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Old 05-20-2019, 08:35 PM   #1
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Control arm adventure 2002 ZX3

Greetings!
I noticed my control arm on my driver side was looking pretty bad when I changed my rotors last month, so decided I'd attempt to change them. The UTube video by A1 auto looked pretty cut and dry. I knew it would be a little more difficult being only 6 inches off the ground as opposed to a lift, but sometimes car repair can be therapeutic. I enjoy this sometimes....
The rear nut and bolt furthest from the front took MULTIPLE heating up with a torch. I don't know why manufacturers don't use anti-seize, but maybe it wouldn't make that much difference in 17 years. That bolt took a few hours, a long breaker bar and 1 broken 3/8 to 1/2 adapter. When you listen to the baseball game, and your team is loosing, it's a little more painful. The shorter bolt wasn't too bad, and the one that you need to jack up the transmission to get out came out surprisingly easy.
Then more fun began. The pinch bolt for the ball joint. If I had to do it over again, I would have heated it up right away. It's surprising how easily that nut sheared off... and why would any manufacturer use a 50torx?
Day 2...The only option I can see is drilling it out. I thought my new harbor freight set of 100 drill bits would be just the thing. Then my bucket of old drill bits and some 80w oil barely did a thing except one of the bits broke off in the nut side. After heavy doses of WD 40, Kroil, heat, and my inpact gun (another harbor freight tool that has come in handy) no budging at all. I thought maybe there were some threads from the bolt holding it in.
Next step is up to Menards for a NEW set of HIGH SPEED steel bits, 12 oz. of thread cutting oil, several hours, the impact again and I finally got the bolt out by drilling 7/8 of the way through from the torx bolt end...
After reading a few posts here, Thanks to all who write such posts and those who respond, I'm replacing all the bolts that hold the control arm in. When I called the Ford dealer he's only showing 2 bolts in a "set", so I'm wondering which one is left out? I'll see when they arrive. He had to order them.
My Rock Auto order was bad so I only got the drivers side. The passenger side they sent isn't even close.
Any suggestions, or if you know what I need to torque the bolts too would be appreciated.
Thanks
R&R


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Old 05-21-2019, 06:34 AM   #2
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I just rebuilt the whole front end on my 06 and had no issues. Everything came apart as it should. You must live where rust is an issue. We don't have that problem here.
I'd anti seize everything when you put it back together though
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Old 05-21-2019, 03:39 PM   #3
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I did mine last summer--I'm near Midway Airport, with dear relatives in Bolingbrook--it's a 2003 ZX3.

All my bolts came out no problem, and I reused them with plenty of anti-seize as suggested above.

Try Tasca Parts for those bolts--I recently ordered some bolts for the rear control arms. It will take some time to get them. I don't know where you could find out the sizes of the bolts you need in order to source them locally. Trial and error maybe?

Ball joint to steering knuckle...35 ft lbs
Inner rear nut...74 ft lbs then another 60 degrees
Outer rear nut...89 ft lbs
Front bolt...89 ft lbs then another 90 degrees, supposed to end up between 125 and 170 ft lbs

All that is straight out of the Haynes manual.

I used a torque wrench, but it did not have a degree wheel or other similar device. I tightened them up as accurately as possible.

Last edited by machgo; 05-21-2019 at 03:50 PM. Reason: torque specs added
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Old 05-21-2019, 06:18 PM   #4
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This is amazing... Machgo knows what kind of rust, salt, etc is around here. Do they still have the 2003? I've started on the passenger side, and 3 of the 4 have come out. That back bolt on the round bracket is a killer. I have a Big torque gun that will take off lug nuts and I can't get that thing to budge. I've heated it up a couple times, I've tried cutting it long wise with a dremel and it is just welded there...
After I get the correct control arm I'm take a sawzall with a metal blade to it. Just spent a few hours on it so maybe I'll try the heat again tomorrow after a relaxing night and a regroup. Thanks for the responses guys.
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