GM Astro/Safari 1985-1996 Repair Guide

Lower Control Arm

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1 and 2



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Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the lower control arm assembly mounting-1990-91 vehicles



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Fig. Fig. 2: Exploded view of the lower control arm assembly mounting-1992-96 vehicles

Tools Needed: universal tie rod separator J-24319-01, torsion bar unloader J-36202, lower control arm bushing service kit J-36618 (if the control arm bushing are being replaced) and ball joint C-clamp J-9519-23. Parts Needed: whether or not the control arm or bushing are being replaced, NEW control arm retaining nut should be used once the old ones have been loosened and removed.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable for safety.
  2.  
  3. Raise and support the vehicle safely using jackstands.
  4.  
  5. Remove the front wheels.
  6.  
  7. Remove 2 bolts from the front splash shield and pivot it in order to gain access to the tie rod.
  8.  
  9. Disconnect the stabilizer bar from the control arm (keeping all of the link hardware sorted for proper installation). If necessary, completely remove the bar from the vehicle for access.
  10.  
  11. Remove the shock absorber as outlined in this section.
  12.  
  13. Disconnect the inner tie rod from the relay rod using a tie rod separator.
  14.  
  15. Remove the outer halfshaft nut and washer.
  16.  
  17. For 1990-92 vehicles, remove the halfshaft from the hub as outlined in Drive Train .
  18.  
  19. For 1993-96 vehicles, remove the bolts from the hub and bearing kit.
  20.  
  21. Unload the torsion bar using the unloading tool J-36202. First, mark the adjuster for installation. For details, please refer to the Torsion Bar removal and installation procedures found earlier in this section.
  22.  
  23. Support the lower control arm with a jackstand, then remove the adjustment arm. Slide the bar forward and the adapter out of the rear to remove the adjusting arm.
  24.  
  25. Remove the lower ball joint cotter pin, nut and ball joint from the control arm using a ball joint separator.
  26.  
  27. Remove the nuts and bolts and lower control arm with the torsion bar assembly. Note the direction which the control arm retaining bolts are facing for installation purposes.
  28.  
  29. If replacing bushings: unbend the crimps (usually front bushing only) using a punch, then remove the bushings using a bushing service kit J-36618-2, J-9519-23, J-36618-4 and J-36618-1.
  30.  

To install:
  1. Install the front bushing using tools J-36618 and J-9519-23. Crimp the bushing in place after installation.
  2.  
  3. Install the rear bushing using J-36618 and J-9519-23.
  4.  
  5. Install the torsion bar to the lower control arm and install the assembly into the vehicle. Position the front leg of the lower control arm into the crossmember before installing the rear leg into the frame bracket.
  6.  
  7. Install the control arm bolts (facing in the direction as noted during removal or shown in the accompanying illustration) with NEW nuts.
  8.  

The control arm retainers MUST be tightened with the vehicle suspension at normal ride height. This can either be accomplished by starting the nuts now, then installing the remaining components along with the wheels and lowering the vehicle, or by moving jackstands under the ends of the lower control arms and resting the vehicle on them. If the latter solution is tried, make sure front suspension is at actual ride height compression. If you are unsure, it is best to start the nuts now and tighten them to specification once the vehicle is lowered.

  1. Position the ball joint stud in the knuckle.
  2.  
  3. With the suspension at the correct height, tighten the control arm retaining nuts to 135 ft. lbs. (185 Nm) for 1990-92 vehicles, 125 ft. lbs. (170 Nm) for 1993-95 vehicles or to 98 ft. lbs. (133 Nm) for 1996 vehicles.
  4.  

The lower ball joint retaining nut MUST be tightened with the vehicle suspension at normal ride height. This can either be accomplished by starting the nut now, then installing the remaining components along with the wheels and lowering the vehicle, or by moving jackstands under the ends of the lower control arms and resting the vehicle on them. If the latter solution is tried, make sure the the FULL WEIGHT of the vehicle front end is on the suspension.

  1. Install the joint-to-control arm nut, then tighten the nut to 92 ft. lbs. (125 Nm) with the suspension at normal ride height and compression.
  2.  
  3. Install a new cotter pin to the castellated nut. Tighten the nut (but no more than an additional 1 / 6 turn) in order to align the cotter pin. DO NOT loosen the nut from the specified torque.
  4.  
  5. Install the adjuster arm by sliding the adapter forward, over the torsion bar to install the sides of the nut. Load the torsion bar and install the adjuster bolt aligning the installation mark. For more details, please refer to the Torsion Bar procedure found earlier in this section.
  6.  
  7. For 1993-96 vehicles, insert the drive axle through the hub and bearing assembly, then install and tighten the hub and bearing assembly retaining bolts. Install and tighten the drive axle shaft nut and washer. For details, please refer to Drive Train of this guide.
  8.  
  9. For 1990-92 vehicles, install the halfshaft assembly, as outlined in Drive Train of this guide.
  10.  
  11. Install the inner tie rod end to the relay rod.
  12.  
  13. Install the shock absorber.
  14.  
  15. Install the stabilizer bar (if removed completely) and the stabilizer link(s) to the control arm(s).
  16.  
  17. Reposition and secure the splash shield.
  18.  
  19. Install the front wheels and lower the vehicle.
  20.  
  21. Recheck all fasteners for proper torque and installation before road testing.
  22.  
  23. Refill the differential if any fluid was lost.
  24.  
  25. Check and adjust the front end alignment, as necessary.
  26.  

 
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