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Lower control arms and suspension work

 
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Old 30 Jul 2013, 09:12 pm
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Default Lower control arms and suspension work

So I have read over some of the other postings (thanks to those who posted their experiences) and this is what I have to add or learned along the way.

I was working on a 2006 2.4L NA Touring model with 102,000 miles. I bought it used a few months ago. This is our primary family car and my wife's daily driver. I knew I needed to do this work since I bought the car but medical issues have held me back from doing it until Yesterday and Today ( I had a Bone Marrow Transplant in May this year and have just been released to start working again) So having done my home work and ordered the parts in advance I figure if I am good enough to return to work on Thursday I was good enough to tackle this repair now.

Let me start by saying I am no stranger to working on cars but at the same time I do not claim in any way to be a auto mechanic. I have a garage with all the basic tools one would need including an air compressor, impact gun, torque wrenches, ramps, floor jack, bottle jacks, jack stands, ect. this being said I almost bit off more than I could handle with this job. I had replaced the A arms and other suspension parts on my old 77 chevy C20 Truck beater rust bucket years ago and was pretty sure I could handle this. I was almost wrong.

That rear bolt in the lower control arm going vertical into the car was a major pain in the back side. My 1/2" impact gun set a 90psi would not budge it. My 2 foot long 1/2" drive breaker bar with another bar on the end of it giving me almost 3' leverage made a terrible creaking noise and barely turned it before it locked up on both sides. I stopped for fear of breaking the nut loose and having to do the cut the floors up repairs I saw posted. My idea was to drill a hole 1/4" in the sheet metal about where the top of the threaded bolt would be above the nut and shower it with penetrating oil and letting it sit overnight. I did this to both sides and I could feel the threads of the bolt with the straw from the penetrating oil and thought I was in good shape and poured it on thick. In the morning I came out and tried my breaker bar again and the first side moved ok and then a little better I put the impact gun on it and spun it right out. The other side was a bit harder but it came free in the end with the impact gun after a few more turns with the breaker bar initially. Finally I was free of those darn bolts and I thought my project would pick up steam.

During removal of the lower control arms I had also planned on replacing the alternator belt and the other belt for the AC and Power steering as well as the Idler pulley which had just started making that little squeaking noise in rainy weather. I also found the lower torque strut on the passenger side was torn out badly and needed replaced. Off to the Auto parts store with those parts in hand to be sure I get correct replacement parts to put on the car.

upon returning I had already bought the bushing for the anti sway bar for the frame and the LCA attachments and I proceeded to take the frame straps loose and replace those first with renewed energy from getting those vertical bots out and getting what I needed from the auto store I immediately broke on of the bolts holding the sway bar straps to the car. An hour later and I have that fixed and off I go again trying to get back on track to get this thing put back together on the passenger side I found someone wrapped the anti sway bar bushing with electrical tape and reinstalled it . My next step was to get the LCA's in place and I found out one of the ones I received was not fitting in the forward horizontal hole after much struggling I finally gave up and pulled it down and out and ground a little ( about 1/16") from the metal tube in the rubber down and it slid right in place. (tip measure your before putting it in and adjust if needed - it would have saved me 1/2 hour of time) I also found out that putting the front horizontal bolt in first , then the back vertical bolt and lastly bringing the pinch bolt in to place was the trick for a happy LCA install for me. So LCA's in place sway bars rebuilt, new belts and idler/tension pulley installed, new lower torque strut installed, oil change done wheels back on the ground Done.

I am very happy I did this project my self as I usually am when it comes to working on my cars. I am also very glad it is over.

I found that ratcheting wrenches work very well for the belt change work, not much clearance in there for sockets.

My penetrating oil worked with the vertical bolts but would have been better if I had some PB Blaster penetrating oil not the off brand stuff I had in my garage. I should have gone out and gotten PB or another good brand it would have worked better than what I used. I will try to add pictures you can see the one bolt was wetter than the other. I would suggest trying the hole and blaster first without even using a impact or breaker bar first. I also have a picture of where I made my hole in the car.

I also have a picture of the electrical tape on the sway bar bushing. I just wonder what bozo in the history of the car did that? previous owner or shop mechanic either way I wonder what else I have got to look forward to finding now that it is mine

I had about 6 hours into it yesterday and about 8 hours into it today but I feel I got a lot done and only shot my self in the foot with the one broken bolt in the sway bar bracket. Everything worked out and I learned a little more about this car and working on cars in general. As well as saved a few bucks in shop labor. I am going to call it a difficult success in the end.

I hope my ramblings help a little, sorry to be long winded with out a lot of tech info. Thanks again to all who have posted on the topic your posts helped me a lot.

