View Full Version : Lower Control Arm Bushing Replacement

06-05-2016, 01:58 PM
Has anyone replaced their lower control arm bushing? From the Shop Manual, it looks like I have to drop the whole lower control arm from the ball-joint and frame. Can it be done my simply removing the old bushing from the frame attachment or does the whole arm have to come off?

Suspension work does not thrill me.

06-05-2016, 08:56 PM
Follow the procedure in your Shop Manual. Make sure you use good jack stands before going under your car. Once you get the lower arm out you can work on your bench. Even so, the bushings will not come out easy. Use a big hammer and take lots of pictures. - Dave

06-06-2016, 09:57 AM
The front end has to be lifted pretty high on the Squarebird to get the lower arms down far enough to remove the springs and A arms. Believe it was about 22 inches.

Took my bushings and A arms to a machine shop and had them press out the old and press in the new. More expensive - think they charged about $40 - but was quick and done.



06-08-2016, 11:47 AM
Follow the procedure in your Shop Manual. Make sure you use good jack stands before going under your car. Once you get the lower arm out you can work on your bench. Even so, the bushings will not come out easy. Use a big hammer and take lots of pictures. - Dave

Hi Dave:

Sound advice. From looking underneath the car and the manual, it doesn't appear to be too difficult procedurally to remove the lower control arm. And I expect that if I do one, I will do the other at the same time.

While I have your attention, can the issue of a bad bushing cause the vehicle to pull right when braking? I ask because I have totally redone my brakes, new shoes, turned drums, new brake lines, flushed and new fluids, new wheel cylinders, and proper adjustment. But I am still getting this pulling issue. Any thoughts?

yep, and many pics will be on the way. :cool:

06-08-2016, 04:07 PM
Hi Dave:

Sound advice. From looking underneath the car and the manual, it doesn't appear to be too difficult procedurally to remove the lower control arm. And I expect that if I do one, I will do the other at the same time.

While I have your attention, can the issue of a bad bushing cause the vehicle to pull right when braking? I ask because I have totally redone my brakes, new shoes, turned drums, new brake lines, flushed and new fluids, new wheel cylinders, and proper adjustment. But I am still getting this pulling issue. Any thoughts?

yep, and many pics will be on the way. :cool:***WARNING*** Do one side at a time. That way you can use the other side as a reference.

Shoe brakes pull. That's the nature of the beast. Sometimes they pull in one direction when cold then they pull in the opposite direction when heated up.

Why? For sure, if ANY of your steering or suspension components are sloppy you can expect a fight with the steering wheel. Another cause may be mis-matched brake linings. Each wheel needs a primary shoe and a secondary. They must be installed and bedded-in correctly.

A disk brake retrofit will stop the pulling to one side or the other. Disk brakes also stop a whole lot better. The difference is huge.

Chances are, original bushings are rotted and need to be replaced. I did mine in the driveway because I'm cheap. I used a 2-1/2" pipe nipple and a 5# hammer. This work is not for the faint-hearted, but with a little perseverance and persuasion, you can do it. I'm sure you can always find someone else to do the work for a price. Not me.

Randy Harsha lives in Fallbrook, not far from you. Send a PM to 'Randy' because he is in the middle of doing the exact same bushing and brake work on his '60 Squarebird. CLICK HERE (https://www.flickr.com/photos/126764621@N05/sets/72157665913141952) for Randy's pictures.

Much of this work is straight forward and easier to do than to describe. Be careful and put the frame on jack stands. Then use a smaller jack under the spring before separating the lower ball joint. You won't need a spring compressor.

If you have more questions, please ask. We're here to help. - Dave

06-10-2016, 07:02 PM
Hi Dave:

Ok, I am sending a note to Randy, per your connection. Thanks. I am trying to save myself about $400, and I am just dumb enough to try these things myself. The only that that concerns me is the removal of the ball joints from the lower control arm. Taking a 5# sledge and a pickle fork sounds frightening, but what the hell, right?

Here's what the right side looks like today:
http://s33.postimg.org/uvj61ity3/IMG_2105.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/uvj61ity3/)

Looks like it needs to be replaced. As for disc brakes, I am trying to stay as original as possible, plus I just did a load of brake work, and that was a learning experience! I'll get around to it in the future. It's the right thing to do.

