Can't get front strut out of knuckle, can't get out ball joint bolt

Discussion in 'V8 - Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by NoSlo, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. NoSlo

    NoSlo GoldMember

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    When you tell your friend they are silly for going to a mechanic - you get roped into helping them out!

    I got new struts and mounts to put in a 97 station wagon. However I can't get the old struts out of the top of the knuckle - they are too long?!

    The shop manual says to just undo the pinch bolt and they should come out. However, even when I put a pry bar on the control arm and lever it down so it's at the absolute bottom hitting the subframe, the strut is still in the knuckle about an inch even though it is nice and loose.

    Not enough clearance to get the rental spring tool around a set of coils and try to compress the spring.
    No way to jack the strut out of the knuckle because there's a fat control arm in the way.

    So then I decide to pull out the knuckle to get the job done. The tie rod end took a torch and a beating to get out. The 30mm hub bolt breaks loose fine (although the axle is probably going to be stuck in there...). Then we get to the control arm, which is different than gen2, it's all one stamped piece with no strut rod. The ball joint bolt on the bottom must have been about 300 ft/lbs to break free on this rust bucket. Then the final step - get the ball joint out of the knuckle. Nope to hammering; torched until ball joint boot was smoking, nope. Tightened the strut back up, and pretty much jacked up that corner of the car by the ball joint bolt and it still doesn't come out.

    You guys have any ideas, or is this going to be like others have done - get a new control arm and knuckle and cut out the old one?

    Pic found on the internet for reference:
    [​IMG]

    I just had a bit of inspiration; maybe by driving the opposite tire up on a ramp (instead of the opposite side also jacked up and hanging free) and leaving the sway bar end link connected, the sway bar will compress the strut enough to get the strut out of the knuckle. I anticipate it being troublesome to finish removal and get the new strut in that way though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  2. zoomlater

    zoomlater SHO Member

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    I had a similar problem on my 92 on the rears. These were the long body ones. In the end, we used a saw and cut the strut in half. A little messy though
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  3. gamefanatic

    gamefanatic SHO Member

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  4. zak

    zak SHO Member

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    For the front lower the front subframe (with safety stands) until you can just thread in the subframe bolts four full turns. For long body rears you need to loosen up the tension struts on both ends quite a bit to get more room to pry down

    In either case above use a floor jack handle to pry down on the suspension, step on it if you have to.

    Wagon rears are different I think
     
  5. offroadohio

    offroadohio SHO Member

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    The wagons do not have rear struts they have a coil spring and a shock.

    I have never had to loosen the Cradle to remove a strut on the front of these or any other cars. I always remove the front axle nut and knocked the axle loose from The Hub, unbolt tie rod, and remove the brake caliper.

    That has always given me enough.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
     
  6. zak

    zak SHO Member

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    And that works on a long body rear strut (1989 to mid 1992) ? I rather doubt it
     
  7. offroadohio

    offroadohio SHO Member

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    This post is in regards to front struts.

    But I did just removed the long body rear struts on my 90 and replaced them with the short ones from my 99. I did nothing special to remove the long body's compared to the short.

    Remove clamp bolt, brake line bolt, sway bar link, and strut mount bolts (leave those in until you remove strut from spindle).
    I used a long 3ft pry bar to pry the trailing arms/spundle down while I beat on the spindle with a bfh. Once I got it moving it moved enough to pop right out.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
     
  8. TimboSHO

    TimboSHO Novice

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    Some of those struts can be tricky to get out and back in on the Gen 3 and 4. It can be done without taking the ball joint apart. However, now that you have the ball joint ruined, you need to get that apart from the control arm. I have had to use a pitman arm puller to get them apart. The ball joint is pressed into the knuckle, so you will need a press to replace the ball joint as well.
     
  9. Johnbigdog

    Johnbigdog SHO Member

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    Pickle fork will get the lower ball joint loose with the assistance of a B.F.H. of 5lbs or better.

    To get the tie rod out, loosen the nut most of the way but leave the nut on to kinda protect the threads. Then hit the control arm with the same hammer mentioned above right on the point shown in the picture.

    [​IMG]

    It will jar it enough to get it loose and no damage done.
     
  10. NoSlo

    NoSlo GoldMember

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    Thanks all for the help, he ended up taking the struts to a place that must have compressed the old ones in the car to get them out. The ball joint is still on the list of things to do.
     
  11. tardboy21

    tardboy21 SHO Member

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  12. gamefanatic

    gamefanatic SHO Member

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    I had never seen one of those until recently on one of the Engineering Explained video's. I may pick one up for a rainy day...
     

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