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cmb1120 04-12-2013 11:47 AM

control arm and rear rebuild
I was told by my mechanic that all the upper and lower control arms and bushings need to be replaced in the rear of my car as well as all the lateral links in the rear on both sides. The mechanic said I need to replace all of the above in order to get an alignment. Apparently my rear wheels make a V shape. If I replace all of this myself I would obviously save a lot I money. The mechanic mentioned that the rear of my car needed to be rebuilt. Does that mean we just swap the bushings, control arms, and lateral links out or new ones, or is it more complicated than that in a rebuild? What does a rebuild actually mean in my situation?

felixthecat 04-12-2013 12:06 PM

What are your alignment spec's? Has your car been hit or have you hit a curb? Your rear wheels having a V shape meaning camber or toe? Is your car lowered or stock height? It'd be great to see your alignment spec's.

my_beautious_ZX3 04-12-2013 01:21 PM

hi and welcome to the forum

pls take a moment to add more info to your profile, like model year and any mods. I assume the rear suspension is stock since you didn't mention otherwise.

if your vehicle has excessive rear toe and is old enuf (>7 years or so) that the adjustment bolts are seized, then yes - at the very least you'll need to replace the lower arms. But they can be a b*tch to remove, regardless of who does the work; that's about the worst of the "complicated rebuild" part you asked about. Use the forum search box to read some horror stories.

Unless you have frame damage back there (like rust or accident that requires welding), then you probably needn't worry about anything more complicated than a hellacious LCA removal.

cmb1120 04-12-2013 01:34 PM

No accidents. I have an 06 zx4 sedan. And it's toe in. Does needing to be rebuilt mean swapping the control arms out for new ones? Would that in theory allow me to get an alignment? Also how serious is something like this?

my_beautious_ZX3 04-12-2013 01:56 PM

"rebuilt" is a colloquial term, so there's no definition of it. I suppose if a person wanted to, they could replace their shock absorbers and then tell all their friends that they "rebuilt" their suspension.

you still haven't given us much detailed info about the vehicle or your abilities, so it's hard to say what a "rebuild" on your car would involve and whether its a do-able job for you. Like I said above, if toe is a problem and the adjustment bolts are seized (which prevents getting an alignment), then at a minimum you're gonna need to replace the lower arms. That's probably the worst part of it, and once you've got them off, then it makes sense to take a look around and see what else needs replacing.

cmb1120 04-12-2013 02:20 PM

I was told by the mechanic that in order for me to be able to get an alignment I need to replace the lower control arm, upper control arm, all bushings, and lateral links on both sides of my car on the rear in order for them to fix my tea alignment. They want to cut alll the bolts off and get new ones for the job, but I heard from this forum that he bolts are expensive. Does each control arm part have two bolts? So for the uca, lca, and lateral links on both sides it would be 12 bolts?

my_beautious_ZX3 04-12-2013 03:05 PM

alright, well if he's using terms like "cutting bolts", then it sounds like they're seized and your options are limited.

On the rear, there's no intrinsic camber adjustment and toe is controlled by the lower arm's cam bolt, so I don't know why he wants to replace all of that other stuff on a car that's not terribly old (unless you or previous owner has been beating the hell out of it).

I don't know off the top of my head what the total parts count is, but a dozen bolts doesn't sound unreasonable; each LCA has a bolt at both ends, so that accounts for four right there. Frankly though, bolts are gonna be the least of your problems.

Suspension hardware is expensive because it's made of hardened steel; no way around that. Look at my long post on page 1 of this thread for some sample pricing:

It should be becoming apparent to you by now that this is not a minor job - even for your mechanic. If lying on your back under the car for three hours with a grinder isn't something you're accustomed to, then this is probably gonna be a job best left for him.

sailor 04-12-2013 03:58 PM

^^^ X2

The bushings in the arms can't be replaced (except by aftermarket STIFF Poly ones, more labor than you'd want to pay a mechanic for), hence the "replace arms" estimate.

Mechanic MAY be erring on the side of caution, OR you could have enough bad bushings that it makes the most sense to replace all the matching ones. Mileage of the car might give a clue to this, from the year it's not as likely.

Once you do all that, it might be called a "rebuild" since many of the wear items have been replaced....

With this involved an estimate, it might be worth a second opinion - unless you or your family have a long relationship with the shop involved.

(As mentioned by others, the rear LCA's have the adjustment bolts, and when frozen in their bushings replacement may be needed to do an alignment. Also the rears seem to wear out first, often before fronts or uppers.)

Wish we could "see it from here".


cmb1120 04-12-2013 04:37 PM

My car has about 100,000 miles on it. How often do control arms and bushings go bad? Is it normal with my mileage? Also the mechanic said it might be smarter to rotate my tires more frequent instead of paying for the job because my car is an 06 with 100k on it but idk.

gondorian 04-12-2013 04:54 PM

Could you take a picture of your rear end and let us see how it looks? It may be pretty rusty and that is why the toe can't be adjusted. If that bolt is seized then you need at a minimum new rear lower control arms. While you are at it you may as well get new shocks too, and then if you want to be able to adjust your camber you can get camber bolts or adjustable upper control arms. If you live in a rust belt state it is pretty common for things to rust up and seize.

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