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Old 03-04-2020, 05:33 PM   #1
dummo
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1997 SW2
Default Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

I am getting ready to swap out both control arms myself. I have watched the RichPin video a few times and am reaching out for some real experience advice.

Q:1). How much pressure/tension do I need to achieve pulling back the anti sway bar ends toward the back of the car. I have purchased a new set of ratcheting tie-down straps from Harbor freight to attempt the job. Rich Pin uses a seemingly much heavier-duty chain ratchet system. ...Thoughts?

Q:2). Any tips or tricks for removing/freeing-up the innermost bolt that RichPin warns will most likely have rusted inside the metal sleeve of the Control arm inner end?

Any other advice is most welcome. (even if you tell me to have a mechanic do it)

Tools: PB Blaster, 18in Breaking Bar, Impact sockets, Bernzomatic torch
...
• 1997 SW2 used 12/29/2011 with 124,200 -27 mpg
• 2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

I used heat PB blaster and an air chisel to get the bolts free
leave the nut on and use a flat tipped 'bit' on the flange of the nut

I had new nuts & bolts handy but didn't end up needing them
replaced them anyways though
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

I pushed the swaybar into position with my feet while my son guided it in. We had the front mounts off. Start the PB blaster now.
...
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

Best bet is a side grinder with a 1/32 cutoff wheel.

Simply cut the lower arm off the pivot bolt by splitting parallel to the bolt - and use a pneumatic chisel at the ends of the cut.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

When I did my control arms I bolted them to the sway bar first, then installed the sway bar and control arms as an assembly. Bolted the control arms into the subframe, then I believe I pushed on the sway bar to get the sway bar to subframe brackets lined up. Its been two and a half years though so I do not remeber exactly.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

I remember finally having to cut off the passenger side bolt after trying PB Blaster and an air chisel to vibrate the rust off. The problem is that the bolt spins freely in the metal sleeve and it will only move a few inches unless it was greased up when installed.

I have to replace my tie rod ends and the sway bar bushings aren't quite sitting properly, so I get to revisit that hiccup and hopefully sort it out properly.
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Old 03-05-2020, 01:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

I highly recommend FiremanCV's videos as well on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yajcRGnsJ0U
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Old 03-05-2020, 09:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

I used a 1" ratchet strap and it worked fine. Start spraying the PB Blaster on the subframe mount bolts days before as mentioned. Try to get penetration under the rubber bushing where the metal sleeve is. When reinstalling those bolts be sure to grease them up well to prevent future seizing but no grease on the threads.

As for tools you may want to add a ball joint separator and a long pry bar (or 2x4) to help remove the knuckle.
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Old 03-05-2020, 03:16 PM   #9
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1997 SW2
Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

Thanks to all who have replied.

I plan to super-soak with PB blaster asap and drive around for a week or so and even go buy an extra can. I might have sprayed some PB Blaster on a month back when it was warm and I wanted to start the job but ran into a snag.

Keep the suggestions and tips coming.
...
• 1997 SW2 used 12/29/2011 with 124,200 -27 mpg
• 2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
• 1994 SL1 new traded
• 1992 SL2 new traded for above
* 1986 Yamaha ce50 Jog -100 mpg
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Old 03-05-2020, 06:44 PM   #10
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1997 SL
Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

PB BLaster. I installed new bolts, socket-head ones. From Fastenal. Soaked in synthetic oil.
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Old 03-06-2020, 12:46 PM   #11
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
PB BLaster. I installed new bolts, socket-head ones. From Fastenal. Soaked in synthetic oil.
At that point, why not use anti-seize.... or thread locker if you're worried about it coming apart.
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Old 03-07-2020, 09:55 AM   #12
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

I was lucky on the bolts and they came out without issue.

As for the actual method used to move the sway bar ends, I ended up using a big pipe myself. The strap method was a PITA to get the angles needed to me, but using simple leverage allowed me to move it into place quicker.

