GM Prizm/Nova 1985-1993 Repair Guide

Lower Control Arm

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



1985-88 Nova
  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Do not place the stands under the control arms.
  2.  
  3. Remove the nuts and bolts holding the ball joint to the lower control arm.
  4.  
  5. On 1988 vehicles with the VIN code 5 engine, remove the nut holding the sway bar link to the control arm and disconnect the link and bar from the control arm.
  6.  
  7. Remove the nuts and bolts holding the control arm to the body.
  8.  
  9. Remove the control arm from the car and check it carefully for cracks, bends or crimps in the metal or corrosion damage. Check the rubber bushing and replace it if any sign of damage or deformation is found.
  10.  
  11. Before reinstalling the arm, install or replace the bushing and tighten its retaining nut to 76 ft. lbs.
  12.  


WARNING
Never reuse a self-locking nut; always replace the removed nut with a new one.

  1. Position the control arm to the body and install the nuts and bolts. The front nut and bolt should be tightened to 105 ft. lbs. and the rear to 72 ft. lbs.
  2.  
  3. On 1988 vehicles with the VIN code 5 engine, reinstall the sway bar and link; tighten the nut to 13 ft. lbs.
  4.  
  5. Install the ball joint attaching nuts and bolts and tighten them to 59 ft. lbs.
  6.  
  7. Have the wheel alignment checked by a reputable facility.
  8.  

1989-92

Both lower control arms and the suspension crossmember must be removed as a unit even if only 1 arm is damaged.

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Do not place the stands under the control arms or the suspension crossmember.
  2.  
  3. Remove the nuts and bolts holding the ball joints to the lower control arms.
  4.  
  5. Remove the nut and bolt holding the control arm rear brackets to the crossmember.
  6.  
  7. Place a floor jack under the suspension crossmember. Use a broad piece of wood between the jack and crossmember to evenly distribute the loading.
  8.  
  9. Remove the 6 bolts and 2 nuts holding the suspension crossmember. Carefully lower the crossmember (with the control arms attached) and remove from the car.
  10.  
  11. Remove the mounting bolt holding the control arm to the crossmember and remove the arm. Inspect the arm and bushing for damage, deformation or corrosion damage.
  12.  
  13. Install the control arm(s) to the crossmember and partially tighten the bolts. They should be tight enough to hold firmly, yet still be able to pivot when moderate force is applied.
  14.  
  15. Install the suspension crossmember and control arms to the body of the car and tighten the 6 nuts and 2 nuts.
  16.  
  17. Install the bolts holding the rear control arm brackets and partially tighten them.
  18.  
  19. Connect the ball joints to each arm and tighten the bolts to 105 ft. lbs.
  20.  
  21. Lower the vehicle to the ground. Bounce the front end up and down several times to stabilize the suspension. The partially tightened joints will flex and seek a normal position.
  22.  
  23. With the vehicle on the ground (don't raise it or the suspension position will be lost), tighten the bolt holding the arm to the crossmember to 152 ft. lbs. Tighten the nut and bolt holding the rear bracket to the crossmember to 14 ft. lbs. and the rear bracket bolts to 94 ft. lbs.
  24.  
  25. Have the alignment checked by a reputable facility.
  26.  

1993

See Figures 1 and 2

Both lower control arms and the suspension crossmember must be removed as a unit even if only 1 arm is damaged.

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheel assembly.
  4.  
  5. Remove the 1 bolt and 2 nuts and separate the ball joint from the lower control arm.
  6.  
  7. Remove the bolt and separate the rear transaxle mount from the suspension crossmember.
  8.  
  9. Place a floor jack under the engine crossmember.
  10.  
  11. Remove the bolt and separate the engine crossmember from the suspension crossmember.
  12.  
  13. Remove the nut and 3 bolts and loosen the right rear control arm bushing retaining bracket.
  14.  
  15. Place a floor jack under the suspension crossmember. Use a broad piece of wood between the jack and crossmember to evenly distribute the loading.
  16.  
  17. Loosen and lower the suspension crossmember from the body.
  18.  
  19. Remove the control arm to crossmember mounting bolt and remove the crossmember from the vehicle.
  20.  
  21. Clamp the lower control arm in a soft jawed vise, remove the retaining nut, bushing retainer and remove the bushing.
  22.  

To install:
  1. Install a new lower control arm bushing and bushing retainer. Do not tighten the nut fully at this time.
  2.  
  3. Install the lower control arm to the suspension crossmember and tighten the control arm to suspension crossmember bolt to 161 ft. lbs. (218 Nm) and rear bushing retaining nut to 101 ft. lbs. (137 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install the suspension crossmember and tighten the 6 bolts to 152 ft. lbs. (206 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Remove the floor jack under the suspension crossmember.
  8.  
  9. Install the 3 retaining bolts and 1 nut to the left and right rear control arm bushing retaining brackets and tighten as follows (see illustration):

    Bolt A to 108 ft. lbs. (147 Nm)
     
    Bolt B to 37 ft. lbs (50 (Nm)
     
    Nut C to 14 ft. lbs. (19 Nm)
     

  10.  
  11. Install the 4 nuts and bolt securing the engine crossmember and rear transaxle mount to the suspension crossmember and tighten as follows (see illustration):

    Nut A to 35 ft. lbs. (48Nm)
     
    Bolt B to 45 ft. lbs (61 (Nm)
     
    Nut C to 45 ft. lbs. (61 Nm)
     

  12.  
  13. Remove the floor jack under the engine crossmember.
  14.  
  15. Install the ball joint to the to the lower control arm and tighten the bolt and nuts to 105 ft. lbs. (142 Nm).
  16.  
  17. Install the front wheel.
  18.  
  19. Lower the vehicle and check the alignment.
  20.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Rear control arm bushing retaining bracket bolt and nut locations



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Engine crossmember to suspension crossmember nut and bolt locations

 
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