How to replace the cradle

  • 1996 OLDSMOBILE 98
  • 14,000 MILES
I took my vehicle to 3 different places to find out what was wrong with it. All of them told me the Sub-Frame bushings were going out. I am familiar with cars, so I would like to do the repair myself. I have found the part(s), but the Haynes manual I have is less than helpful on the repair. I have looked all over the internet, but cannot find instructions on how to do this replacement. Thank you in advance for your time!
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Friday, October 28th, 2011 AT 6:12 PM

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Should be self-explanatory once you have the new parts in your hand to look at. Word of warning though for GM front-wheel-drive cars. The cradle must be put back in the exact same location it is now. With their design, it can be shifted sideways a bunch. That will move the lower control arms which will move the bottoms of both front tires to the side and tip them. That changes two alignment angles called "steering axis inclination" (SAI), and camber. That will result in a very hard pull to one side and the car will veer sideways as it goes up and down over bumps. The camber, which is one of the main alignment angles, can be corrected during a routine alignment so the numbers look good on paper, but that doesn't help the SAI. You won't put up with driving the car very long that way. During the alignment, an experienced mechanic will measure SAI. That isn't normally done because it can't be messed up on most cars. Even on GM cars, it doesn't change unless someone had the cradle out. There is no spec. Given for SAI. All that's important is it's the same from side to side within 0.2 degrees.

If you're going to replace the bushings yourself, you might try prying just one side down enough to do the job without loosening the other side. That will prevent the cradle from shifting position.
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Sunday, October 30th, 2011 AT 6:23 AM

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