But it was still one of those things that took a little bit of patience. What works best for one isn't always the best for the next person.
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Old 03-08-2020, 12:43 PM   #13
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1997 SW2
Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

Sprayed the PB blaster onto the ball joint threads, the threads and back side of the nuts on the two front anti-sway bar ends and the two ends of the nut and bolt assemblies at the control arm inner bushings. Going to give it a week to creep in and do its magic.

My wife who has asthma freaked out over the smell (odor) as she had to walk by the car to enter the house. People with asthma have tough reactions to certain smells. I moved the car to the street. I may have to work on it on the street. I am sure the cops might not like it.
...
• 1997 SW2 used 12/29/2011 with 124,200 -27 mpg
• 2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
• 1994 SL1 new traded
• 1992 SL2 new traded for above
* 1986 Yamaha ce50 Jog -100 mpg
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

When doing suspension work beneath a vehicle, take care to be mindful of where and how stress is applied... so you don't pull the car off the lift accidentally.

With the swaybar, the necessary force isn't so great... but the combination of leverage, and properly directing the force get what you need.

So with a strap puller or come-along, or a block & tackle, the key is to tie the puller in an apt location to achieve correctly directed effort.
* *

Use of a torch on steel fastenings works mostly because, at red-to-yellow heat, the crystalline structure of the steel CHANGES to a much softer/more-malleable variety, and the two parts release the death-grip.

Red-yellow heat cannot be achieved with a Bernzomatic propane unit unless workpiece is very small crossection (like sheet metal).
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:10 AM   #15
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

^^^^ Bridgeport - Saybrook/New london is about an hour away. When in Old Saybrook my family usually has lunch or dinner at Penny Lane Pub. They have a 1960's mini car mural in the men's room.

All the tips are well appreciated. keep 'em coming.
...
• 1997 SW2 used 12/29/2011 with 124,200 -27 mpg
• 2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
• 1994 SL1 new traded
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* 1986 Yamaha ce50 Jog -100 mpg
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:27 AM   #16
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

I ended up buying a 6 point box wrench for the nut or bolt on the cradle. There wasn't enough room for a socket on one end. Also, I had a snapping sound after I got the control arms on. See this thread:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...ht=control+arm
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:16 PM   #17
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid View Post
I ended up buying a 6 point box wrench for the nut or bolt on the cradle. There wasn't enough room for a socket on one end. Also, I had a snapping sound after I got the control arms on. See this thread:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...ht=control+arm
Thanks Sid! How did you fix the popping? We recently replaced the control arms and have it bad.
...
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Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018
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Old 03-15-2020, 07:00 PM   #18
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

When I tightened the lower control arm/cradle bolts, I had the car supported by the frame and the lower control arms were hanging in their lowest position. One side, the driver's side was fine but the passenger side had the popping sound. I loosened the bolts and put the lower control arms up in their normal running position and then tightened and torqued the bolts. That fixed it. I think the rubber part on the bolt gets twisted and sometimes complains. Seems kind of crazy. But anyway it's been happy for about 4 years.
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Old 03-15-2020, 09:04 PM   #19
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

Rubber bushings only have so much "swing". If you do the dumb thing and tighten them with the suspension at full droop then they only have about 1/2 a swing before they bind up and cause a problem.

Drop the car onto jackstands placed under the ball joints before putting the nuts at more than finger tight. Similar procedure in the rear, but put the jackstands under the rear knuckle.
Same with other cars, simulate the cars weight on the tires as best you can before tighting suspension bushing bolts.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:09 PM   #20
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Default Re: Control Arms Replacement - Tips & Tricks wanted

Who knew that an 18mm wrench was such an oddball size that even the most (supposedly) extensive ranging set of wrenches from Harbor Freight doesn’t include one. I ended up ordering a six point 18mm wrench and it arrived today. $5.00 plus $7.00 shipping.
...
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• 2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
• 1994 SL1 new traded
• 1992 SL2 new traded for above
* 1986 Yamaha ce50 Jog -100 mpg
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