Advice on lining up front control arm

crazyone64

Member
May 2, 2018
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Toronto Canada
Hi,

I've got my 2003 mach1 supported on two jack stands (at the pinch welds) allowing me access to work on the front suspension.
I've removed the front passenger control arm, installed the new control arm only at the ball joint, and not tightened yet, wiggle room exists.
I'm jacking up the control arm as close to the two bolts as i can.
I'm not sure how to proceed, i tried different angles and the bolt holes aren't lining up enough for the bolt.
I tried a massive screwdriver but it doesn't do much. Also tried a ratcheting strap secured to the driver control arm but it doesn't do much.

Anyone have experience and can share a few tips?
I guess i could buy spring compressors* but not sure it'll compress the spring enough for me to line up the control arm.
Do i need to raise the rear of the vehicle so the car is level?
 
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KRUISR

5 Year Member
Apr 16, 2015
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I have always bolted the control arm to the k-member first and then jack up the front of the control arm to connect ball joint.
 

KRUISR

5 Year Member
Apr 16, 2015
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Once the control arm is attached to the k-member, put the spring in and use the jack to raise the control arm and connect the ball joint to spindle. If this does not work, then you will need a spring compressor to compress the spring prior to doing the above.
 

manicmechanic007

Mustang Master
Sep 26, 2017
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You damn sure need to hold your mouth right while you go up with the spring and arm
I use a line up punch and install one bolt at a time
The ball joint attaches last
Good luck
 

Mustang5L5

Put lubricant all over the balls
Mod Dude
Feb 18, 2001
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Thanks, i've done that now, but how are you getting the spring in before raising the front of the control arm where the ball joint connects

Are you using OEM springs? You really need to use an internal spring compressor for those as they are just too long, especially if you are installing them with the isolators.

If they are lowering spring, MM makes a tool that might help.


I have a set of Mach 1 springs i've installed on my Fox and they are too long to try and place in the perch and lever up into place, especially with the isolators. I cheated and used hose clamps around the spring to compress it just enough to get in. Highly dangerous and I don't recommend but it worked.

I've NEVER had success putting a control arm in by connecting the balljoint and jacking it up with a spring in place. The spring just always seemed to put the arm into a bind and I could never get the bolts in. I always give up and bolt the Arm to the K-member and put the spring in after. i'm sure folks have done it though.
 

crazyone64

Member
May 2, 2018
66
6
18
39
Toronto Canada
Hi,

I've got my 2003 mach1 supported on two jack stands (at the pinch welds) allowing me access to work on the front suspension.
I've removed the front passenger control arm, installed the new control arm only at the ball joint, and not tightened yet, wiggle room exists.
I'm jacking up the control arm as close to the two bolts as i can.
I'm not sure how to proceed, i tried different angles and the bolt holes aren't lining up enough for the bolt.
I tried a massive screwdriver but it doesn't do much. Also tried a ratcheting strap secured to the driver control arm but it doesn't do much.

Anyone have experience and can share a few tips?
I guess i could buy spring compressors* but not sure it'll compress the spring enough for me to line up the control arm.
Do i need to raise the rear of the vehicle so the car is level?
I was able to get the spring in by hand. Simply compressed it with my hands and a bit of a shove and it slid into place.
i installed the castlenut until flush, but now it keeps turning without tightening.
I'm not sure how high i can jack up the ball joint which i read is one method.
The other is a crowbar but i couldnt visualize where to place it to put enough tension to stop it from spinning - any suggestions?
 

Mustang5L5

Put lubricant all over the balls
Mod Dude
Feb 18, 2001
38,680
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Massachusetts
Put the jack under the balljoint and jack it up until it starts lifting the car off the jackstand. Then try to tighten it
 
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KRUISR

5 Year Member
Apr 16, 2015
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Like Mike said. With the weight of the car on the ball joint it shouldn't rotate as you are tightening the nut.
 

crazyone64

Member
May 2, 2018
66
6
18
39
Toronto Canada
Thank you everyone, couldn't have done it without you. New passenger control arm and spring are installed successfully.
Onto the drivers side.. i have the two nuts that hold the steering rack to the k member undone so the steering rack can move forward with a crowbar.
I can lift the steering rack a bit but not enough to get the lower control arm bolt out.

In the video, the mechanic indicates you may need to remove the bolt on the steering shaft to steering rack, screenshot #3 below.
Where is this using the screenshot below? is it the reason i don't have enough clearance on the drivers side?

I removed both outer tie rods but it can't get past the rubber boot on the inner tie rod.
 

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manicmechanic007

Mustang Master
Sep 26, 2017
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It's touch and go aint it?
Gives you that funny feeling when the danger is on
What a relief now right?
 

MineralMan

Active Member
May 17, 2005
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San Diego, CA
www.michaelbrianstudios.com
Thank you everyone, couldn't have done it without you. New passenger control arm and spring are installed successfully.
Onto the drivers side.. i have the two nuts that hold the steering rack to the k member undone so the steering rack can move forward with a crowbar.
I can lift the steering rack a bit but not enough to get the lower control arm bolt out.

In the video, the mechanic indicates you may need to remove the bolt on the steering shaft to steering rack, screenshot #3 below.
Where is this using the screenshot below? is it the reason i don't have enough clearance on the drivers side?

I removed both outer tie rods but it can't get past the rubber boot on the inner tie rod.

I am at the same point myself in my front end rebuild. I stopped last weekend at this point. I believe that you need to release the steering rack from the steering shaft, and that will then give you enough room to move the rack past the steering rack bolt sleeve and to be able to move it up out of the way. I'll be continuing on my project this weekend.
 

manicmechanic007

Mustang Master
Sep 26, 2017
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After you remove the small clamp on the rack bellows
Insert a pocket screwdriver under the plastic where the clamp was and then pull the boot off
 

crazyone64

Member
May 2, 2018
66
6
18
39
Toronto Canada
I am at the same point myself in my front end rebuild. I stopped last weekend at this point. I believe that you need to release the steering rack from the steering shaft, and that will then give you enough room to move the rack past the steering rack bolt sleeve and to be able to move it up out of the way. I'll be continuing on my project this weekend.
Even with the rubber boot on the tie rod removed, i still couldn't get the control arm bolt out.
It was the bushing on the rack... specifically the long bolt and its 'tube like sleeve' Once you remove these you'll be able to lift the rack enough to remove the stubborn drivers side, control arm bolt.
 
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MineralMan

Active Member
May 17, 2005
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www.michaelbrianstudios.com
This weekend I got my front control arms removed. On the driver's side, you'll need to remove the pinch bolt that connects the steering rack to the steering column. Once I did that and separated, the rack was able to come forward enough to get off of the bushing and bushing sleeve. I was able to rest the rack on top of the sleeves and then remove the bolt to remove the control arm.

Be sure to make an alignment mark on the shaft and the rack where you remove the pinch bolt so that they go back in the same orientation.