GM Astro/Safari 1985-1996 Repair Guide

Upper Control Arm

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1, 2 and 3



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Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the upper control arm mounting



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Fig. Fig. 2: Exploded view of the upper control arm, pivot shaft and bushings



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Fig. Fig. 3: When replacing the bushings, make sure they are positioned as shown

The following procedure requires the use of the GM Ball Joint Remover tool No. J-23742 or equivalent.

Before starting the procedure, identify and note the location of the alignment shims. They must be installed in their original locations in order to preserve current vehicle wheel alignment.

  1. Raise and support the front of the vehicle by placing jackstands under the lower control arms, between the spring seat and the lower ball joint. If the jackstands are placed in a different location, then a floor jack MUST be used under the lower control arm.
  2.  

Allow the jackstand or floor jack to remain under the lower control arm seat, to retain the spring and the lower control arm position.

  1. Remove the tire and wheel assembly.
  2.  
  3. Remove the cotter pin and nut from the upper ball joint.
  4.  
  5. Using the GM Ball Joint Remover tool No. J-23742 or equivalent, separate the upper ball joint from the steering knuckle/hub assembly. Pull the steering knuckle free of the ball joint after removal.
  6.  

After separating the steering knuckle from the upper ball joint, be sure to support steering knuckle/hub assembly to prevent damaging the brake hose.

  1. Remove the upper control arm-to-frame nuts and bolts, then lift and remove the upper control arm from the vehicle.
  2.  

Tape the alignment shims together and identify them so they can be installed in the proper positions from which they were removed.

  1. Clean and inspect the steering knuckle hole. Replace the steering knuckle, if any out of roundness is noted.
  2.  
  3. If replacement is necessary, mount the control arm in a vise, then remove the pivot shaft nuts and washers. Use a control arm bushing fixture (C-clamp like tool) along with a slotted washer and a piece of pipe (slightly larger than the bushing) to remove the old bushings.
  4.  

To install:
  1. If removed, position the pivot shaft to the control arm and install the bushing using the fixture tool, washer and a length of pipe with the same outer diameter as the bushing. Tighten the tool until the bushing is positioned on the shaft as shown in the illustration. Install the bushing retaining nuts and washers, then tighten them to 85 ft. lbs. (115 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Attach the upper control arm to the frame aligning the holes in the shaft with the holes in the frame. Insert the shims in their proper positions (as noted during removal). You may have to lift the upper control arm to gain access for shim installation.
  4.  
  5. Tighten the upper control arm-to-frame bolts to 66 ft. lbs. (90 Nm) for 1985-87 vehicles, to 75 ft. lbs. (100 Nm) for 1988-95 vehicles, or to 81 ft. lbs. (110 Nm) for 1996 vehicles.
  6.  
  7. Seat the upper ball joint into the steering knuckle and install the nut.
  8.  
  9. Tighten the upper ball joint-to-steering knuckle nut to 52 ft. lbs. (69 Nm) for 1985-87 vehicles, or to 65 ft. lbs. (85 Nm) for 1988-96 vehicles.
  10.  
  11. Install a new cotter pin to the upper ball joint stud.
  12.  

When installing the cotter pin through the upper ball joint-to-steering knuckle nut, if the hole is not clear, always tighten the castle nut additionally to expose the cotter pin hole. NEVER loosen the nut for alignment.

  1. Install the tire and wheel assembly.
  2.  
  3. Remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Check and adjust the wheel alignment, as necessary.
  6.  

 
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