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How to Install a K-member and A-arms.

This is a discussion on How to Install a K-member and A-arms. within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; Hello there! I decided since this is one of those install that are a little mysterious but somwhat easy, its ...

  1. #1
    Senior Member JoshuaGrooms83's Avatar
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    How to Install a K-member and A-arms.

    Hello there!
    I decided since this is one of those install that are a little mysterious but somwhat easy, its just time consuming and at times... painful lol.
    Today we have here the mighty UMI Road Race K-member along with Upper and Lower Arms.

    Obviously already installed lol


    Ok before we start,
    IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH CHANGING YOUR OIL.... this install is
    NOT FOR YOU. this install is intensive and requires alot of attention to detail.
    This install requires you to COMPLETLY remove you engine support cradle while the engine stays put.... Like so

    If this scares you or you dont think you can do it.... please dont. This can be a dangerous install if you let it get that way. Any and ALL info on this how-to is at owners risk. I will not be held responsible for you hurting yourself or endangering yourself for being STUPID or unsafe. with that said..
    LETS BEGIN

    THE PREP!
    Depending on what you are doing, if you are JUST doing a Kmemeber with stock a arms or vise versa, jsut do what applys to you and your install. In this install I will share what I installed but use what you like.

    PARTS
    -Main components
    K-member (UMI, BMR, SPHOON... etc your choice)
    Upper A-arms (UMI, BMR, Sphoon... Adjustable, non adjustable....)
    Lower A-arms (UMI, BMR, Sphoon... Adjustable, non adjustable...)
    Zip ties

    -Optional components.. since your in there you might as wel lol
    New upper ball joints (recommended but you can use originals but why?)
    Poly or solid motor bushings (Umi, Prothane,....)
    New alternator.. perferable the 143amp truck alt mod
    Swaybars or at least new links (UMI, Strano, BMR, Sphoon...)
    Shocks (Koni... you know the drill lol)
    Springs (stranos, vogtlands... blah blah)
    new brakes (stock setup, C5, CTS-V, Aftermarket... you pick)
    New hubs (not a bad idea if you have over 100K on them already
    Strut tower bar.... if you really want to. i already had one.
    New rack (stock setup, manual rack...)
    New suspention hardware ie nets and bolts. most are supplied but not nessary
    steel braided brake lines

    TOOLS
    LOL ALOT lol heres what i used to get the job done
    A lift... you can use jacks and jack stands but like headers, you need alot of room 18" atleast
    Trans jack or jackscrew if your on the lift. another floor jack if you are on the ground.
    Block of wood.
    Sockets 3/8s set and 1/2s sets with ratchets and universal joints
    Wrenches from 10-24 ranges...
    Ratch wrenches help ALOT
    Impact wrenches will help ALOT but breaker bars will do too, but tire you out quick lol
    Allen sockets or wrenches
    Torx sockets or wrenches
    plyers normal and needle nose
    wire cutters
    lacing wire... i elaborate later
    Pry bars small and large
    Grinder (optional)
    drill or Drill press (I recommend the press)
    ANd anything else oyu think you need or i forgot... you need alot of good tools for this one. theres alot of things to take out

    THE TEAR DOWN
    Here we go, take a breathe and relax, its just a k member lol
    Alright, depending on your install you can either skip to A arm install or start here. Heres the beginning.

    Disconnect the negative terminal from your battery... unless you want to electricute yourself

    Get the car up in the air. Its gonna be there for a minute. so get it at a comfortable level. I used a lift lucky me
    If on the ground AT LEAST 18" to move around under the car.
    the patient is ready
    [IMG]http://i535.photobucket.com/albums/ee357/JT_Grooms/P1000637.jpg
    [/IMG]

    Once lifted work your way from the outside in;
    tires off

    Get calipers off or hung up (if your doing new lines unhook em and set em aside)

    Get caliper brackets off

    Rotors off

    If doing new hubs take those out too.

    Unbolt the swaybar links

    Make sure to disconnect ABS wire from hub and lower A-arms and up around the stock k member. Also check under the power steering and ensure the brake line is off it too

    Also while there, unbolt the brake line mount from the K-member seen here...


    Disconnect shock from bottom. set aside hardware for later

    Go top side and disconnect the two bolts on the ABS and brake resivor from booster. then unbolt the two torx on the driver side shock.

    Unbolt upper a arm from spindal

    Remove shocks
    I wont go into detail but if your going to do shocks, get your new springs and shocks mated now to ease insatallation phase, do the rear too while your at it. but for now, we will stick to the front end.



    Remove upper A arm perch and set aside


    -From here we will do part of the install for ease of installation.

    Remove Stock Arms from perch.

    Install new Upper ball joints on New A-arms or use your old stuff. Grease everything now. Also.. make sure all you grease ponts are pointing down and the curve in the arm faces the front of the car. Also ensure the new bolts for the new ball joints are facing up so nut sits on top.

