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How to Replace Lower Control Arm and Bushings Without the Added Cost on Labor

Introduction

Have you ever wonder what the lower control arm and bushings do to your car? Well, they are one of the most important components that make your vehicle run as smooth as possible. This system is located between the frame of your car and the spindle which dampens vibration in-between the wheels and the frame so you have a cushioned ride, prevents metal-to-metal contact, and reducing driving noise

What is lower control arm and bushings?

No matter what kind of vehicle you have (whether the conventional, electric or hybrid types), there are at least 2 control arms on any car. Moreover, independent rear suspension models will have at least 4 of them. The lower control arm is designed to act as a support between a vehicle’s chassis (frame) and the spindle where the tire is mounted. 

As the lower control arm is consists of two rubber bushings which allow the wheel to move upward when your vehicle hit bumps or when turning or braking. This mechanism (lower control arm) absorbs the movements of the vehicle so that you may not feel the vibration as the weight and impact are transferred to the bushings. Learn here how to replace lower control arm and bushings in inexpensive ways

Prepare these tools and materials:

  • Safety goggles
  • Safety gloves
  • Jack Stands
  • Floor Jack
  • Socket wrench
  • Bull hammer
  • Crowbar
  • Universal joint
  • Hydraulic press machine

What you will do to replace a lower control arm and bushings

To start with, you need to disconnect your car battery’s cable, jack up the front of the car, and remove the wheels, then place jack stands to make the car more stable. Be sure you are wearing safety gears (gloves and goggles) before you start everything.

1. Releasing the ball joint


Releasing The Ball Joint

Releasing The Ball Joint

As an initial step, the ball joint must be released by using a big wrench (with a size range of 20 to 24mm) or a socket. Remove the cotter pin that secures the shaft. Then loosen the ball joint nut after you have removed the cotter pin. Using a bull hammer while assisted by a crowbar, hit the spindle or the control arm bulkhead to slightly “shake” the fit loose.

If you are doing the job on a suspension spring (the shock absorber), use a hydraulic jack on the lower control arm then lowered it slowly once the ball joint is released.

2. Removing the sway bar link


Removing The Sway Bar Link

Removing The Sway Bar Link

The sway bar covers your access towards the lower control arm so you have to remove this part. The sway bar is connected by a link to the control arm where a 14 to 15mm nut is mounted. Get your wrench socket and start removing this nut. 

There might be a sleek taper fit on this connection so you need to shake it loose much like the ball joint’s assembly. When done, hold the sway bar link from the lower control arm assembly and set it aside. This will help you for a more spacious workroom while you continue the job.

3. Removal of the control bolts


Removal Of The Control Bolts

Removal Of The Control Bolts

You may find that there two control arm mounting bolts placed horizontally or vertically, depending on your car model. You can use a 19mm or a 22mm wrench or socket in removing these bolts. Some models use machine bolts (with a nut on the backside) so you have to use another set of a wrench to counteract the turning of the bolt.

The bolts might be too tight so you must be careful in turning them loosely to avoid rounding of the head. You can also use a universal joint with a socket to remove the rear control arm bolt to make the job much quicker and easy. After you have removed the bolts, watch out for the arm and hold it carefully.

4. Removing the lower control arm


Removing The Lower Control Arm

Removing The Lower Control Arm

You can now remove the control arm when the bolts are disengaged. You can grasp the arm then pull it outward of the assembly while wiggling it gently up and down to remove it from the frame mounts.

5. you can now replace the bushing


Replace The Bushing

Replace The Bushing

If you find out that you only have to change the bushings, continue doing this instruction. However, if you want to replace the entire lower control arm unit, then go to step 8.

After you have removed the lower control arm assembly, you will see worn out bushings. Replacing these bushings requires you to press them onto a press machine or via a control arm bushing removal kit or rent out either of the two at your nearest auto shop and do the removal right there and then.

Before you replace the bushings, be sure that what you purchased is an identical match from your old ones. Additionally, you must mark the orientation so that you will be assured that the reinstallation is correct. Once the bushings are inadequately installed, it will tear easily and might damage the other parts prematurely.

6. removing the old bushing with a hydraulic press machine


Removing The Old Bushing With A Hydraulic Press Machine

Removing The Old Bushing With A Hydraulic Press Machine

If you are using a press machine (the job is similar if you use a control arm removal kit), take note of the orientation you have marked on the bushing. Then, position the lower control arm into the press while using a press cone and cup to force out the bushing from the arm. You will hear a popping sound when the bushing starts to move.

Continue pressing gently until the bushing is totally out of the arm. When the bushing pops out, release the press and then remove the arm. Do the same with the other bushing.

7. Installing the new bushing


To install the new bushing, take note again of the marked orientation you have done before. You now have to force the new bushings into the arm also using the hydraulic press. Then, align the machine and gently press the new bushing into place. Be assured that the bushing stays straight during the first salvo of pressing so as not to deform the housing.

After pressing had commenced, the bushing will remain upright and in alignment with the arm’s housing. When you have confirmed the complete installation of the first bushing, you can do the same with the other bushing. Once you are done, recheck if the installation is perfect. If everything is in place, you are now ready to reinstall the newly repaired lower control arm.

8. Reinstalling the lower control arm with new bushings


If you want to replace the entire lower arm control assembly, there are available units that can be readily purchased online complete with bushings. But you must be sure of the right item which must be identical with your old unit.

Once you have the complete set of the lower control arm with the correct bushings in place, you must follow the reverse procedure when you disassemble this item. Be sure that you tightened all bolts, the correct installation of the sway bar link, ball joints, the right battery connections, and so forth and so on.

For complete and detailed instructions on how to replace lower arm control and bushings, you can watch here: 

Conclusion

Are you impressed with our discussion for today? Replacing lower control arm and bushings may cost you between $200 to $400 in parts and labor when you bring your car to the shop. By buying the needed parts (you can check out the prices through Amazon) or lending some tools from your local auto store or your friend and do the repair yourself, you have lots to save if you do it religiously and correctly. 

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Carolina - Care My Cars

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