Scott
Attached Images
File Type: jpg rear vertical bolt with hole above.jpg (92.6 KB, 114 views)
File Type: jpg vertical bolts with oil.jpg (88.3 KB, 100 views)
File Type: jpg Electrical Tape Repair.jpg (95.5 KB, 93 views)
File Type: jpg anti sway bar bushing old and new.jpg (94.0 KB, 96 views)
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Old 30 Jul 2013, 09:48 pm
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Default Re: Lower control arms and suspension work

if i may ask, how did you fix the swaybar bracket bolt?
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Old 31 Jul 2013, 12:43 am
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Thumbs up Re: Lower control arms and suspension work

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohioscott View Post
I found someone wrapped the anti sway bar bushing with electrical tape and reinstalled it .
WTH.....I don't get the purpose of that either?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohioscott View Post
I also have a picture of the electrical tape on the sway bar bushing. I just wonder what bozo in the history of the car did that?
Bozo is definately the right term for that maneuver!lol
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohioscott View Post
My penetrating oil worked with the vertical bolts but would have been better if I had some PB Blaster penetrating oil not the off brand stuff I had in my garage. I should have gone out and gotten PB or another good brand it would have worked better than what I used.:
Ever since I discovered PB Blaster when I had an impossibly stuck EGR valve on my Ford Ranger,and quad-door bottom latch!.....I will SWEAR by PB Blaster,and won't hesitate to pull it out & spray away....Even if a bolt/nut/screw even remotely looks like it might be a problem(I'll let it do the GRUNT work!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohioscott View Post
I wonder what else I have got to look forward to finding now that it is mine
Don't be surprised after that 'electrical tape' nonsense.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohioscott View Post
I hope my ramblings help a little, sorry to be long winded with out a lot of tech info.
I don't know about anybody else,but I like reading an 'in depth' description with all the little anecdotes thrown in.....Good write up,and glad you conquered it!
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Old 31 Jul 2013, 12:51 am
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Exclamation Re: Lower control arms and suspension work

Now that I think about it.....The sway bar is 22mm,and they probably ordered/or purchased the 24mm bushings,and instead of returning them....'Electrical Tape'!!!!
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Old 31 Jul 2013, 06:36 am
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Default Re: Lower control arms and suspension work

Congrats on the work. Great job on the write-up. I'm going to tackle the Lower Control Arm soon. Also, I just received the replacement bushings for the sway bar. I'll do the sway bars first.

Jim
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Old 31 Jul 2013, 01:48 pm
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Cool Re: Lower control arms and suspension work

nice write up and good job on the repairs.

you saved yourself a ton of work by not forcing the bolts out and breaking the caged nuts off and getting some penetrating oil on them from the top side!
That is a great tip, drill a small hole in the floor to fit the straw into and spray from there!
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Old 31 Jul 2013, 02:13 pm
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Default Re: Lower control arms and suspension work

Quote:
Originally Posted by soyomb View Post
if i may ask, how did you fix the swaybar bracket bolt?
I kind of worked around it I tried to extract it by drilling a 1/8" hole in the broken stud and pounding a 1/8" allen bit 1/4" drive type into the hole and turning it into the threads thinking it would run out the top of the weld nut and fall into the frame of the car out of the way. My bit broke in the stud complicating the situation.

My solution at this point was to drill next to the hold and tap that for 1/4 - 20 bolt and I managed to catch the weld nut and have many good threads to bite into. So now I have 1 standard bolt mixed in with all the other metric bolts but it is holding. I am going to take a look at it again after driving a little and if i think it needs it I may get my MIG welder out and put a little tack weld on the bracket but I suspect it will hold fine.

Usually the bit in the hole thing works for me and I extract the studs just fine. I did not want to try to turn it down and out of the nut fearing forcing the rust thru the threads was what broke the bolt would break my bit. I should have drilled a larger hole and used a larger bit like maybe 3/16 or even 1/4" to get more bite and strength. I didn't feel running the threads back up and out would require that much force. I was wrong
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Old 31 Jul 2013, 02:17 pm
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Default Re: Lower control arms and suspension work

Thanks for the positive feedback, I was hoping to contribute something to the forum after all the help it has given me.
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Old 31 Jul 2013, 03:31 pm
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Default Re: Lower control arms and suspension work

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohioscott View Post
I kind of worked around it I tried to extract it by drilling a 1/8" hole in the broken stud and pounding a 1/8" allen bit 1/4" drive type into the hole and turning it into the threads thinking it would run out the top of the weld nut and fall into the frame of the car out of the way. My bit broke in the stud complicating the situation.

My solution at this point was to drill next to the hold and tap that for 1/4 - 20 bolt and I managed to catch the weld nut and have many good threads to bite into. So now I have 1 standard bolt mixed in with all the other metric bolts but it is holding. I am going to take a look at it again after driving a little and if i think it needs it I may get my MIG welder out and put a little tack weld on the bracket but I suspect it will hold fine.

Usually the bit in the hole thing works for me and I extract the studs just fine. I did not want to try to turn it down and out of the nut fearing forcing the rust thru the threads was what broke the bolt would break my bit. I should have drilled a larger hole and used a larger bit like maybe 3/16 or even 1/4" to get more bite and strength. I didn't feel running the threads back up and out would require that much force. I was wrong
pretty much what i did with mine, drilled a hole next to it. i didn't tap it tho, i put a rivet type anchor in the hole and it seems to be holding up well.
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Old 31 Jul 2013, 04:16 pm
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Lightbulb Re: Lower control arms and suspension work

One tip I might suggest that'll help with the removal/install of the new bushings is;If you have an Autozone(or similar?) parts store that offers a 'Loan-A-Tool' program,borrow the 'control arm bushing service set'.....It actually is called an 'upper control arm bushing service set' but I believe it will work on the lower control arms of the PT Cruiser,it won't cost anything but a returnable deposit....http://www.autozone.com/autozone/acc...ier=94806_0_0_
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