Lower control arm removal and bushing replacement on a Saab 9-5. The original bushings were worn and cracked, the hydraulic rear bushings went dry and lost most of the oil, so a fresh set was needed.

Saab sells replacement rear bushings as a complete assembly with a new aluminium housing, but we're installing a polyurethane insert, so the old bushing needs to be pressed out of the housing. A hydraulic press should greatly speed up the rear bushing removal, but since it's not a common household appliance, we will be using a hacksaw and a gear puller.

Tools:

  • 18 mm socket: rear bushing retainer nut, ball joint nut (optional);
  • 17 mm socket: wheel bolts;
  • 15 mm socket: control arm bolts;
  • 13 mm socket: ball joint screws (optional);
  • 8 mm socket: plastic shield screws;
  • torque wrench;
  • car jack and axle stands;
  • breaker bar;
  • gear puller;
  • hacksaw;
  • hammer and rubber mallet.
26.09.2007
Wheel off

Raise the car and secure it on jack stands. Take off the front wheel.
26.09.2007
Plastic shield

Remove the plastic shield covering the belt and the front fender area.
26.09.2007
Ball joint nut

Undo the ball joint nut, pull the bolt and remove the ball joint out of its socket. Alternatively, unscrew the ball joint from the control arm (there won't be enough clearance to remove these bolts until the arm is detached from the subframe though).
26.09.2007
Control arm bolts

Undo three bolts holding the control arm to the subframe. One is at the front of the arm, and two more hold the aluminium housing of the big rear bushing. It might also be a good idea to slacken the rear bushing retainer nut - you have more leverage while it's still on the car.
26.09.2007
Front bushing

The front bushing is easy to press out with a gear puller or a similar tool.
26.09.2007
Rear bushing nut

The rear is more complicated. Start by removing the retainer nut and sliding the busing off its pivot.
26.09.2007
Rim cut

Cut the rolled rim of the big bushing - hacksaw works well, Dremel might be faster. Pry out the metal cover that was held by the rim.
26.09.2007
Gear puller

Use the gear puller to push out the inner part of the bushing, watch for hydraulic fluid leaks (have a pan ready).
26.09.2007
Cutting the sleeve

Put the bushing housing in a vice, assemble a hacksaw with a blade inside the housing and cut through the metal sleeve.
26.09.2007
Inner sleeve removed

Turn the housing upside down and make another cut on the opposite side of the sleeve. Chisel the sleeve out.
26.09.2007
New bushings

I used polyurethane bushings by Powerflex. They are easy to install or remove, all you need is a rubber mallet and some anti-seize (a small packet of grease is usually supplied with the bushings).
26.09.2007
Bushings installed

Lubricate the bushings, slide them in, then insert the metal sleeves. Put the big bushing back onto its pivot and tighten the nut to 77 ft-lbs.
26.09.2007
Ball joint bolts

Fit the ball joint back in and tighten the bolt to 70 ft-lbs (or 36 ft-lbs on 2002+ cars). Alternatively, install three small bolts holding the ball-joint to the control arm.
26.09.2007
Attached

Connect the control arm to the subframe. Slide the bolts in, but do not tighten them yet. Tighten three small ball joint bolts to 22 ft-lbs (if applicable).
26.09.2007
Raised

Place a jack under a ball joint and raise it until it takes the weight of the car, and the control arm is 1° below horizontal. Secure the arm to the subframe at 70 ft-lbs.
26.09.2007
Done

Remove the jack under the ball joint. Fit the plastic shield. Tighten the wheel bolts to 81 ft-lbs and lower the car to the ground.

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