Ok so I recently discovered the difficulty in removing factory Lower Control Arm Mount Bolts and decided there has to be an easier way. The fact is…if they are seized….there is no “easy” way to remove them. In an attempt to alleviate the difficulty and guesswork associated in installing Adjustable Camber Bolts I’ve written something up. This is my first official 'How-to' so any constructive criticism is appreciated.
I take no responsibility for any damage you do to your truck. I made this guide based on my own personal observations and experiences. Should you decide to use it, that is your own prerogative. Now, that being said….there is nothing in this 'How-to' that will royally eff up your truck….at least to my knowledge….my truck drives perfectly…
STEP 1 - OK, SO GET THE MATERIAL:
As with any job you need materials. Some of the things you will possibly need are listed below. Again what you need may differ depending on the difficulty of bolt removal and what you have at your disposal:
If the Bolts are not Seized:
-at least 2 Jack Stands….more are helpful….
-Ball Peen Hammer
-3 or 4 lbs Drilling Hammer, (looks like a Mini-sledgehammer)
-Spare Grade 8 Bolts (to hammer out LCA Mount Bolts with)
-Anti-seize (I got mine at NAPA)
-PRG/NISSAN Adjustable Camber Bolts, (PRG is cheaper I think).
-Wood or something to support some weight with…Bottle Jacks work….
-Needle Nose Pliers
-Metric Socket Set, (Impact Sockets are nice and can be had at Harbor Freight for 25 bucks)
-Adjustable Wrench and/or Metric Wrenches
-Your favorite Beer
-Hydraulic Presses and Power Packs are nice if you have them…but you have to be careful not to bend the LCA Mounts on your truck…..I can’t imagine trying to Weld one of those back on the X….
-Air Hammer is nice!
*Additional Material if the Bolts are Seized and you do want to Torch them out:
-New LCA's, (you can get them from Brian at Cherry Hill Nissan)
*Additional Material if the Bolts are Seized and you do not want to or you do not have the resources to Torch them out, (my case):
-Angle Grinder with plenty of extra Cutting Wheels…(I do not recommend the thin Dewalt Discs I ate through it in about 1 minute)
-Sawzall with plenty of 8inch Blades, (they go dull quickly with Grade 8 Steel Bolts)
-A Metric Sh!t Ton of Patience !!
-Another 6 Pack of Beer
-New LCA's (you can get them from Brian at Cherry Hill Nissan)
STEP 2 - OK, SO SET THE B!TCH UP:
Numero UNO!, PB Blast the Bolts often over a period of a couple of Days. It doesn’t hurt to hit the other Bolts in the Front Suspension either…in case you need to Dittely Fart around with them as well, (Replace LCA). Next, Jack the truck up by your favorite Jack point….I Jack it up by my H-frame Rails in the front….whatever its not going anywhere….
Some people say you do not have to take the Wheels off to get the Cam Bolts in…and while this is very true….it doesn’t very long to take the Wheels off and it makes it a lot easier in the long run…especially if you find you have to start cutting the LCA’s out of your truck...
STEP 3 - PICK A SIDE…ANY SIDE:
Pick a side….I started with the side that has the least Ambient Light at Night is case my work went into the wee hours of the morning….that way I could work at night without needing a Billion Drop Lights….but depending on your situation…..you may not have this concern….especially if you have a nice garage to work in or you are a leet pro….unfortunately….mine is filled with sh!t and I am no Mechanic either.
First remove the Sway Back Endlinks from the LCA Bracket. This will require a 17mm Socket/Socket Wrench and another Wrench to hold the Nut on the Inner Side of the LCA Swaybar Mount in place, (I use 3/4inch, its prob not right but it works…so whatever). Because the Swaybars are off both sides and since you will have your truck on Jack Stands, you can use the Jack to take the Pressure off of the Lower Control Arm are you are working on…put it right under the LCA Mount under “Attack” and take a C-clamp and Clamp the LCA inwards towards the center of the truck as shown below.