06-10-2016, 08:03 PM
Yep, looks just like a worn out bushing.
Randy is a great guy and he's easy to speak with. He will show you what to expect and how he tackled his bushings. - Dave

06-10-2016, 08:53 PM
Im sitting here at the airport waiting for my peeps reading this thread with my name in it how cool is that, and I would say that yes you can do it and save lots of money, I see you took it apart that was scary, lots of pictures
I thought I took enough pictures and there was still a picture I wish I had.
O and Howdy Doody this is Randy:D:D and Dave he's priceless

06-10-2016, 11:21 PM
Hi Randy:

My name is Geoff, and I am over here in Carlsbad. I have not taken this apart just yet, as I am contemplating what it takes. Nothing looks terribly difficult, but separating the ball joints concerns me. Those are new ball joints, and I would hate to destroy them.

Is there a chance that if I use the pickle fork and hammer that I can save those ball joints? Do I need to disconnect both the upper and lower or can I just release the lowers?

I am awaiting the 2 bushings to be delivered before I put her up on stands and take a crack at this.

06-11-2016, 10:37 AM
Make your own ball joint tool , works like original ford #T57P-3006-A.
4 3/4" long 1/2" allthread, 1/2'' rod coupling on on end, then 1/2" nut,2 fender washers, then a 5/8" rod coupling on the other end. Use as directed in the Fairlane shop manual, works great without damaging ball joints or dust boots.

I would love to get a picture of this. I like the fact it works great without damaging ball joints or dust boots.....

I am trying to get the author to send me a picutre of this.

06-11-2016, 11:12 AM
Unfortunately the suspension on a squarebird is completely different from your '61. The spring on a squarebird is on the lower arm and is relatively easy to remove. On your '61 the spring is above the upper arm and is very dangerous if you don't have the correct spring compressor. If you do a search in the 64-66 forum Yadkin found a spring compressor that worked on his '64. It should work on your '61 also. I would not use a pickle fork if you are hoping to save the ball joints. If they are new you may be able to get them loose by hitting the spindle where the ball joint goes in with two hammers; one on each side. Make sure you keep the nut on the ball joint a few turns. If you are only going to remove the lower arm then you don't have to remove the spring. Just follow the instructions in the shop manual.


06-11-2016, 11:53 AM
Hi John:

Thanks for chiming in. So, i am looking under the vehicle, and I am thinking I only need to disconnect the lower ball joint stud from the spindle. I do not need to remove the ball joint from the control arm, since it's going to go right back on. I am only trying to get to the lower control arm bushing at the frame.

So, if I remove the cotter pin and loosen/remove the ball joint nut, the ball joint should then slip out of the lower wheel spindle, and I can remove the strut & stabilizer from the LCA, and that should be that. That's the logical side of me.

What's the reality?

06-11-2016, 12:08 PM
You are correct. Once you remove the ball joint stud from the spindle, the shock and the stabilizer bar link the control arm just drops down and you can remove it. The hardest part is always separating the ball joint. The rest is pretty simple.


06-11-2016, 12:22 PM
Oh, so cool! I am not going to remove the ball joint from the control arm, so yes, this should be pretty simple!

Ok, As soon as I can get her into the garage, I'm going for it. Hopefully my parts (new lower control arm bushings) will arrive today.

I will be taking lots of pictures and hope to get back to you all with a success story later this weekend.

06-11-2016, 12:40 PM
HellO Geoff in Carlsbad . Randy in Fallbrook I towed my bird from Oside.

I have the fork and pick up a joint separator haven't tested out
for other side. best thing i learned get a BIG hammer, Dave Dare sent this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWtk3e5oDwQ
I dink around for a few days playing with bottom joint first, when i figured it out, the rest came off easier. I didn't have much luck with the fork way, it spread apart, but mine had never been taking off. whey they say hit it with hammer, I got the bottom off after I got mad at it, got me BIG slagdammer # 10 and went to town on it. it laughed, next put heat to it from a propane fuel tank for camping fixing copper pipe, it must of been loose,(not) i pick up my Big hammer It hit it like "John Henry" it was sweet, prettiest sound!!
oboy that was swell, my face has new wrinkles from grinning so much, I did it... I'll be going to San Diego 3 times to day, if you want i can stop see if i can help, I don't usually take the 5 but, hey what are Squares for right. and i/ll bring my new joint separator see if it works. I think i read you say your ball joints are newer i bet they come out easier maybe! Randy out.