    Install new Arms on perches using either new hardware or original. Adjust them if you have adjustables now as close to stock as possible.

    Mate the perch with new upper A-arms on Strut assembly and bolt it back on the car up top. It helps with a frind but you can do it by yourself.Adjust the shocks if they are adjustable before hand for sionce they are out in the open now. For now the two will be ok if you have a ATB to put on later. Go ahead and put ABS and Resivour back on. you wont need to bo back in there after this.

    Bolt you spindal back onto the new upper a arms and let be

    To recap you have installed new Upper Aarms, Ball joints, Shocks and springs.

    BACK TO Tear down

    Place trans jack, jackscrew, or jack with wooden block under engine oil pan avoiding the drain plug for even weigh distibution and apply enough pressure just to be able to engage the block but dont lift it completely.

    remove your surpentine belt

    Unbolt lower a arm from spindal

    Unbolt Rack from K-member but leave the tie rods on.

    Loosen motor mount bolts but dont remove yet

    REmove Alternator (if needed, remove swaybar for this)
    THeres a plug on the back so becarful

    THE POINT OF NO RETURN
    Now here the tricky part...
    the motor mounts are a pain in the ass so take your time.
    The drivers side is easy, just unbolt it. leave it for now

    The passenger side is a PITA!! unbolt the entire pedistol from the stock kemember. There are four. With a ratchet wrench you can get them all. Take your time.

    once unbolted apply or release pressure enough to remove the drivers side motor mount bolt.

    Make sure the reack is out of the mounting

    next you may need a friend but i managed on my own.

    Unbolt the 6 bolts that hold the stock cradle. remove the brck ones first and work your way back. apon removal of the last bolt be prepared to grab the k member or have freind avalible.

    Wiggle it out and set it down.

    GO back and unbolt the rest of the motor mount off the engine and set it aside

    Take a breather, you might need it right about now lol
    this is what you should have right abuot now




    Unbolt the stock lower a arms from the stock K-member MAKING NOTE where the bolts were located to semi have the same idea were to place them on the new K-member

    Alright now for some easy but delicate work
    If your using solids like what UMI supplys, then skip this part.

    I would recommend new motor mount bushings since you are already there and the old stock ones are probably on the way out if they havnt fallen out yet lol

    drill out the rivits on the old calm shell and open them up to about 3/8s or what ever size bolts came with your new bushings. Ensure you orientat the tabs on the bushings correctly (sitting on top of the mount so it doesnt fall)

    Bolt you new bushing inside the clam shells.

    Now this is how i did this.
    - Bolt the Drivers side bushing back on to the block
    AND THEN
    - bolt the passenger side bushing on the NEW UMI Kmember.

    Take this time now to grease any bushings on the new lower control arms now to take a break.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JoshuaGrooms83's Avatar
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    THE MAJOR INSTALL
    Now go back and insure all you wires and whatnot are out of the way.
    Ensure your powersteering is ok and all brake lines as well.

    Now with either a freind or with some serious muscle Grab your new K member and your Kmember bolts manuver and wiggle the new kemember into position and loosly place the bolts into position.

    Make sure all brake lines and wires are out of the way and in the proper position as you are placing it in there. you dont want to have to unbolt it all again because you crushed a brake line.

    Also take note of how your motor mounts are lined up. Dont crank on the bolts yet since you need to line up alot of things. There are also location pins that go into the body of the car that need to be into place.

    work on the motor mounts first.
    YOu may have to play around with the transjack/jackscrews to get them to line up
    -Bolt the drivers sides four bolts on the engine.
    -then wiggle, pry, cuss, cry, and finally BOLT the drivers side in lol

    THen once everything is in its place
    tighten the 6 bolts down. make sure on the back part of the Kmember that the supplied washers are on the top.
    bolt the rack back into place and remove the trans jack.
    VIOLA!! you have a New K-member


    You are now on the home strech

    Ensuring you grease the fittings, install the new lower a arms into possition using your old hardware (or new) ensuring you have the locating pin in place on the back one. I found that doing the back one first and then swinging the front one into positon somwhat from the top makes it easier.
    If you have rod ends this may be easier but if youhave poly/rotos like me its a tight fit so use them muscles.

    once in to position either bolt them down good enough to drive to an alignment shop if you cant do it yourself.

    place the shock spacer thats supplied (umi) between the shock and the lower a arms. YOu should have some new bolts that are shorter for the new bottom shock mounts. YOu can use the old nuts (since i got the wrong sized nuts for the bolts) dont tighten yet but get them into position

    Mate the lower ball joints to the spindal and toque it down until it stops, then install supplied new cotter pin (same for upper by the way lol)

    Tighten down the lower shock bolts as well now.

    Now is the time for new hubs
    If you are using a C5 bracket feed the bolts in through the bracket, through the spindal and into the hub... if not then just bolt your new hubs in if you are install new ones.