There is no exact science to this…but you Ultimate Goal is to relieve all of the Pressure on the LCA. You may also find that removing the Spindle from the Upper Control Arm will help you relieve this Pressure…so if Bolt removal doesn’t work for you at first….try this. This will effectively take all of the Pressure exerted by the Coilover off the LCA.
STEP 4 - IT'S CLOBBERIN TIME:
Now that you’ve done all the set-up stuff….It's time to really use those Wheaties you ate that morning….Undo the 19mm Nut on the stock LCA/Chassis Mount Bolts. You may need a Breaker Bar and Cheater Pipe for this….Sometimes they get stuck really good! Once you have it free…..Leave it on the Bolt a few turns and break out that fancy Drilling Hammer, (3 or 4lbs Hammer). Attempt to break the Bolt free of the Metal Sleeve it is in by pounding the Nut side of the Bolt, (with the Nut on to allow for a bigger surface area to hit). See below for pictures:
Another option is to take another Grade 8 Bolt and line it up on the end of the stuck Bolt and drive it through.
A Third Option is to use an Air Hammer to Hammer it out….If this does not work, and you have a Press or Power Pack of some sort…Feel free to get creative. Just be careful of the Mounts Bending…If it looks like the Mounts are going to break before the Bolt comes out…You are probably going to have to go to Plan A or B. If you do get the Bolts on the LCA out. Feel free to continue on to Step 5.
STEP 5 - YOUR TRUCK DOESN'T HAYE YOU!
You are at this step because you got damg lucky and all of your LCA Bolts came out. Once you knock a Bolt out….You must replace it immediately with an Adjustable Bolt. Just reinstall it the same way the one you took out was oriented….The Nut facing forward. The trick to this is you must play with the LCA until the Eccentric Washers are caught in the little raised edges on the mount.
This will allow your Alignment place to give you a proper Alignment. And you also absolutely want to Coat the Piss out of the reinstalled Bolt with Anti-sieze before it goes in.
Anti-seize is cheap…So there are no excuses not to throw it in…It could save you a ton of Money and headache in the future. Just don’t get it in your eyes, (like I did), its not a good time, I promise, no guy wants their sig other to come home and see them rolling on the ground Crying cause they got Silicone in their eye. Rather embarrassing…..But at any rate, see below to understand what the hell I'm talking about. Once you have installed the Bolts….Throw the Sway-bar back in and the Tires back on….And drive like hell to the nearest Firestone and get a Lifetime alignment. BAM! DONE! now go to the Bar since you can drive straight now! well unless you drank too much Beer installing the Bolts :P )
PLAN A: “FLAME ON!”
Get out a Torch…I used a Butane one…..Fancy Coleman Thingamajig or something to that effect. Apply the Flame carefully to the Bolt/Integrated Washer side of the Bolt under “assault”. Keep it on the Bolt till it gets hot. Note:
You WILL Frig up the Bushings when you do this…There is no going back…The Rubber will melt and you WILL have to replace your LCA. Carefully try and wiggle the Bolt out of its Sleeve with a Socket Wrench. Then proceed to Hammer it with your favorite BFH. Rinse and repeat. If this does not work see Plan B.
Any other advice on this Step will be added to the 'How-to' as this did not work too well for me.
PLAN B: ALSO KNOWN AS “LCA JUDGEMENT DAY”
There is no way an LCA/Bolt can survive a full fledged attack from a Brigade of Industrial Power Tools…Among these, the Sawzall and Angle Grinder are easily the most feared, followed by the BFH.
To begin the attack, first undo the Upper Control Arm/Spindle attachment. This requires Needle Nose Pliers and a BFH to remove the Pin, and a 22mm Socket and some Elbow Grease to remove the Nut. Grab the Pin by the wider loop with the Needle Nose Pliers…Then use the Hammer on the Pliers to knock it through the hole….If done correctly it should pull the Pin right through the hole, (as long as you have straightened out the other side of the Pin with the Pliers first). Next you need to drop the LCA a little bit but keep it supported with a jack. You will find the Coil over Lower Control Bolt can now be easily removed. I think this uses a 19mm Socket also, but don’t quote me on that. Take that sucker out.
