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Old 03-31-2011, 09:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I just confirmed the lower front control arm bushing on the drivers side of the car is torn and is probably contributing to the creaking noise my car is making.

Just a few quick questions. What size is the nut on the bottom of the ball joint I think it's a 23mm because the 24mm socket i have seems too loose.

The rear arm bushing looks okay, however, should I replace the rear while I'm already working on this because it may fail soon too?

If I just do the lower front arm, do I need to drop the subframe in order to replace it?

Does autozone rent out a ball joint separator?
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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i grabbed a new lower front arm for like $45 on ebay when i stripped mine trying to hammer it out.

no need to replace both if they aren't needed.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:27 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Replaced the drivers side front lower control arm this morning. It ended up being quite a fiasco.

A few of the highlights:

1. I couldn't get the inner bushing bolt out because it kept hitting the transmission pan, so I undid the top transmission mount and jacked up the engine/tranny slightly so i could get the bolt out with just enough clearance. To do this I had to remove the battery and the airbox for clearance.

2. I broke the harbor freight ball joint separator I had when i tried to separate the ball joint from the control arm. The stupid thing snapped in half and the ball joint was still intact. It made quite a pop when the thing broke though. So I went to autozone and picked up a picklefork and I got it separated in about 3 mins after that, but unfortunatley hit the boot of the rear arm when it broke free and put a small tear in it. I put some RTV sealant on the boot this afternoon to hopefully prevent any dirt etc from getting in. The rear arm's bushing probably isn't too far behind the fronts, so i'm not too worried about this hole. Not sure if you can buy replacement boots or how hard those would be to install. If anyone knows please let me know.

3. The metal sleeve around the ball joint came out with the ball joint. This wasn't as big of a deal as i thought it would be and it tapped right back into place.

4. I couldn't get the inner bolt to go into the threaded end of the subframe. I wrestled with this for about 30 mins.

5. When i pulled my tire off this morning I noticed I had a large slice across the tread. Glad i caught this because i'm going on a trip pretty soon, so after replacing the control arm it was off to the tire shop. I needed new tires anyway, (had 70k on this set) and got 4 new ones.

Overall not too terrible a job, and most importantly IT GOT RID OF MY CREAKING!!!
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Old 04-20-2011, 11:32 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felizcortez View Post
Replaced the drivers side front lower control arm this morning. It ended up being quite a fiasco.

A few of the highlights:

1. I couldn't get the inner bushing bolt out because it kept hitting the transmission pan, so I undid the top transmission mount and jacked up the engine/tranny slightly so i could get the bolt out with just enough clearance. To do this I had to remove the battery and the airbox for clearance.

I don't remember this being a problem. Maybe this is on an '05+.
2. I broke the harbor freight ball joint separator I had when i tried to separate the ball joint from the control arm. The stupid thing snapped in half and the ball joint was still intact. It made quite a pop when the thing broke though. So I went to autozone and picked up a picklefork and I got it separated in about 3 mins after that, but unfortunatley hit the boot of the rear arm when it broke free and put a small tear in it. I put some RTV sealant on the boot this afternoon to hopefully prevent any dirt etc from getting in. The rear arm's bushing probably isn't too far behind the fronts, so i'm not too worried about this hole. Not sure if you can buy replacement boots or how hard those would be to install. If anyone knows please let me know.

I have a pic of the tool you need. I'll try and post it again.
3. The metal sleeve around the ball joint came out with the ball joint. This wasn't as big of a deal as i thought it would be and it tapped right back into place.

If you had the correct tool, the sleeve would not come out.
4. I couldn't get the inner bolt to go into the threaded end of the subframe. I wrestled with this for about 30 mins.

You might have to lift the entire front of the car up. Could be the sway bar is putting resistance when trying to line up both holes in the control arm and not putting the hole in the bushing lined up the the threaded hole in the subframe.

