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BrApple
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 12/23/01
Posts: 6910
Loc: Enfield, CT
to change lower control arms ....
#1233920 - 05/08/06 01:08 PM

.... drop the subframe, its simple and makes the job easier.

yesterday my father and I changed out third set of lower control arms on a contour, this time it was on my 99 SE. By far the easiest way to change them is to lower the sub frame.

you need to un-bolt the following
radiator supports, use wire to hang radiator
A/C dryer
front and rear roll mounts
steering cupling (done from inside)
ball joint pinch bolts
subframe bolts
A-arm bolts

and that is it.

You will need to support the engine while it is discontected from the subframe. Also do not use an impact wrench on the subframe bolts, remove them by hand as the rear ones will be very rusty but if you take your time and work the bolt out it will comeout without issue. Make sure you use alot of PB blaster on them before and during removal.

When you lower the subframe with a jack or two you will just need to keep an eye on the power steering lines, but there is slack in the flex hose that connects to the power steering cooler. With the frame lower you will be able to pull the bolts from under the transmission, also the ball joint will be easier to get in and out. finally the 4 bolt arms are worse to get into the sub frame but the straighter that you can have the arms, ie not twisting it down to get under the hub the easier it will go into the subframe.

one last tip, leave the plastic cover on teh ball joint until you are ready to connect it to the hub, this way it will protect the boot.

--------------------
- 95 Mystique LS - Zetec/5spd
- 99 Contour SeVT Sport - Duratec/5spd

Official NE-CEG Contour/Mustang Family


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todras
I have no life

Reged: 05/29/00
Posts: 21197
Loc: Grand Rapids, MI
Re: to change lower control arms .... new
#1233974 (Re: BrApple) 05/08/06 02:34 PM

Too much work. Just install a couple bolts upside down.

--------------------
-'96 SE MTX 3L
-'98 SVT 1,173 of 6,535
-'05 Mazda 6s, loaded, g/f's ride
-Need a 96-00 manual on CD? PM or email me


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BrApple
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 12/23/01
Posts: 6910
Loc: Enfield, CT
Re: to change lower control arms .... new
#1233990 (Re: todras) 05/08/06 03:00 PM

Originally posted by todras:
Too much work. Just install a couple bolts upside down.





except between fighting to install the 4 bolt arms with the subframe installed compaired to doing it with the subframe dropped were about the same

and install the bolts upside down, its a safety risk no matter how you say or cut it ... I am not taking that risk with my vehicle ... and look what happened to Goonz when he installed bolts upside down


but hey everyone can do what they want, just after doing this three time I feel this is the best way

--------------------
- 95 Mystique LS - Zetec/5spd
- 99 Contour SeVT Sport - Duratec/5spd

Official NE-CEG Contour/Mustang Family


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Auto-X FilModerator
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 08/11/03
Posts: 4140
Loc: Pennsylvania
Re: to change lower control arms .... new
#1233991 (Re: todras) 05/08/06 03:03 PM

Yeah, seriously. I'll race you anytime using my method. I've been thinking an abrasive sawzall blade would work well for cutting the bolts out, and save some of the pain of getting an angle grinder in there.

--------------------
-Philip Maynard
'95 Contour [71 STS | Track Whore]
'97 Miata [71 ES | Boulevard Pimp]
2006 autocross results

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Goonz SVT
Addicted CEG'er

Reged: 05/18/04
Posts: 9872
Loc: Pakistan, MA
Re: to change lower control arms .... new
#1234399 (Re: Auto-X Fil) 05/09/06 01:17 AM

Originally posted by Auto-X Fil:
Yeah, seriously. I'll race you anytime using my method. I've been thinking an abrasive sawzall blade would work well for cutting the bolts out, and save some of the pain of getting an angle grinder in there.




Hell yea thats what I did!

--------------------
#0009









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rkneeshaw
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 12/06/01
Posts: 3570
Loc: Petoskey, Michigan
Re: to change lower control arms .... new
#1234899 (Re: BrApple) 05/09/06 05:00 PM

I dont think the safety issue is all that big of an "issue". Torque them down right with the locking nuts and I dont see them coming out. Even if it did, its only one or two bolts on the front of that control arm. You'd notice and stop before anything bad happened. The rear of that arm would still be locked in place as solid as ever.

--------------------
1996 Contour SE 3.0

<Alternate Site on CarDomain>

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todras
I have no life

Reged: 05/29/00
Posts: 21197
Loc: Grand Rapids, MI
Re: to change lower control arms .... new
#1234966 (Re: rkneeshaw) 05/09/06 05:43 PM

W3rd. Loosen the ones that can't be taken out. Push them up and sawsall the top and install upside down. Years of abuse and they aren't going anywhere.

--------------------
-'96 SE MTX 3L
-'98 SVT 1,173 of 6,535
-'05 Mazda 6s, loaded, g/f's ride
-Need a 96-00 manual on CD? PM or email me


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BrApple
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 12/23/01
Posts: 6910
Loc: Enfield, CT
Re: to change lower control arms .... new
#1235010 (Re: todras) 05/09/06 06:28 PM

fine whatever ... tring to give those who don't want to just cut the bolts an option and explain that it isn't that hard at all ...

oh and on the point of there still being bolts holding the arm in, on the 4 bolt arm that would work but not the two bolt arm, the moment a front bolt goes I could see the arm pulling right out of the subframe, but yeah sure the bolt shouldn't break, how about it you reused one of those original bolts and after a few years it degrades and ends up being half its original diameter in more then one spot

--------------------
- 95 Mystique LS - Zetec/5spd
- 99 Contour SeVT Sport - Duratec/5spd

Official NE-CEG Contour/Mustang Family


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todras
I have no life

Reged: 05/29/00
Posts: 21197
Loc: Grand Rapids, MI
Re: to change lower control arms .... new
#1235023 (Re: BrApple) 05/09/06 06:36 PM

And who reuses the OEM bolts?!! It's been warned to not here. You reuse and you get what you pay for.

--------------------
-'96 SE MTX 3L
-'98 SVT 1,173 of 6,535
-'05 Mazda 6s, loaded, g/f's ride
-Need a 96-00 manual on CD? PM or email me


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rkneeshaw
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 12/06/01
Posts: 3570
Loc: Petoskey, Michigan
Re: to change lower control arms .... new
#1235090 (Re: BrApple) 05/09/06 08:02 PM

Originally posted by BrApple:
how about it you reused one of those original bolts and after a few years it degrades and ends up being half its original diameter in more then one spot




Hopefully nobody re-uses OEM bolts after the pics I took of one of the bolts I took out that was only half its origional diameter that thing looked like a little twig. 10+ years of service though. I'll be changing my control arms on a much shorter maintenance schedule now though!

That being said, after 10 years those locking nuts still did not want to come off. Took a good amount of wackin with the impact wrench to get them off.

So anyway, there it is, 2 ways of doing it. Everyone should do what they're comfortable with.

--------------------
1996 Contour SE 3.0

<Alternate Site on CarDomain>

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