Dodge Colt/Challenger/Conquest/Vista 1971-1989 Repair Guide

Lower Control Arm

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION





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Fig. Fig. 1 Loosen the mounting nut between the knuckle and the control arm



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Fig. Fig. 2 Using a separating tool and a hammer, carefully tap the two components apart



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Fig. Fig. 3 Separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle



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Fig. Fig. 4 Separate the stabilizer-to-control arm mounting bushings



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Fig. Fig. 5 Inspect the bushings for wear, replace if necessary



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Fig. Fig. 6 Loosen and remove the mounting nut and washer attached to the control arm shaft



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Fig. Fig. 7 Inspect the nut for any crossthreading



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Fig. Fig. 8 Behind the nut and washer are two more washers, set them aside



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Fig. Fig. 9 Unbolt the control arm at the U-bracket ...



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Fig. Fig. 10 ... then remove the U-bracket



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Fig. Fig. 11 Slide the control arm out from under the vehicle



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Fig. Fig. 12 If necessary to remove the stabilizer bar, remove the cotter pin from the tie rod



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Fig. Fig. 13 ... then remove the nut attaching the tie rod to the knuckle



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Fig. Fig. 14 Use a ball joint separator tool to detach the two components

Rear Wheel Drive
EXCEPT CONQUEST


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Fig. Fig. 15 Exploded view of the lower control arm and ball joint assembly used on all rear wheel drive cars except Conquest

  1. Loosen the wheel lug nuts, raise and support the front of the vehicle allowing the suspension to hang.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheels, caliper, hub and disc rotor.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the stabilizer link and strut bar from the lower control arm. Depending on the year, remove the idler support from the chassis and move the steering linkage to gain working clearance.
  6.  
  7. Remove the steering knuckle to strut mounting bolts.
  8.  
  9. Carefully force the lower control arm down and separate the strut assembly from the steering knuckle.
  10.  
  11. Remove the strut assembly, if necessary, to gain working room.
  12.  
  13. Use a puller and disconnect the steering knuckle arm from the tie rod end assembly.
  14.  
  15. Use a puller and disconnect the knuckle arm and lower control arm ball joint.
  16.  
  17. Remove the control arm to inner crossmember mounting bolt and remove the control arm.
  18.  

To install:

  1. Service as necessary. Install the control arm to the inner crossmember. Tighten the bolts to 51-57 ft. lbs. (through 1980) and 58-69 ft. lbs. (from 1981). The chamfered end of the nut should be facing the round surface of the bracket.
  2.  
  3. Tighten the steering knuckle to control arm ball joint nut to 30-40 ft. lbs. (through 1980) and 52-69 ft. lbs. (from 1981).
  4.  
  5. Install the strut assembly into the fender mount. Tighten the upper mounting bolts to 7-10 ft. lbs. (through 1980) and 18-25 ft. lbs. (from 1981).
  6.  
  7. Apply sealer to the lower end of the strut. Install and tighten the strut to steering knuckle arm bolts to 30-36 ft. lbs. (through 1980) and 58-72 ft. lbs. (from 1981).
  8.  
  9. Assemble the stabilizer link and fasten it and the strut bar to the lower control arm.
  10.  
  11. Install the brake disc rotor, hub and caliper. Tighten the strut bar to 18-25 ft. lbs.
  12.  
  13. Install the wheels and lower the vehicle. Jounce the vehicle up and down several times, then tighten the stabilizer bolt to 7-10 ft. lbs.
  14.  

CONQUEST


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Fig. Fig. 16 The Conquest lower control arm and ball joint are slightly different than other models



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Fig. Fig. 17 Alignment marks on the Conquest lower control arm

This procedure requires the use of a special tool MB990635, or equivalent.

  1. Loosen the wheel lugs. Raise and support the front of the vehicle allowing the suspension to hang.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheels.
  4.  
  5. Remove the brake caliper and suspend it out of the way. Take care not to put strain on the brake hose.
  6.  
  7. Remove the hub and disc rotor.
  8.  
  9. Disconnect the stabilizer bar and strut bar from the lower arm.
  10.  
  11. Use a separator and disconnect the tie rod assembly from the steering knuckle, after removing the locknut.
  12.  
  13. Unbolt the strut from the lower control arm.
  14.  
  15. Unbolt the control arm and strut assembly from the inner crossmember.
  16.  

The inner control arm mounting bolt is an eccentric and used to adjust alignment. Mark the tab and crossmember for installation reference.

