The shot above is my victory photo. I can't even begin to
describe how many hours and how much frustration we went through in removing that
lower-rear control arm. Here's what things looked like after removing the
passenger-side rear lower control-arm nut:
This shot looks toward the passenger-side rear. What
you see just above the jackstands is the last PITA bolt holding the
lower control-arm in place. The nut came off fine with the huge impact wrench
(didn't budge with any length of cheater-bar),
but the bolt would not move. The wet stuff is rust-dissolving lubricant, which I
used generously and repeatedly all over back there. The wooden handle you see
below the axle is part of a 10-pound sledgehammer I was using to try to budge
the fused bolt. To no avail.
After using a 1000-lb/ft air-impact wrench to remove the
nut, I tried to push the bolt through the control-arm bushing. The 3/4" head of
the bolt sits on the other side of the framerail just beyond the control-arm
mount, and you can access it through a hole in the frame. It's not centered, and
it's tough to shine light in there, but with some patience you can slip an
impact socket over the head; be sure to attach an impact extension to the socket
first, or you'll be fishing around inside the frame for the fallen socket. It's
a pain, but a pen-magnet will make retrieval simpler. The impact wrench did
Here's a list, in order, of things I used in an attempt to
remove the bolt and, thus, the control-arm:
- Liberal doses of PB Blaster, widely considered the best
penetrating lubricant. I continued to apply more all the way to the last
- 1000-lb/ft-torque air-impact wrench. Didn't turn.
- 10-lb sledge-hammer against the end of the bolt, under
the car. Didn't move at all.
- Heating the bolt. We got the thing glowing red, but
that made no difference at all (see photo of
Clevermanka with a torch, below).
- More sledge-hammering.
- Air-hammer. I beat the hell out of the end of the bolt,
trying to push it through.
- Sawzalling through both sides of the stuck bolt. This
I'll describe the process of what worked, because I
can't find any tutorials anywhere on the internet, even though this is a
But before I get started, think SAFETY FIRST:
- Get a friend to help. Not only is it handy to have
someone handing you tools while you're in a cramped position under the car,
it's nice to know someone can help get the car off you should it fall... or
at least call an ambulance.
- Place wheel-chocks on both sides of both front wheels
when lifting the rear. You don't want it rolling while you're under it.
- Prepare jackstands (I use two per side) to insert under
solid spots of the frame.
- Wear safety goggles. These need to keep rust, dirt, and
metal shavings from falling into your eyes AND be able to stop something
like a broken blade from penetrating your eyewear.
- Wear ear-protection whenever using power tools,
especially in a confined space like beneath a car or simply in a garage. It
gets LOUD and can cause hearing damage.
- Wear protective gloves made for this kind of work.
- After jacking up the car to a workable height (for me,
that was high enough that I could place the Sawzall on the garage floor with
the blade positioned properly), place the jackstands under solid
jacking-points on the frame. Test them to make sure they're solid. Some
people prefer to lower the car from the hydraulic jack at this time, but as
long as they're well-positioned, you're good. Just don't knock them out of
- Position lighting so you can see what you're doing.
- I placed some of those interlocking anti-fatigue mats
on the garage floor. This goes a long way toward keeping you from freezing
to death in the winter and also from banging your head, elbows, and so forth
against the cement... especially when doing frustrating work.
- Before cutting, open the garage door and a window or
door on the opposite end of the garage. Set up a box-fan beside you to blow
toxic fumes away and outside. If you're still worried, wear a respirator.
Okay, now here's what I finally did that got the dang
Step 1: Set up as described in the safety notes, above.
Step 2: Get a reciprocating cutting tool like a Sawzall
(I used a Craftsman brand, which worked fine), plus metal-cutting blades. You'll
need a LOT of blades (see photo at top of this page). I used up about a dozen
like this one, and that only took a few minutes of cutting. Keep in mind, this
bolt is a Grade 8, one of the toughest kinds of steel made, so blades dull
quickly when cutting them. I found that the finer the teeth-per-inch, the faster
and better it cut through the bolt; this one has 24 teeth per inch, and cost
about $2.30 at the local hardware store:
Here's what they look like when they stop cutting. You won't
touch that super-hard bolt with a blade this dull, even though I can probably
still use this for sheet-metal and such. Notice how the teeth on the left are
smooth-ended and much duller than those on the right:
Step 3: Generously lube the bolt and blade
before you get started cutting. Do this after each time you use up a blade; it
helps cool the blade, making it last longer, and makes the cut go faster.
Step 4: Position the saw. Here's how I
positioned it to cut the side farthest from the frame:
Step 5: Cut the bolt. When you're through,
be careful or the saw could fall on you! Here's the breakdown:
- Place the blade between the frame-ear where the bolt
passes through under the car and the rubber of the bushing.
- Wiggle it into position as best you can; I found that
compressing the rubber by pushing the control-arm over with a pry-bar helped
open the space a bit.
- Rest the handle end of the saw against the floor for
added stability while placing one hand against the outside-top of the saw
(blade end) and the other hand holding the handle in place below. Be careful
to keep your hands away from the blades and also from getting smashed under
the saw as it tries to jump around.
- Cut through the bolt. This step used up only two blades
in my attempt, probably because the threaded end is both thinner and more
- Don't push too hard, because you could lose control and
hurt yourself, and also because it just wears out the blade faster.
Step 6: Cut the other side of the bolt.
Here's where things got tough for me. I used up 10 blades on this one. I suspect it's because
of several reasons:
- This side of the
bolt (closest the framerail) is less exposed to the elements, thus less
- This side of the bolt isn't threaded, thus thicker.
- The blade rubs against the frame-side of the mount, so
it tries to cut that, too, or at least rubs there a lot.
Here's what the positioning looks like on that side:
Step 7: Pry out the control arm and
celebrate! Here's a shot of what the mount looks like after all the cutting. You
can see that the blade was rubbing against the frame a lot here:
Step 8: Clean up the frame if you end
up with a lot of burrs, like I did. Otherwise you'll damage your new control-arm
or bushing later.
Here's what the ends that I cut off look like after the job.
You can see the nasty side is much more ragged, and that I ended up breaking it
off rather than keep cutting; I was worried that I was cutting too far and
damaging something unseen. The little bit left broke off pretty easily with a
pry-bar placed above the control-arm, against the bolt that holds the brake line
I hope that helps! Good luck, and drop me a note if you
found this useful or have some added suggestions.