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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Project: Replacing the OEM upper control arms

Estimated time: 3-6 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Vehicles: 2005-2010 WK Jeep Grand Cherokee

Tools needed:

Floor jack plus two jack stands

Flat blade screwdriver

½” drive torque wrench + various extensions (as needed)

½”-18mm socket

½”-19mm socket

3/8” drive ratchet + 15 mm socket and/or 15 mm combination wrench

Large Pitman arm puller (Performance Tool W142, about $14)

Plastic pop rivets (Harbor Freight Tools #67566, 6.3mm X 25.2mm, $2.99)
*These are identical to the Marson rivets, which are OEM

Rivet gun for plastic rivets (Harbor Freight Tools #97757, $14.49)

Coping saw or jig saw

Twine for supporting the steering knuckle (spindle)

Procedure:

Loosen the lug nuts. Jack up your vehicle using the appropriate lift points and support the front end with jack stands. I use the transmission cross-member as a support point. Remove the front wheels and discard.

Remove the plastic inner fender well liner. This will allow access to the control arm mounting bolts. If you are replacing the control arm with an aftermarket unit, begin by marking the mid-point position of the BJ on the liner first. The liner will need to be trimmed later to clear the control arm, so this is an important reference point.



Next, remove the plastic rivets securing the panel. Drill through the rivets or cut off the heads with a diagonal pliers.



Inboards, there are two plastic push pins securing the panel. Use a flat-blade screwdriver to pry up the heads and save them in your left pants pocket for reuse later. The panel can now be removed. You’ll have to flex it and play with it to maneuver it out.



Now the BJ and the spindle can be separated. The wheel speed sensor will need to be disconnected from it’s mounting point on the strut first. Loosen the nut securing the upper ball joint to the spindle. Leave the nut in place, but back it off a few threads leaving a small gap between the nut and the spindle. This is important, because the nut will keep the spindle from crashing down and injuring you or tearing off the brake hose. Tie-off the spindle with some twine to hold it up after the ball joint is separated. I used the coil spring as my anchor point. You can now separate the spindle from the upper ball joint by rapping on the flat spot on the spindle with a hammer or by using a large Pitman arm puller. I prefer the Pitman arm puller, because sometimes the upper BJ is too tightly bound into the spindle (it’s a crush fit) and the soft aluminum will ding quite easily if you miss. You will see the spindle suddenly drop down and be held in place by the nut. Remove the nut and disengage the spindle.



Now the upper control arm can be removed. This is easy! Loosen the bolts that hold on the control arm with your 18mm socket and 15mm socket or combo wrench. If you have a Volant CAI, as I do, access to the control arm bolt on the right front will be blocked. Remove it. I’m not sure if the stock intake will also block access, but if it does, remove it. For those of you with BWoody, Mopar, Arrington, or AirRaid CAIs, you are good to go. Once the bolts are out, the control arm will slide out easily. Throw the control arm in your neighbor’s pool or put it in your wife’s underwear drawer.



Now you can install your new control arm using the original bolts. Torque it to 80 ft. lb. If you are installing an aftermarket unit with a greasable BJ, you may wish to lube the BJ beforehand, but I found that a mini-grease gun can be used easily inside the fender well even with a straight Zerk fitting. By the way, if the BJ comes with a 90 degree Zerk fitting, consider replacing it with a straight fitting. The 90 degree fitting projects up about ¼” further than the straight fitting, which may cause an interference with the shock tower if your rig is lowered.

Attach the BJ to the spindle. In the case of an aftermarket control arm, you will need to use the four ½” washers to properly space the mounting nut for the cotter pin. Tighten the nut securely using a 19mm socket, but before you apply the proper torque setting, jack the rig up under the lower control arm. This should seat the tapered BJ stud into the spindle. Torque the nut to 65 ft. lb., then advance it to line up with the nearest hole (do not back it off). Place the cotter pin. Reattach the wheel speed sensor to the strut body.




Now it’s time to trim the inner fender well liner if you have installed an aftermarket control arm. The mark you had previously made should reference the approximate mid-point of the BJ. In my case, the new control arm is approx. ¾” longer than the OEM and is wider at the end. I trimmed off a strip approximately ¾” wide by 6” long, centered at the mark that was made previously. For those of you who are anal-retentive, you can reinstall the plastic inner fender well liner and rotate the control arm upwards so that you can scribe a precise line. Do this before the control arm bolts are torqued, otherwise the A-arm will not rotate freely. You can use a coping saw or a jig saw to make the cut and dress it with a file.

Reinstall the fender well liner. You’ll have to play with it to get it in place, but don’t force it or you’ll break the plastic. The driver’s side is more difficult. Attach it using your rivet gun. Don’t forget the two plastic push pins which should still be in your left pocket.



You have just installed the your new control arms! Give yourself a pat on the back and a firm grab of your crotch. Now go retrieve the front wheels that you had previously discarded and put ‘em back on. You are ready for a test drive! If you have a lowered rig, have it aligned to -0.25 degree camber and you are forever free of inner tire wear issues.
 

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Thanks....this takes the intimidation out of buying these.
 

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great job dave. to all srt8 eibach owners the a-arm change out is the same except i had to unbolt the 4 main strut bolts because the bolt on the a-arm toward firewall will not slide behind the spring cause the coils are stacked up.had to pull the strut assembly forward some to get the bolt out. the bwoodys are way easier. eibachs almost like doing the spring install all over again. the only other thing i did was not remove the whole inner fender well, i just took the two push pins out in the back and pulled the inner fender well out enough to get to the bolts.daves way will allow more room to work.i also just used a razor knife to trim inner fender
 

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Need help when I was doing my install things were going good till I seen that the boot to the new BJ was off. I tryed everything under the sun to stop it from coming off. I dont want to finish this up with the boot like that. Has anyone else had this happin to them with their install. I have pics but dont know how to put them in. Not a good day. Im thinking of going back to stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
nice write up. Curious about how much of the liner you had to cut for clearance.
I cut a strip about 3/4" wide by about 6" long, which is probably a little too much. My measurements were ballpark, but if you want to do it precisely, you might try this modification to the install:

After you remove the rivets holding in the inner fenderwell liner, leave the liner in place. You can probably jockey the loose liner around enough to get wrenches in there and loosen the bolts on the A-arm, which will allow it to swing freely. Now you can rotate the A-arm upward and scribe a perfect line onto the liner.

Let us know how your install goes.
 

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[FONT=&quot]Thank you for your contribution! Added to Tech Tips How To forum.
[/FONT]I am a moderator and I approve this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Those are made by Jeepin' by Al. High quality stuff.
 

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Great post. Thank you for the pictures and write up!!! What are the tell tail signs of needing to replace these?
 

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Just curious has anyone here cut a small section of their inner fender well to gain clearance so the top of the balljoint/zerk fitting doesn't smash into it on the occasional bottoming out?

I am still using stock A arms, but the option of trimming the bumpstop with my Eibachs was absolutely worth it for ride comfort, but every once in a while when you can't avoid a hard hit... and it hits. Hard. I can see some small denting in the well and while I thought of adding a low pro bump in there I really think a minor three line cut and bending in a small portion of the well will give just enough clearance to allow the shock bumpstop to do it's job. Plan to also adhere a low pro bumpstop on the top of the balljoint bracket as well.
 

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Pics are gone, anyway to get new pics?
 
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