  1. Use the special tool MB990635, or equivalent and separate the steering knuckle from the lower control arm.
  2.  
  3. Service as required. Install the lower control arm and strut. Connect the tie rod, strut bar and stabilizer. Install the disc rotor, hub and caliper. Install the front wheels and lower the vehicle. Torque the lower control arm inner mounting bolt to 60-70 ft. lbs.; the ball joint to knuckle arm nut to 45-55 ft. lbs.
  4.  

Front Wheel Drive
1979-84 MODELS


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Fig. Fig. 18 Tightening specification on the 1979-84 front wheel drive Colt control arm and ball joint



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Fig. Fig. 19 Exploded view of a common lower control arm and strut on a front wheel drive vehicle

  1. Loosen the front wheel lugs. Block the rear wheels. Jack up the front of the vehicle, allowing the front suspension to hang, and safely support the vehicle on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheels. Remove the lower engine splash shield.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the lower ball joint by unfastening the nuts and bolts mounting it to the control arm. It is not necessary to remove the ball joint from the knuckle.
  6.  
  7. Remove the strut bar and the control arm inner mounting nut and bolt. Remove the control arm.
  8.  

To install:

  1. Service as required. Position the control arm to the crossmember, install and tighten the mounting bolt and nut. Install the strut bar. Fasten the ball joint to the control arm. Install the front wheels and lower the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Torque the mounting bolts to the following: inner mount bolt; 69-87 ft. lbs.; ball joint; 69-87 ft. lbs.; ball joint nut; 40-51 ft. lbs.
  4.  

1985-88 COLT


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Fig. Fig. 20 The 1985 Colt lower control arm ball joint can not be separated from the arm

  1. Loosen the front wheel lugs. Block the rear wheels. Jack up the front of the vehicle, allowing the front suspension to hang, and safely support the vehicle on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheels. Remove the lower engine splash shield.
  4.  
  5. Remove the nut securing the ball joint to the control arm.
  6.  
  7. Use a ball joint separator and disconnect the ball joint from the steering knuckle.
  8.  
  9. Remove the retainers securing the stabilizer bar to the control arm.
  10.  
  11. Unbolt the lower control arm from the crossmember and remove it from the vehicle.
  12.  

The ball joint cannot be separated from the control arm, but must be replaced as an assembly.

  1. If the stabilizer bar is to be removed, disconnect the tie rod from the knuckle, unbolt it and remove.
  2.  

To install:

  1. Check all parts for wear and damage. Service as required.
  2.  
  3. Use an inch pound torque wrench and check the ball joint torque. Nominal starting effort should be 22-87 inch lbs. Replace the assembly if otherwise.
  4.  
  5. Install the stabilizer, if removed. Connect the tie rod. Position and attach the lower control arm to the crossmember. Connect the ball joint. Install the splash shield and front wheels. Lower the vehicle.
  6.  
  7. Torque the mounting bolts as follows: knuckle-to-strut; 54-65 ft. lbs.; lower arm-to-body; 118-125 ft. lbs.; stabilizer bar-to-body; 12-20 ft. lbs.; ball joint-to-knuckle; 44-53 ft. lbs.; lower arm-to-shaft; 70-88 ft. lbs.
  8.  

1985-88 VISTA


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Fig. Fig. 21 The Vista ball joint is a replaceable component, tighten to specifications during replacement

  1. Raise and support the front end.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheels.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the stabilizer bar and strut bar from the lower arm.
  6.  
  7. Remove the nut and disconnect the ball joint from the knuckle with a separator.
  8.  
  9. Unbolt the lower arm from the crossmember.
  10.  
  11. Check all parts for wear or damage and replace any suspect part.
  12.  
  13. Using an inch lb. torque wrench, check the ball joint starting torque. Starting torque should be 20-86 inch lbs. If it is not within that range, replace the ball joint.
  14.  
  15. Install the lower arm to the crossmember. Install the strut bar and stabilizer. Attach the front wheels and lower the vehicle. Tighten all fasteners with the wheels hanging freely. Observe the following torques:
  16.  



Ball joint-to-knuckle: 44-53 ft. lbs.
 
Arm-to-crossmember: 90-111 ft. lbs.
 
2-wd: 90-111 ft. lbs.
 
4-wd: 58-68 ft. lbs.
 
Stabilizer bar hanger brackets: 7-9 ft. lbs.
 

When installing the stabilizer bar, the nut on the bar-to-crossmember bolts and the bar-to-lower arm bolts, are not torqued, but turned on until a certain length of thread is exposed above the nut: 2-wd stabilizer bar-to-crossmember: 8-10mm; stabilizer bar to lower control arm: 8-10mm; 4-wd stabilizer bar-to-crossmember: 8-10mm; stabilizer bar-to-lower arm: 13-15mm.

 
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