06-11-2016, 01:05 PM
I have this haven't tried it yet. and don't think for me its going to come out this easy, we can hope!!!

06-11-2016, 02:58 PM
Is the ball joint stud pressed into the spindle?

06-11-2016, 03:07 PM
No, it's not pressed in. The nut and the taper is what holds it in place.


06-12-2016, 01:15 PM
I was looking for an illustration showing the space between your ball joints but couldn't find one. In the mean time, here's your front suspension:

The lower bushing is important but so is the bushing stack (3A187). I suggest you do ALL the bushings at once. If you had done them when changing ball joints, it would have been 'once and done'. Then do the other side the same way.

Give me a close measurement between the ball joint studs. Also, NEVER remove the ball joint nuts until the taper is separated. After the nuts are cracked loose, give 1-1/2 turns then separate the joint from your spindle. - Dave

06-12-2016, 07:17 PM
I got it done today. Will post many pictures later.

06-12-2016, 11:43 PM
Hi Dave: I got the work done today. Thanks for the diagram. I also have that same picture, however it is not 100% accurate. That diagram does not show the stabilizer bar that I have. I don't know why because I do see it on the 63/64 diagram. My reference is Larry's illustrated book.

I know the car is a 61, but why would you think it's not shown.

Secondly, I had to also replace the stabilizer bar link bushings as they were really chewed up. I suspect that came from the car jerking that started this project. Then I noticed that the shock absorber also shows sign of rubbing against the spring.

Upon reassembly, there was no dust boot on the ball joint! Another victim of the jerk.

So there was significant movement there.

So when everything was reassembled and we went on the test drive, the car braked true. No jerk. Then as the wheels heated up, the car started the drift right again! Not really jerking but a significant drift.

I am going to take a longer ride then check the state of the stabilizer bushings. I will probably have to replace the ball joint dust boot or the whole ball joint if I cannot get just the dust cover.

Like I said I'll post all my pictures Monday morning, and the procedures I followed, per the shop manual.

I did have a victim of my assembly. My 22 year old 5" vice broke at the body when trying to press in the control arm bushing. Result was a new vice!!

06-13-2016, 02:34 AM
I stop by this morning after driving LAX 240 miles, stop by Geoff
I had talk to him yesterday when in San Diego, said I'd stop by today and met a fellow square, I brought a Ball joint Separator
from HF. to see, if it would help and to see how well it worked. Nice Fellow He lives by the coast, has nice convertible and surfs Dude! can't get better that Right. he has nice clean place to work, i'm jealous, Talk about Squarebirds.org are Big family try help how ever they can. with all the other stuff he did, intake manifold, exhaust. I look at his lower ball joint said this was going to be a breeze for you, he thought so. Talk some more about how to support the upper spring, wile they took lower Aarm OFF and fix bushings, his friend had some knowledge in this area, and he was coming over in a few. OK nice to met Geoff see you at the Square. I still got to ge home fule up change cars and get back to LAX for my #2 and run out the rest of my 500miles today!!
That Geoff w/1960 thunderbird........https://www.flickr.com/photos/126764621@N05/albums/72157668787139560

Dan Leavens
06-13-2016, 08:31 AM
Now that is just way too cool;) Just goes to show you that squarebirds.org is a family.

I stop by this morning after driving LAX 240 miles, stop by Geoff

06-13-2016, 11:19 AM
Geoff, your car left the factory with the correct suspension. Somewhere down the line someone changed it because the '63 system didn't exist in '61.

Here's a genuine Ford diagram of the 1963-66 T-bird front suspensions:

I cannot stress enough, ALL the bushings work together. If you change a couple it will help BUT the new ones won't last long. It's a system that needs to be rebuilt all together, both sides and stabilizer bar bushings as well. I am most concerned with the upper 'A' arm bushings.

I hope you left the bushing bolts loose until the car was sitting at normal stance, THEN tighten them. If you tighten the bushings with the suspension hanging, you will hyper-extend the urethane at the first bump or driveway apron.

Yes of course, your ball joints need dust shields. Dirt is an abrasive. If it gets in there, premature failure. I don't see how loose bushings can possibly affect your ball joint boots.

It does make sense that your shock was rubbing the spring because of bottom-sideways motion but that is not the product of one bushing. Furthermore, both sides work the steering together.

