Lower Control Arm bracket bolts will not budge

6716

Hobbyist
Original poster
Jul 24, 2012
767
Soaked the threads in PB Blaster, put a 4-foot pipe on the end of the breaker bar, and just nothing. Heat maybe? It's hard to get on that.

I even took it in for an alignment (I have a free lifetime alignment at Firestone) and hoped that they would be a little better after that.

What the heck am I missing?
 

6716

Hobbyist
Original poster
Jul 24, 2012
767
Well I must have needed a snack and to make a post saying I couldn't, because I went back out there and got the driver's side off. I tried to take as little apart as possible since I had already replaced the LCAs last winter (but never got the brackets off), and ended up pulling out the axle unintentionally, which isn't all bad I suppose since the front diff leaks and the fill plug won't come out so I get the chance to top it off.
 

flyboy2610

Active Member
Aug 24, 2021
278
Lincoln, Ne.
They are on there pretty tight! Factory torque value for the rear bolts is 177, for the front bolts it's 192. Without an impact wrench, it would be a struggle!
 

6716

Hobbyist
Original poster
Jul 24, 2012
767
The impact wrench just made noise on those bolts, they would not budge. I put a 4-foot pipe section on the end of my breaker bar finally. I think I was worried I was going to break my breaker and I was reluctant at first to pull hard enough to get them started. But once they started to turn the impact got them the rest of the way.

It was a 4-mile drive to the alignment place, those tires were squaking the whole way. There was a little bit of a camber issue going there.
 

JerryIrons

Active Member
Dec 20, 2011
434
Anytime I do suspension work like that, I don't even try anymore without first getting out the oxy torch and using heat to warm things up and burn off rust. Then while things are still warm squirt some kroil penetrating fluid on there, it will wick up into the threads. Maybe a few times. I don't get things cherry red yet, but generally try to warm up whatever can expand a little to allow the bolt to turn easier. I live in the rust belt and snow country with lots of rust. I remember reading about a guy who works on caterpillar bulldozer equipment in Michigan or something like that. Those things in mud all the time, lots of big bolts and nuts, very rusty. He said the first thing he does is heat up every fastener cherry red without even trying to get one off, got the idea from him and has made my life a whole lot easier.
 

kenzoil

Registered Member
Mar 12, 2014
39
Well I must have needed a snack and to make a post saying I couldn't, because I went back out there and got the driver's side off. I tried to take as little apart as possible since I had already replaced the LCAs last winter (but never got the brackets off), and ended up pulling out the axle unintentionally, which isn't all bad I suppose since the front diff leaks and the fill plug won't come out so I get the chance to top it off.
Just read your post. On the driver's side I want to replace just the control arm, and not the bracket as you did originally. Was there any problems you had getting the two bushing bolts and nuts off? Did you reuse them? thanks
 

flyboy2610

Active Member
Aug 24, 2021
278
Lincoln, Ne.
The nuts themselves should come off no problem. Getting one of the bolts ( I believe it's the front, IIRC ) out can be a bit of a challenge due to the way the bolts are installed. You may need a drift punch and hammer to knock it out of there, but it's not real bad. If the nuts and bolts are in good shape there's nor reason not to reuse them. If they're not so great, some grade 8 bolts from the local hardware store should work fine. When I installed new control arms I installed the bolts with the heads towards the center of the control arm and the nuts on the outside. Should make it a lot easier to remove them next time!
 

TollKeeper

Guru
Dec 3, 2011
6,975
Brighton, CO
I reused the bolts that were on my truck when I replaced it. They looked stronger than the replacement bolts.

Problems.. Nope. Got a impact on one side, and a wrench on the other, and they zipped right out.

Remember the direction the bolts are positioned, as they need to go back in the same way. This is to prevent them from loosening during normal driving.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Donor
Jul 22, 2015
2,575
On the driver's side I want to replace just the control arm, and not the bracket as you did originally. Was there any problems you had getting the two bushing bolts and nuts off? Did you reuse them?

I did this a couple of weeks ago, with new LCAs I had bought / stashed away for the future. I could tell my lower ball joints were on their last legs, so decided to finally install the new LCAs.

When I took them out, I saw that they had new nuts / bolts, and that I could reuse the bracket and just replace the swingarm. So I did. My bushings weren't torn, and I wanted to save the trouble of a alignment, as well. Plus the steel brackets weren't badly corroded. I stashed the new brackets away for the future.

(In retrospect, I probably should've done the whole LCA, bracket and all, because I'm now also replacing my outer tie rods as well (so I have to get an alignment, no matter what). Anywhoo... )

I didn't have much trouble at all with getting the bushing nuts / bolts out (that connect the swingarm to the bracket). You'll need a wrench on the bolt end; arrange it so that it wedges against the frame or something else immovable, once the nut starts turning it. Room is limited on the rear-facing bolt, but I was able to get the closed end of the combination wrench in there w/o any issue.

With the nut, I used a deep socket. On the rear, I was able to fit my electric 1/2" impact, along with a swivel / wobble extension. On the front, if you want to break the torque by hand (or don't have / can't fit an impact), it's not too hard -- I think the spec is 86 ft-lb, so it's not too bad getting them off. A 1/2" breaker bar will make short work of it.

After the nuts were out, a good smack with the ratchet head drove the bolts out of the bushings / brackets -- they weren't seized, etc.

While I used the new nut / bolts, 'just because'... I'd have had no qualms re-using the old ones, so if you didn't get new ones, I wouldn't worry, unless you found them to be corroded. Mine weren't, at all.

One thing that annoyed me is that the replacement bolts were a little smaller (socket) than the OEM. But I still used them, as they were new, and I figured Dorman got some sort of 'ok' to use the smaller bolts, from an engineering standpoint. I also imagined that they were smaller for ease of replacement, vs. the OEM.

Another thing that annoyed me was that the new ball joints weren't greaseable. So as soon as they wear out, I'll have to drive them out, just like I would with the OEM (although, at least I don't think they're staked in like the OEMs are.)

In short... if you want to try just replacing the swingarm... I did, and it wasn't a terrible job.
 

TollKeeper

Guru
Dec 3, 2011
6,975
Brighton, CO
For the job, hes right, its not a terrible job at all, and you can, if you watch pinch points, do it without taking everything apart.

For mine, I removed the Edit: Strut Yoke (first), Stabilizer Link connection at the control arm, removed the lower ball joint, and the 2 bolts at the control arm bracket. And it came right off.

Putting it back together was a bit of a challenge, as the cup where it goes to the bracket was either thicker, or more paint, or something. A couple hits with a dead blow, and it finally popped on. Put it all back together. Greased it, and I had it aligned (I also replaced a tie rod end).
 
Last edited:

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Donor
Jul 22, 2015
2,575
Oh yeah -- the shock yoke. I had had mine off a couple of years ago, and it was comparatively easy to break the torque holding them on, vs a couple of years ago.

Back then, I had to use a 3-jaw puller to get the yokes off the LCA mounts. If yours have never been off -- expect a fight. It'll probably be the worst part of the job. Break it free *before* disconnecting the LCA from the bracket.
 

6716

Hobbyist
Original poster
Jul 24, 2012
767
Just read your post. On the driver's side I want to replace just the control arm, and not the bracket as you did originally. Was there any problems you had getting the two bushing bolts and nuts off? Did you reuse them? thanks
I did not experience difficulty there. Put a wrench on one end, air tool on the other, and go. Or use lots of leverage. For just the LCA, for me the worst part is getting the strut off, I have a puller tool for that, looks like this one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002SRGTI/?tag=gmtnation-20
 
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