondered the same thing. Usually, you see those when you're supposed to put a hex in there to prevent it turning while you loosen a nut (like the OEM sway links). AFAIK (and I've never seen it referenced), you do not turn the mount pin *at all*. This is a straight 'pull' operation, on the arm. As I write this, I think perhaps (?) it's there for purposes of bushing replacement (which are available). As it turns out, that hex indentation makes a nice relief for the end of the worm gear to sit in, so it doesn't move / slip off the mounting pin while you're turning.

Since you're only doing this for the LCA bushings (the ones in the bracket) - I'm thinking you can disconnect the LCA from that bracket, and not have to worry about the mount pin for the shock/spring. BTW, if your bushings wore out at your mileage...think about putting something like Prothane bushings in (they'll last the life of the truck, and they don't have to be torqued with the wheels on the ground, as you do with the rubber bushings).

I think most folks who replace the full LCA do it because they know they get all new bushings & a new lower ball joint as a result, making the process a lot less labor-intensive, in the long run. I know that's why I did mine - my bushings were fine, but I didn't want to have to remove that lower ball joint.

If you remove the bracket, try and scribe the position of it before you remove it, so that you can line it up afterward. You'll still want to have the alignment checked afterward. Also - the torque on those bolts is at 170 and 190 ft/lbs, IIRC - so make sure you're feeling strong when you go to loosen & tighten them back.
 
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Mooseman

Moderator
If you remove the bracket, try and scribe the position of it before you remove it, so that you can line it up afterward.
That is a very good point. I didn't do that and my truck was really squirrely afterwards.
 
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Madmac66

Madmac66

Member
Can’t thank you enough fr the detailed info. Used the pry bar to make anough room for the puller and just as called, pop, suddenly after one turn the arm was loose. My only questions now is, how does it go back in? Do you just torque the nut and it’s secure, no pressing?

I’m with you on the the light tapping BS too. I pounded on the outside of the joint, and on the thread with the nut flush to the end. But I think my bushing was so badly worn it was absorbing all the impact anyway.

At least I didn’t have to resort to flame. I wouldn’t be trusted

Unfortunately I got carried away and didn’t see your remark about noting the position of the LCA bracket. It’s already off. I’ll take a look to see if there are any dirt marks I can use as an indicator. Oops.

On the plus side, I visited a few local auto shops this morning. Struck out at the first three but then found a new AMCO shop that has a press and would do the bushings for me. Let’s hope that goes smoothly, will be a huge cost saving.

Regarding the Prothane bushings, I looked online but could not find any info on what part I need to order. Is there info in the pages of GMTN I can follow for guidance. I’ll do a quick search here, but when I searched earlier for LCA bushing nothing came up then. I’d love to go with the better option if I can find it.

Cheers again for great advice. Feel like I’m making progress
Adam
 
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Madmac66

Madmac66

Member
Okay, I found this kit after a quick search
[URL]https://www.suspension.com/7242[/URL]

Looks and sounds great but a bit more spendy. Think I’ll hold off for now as the TB is only really used to pull the trailer these days, not an every day driver. Also I already did the upper control arms with MOOG so I’ll stick with that for now.
 

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