I cannot say enough for Randy Harsha. He is not afraid to help at every turn and he is easy to talk with. I admire his tenacity and willingness to learn new things. He can help you with pictures as well since he is a financial supporter (paid member). - Dave

06-13-2016, 11:52 AM
If it was a suspension issue I would think it would drift all the time; Not just when it heated up. Drive it until it's hot and starts to drift. Then jack up each wheel and check how free they turn. I suspect that you have one brake that is not releasing all the way and causing it to pull.


06-13-2016, 12:17 PM
Hi John:

Yes, I am taking a long drive this morning to get those wheels heated up. Upon my return, I am going to check the wheel spin and then the wheel cylinders to see if they are releasing properly. In the mean time, I have lots of pictures to post on yesterday's adventure. I am working on that right now until the Mrs. is ready for this test drive.

I have about 30 pics, is there an easier way to post all those pics? I see Randy used Flikr. If I can get access, and create a link, is that the easiest way to post high volume of pictures? I don't want to rely on postimage.org for this one....

Any suggestions appreciated.

By the way, I think all the bushings and the ball joint dust boot, including the control arm bushing I just replace are VICTIMS of whatever the issue is with the car jerking to the right.

I, like John, still theorize this as a brake issue, because I have already rebuilt the suspension 1 and a half times now. I will report back in and get those pics posted.

Also, per Randy's recommendation, I will be signing up this morning!


06-13-2016, 01:56 PM
Why I ues Flikr. for me is eazy I have it set with my phone it auto
down load to site, when i get home to my wifi,
I know they have easier resizer that do all at time I haven't tryed.
Flikr one at time I just hit 555 and down load to my file for squares, But my favorite is to just make a album with the picture you want, then put the link in your thread, and your flikr pictures are big and a lot of them, and you can set who can see them. and i can do it with my phone when on the road which it most of the time. one thing about the latter is if you want the thread to have thoese pic. at a later time don't move them, make copy use that.
or, when a new Square starts looking reading cleck on link sorry no pic for you.
I know there a simpler way its just how Randy dose it

06-14-2016, 11:06 AM
Couple of comments:

My theory is back to this being a braking issues. The Control Arm Bushing was in OK shape before all this started after I had the brakes worked. The Left side is perfectly fine, but ALL the new and old bushings on the right side, including the dust boot on the ball joint, have been destroyed, roughed up, or slightly damaged, including spring rub marks on the right hand shock absorber.

I have replaced ALL the bushings and both ball joints on the Right side. So, this tells me that the movement "jerking" to the right at braking is most likely causing the damage.

So, at the very least, I am going to have to replace that lower ball joint or at least find a dust boot to put back on there. So there will be some disassembly once I find out what I can get locally or have to order.

Secondly, the results of my test drive yesterday were as follows:

1) Upon backing out of the driveway, and beginning our drive, there was NO drift as long as the wheels were cold. As the wheels heated up, after about 2 miles of stop & go, top speeds of 45mpg, I began to feel the "pull" to the right. This is ok, since before it was a severe jerking to the right but now feels more like a drift or pull to the right.

2) As the wheels go more heat in them, the car would pull more. But there were a few times where there was little or NO pull at all.

So, this could be wheel cylinder, drum linings, shoe mis-alignment? All of the above?

One last comment, I had to tighten the nuts beneath the car before lowering. This car is so low, that there is no way for me to get my arm beneath the front chassis to do any work. I am too big and the car sits too low. I tried. I suppose I could lower the car's front wheel (sans the rim/tire) and keep it high enough, but I don't really feel safe doing that. Or I could go buy a set of ramps! Shoot, I just figured that out! Ok.....

Need to figure this out, as I don't want to do all this work all over again & again. it was fun, but it was a lot of work.

I have 32 pics to edit and post, so I do apologize that it is taking me so long to post those. I am working on them.

So, in conclusion, my mission was accomplished, but the root cause of the issue has yet to be solved.

Today I will take another drive, do a lot of driving in reverse somewhere to adjust those brakes, heat them up, raise it up, and have some more fun today. The hardest part MAY be taking HOT drums off, but I would like to avoid that if possible.

06-14-2016, 11:22 AM
If you have a brake that is dragging or sticking the wheel will usually get very hot. After driving for awhile feel the center of the wheels. If you have one or two that are hotter than the rest then you've found the trouble.