Now….Supporting the LCA…And taping back any Brake Lines as to not cut them in half…..Begin to Grind the LCA on the side, (or both sides if need be), of the seized Bolt. See below;
You will NOT be able to get a Sawzall into the LCA Mount to cut the Bolts out until you do this. Maybe there is another better way…But I could not see any. After the LCA is cut from its respective stuck Mount(s), you will find it is still connected to the Spindle via the LCA Ball Joint.
Now this is the Part that I found NOTHING on in these Forums and is also my Inspiration for this Writeup. The LCA/Spindle Attachment, It’s a little tricky just looking at it….But if you have the right tools and a nice 'How-to' it’s a piece of Cake. You must undo the bolt on the bottom of the Spindle that compresses the Knuckle around the Ball Joint end. This can be done with a 19mm Socket, (I think but I’m not totally sure…I’ll confirm this tonight), Loosten the Nut and take it off. Then drive the Bolt out of the Knuckle hole that runs from the front to the back of the Vehicle. Again the BFH and some random Grade 8 Bolt work wonders in conjunction with PB Blaster.
Proceed to drive the Ball Joint out of the Knuckle by Slamming it upwards with a Hammer and Grade 8 Bolt or something comparable. You may need to lift the truck higher to do this. You could also take the entire LCA and Spindle Assembly off and drive it out on your Workbench or something, (as Creek
has done), but I did not want to eff with my CV’s. If it won’t budge you can take a Wedge of some sort and drive it into the back of the Knuckle to spread the Halves a bit. This does help in the removal. Once it is mostly out….you will notice it moves pretty freely in the Knuckle hole. You can mess with it and rotate the LCA until you find the Angle that will allow the Ball Joint to come free. The CV Shaft is above this and VERY in the way so it requires some effort on you part but it will come.
If you get frustrated just cut the Ball Joint Nub off with a Sawzall and rip it out that way, (this is what I did because I got pissed). Once the LCA is out you can focus on getting the ret of the LCA out of the Mounts. Just grind enough of the LCA out to get a Sawzall into the Mount like so;
This takes a long time…But armed with a nice Sawzall and a couple of 8inch Metal Cutting Blades it will happen…..This is where you need patience and the Beer…..Seriously...
Seized Bolt Specimen #1:
You effectively need to cut through not only the Bolt…But also the Metal Sleeve it is housed in/Welded to in this case. Once you cut both sides…Everything should pop right out! Now you can refocus you efforts to installing the new LCA. First install the LCA Ball Joint into the Spindle…This will again take some wiggling, but it WILL go. You have to push the LCA down into the Knuckle far enough to allow the grooved portion of the Ball Joint to line up with the hole in the Spindle. Otherwise the Bolt will not be allowed to pass all the way through. Once lined up install the Bolt….Bolt end facing forward…..I show it reverse in the pics because I’m a dumbaster! So this is what NOT to do….install it the other way;
Once that is in, Bolted up, and ready to Rock…You can install the LCA into the two Mounts on the Chassis. They are tight so wiggling is required along with maybe even a Jack and that patience I was talking about. The Jack can be used to push the LCA up into the Mounts…..Carefully! Beer Muscles do help here! Once in refer to Step 5, to get the Camber Bolts in.
Now you can Bolt everything back up in the order which it was removed. So Lower Shock Mount, UCA/Spindle, and then finally Stabilizer Bar and Tires….(but don’t do the Stabilizer or Tires if you are moving on to the other side).
Rinse and repeat for the other side…….WHOO you are Done…….And now that I think about it.. You might need more than a 6 pack for this procedure….
Armored Station Wagon Pilot