5. When i pulled my tire off this morning I noticed I had a large slice across the tread. Glad i caught this because i'm going on a trip pretty soon, so after replacing the control arm it was off to the tire shop. I needed new tires anyway, (had 70k on this set) and got 4 new ones.

You should get a 4 wheel alignment after the control arm replacement. This will prevent your new tires from wearing out prematurely if out of alignment.

Overall not too terrible a job, and most importantly IT GOT RID OF MY CREAKING!!!
Glad it worked out for ya! You probably learned alot doing it yourself.
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:15 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilimax21 View Post

Originally Posted by felizcortez
Replaced the drivers side front lower control arm this morning. It ended up being quite a fiasco.

A few of the highlights:

1. I couldn't get the inner bushing bolt out because it kept hitting the transmission pan, so I undid the top transmission mount and jacked up the engine/tranny slightly so i could get the bolt out with just enough clearance. To do this I had to remove the battery and the airbox for clearance.

I don't remember this being a problem. Maybe this is on an '05+.
It wasn't too bad getting around this, but still kind of frustrating when they don't make things like this easier to work on.


2. I broke the harbor freight ball joint separator I had when i tried to separate the ball joint from the control arm. The stupid thing snapped in half and the ball joint was still intact. It made quite a pop when the thing broke though. So I went to autozone and picked up a picklefork and I got it separated in about 3 mins after that, but unfortunatley hit the boot of the rear arm when it broke free and put a small tear in it. I put some RTV sealant on the boot this afternoon to hopefully prevent any dirt etc from getting in. The rear arm's bushing probably isn't too far behind the fronts, so i'm not too worried about this hole. Not sure if you can buy replacement boots or how hard those would be to install. If anyone knows please let me know.

I have a pic of the tool you need. I'll try and post it again.

This was a jaw type separator (the 3/4 inch ball joint separator). I was surprised it snapped in half under load. This separator should have separated it without removign the metal sleeve.

3. The metal sleeve around the ball joint came out with the ball joint. This wasn't as big of a deal as i thought it would be and it tapped right back into place.

If you had the correct tool, the sleeve would not come out.

THe pickle fork was a last resort, because i didn't want to mess up the boots. But I was in a pinch

4. I couldn't get the inner bolt to go into the threaded end of the subframe. I wrestled with this for about 30 mins.

You might have to lift the entire front of the car up. Could be the sway bar is putting resistance when trying to line up both holes in the control arm and not putting the hole in the bushing lined up the the threaded hole in the subframe.
I had both tires lifted off the ground so i could turn the wheel to make it easier to access things. I ended up getting it but strugglign for a while.
5. When i pulled my tire off this morning I noticed I had a large slice across the tread. Glad i caught this because i'm going on a trip pretty soon, so after replacing the control arm it was off to the tire shop. I needed new tires anyway, (had 70k on this set) and got 4 new ones.

You should get a 4 wheel alignment after the control arm replacement. This will prevent your new tires from wearing out prematurely if out of alignment.
Definitely got a new alignement when I got the new tires.
Overall not too terrible a job, and most importantly IT GOT RID OF MY CREAKING!!!


Appreciate all the help. I'll look forward to seeing the pic of the tool mentioned. I wouldn't mind spending some more for the separator (i'm sure i'll use it again).
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:15 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Ball Joint Remover
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I've put my questions in the quote, thank you

Quote:
Originally Posted by chilimax21 View Post
Read this fully before you start.

Tools you need:

Sockets and extensions
Universal Joint
Breaker bar
Ratchet
150lb. + torque wrench
Propane hand held torch
Tuning fork style or C-clamp style ball joint remover
Anti-seize
Longest Craftsman crowbar sears has.
Another person to help.
Heavy Duty Impact Gun (optional)
Two jacks
Jackstands

There are 3 control arms on each front corner of the car. One upper and two lower ones. The front lower is straight, has a rubber bushing on one end and in the center of the arm and a ball joint on the other end. The rear lower control arm is bent and has one oil filled bushing on one end and a ball joint on the other. The front control arm outer bushing was destroyed on my car. I purchased my new aftermarket control arm assemblies thru ebay and an online source.