    If doing new Braided lines, nows the time to do it then bolt the brake braket back on to the new K-member

    The put the rest of your brakes back together
    Be a good time to get your brakes done (pads, rotors)

    should end up with somthing like this




    But your not done yet! but your REALLY close lol

    Reinstall you alternator (recommend the 145amp truck Alt to get rid of the flickering lights.

    replace your belt

    install your swaybar

    Now check EVERYTHING. Anything you touched double check it. Triple check it. Check torque specs to ensure everything is good.

    connect your battery

    put your tires back on and get your ass to an alignment shop.

    the drive should be used to "settle" the suspention so that the alignment should be more precise.

    LISTEN to the car and drive carfully. you have changed the geometry of the suspention, so its gonna handle a bit off. dont go chargin corners until you get it aligned. endure you tell the shop what you have done. YOur toe should be fine, it will be camber and caster that need more attention.

    If you have questions PLEASE ASK and if i left somthing out PLEASE TELL ME, there alot of stuff involved with this install so i might have left somthing out or somthing simple that most of us deem common knowledge others may not even think about it until its too late and somthing breaks. Please let me know and ill add too or take away as nesscary.
    and with that there you have it!

  3. #3
    Rockin the Ruckus! 02Sweet's Avatar
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    Great write up!!!!


    I have yet to do this so I am going to assume you didn't leave anything out. I am sure others will chime in and correct or confirm what you have written.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JoshuaGrooms83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02Sweet View Post
    Great write up!!!!


    I have yet to do this so I am going to assume you didn't leave anything out. I am sure others will chime in and correct or confirm what you have written.
    thanks, I welcome any additions or corrections if there is needed needed. Theres alot to cover and this install has alot of things with safety and i dont want anyone to get hurt or damage their car.

  5. #5
    James Bond Spikito's Avatar
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    why are your back tires different?

  6. #6
    Senior Member JoshuaGrooms83's Avatar
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    lol Really? out off all things you pick out my tires? lol
    Its actually a stupid story that happened last wednesday. I went to replace my cracked drivers side rotor and wound up doing a tire swap. I got too close to the lift on the passengers side and managed to slash my tire... stupid continental tires. great for all season driving but sidewalls are usless.
    So i had some 255/45s laying aorund so i replaced two and put them on the rears.

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    silver
    2000 formula

    driven enough to tell a difference yet?

  8. #8
    James Bond Spikito's Avatar
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    your drivers side is the same as my last set i think...so naturally i looked at the passenger side.....

  9. #9
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    This needs to be sticky!!!

    Josh - how long did it take you? R&P - was it a PITA?

  10. #10
    Senior Member JoshuaGrooms83's Avatar
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    in all honesty by myself it took about 5 hours. The only PITA was aligning the the motor mounts to tne new k member and trying to feed the bolts in. Other then that it was pretty much a straight forward install. Getting the kmember up snd boltong by myself was a task but with a friend u can have an easier time lol
    Last edited by JoshuaGrooms83; 03-07-2011 at 01:05 PM.

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    Senior Member justinmc978's Avatar
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    sold: 1999 firebird
    1998 Trans Am

    yeah this needs a Sticky bigtime, I've looked everywhere for a write up like this with no luck until now

  12. #12
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    One more very important question.

    How did you keep the motor in the air? I honestly don't think you were able to with just one stand with a block of wood on the oil pan.

  13. #13
    James Bond Spikito's Avatar
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    i held mine up with a block of wood and a jack underneath the bell housing.

    it was on my v6, the oil pan is stamped, didn't trust it

  14. #14
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spikito View Post
    i held mine up with a block of wood and a jack underneath the bell housing.

    it was on my v6, the oil pan is stamped, didn't trust it
    I think I see...the trans holds up the rear and the block under the bell housing should hold up the rest giving it 2 points of contact.

    I wonder if there is any other spots to be used?

  15. #15
    James Bond Spikito's Avatar
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    ive heard of people routing a chain through the headers/exhaust manifolds, then wrapped around the strut tower brace, if you have one

  16. #16
    Senior Member JoshuaGrooms83's Avatar
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    all i used was a block of wood and a trans jack to the hold the motor in place. The tranny and mount r still in place to hold everything else in place while u work. The trans jack is rated to 1000 lbs. I think it can manage.

  17. #17
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaGrooms83 View Post
    all i used was a block of wood and a trans jack to the hold the motor in place. The tranny and mount r still in place to hold everything else in place while u work. The trans jack is rated to 1000 lbs. I think it can manage.
    Josh my question was where exactly did you place the trans jack. In the pic it looks like you placed it under the oil pan.

  18. #18
    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    i vote for Sticky!

  19. #19
    Senior Member JoshuaGrooms83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Josh my question was where exactly did you place the trans jack. In the pic it looks like you placed it under the oil pan.
    Oh my bad. Yeah its on the engine oil pan itself. I thought i put that in there for the lifting portion. Ill check.

  20. #20
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    I thought you should never put anything on the oil pan because the weight of the engine would crush it.

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