Ford Explorer



April, 7, 2010 AT 4:45 PM

Suspension problem
1997 Ford Explorer 6 cyl Four Wheel Drive Automatic 94600 miles

Will bad upper and lower control arms void an inspection? Here in virginia, they are pretty strict on inspections but I really don't want to change them if I don't have to right now, as I'm low on cash. I know its a big safety issue while driving at high speeds so I'm staying off the interstate for now.

How difficult is it to change just the bushings? I noticed that the bushings are substantially cheaper. Thanks guys.


3 Answers



April, 8, 2010 AT 1:23 PM

Chances are they will fail inspection. I am in PA and I know they do here.

Now for your question regarding the bushing only. Yes they are much cheaper, but usually you can't get everything apart in one piece due to rust and corrosion. As a result, other things are usually needed.

Also, this is an involved job. I will list the directions, but you must follow them the way they are written and be careful if you have never done this before.

Here are the directions. Let me know if it helps or if you have other qusetions: Joe

To Remove: Position the steering wheel to the on-center position. Loosen the wheel lug nuts.
Raise and safely support the vehicle.
Remove the wheel lug nuts and wheel.
Disconnect the stabilizer bar link bolt from the lower control arm.
Remove the front shock absorber.
Remove the torsion bar.
Remove the lower ball joint retaining nut cotter pin and loosen the nut but do not remove it.
Disconnect the lower ball joint stud from the steering knuckle using a jawed puller, such as Pitman Arm Puller T64P-3590-F, or equivalent.

Fasten a support, either out of a block of wood or wire wrapped around the frame, and support the weight of the steering knuckle/brake assembly. Do not allow the steering knuckle/brake assembly to hang from the upper ball joint as this may damage the joint.

Position a jack under the lower control arm then remove the lower ball joint retaining nut.
Raise the lower control arm until the lower ball joint stud is free from the steering knuckle.
Remove the two nuts and bolts retaining the lower arm pivot points to the frame crossmember.
Remove the lower control arm from the frame pockets. Some careful prying may ease the removal of the arm.

To install: Inspect the lower ball joint, boot and pivot bushings. If any inspected components are worn or damaged, the entire control arm must be replaced.

Do not tighten the lower control arm mounting bolts to the final torque until the end of the installation procedure.

Position the lower control arm pivot points into the frame and crossmember pockets. Install the bolts and nuts and snug the bolts.
Position a jack under the lower control arm.
Install the torsion bar.
Raise the lower control arm to allow the lower ball joint stud to be inserted into the steering knuckle.
Lower the control arm assembly and ensure that the lower ball joint stud protrudes through the steering knuckle bore.
Install the lower ball joint attaching nut and tighten to 83-113 ft. Lbs. (113-153 Nm). Install a new cotter pin, advancing (tightening) the nut as required. Never loosen the retaining nut in order to install the cotter pin.
Install the shock absorber.
Install the wheel and snug the lug nuts.
Lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts to 100 ft. Lbs. (135 Nm).

The lower control arm-to-frame bolts must be tightened with the weight of the vehicle resting on the wheels. If clearance permits, allow the vehicle to sit on the ground while tightening the bolts.

If necessary, raise the vehicle again and position either car ramps under the wheels or jackstands on the lower control arms, as close to the wheels as possible.
Tighten the control arm-to-frame bolts to 111-148 ft. Lbs. (150-200 Nm).
Lower the vehicle.
Check and adjust the ride height.
While it should not be necessary, have the wheel alignment checked by a professional shop.



April, 9, 2010 AT 5:52 PM

Wow, thanks for the great info. I'm always looking to learn and this would be a great opportunity to save some money. With your information, I might just be able to do it. The only issue I see is at the end where I have to adjust the ride height? I'm not sure I know how to do that.



April, 9, 2010 AT 7:28 PM

If you follow he directions, you will be fine and there will be no need for any adjustment.

Let me know if you run into trouble.


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