Sunday, August 28, 2016

YAY! Got The Steering Arm Off! With Updates!

AutoZone didnt have the puller I wanted in stock, even though their website said they did.

SO....I settled for a two-jaw puller, like this:

The firs time I tried, I just cranked down on the screw, like I've always done. After a few mighty cranks, it popped off the ball joint stud!

So I put it back on, cranked it down a bunch, and rapped the steering arm with a suitably large persuader, and the steering arm popped off.

Now to get the plastic pan, parts cleaning brush, and Gunk out so I can scrub all the grease off the parts. Then I'll regrease the ball joint with Mobil 1 synthetic grease (the red stuff), install the new dust cover/rubber boot, mount the steering arm back on the stud, torque the nut, install the cotter pin, and start reinstalling the left front suspension.

Putting it all back together, in my humble experience, usually goes faster than tearing it apart. Hopefully I'll have the left front back on the car by tomorrow afternoon, and then start in on the right side.

Pix to follow when reinstallation is complete.....


The steering arm is now scrubbed clean. As expected, I had to chop the bristles on the cleaning brush off about half-way. When cleaning caked on grease and dirt, you need pretty STIFF bristles to knock the crud off. Otherwise you'll just move it around on the part, rather than 'flicking' it off with the short, stiff bristles.

Another "Helpful Hint from The Doctor" is to scrape off as much of the solid stuff and big chunks as you can before you start applying the solvent and scrubbing the part. The cleaner the parts are before you start, the longer the solvent is good for before it becomes too loaded up with crud to do any cleaning, and the less time you'll spend hanging over a pan of solvent happily (?) scrubbing away.

Oh, and wear TWO pairs of nitrile gloves, as the parts invariably have some sharp edges, and when the gloves split, and they will, the second set will give you enough time to change them out before grease and dirt loaded solvent leaks into the gloves, and all over your hands. I've had pretty good luck with the 5-mil thick ones from Harbor Freight. The vinyl gloves they sell seem to split about two minutes after you put them on, but the nitrile ones are pretty tough, and reasonably priced. I see they also sell 7-mil and 9-mil thick ones, so when I go buy some more, I'll try the thicker ones.

This also reminds to add "washing up sink" to the items I'll want in the Colorado shop if we have to build one.

Back in the late 1970s, early 1980's when my buddy George and I ran the shop, we had a Safety-Kleen solvent-based parts washer in the shop. Since we were a low-volume place, the Safety-Kleen guy would only come around every couple of  months to check our solvent, and swap out the barrel of it that the machine sat on when it needed it. I don't remember how much it cost, but it was pretty reasonable, and that thing paid for itself many, many times over.

Now to work on the control arm........

****UPDATE 2**** 

Steering arm and lower control arm are now scrubbed "pretty damn clean". They both had 30+ years of grease, mud, oil, and other road grime caked on them that was 1/4 thick in places.

The ball joint was regreased with Mobil 1 synthetic grease after replacing the zerk fitting, which would no longer accept grease.

After watching the new grease come through the joint, I installed the new rubber boot/duct cover, as the old one was split from "Quick Change Grease Monkeys" pumping in WAY too much grease. Then I installed the now clean steering arm, torqued the nut to 58 ft-lbs, plus "a bit more" to get the castellations to line up with the cotter pin hole, and installed a new cotter pin.

I then added more grease until I saw the new rubber boot "inflate" slightly, at which point the fresh grease oozed out of the vent hole in the boot, and I stopped adding grease.

That, boys and girls, is how you properly grease a ball joint.....just until you see the rubber boot inflate slightly. And if you cleaned off the boot like you're supposed to before you started blindly pumping grease in to it, you'd also see the new grease ooze out of the vent hole, and then you'd STOP pumping grease in!

Sorry about this rant, but I've seen countless rubber dust boots on automotive steering linkages destroyed by excessive grease application, and there's no reason for it other than carelessness.

IF you always go back to the same grease pit on a regular basis, then you're probably OK, because the fresh grease pumped in every 6 months or so will keep the dirt that gets past the split boot from getting into the ball joint and wearing it out.

If you don't, then dirt gets in, the ball joint rapidly wears out, and your steering gets all sloppy and unsafe.

This probably all moot, as I don't think many (probably "any") new vehicles even have grease fittings on them any more.

ANYWHO......I'm sweaty, greasy, oily, and stink like kerosene from spraying and brushing Gunk on parts all afternoon.

BUT.....all the parts are now refurbished, CLEAN, and ready to go back together Monday morning.

Here's the completed Lower Control Arm. The "Steering Arm" is on the left, the new polyurethane bushing is on the right, and the loooong rod sticking out is the Strut Rod that had the "tatered-up" thread at the very end.

Compared to the assembly when it was still in the car:

I'm sure the guy who'll be doing the front end alignment will be happy to have nice, clean parts to adjust!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Phil!

      It sure has been both a learning experience, and a serious "refresher" in my mechanic skills.

      I used to be able to do a complete teardown and rebuild of one side in a couple of days.

      Of course I was a lot younger then, and was working in a fairly well equipped shop.

  2. Having owned a Supra and having not had the ambition to do all you have done, my hat is tipped.

  3. If the alignment guy doesn't see 30 years worth of crap buildup on these parts, he may get confused. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY brings parts this clean into an alignment/brake shop.

  4. Hah....put it back on the car yesterday, and it does look a bit out of place.

    Eventually I'd like to have the whole chassis this clean. It's only greasy/oily in a few places, and just "road dirt" in the rest.

    It'll be a nice "winter project" once we move to Colorado and I have a better shop to work in.


Keep it civil, please....