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Front Suspension Refresh Quesionts

This is a discussion on Front Suspension Refresh Quesionts within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; I'm looking at the front suspension and it's due for a change out. I can see that the lower A-arm ...

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Front Suspension Refresh Quesionts

    I'm looking at the front suspension and it's due for a change out.

    I can see that the lower A-arm bushings are shot, and I'm thinking I should do the uppers while I'm in there.

    Looking at pics of the upper assembly, it looks like the spring/shock has to come out to gain access to the inner nut.

    Also, for the lower, I see four points of contact. Is it as simple as removing those for bolts/nuts/fasteners and swapping in the new part?

    Also, how much clearance will I need under the car? I'll be doing this on the ground on jack stands, most likely.

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    Here is the thread from when I swapped out my front shocks (includes torque specs). I think I have another from when I installed the control arms...

    Link: Upgrading Front Shocks

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    Here is the second thread from the K-member and front suspension upgrade (lots of pics): K-member swap and upgrades

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Thanks, Scott, for the tip.

    Thanks for the links, Jeff.

    So... after reevaluating... I'm seeing that the "shot" bushings are actually the tie rod boots. If I'm not mistaken, I can take those off without even removing the wheel, if I wanted, right? I'd just be loosening them from the spindle and then swapping the boots, no? Next time I have a chance to get under the car, I'll look more closely at the control arms and then decide how urgently they need to be replaced. If they will hold out, I'll just kick that can down the road a while and put in some UMI pieces whenever that may be.
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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Okay, so, hopefully someone sees this tonight and can get back to me:

    I have been pounding on my tie rod ends with a rubber mallet and they will not pop lose. I have seen (on youtube) people use a metal hammer, but I'm worried about damaging the tie rod end.

    I looked at Jeff's thread on the K-member. He says a "sharp blow" with the "hammer." Jeff, do you mean a normal hammer, or a rubber mallet?

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Front Suspension Refresh Quesionts

    take a block of wood and place between the tie rod and hammer. now smack the shit out of it.
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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Let's try that. I'm about to head out and get a separator if I can't get it to break free.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Grrrrr!!!!

    6 hours on a 1/2 hour job....

    Nothing is working. I tried the rubber mallet, I tried smacking the spindle instead of the threaded end... tried a dead blow hammer... tried a pickle fork.... and NO ONE has a set of the separator tools (the kind that clamps on and pries the tie rod off)....

    Unbelievable....

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    post a pic. I can't see how it's not separating from the spindle.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    well, I got the passenger side off... I probably hit it hundreds of times. The rubber mallet eventually did the trick.

    The driver side is no easier, apparently. I just moved on to the driver side, and so far, the pickle fork is useless.

    Also, having trouble getting the old boot off.. the rim around the bottom seems stiff/hard instead of soft (like I would imagine rubber is supposed to feel).

    I was hoping to get this done on my day off so I'd have my car for the work week, but I guess that ain't happening... It's looking like I'll also need a grease gun to put fresh lube in the joints.

    I'll put a pic up in a minute.

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    Reinstall the nut (upside down if you can) and then back it off until it is flush with the end of the threaded stud. Try to hit it sharply and as square as possible (turn the steering wheel for better access) with a steel hammer. Works every time.

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    Senior Member bigrondownhiller's Avatar
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    What Jeff said works. Also if you have a small sledge you can smack the spindle where the tie rod goes through. It is a tapered fit so smacking it forces it loose. You can also heat up the spindle with a torch and then smack. Usually pops right out after a bit of heat. If the boots are torn you are probably going to have to replace the tie rods if they have been torn for any length of time.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    Reinstall the nut (upside down if you can) and then back it off until it is flush with the end of the threaded stud. Try to hit it sharply and as square as possible (turn the steering wheel for better access) with a steel hammer. Works every time.
    Tried this. Wound up messing up the threads on the nut (or possibly the stud, not sure which). Perhaps it wasn't perfectly flush...? I'm wondering if removing the rotor/caliper would have made it easier to get a good angle on the stud with the hammer. But I'm not comfortable messing with the brake lines (and don't have the set up/tools to correct any mistakes on that system), so I left them on.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigrondownhiller View Post
    What Jeff said works. Also if you have a small sledge you can smack the spindle where the tie rod goes through. It is a tapered fit so smacking it forces it loose. You can also heat up the spindle with a torch and then smack. Usually pops right out after a bit of heat. If the boots are torn you are probably going to have to replace the tie rods if they have been torn for any length of time.
    Tried this also (though not with a sledge, just my regular hammer).

    The passenger side eventually did pop free after the 10,000th wallop with the rubber mallet. Tried being "overly" aggressive on the driver side with the mallet, but it didn't pop loose. Had to go get one of those c-clamp deals from harbor freight this morning.

    I inspected the ball joints and they "seemed" fine, though I was thinking about whether I'd need to replace them. The grease was "grit" free, though, so I figured they should be alright. I did put fresh grease in there, though. Now that I have 10 different tools to do this job, it'll be a cinch to do the tie rods. But they held up for my drive to work (60-ish miles through 75mph speed limits) with a variety of little bumps and undulations. Even still, I'll be doing front-end refresh soon and will replace them then.

    Thanks everyone, for all the input.

    Scott, I just called it quits last night instead of taking the pic. But she's all buttoned up now.

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    Pickle fork is always my backup plan, but there is a greater risk of damage to the boot. Sorry it fought you so hard.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    It's possible that I just didn't understand exactly how to use the tools.... I know that sounds silly, but sometimes there is a subtle nuance to the way something is done, and I tend to believe that automotive work does have a certain esoteric quality about it--once you get under the hood and start mucking around, things start to make sense. Since I'm on the learn-as-I-go track, I'm chalking this one up to experience and projecting a much less stressful time during the second go-around. I WILL attempt the hammer again, just to see whether it is any easier if it has been apart more recently (I suspect it would be).

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    As we suffer from something called "rust" in our area, there have been some serious fights in my garage removing original parts through the years. Rusted on brake drums are probably my least favorite followed by wheel bearings mounted in aluminum knuckles. My fire wrench and BFH both see fairly regular use.

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    Senior Member bigrondownhiller's Avatar
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    Jeff, anti-seize goes a long way in helping bearings in aluminum knuckles come apart. Just wish the OEM's used it.

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    Senior Member bigrondownhiller's Avatar
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    Naaman, get yourself a map gas torch, some good penetrating oil and a BFH. Between the three you should be able to get most things freed up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrondownhiller View Post
    Jeff, anti-seize goes a long way in helping bearings in aluminum knuckles come apart. Just wish the OEM's used it.
    Absolutely. I always knock out the oxidation and such with a wire wheel and then coat everything with anti-seize.

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