06-14-2016, 12:43 PM
Right side get hot, even the lugs are too hot to handle. So, there you go...back to brakes.

Once I start work on that I'll go back to my original thread.

Joe Johnston
06-14-2016, 01:38 PM
Have you replaced the rubber flex hoses to each front wheel?

06-14-2016, 01:40 PM
Here are some opening shots. As you can see, the start is relatively simple, but the damage done to the Stabilizer (Sway) Bar Link Bushing and the lack of a Lower Ball Joint Dust Boot is ominous.

http://s32.postimg.org/445gpips1/Bad_Sway_Bar_Bushing.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/445gpips1/) http://s32.postimg.org/rkxboabcx/Bird_Raised_Up.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/rkxboabcx/)

http://s32.postimg.org/tbgcprsw1/Castle_Nut_and_no_Dust_Boot.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/tbgcprsw1/) http://s32.postimg.org/p8pbqoyrl/IMG_2115.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/p8pbqoyrl/)

http://s32.postimg.org/ghmwa64u9/Removing_Control_Arm_Nut_and_Shim_Nut.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/ghmwa64u9/) http://s32.postimg.org/g9unzx4ht/Removing_Strut_and_Stabilizer_Bar_Nuts.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/g9unzx4ht/)

http://s32.postimg.org/bhpg27z7l/Strut_Nuts_Removed.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/bhpg27z7l/) http://s32.postimg.org/uu6oxmt4x/This_is_ugly.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/uu6oxmt4x/)

Now, I am sorry that I don't have an actual picture of separating the control arm from the spindle. Why? Because using a 3# sledge, my co-worker tapped it right off. Didn't need the new pickle fork nor the separator tool that Randy lent to me. BUT, since I will be replacing the ball joint apparently I will be doing this again.....so I will make sure I get a picture of that, but you can imaging the sledge tapping out the lower ball joint from the spindle. Pretty Straight Forward.

Here I am taking/banging out the "old" bushing.
http://s31.postimg.org/7zzeox4pj/IMG_2140.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/7zzeox4pj/)

06-14-2016, 02:07 PM
Removal of Arm and Pressing the Bushing
http://s32.postimg.org/a667d8jtd/Removing_Control_Arm_Nut_and_Shim_Nut.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/a667d8jtd/)

Not the best shots, but the arm is gone from the suspension:

http://s32.postimg.org/evtdtheld/IMG_2136.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/evtdtheld/) http://s32.postimg.org/i1dzjox7l/IMG_2138.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/i1dzjox7l/)

Cleaning Up the Arm

http://s31.postimg.org/dwzk77huf/Cleaning_the_Lower_Control_Arm.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/dwzk77huf/) http://s31.postimg.org/j0qtvesyf/Cleaned_Up_LCA.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/j0qtvesyf/)

Pressing in the Bushing:

http://s31.postimg.org/3qqyo7xg7/Pressing_in_the_new_Bushing.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/3qqyo7xg7/) http://s31.postimg.org/wqld47g2f/Pressing_in_the_new_Bushing_2.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/wqld47g2f/)

http://s31.postimg.org/4628h8jdj/Pressing_with_new_vice.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/4628h8jdj/) http://s31.postimg.org/jnpqkxpuf/Pressed_In_Bushing.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/jnpqkxpuf/)

06-14-2016, 02:08 PM
Have you replaced the rubber flex hoses to each front wheel?

Yes sir. Everything is new on the brakes (shoes, wheel cylinders, hoses, flushed and filled fluids).

Also, suspension has (had) all new bushings and ball joints.....

06-26-2016, 12:33 PM
Right Bushings are on the Right of the Pic.

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/016c2f4640a5909dbbc7032e9f17c5aafdde0c598c_450x600 _zpsc67jimrg.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/016c2f4640a5909dbbc7032e9f17c5aafdde0c598c_450x600 _zpsc67jimrg.jpg.html)

Note the LEFT Sway Bar Bushing in the Upper Left. I replaced those as well.

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee407/geoffincarlsbad/0102cc97d591ec0fb4bf3dd50f70d8b3afa4eebcbe_450x600 _zpskk1isvwn.jpg (http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/geoffincarlsbad/media/0102cc97d591ec0fb4bf3dd50f70d8b3afa4eebcbe_450x600 _zpskk1isvwn.jpg.html)