Control Arm Repair, Advice Request - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-02-2011, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
scooter83
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Control Arm Repair, Advice Request

I recently did a lot of suspension work (all new coil springs, shocks, and steering damper), but even after all that work I still have another problem. I noticed my front driver size axle had shifted forward (about 1 inch) and that the coil spring was shifted forward at the axle and was not perfectly vertical as it should be. I can also hear a shifting sound when I go on dips.

I took my Jeep (97 Grand Cherokee ZJ 5.2L V8) back to the guy who helped me install my springs, and he said my front lower control arms were worn out, and needed to be replaced. I took a good look at the control arms themselves and they do not look bent at all, though the bushings are obviously worn out as they are the originals (now 14 years old).

He advised that I buy brand new OEM Control Arms and Bushings (which will cost me about $300 at the dealer). However, I question if I actually need to since the control arms themselves look fine to me.

Now to the topic of my post... Can anyone advise me if there is a good chance of my axle shifting problem being fixed by replacing the bushings alone? Or should I replace the Control Arms AND bushings? Or could there be some other problem causing my axle to shift?

If you think I should replace both the Bushings and Control Arms, do you really think it's worth spending hundreds of dollars extra for OEM parts? Or are there good quality aftermarket replacement control arms? What is a good aftermarket brand? I found a few on rockauto's website (DORMAN, MEVOTECH, OMIX-ADA, and RAYBESTOS), any of these worth getting?

I don't want to be cheap (As that usually leads to more problems down the road, literally), but I'm also a cash-poor unemployed college student, so I would definitely like the best and most affordable fix. Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 01:14 AM
jnicewan
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Welcome to JF

Search on here for the topic, there are plenty of us that have either replaced their control arms or just the bushings. If a 3+ lift kit is in the future you might consider new control arms. There are many aftermarket options for control arms, adjustable or fixed, johnny joints and poly bushings etc. Most aftermarkets are cheaper than OEM and made of tubular steel instead of the weak OEM stamped steel.

My control arms were just fine but the bushings were worn out. I ordered MOOG bushings and pressed out the old ones and pressed in the new ones. There are a few write ups on here about replacing them too, its not too bad of a job, if anything remove one control arm at a time and that might make it easier.

Edit: A press makes the job easier but a hammer will pound them out too. You will want to fab up some metal shims to support the control arm to keep it from collapsing. I cut some 2 or 2.5 pipe for shims. I just cut a chunk of the pipe so it fits inside the control arm, then cut that piece in half so the two halves wrap around the bushing area of control arm (hope that makes since, I didnt take pics)
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
scooter83
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Thanks, I'll poke around the forums later for advice on the install. I didn't realize the bushings were so rigid and difficult to install, I might be better off buying an aftermarket with pre-installed bushings. The pipe idea makes sense, but I just don't have the tools to fabricate something like that, or a press to remove/add the bushings, and I'm not sure if my mechanic friend does either.

You say they can be removed with a hammer... are you talking like beating the hell out of it? or a few good slams?
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-03-2011, 04:05 AM
melk
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Were they lift springs that you installed?

Usually a shifted axle is a result of the track bar after lifting.

Stock replacement arms will be fine if you don't wheel it / lift it.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-04-2011, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
scooter83
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@melk: Nope, I bought stock springs. The front passenger side sits fine, but just the drivers side is loose.

Would you recommend brand new aftermarket arms, OEM arms, or would I be fine with just new bushings?

Thanks.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-04-2011, 12:25 PM
melk
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If you have no intention of lifting your Jeep then stock replacement arms will be fine.

It is FAR easier to replace the entire arm, versus having to push out the old bushings. Check out this thread if you need further proof:

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/c...moval-1247919/
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-04-2011, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
scooter83
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@melk: LOL!!! Thanks for the heads up! I definitely don't want to spend days trying to torch and saw out the old bushings! That guy probably had plenty of suicidal thoughts trying to get those out. I think I'll definitely go with some aftermarket ones, probably OMIX-ADA.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-05-2011, 01:05 AM
jnicewan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooter83 View Post
@melk: LOL!!! Thanks for the heads up! I definitely don't want to spend days trying to torch and saw out the old bushings! That guy probably had plenty of suicidal thoughts trying to get those out. I think I'll definitely go with some aftermarket ones, probably OMIX-ADA.
That thread was for people going to poly bushings, you have to melt them out because the poly bushings needs to use the outer metal sleeve off the old rubber bushing. Thats a dumb design if you ask me. When I replaced mine the outer sleeves were rotten anyway so it wouldnt have worked.

OEM rubber bushings are still the cheaper way to go, but without tools to get them in/out, its not but a few dollars more to get the control arm assy. Plus it will save you time and be easier to replace

Its about $45 for frt LCA bushings (MOOG) vs $70 for 2 frt LCA's (OMIX-ADA).
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-19-2011, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
scooter83
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Just a follow up... I decided go to with the OMIX-ADA instead of trying a potentially never-ending struggle to replace the bushings. I gotta say, the quality far exceeded my expectations! I would say it's the same, if not better than the OEM set, and at only $70 a pair! you can't beat this brand.

I'll try to remember to follow up to let everyone know if the control arm replacement solved my axle-shifting problem after I get them installed. Thanks everyone for your input so far!
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