Lower control arm replacement on a 1996-1998 Saab 900 and 1999-2002 Saab 9-3. The guide also covers polyurethane bushings and ball joint boots. It's not necessary to unbolt the caliper (some pictures show it removed), but it gives you some extra room around the ball joint.

Tools:

  • 32 mm (1¼") socket: axle nut;
  • 24 mm socket: outer poly bushing nut;
  • 24 mm wrench: outer poly busing bolt;
  • 18 mm wrench: ball joint nut;
  • 17 mm socket: wheel bolts;
  • 15 mm socket: control arm to subframe bolt;
  • 13 mm socket: lower sway bar link nut, strut mount nuts;
  • 11 mm wrench: upper part of sway bar link;
  • 10 mm Allen key: caliper bolts (optional);
  • Torx T55 key: original outer bushing bolt;
  • torque wrench;
  • car jack and axle stands;
  • ball joint separator;
  • breaker bar;
  • two pairs of long nose pliers;
  • hacksaw;
  • hammer and rubber mallet.

 

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22.05.2007: Axle nut
While the car is still on the ground, pop the cover in the middle of the wheel and loosen the axle nut using a 32 mm socket on a large breaker bar.

 

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22.05.2007: Wheel
Raise the car, secure it on jack stands and remove the front wheel.

 

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22.05.2007: Nuts
Undo the nuts on the sway bar link, outer bushing and the ball joint. If you have OEM outer bushings, you won't be able to undo the bolt just yet since the CV joint it blocking it.

 

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22.05.2007: Ball joint
Separate the ball joint using a proper separator. On the other hand, if you're planning to replace the arm anyway, you can go ahead and use the fork separator.

 

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22.05.2007: Subframe bolt
Unbolt the control arm from the subframe. You can see that the 6-point brace mounting bar severily limits the access to the control arm bolt.

 

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22.05.2007: Detached
Detach the control arm from the subframe. If you have OEM outer bushing bolts, you should have enough clearance to unbolt it now.

 

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22.05.2007: Used replacement
I'm using a replacement from a junk yard - it comes with a tight ball joint. The bushings aren't as good, but they will have to go anyway.

 

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22.05.2007: Bad boot
This is what happens when the ball joint boot cracks and runs out of grease. The whole arm is junk now.

 

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22.05.2007: Inner bushing
I need to transfer poly bushings from the old arm, so the rubber ones have to go. A small gear puller easily takes care of the inner one.

 

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22.05.2007: Outer bushing
The bigger outer bushing can also be pressed out with a gear puller, at least the rubber part of it. Use a pan to catch the hydraulic oil that will leak out.

 

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22.05.2007: Hacksaw
The metal sleeve of the outer bushing is a tougher task. Start by assembling a hacksaw inside the bushing and cutting through the sleeve.

 

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22.05.2007: Sleeve cut
Then flip the arm around and cut the sleeve on the opposite side. After that you can chisel out the two halves of the sleeve.

 

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22.05.2007: Poly bushings
Apply some lubricant on the poly bushings and use a rubber mallet to drive them in. Discard the old ball joint boot.

 

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22.05.2007: New boot
Pack the joint with fresh grease and slide a new boot on. Make sure the boot is seated correctly on the rim and use a pair of long nose pliers to fit the retaining ring. Take extra care not to rip the boot.

 

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22.05.2007: Back in
Tighten the subframe bolt to 85 ft-lbs and the outer bolt to 120 ft-lbs (68 ft-lbs if you have an OEM bolt).

 

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22.05.2007: Ball joint
Connect the ball joint and tighten the nut to 55 ft-lbs, sway bar link to 7 ft-lbs, wheels bolt to 81 ft-lbs and axle nut to 214 ft-lbs.

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