1. Measure from the center of the hub in front wheel to bottom of center of curved surface of front fender. This is your stock ride height.

2. You need to jack up the front of the car and put it on jackstands.

3. Remove the front wheels.

4. Remove the nuts holding the ball joints. This is where your helper comes in. Get the crowbar and position it between the ball joint and steering knuckle so it doesn't rotate on you when you are loosening the nut. Hold the crowbar so that you don't put stress on the upper control arm bushings. You need a breaker bar or an impact gun to loosen them since its about 145 ft.lbs. For those using a breaker bar, get a pipe and use it over the breaker bar so you don't kill yourself trying to loosen it (extra leverage). I fthe ball joint spins with the nut, you can stick a metric allen key on the end of the ball joint to hold it from spinning while you loosen the nut. Do not throw these nuts out. You might have to reuse them like I did. There is a sleeve in the steering knuckle that the ball joint goes in. If you hit the end of the ball joint to pop it out, the sleeve will come out with it. Don't do this. I learned this the hard way. Get the propane torch and heat the ball joint and nearby area up. This will expand the metal and make it easier to come apart. Get the ball joint remover and hit it to remove the ball joint. Most likely this will destroy your grease boot, so if you plan on just replacing the bushings and reusing the arms, get some replacement boots. New control arms should come with everything needed. Remove the bolt holding the front control arm center bushing to the shock. Get a jack and support the steering knuckle so it doesn't drop.
Be careful of the brake line and ABS cable.

5. Remove the battery and tray. This will help gain you access to the two steering rack bolts when you drop the rear of the subframe. You need to use a universal joint with long extensions to loosen the steering rack bolts. You might need the breaker bar since mine were super tight. Leave bolts in place.

I read one post, which said one only needs to lower the subframe about 2 inches to get the rear control arm bolts out, is that true? And the post didn't mention about steering rack bolts etc. It said about loosing the bolts in the 2 triangle bracket holding the rear part of the subframe.
Please help clarify this. I really don't want to disconnect too much stuffs if I don't have too.

By the way, I have a 2003 Mazda6 4 cylincer. I need to replace driver side front lower control arms (both front and rear ones.)

I plan to loose the bolt hold the rear part of the subframe about 2inches to gain the access to the front rear control arm botl. As for the front front control arm, I don't need to care about the subframe.

Please let me know if I need to do additional job.


6. The reason you need to drop the subframe is because the exhaust manifold gets in the way of the bolt that holds the passenger side control arm IIRC. Also the bolt that holds the rear control arm is not removable because the bolt is long enough that you can't remove it with the subframe in place. Remove the bolt that holds the wishbone engine mount to the subframe. There are plastic clips that attach the splash guard to the subframe. Disconnect the endlinks from the front sway bar. The manual says to remove the transverse member which looks like a minisway bar between the two triangular pieces , but I don't recall doing that. The rear of the subframe is held by a triangular piece on each side. Remove each triangular piece by removing the two bolts and the nut. Place a jack under the subframe to support it so it doesn't come crashing down. Loosen the nuts holding the front of the subframe and leave a 1/4" of thread showing. This should give you enough play to drop the subframe.

7. Once the subframe is dropped, you can access the front control arm bolt from inside the subframe. Remove the front control arm. You can remove the rear control arm bolt and remove the rear control arm.

8. Put some anitseize on all nuts and bolts removed. Install the two control arms and bolts for the subframe. Tighten these bolts slightly because you need to load the suspension to close to stock height when you tighten any rubber bushing in the suspension. Install the center bolt for the front control arm to the shock. Install the ball joint ends to the steering knuckle. The nuts that came with my new control arms were too small so I reused the old nuts. Tighten the nuts to about 145 ft.lbs. using the crowbar to prevent the steering knuckle from rotating. Using the jack on the rear of the subframe, raise the subframe up. Tighten the front nuts holding the subframe up till it touches the subframe to reduce play. You cannot raise the subframe all the way up because you cannot tighten the control arm bolt in the subframe. Raise it enough to be able to tighten the bolt holding the control arm. You might be able to tighten the rear control arm bolt with the subframe all the way up using a universal joint. Raise the subframe. Tighten all hardware slightly because the steering rack bolts are next and you need to be careful here. Use your finger or the universal joint if you can't reach it and tighten it by hand. Do not force it because you might ruin the threads. If it gets tight real quick, that means the threaded hole is not lined up and you need to move the subframe slightly to line the holes up. Raise the suspension up from under the steering knuckle to the premeasured ride height. The control arm bolts should now be tightened to about 85 ft.lbs. Tighten the transverse member (bolts are 65 ft.lbs.) and triangle pieces and tighten all nuts to 100 ft.lbs. and bolts to 85 ft.lbs. to the subframe. Tighten the steering rack bolts to 75 ft.lbs. Install plastic clips to splash shield to subframe.

9. Install endlinks, battery and battery tray and front wheels and you're done!

It's been a few months since I did this, so hopefully I didn't forget anything. I am not responsible for what happens to you or your vehicle if you follow this procedure. If you find something to add or is wrong, please contribute. Torque specs were from a shop manual for a 4 cylinder, but should be the same for a V6. I spoke with a member that had a 4 cylinder and he said you didn't need to drop the subframe. This might be possible since there is enough clearance and if you're only replacing the front lower control arm. Sorry about not having pics. Never done it before. If I have time I'll load some up.
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:22 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I replaced driver side front lower front control arm on Mazda 6 v6 2003 so just want to share my experience maybe it will be helpful. I didn’t have to drop subfame. So it’s pretty easy compared to other lower control arms that require to get subframe dropped. My inner bushing was causing creaking noise.
You are going to need 15mm socket and 15/16 (I think it’s 24mm) socket. That’s what I happened to use.
The inner bolt was very tight so I had to jack up the car high enough to have some room and applied a torque wrench. I also had to use 10’’ extension on that bolt. I put a jack under transmission (also used jack stands on sides of the car) and loosened the bolt using the torque wrench very easy. I never used a pipe over a torque wrench on the ball joint nut though. You can rent a torque wrench and a pickle fork ball joint separator in a pepboys store. I couldn’t find OTC 204-592 ball joint remover (which is good for our cars as people say) for less than $235 that’s why I rented Tie Rod End Remover 27175 tool from pepboys hoping it would help me to separate the ball joint. I wanted to avoid using a pickle fork first. But it didn’t fit right and I ended up breaking it.
When I finally got the pickle fork I took some time and managed to separate the ball joint without damaging lower rear control arm ball joint dust boot which is next to it. Unfortunately it came out with a sleeve around it. And I only was able to take the sleeve off of the old control arm after heating it with a propane torch and using the pickle fork and a hammer along with two bricks. I let the sleeve cool down and put it right back into its place in the steering knuckle. It was not hard to put a new control arm back on.
There is no creaking after 2 weeks.
I just want to say thanks to the author of this thread and all who shared their experience as I would never attempted to do this on my own having no directions and also learned something about my car.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Here is a bad inner bushing on the lower control arm (a cut on the rubber piece can be seen). Just an example of how a bad bushing looks like so it may help to diagnose a problem.
Attached Thumbnails
Replacing lower control arms-2011-07-22-21.37.56.jpg  

Last edited by Dimon777; 07-23-2011 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:58 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I am planning to replace rear tires and do 4 wheel alignment (looks like my rear tires wear off not evenly). What would be the best suggestion of which place to go? I am not looking for a cheap alignment but don't want to overpay either. Any suggestions on what to ask in an alignment shop or just go to any big place like Goodyear?

I think i should ask them to re-torque all bolts on lower control arm that was replaced under load.

Last edited by Dimon777; 07-23-2011 at 01:08 PM.
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