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and then I get the fun of figuring out how to cut the old one out without damaging the knuckle.
Im not going to tell you this was easy because it was not - at least for me - but I was able to replace my rear control arms myself in my driveway. Ive done one side on my (now scraped) 02 wagon and both sides on my 05 ZX4. This was a few years ago and Im not sure I could do it today as my arthritis is much worse.

To cut out these control arms Ive used a reciprocating saw (sawzall) and a thin cutoff wheel and found the thin cut off wheel to be easier. If you go with a saw be certain to use a carbide blade. Either way you need to cut so that you do not cut into the trailing arm. Click on pics for larger.

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After the the arm is out you still need to deal with the small piece of the outer bolt that remains in the welded nut on the trailing arm. It is held in with thread lock from the factory so you need to heat it with a torch then work it out by grabbing the end of it with a vice grips.

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Once I got it moving I cut a slit in the cut end and used a large screwdriver to back it out

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Paul
 

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Ok, in case I trash it cutting the bolt, what else is the knuckle/trailing arm called? Looking online for "rear knuckle" or "trailing arm" finds literally everything else except that part. I could literally build out the complete four wheel suspension from hits on those searches, except for that part.
Ford 4S4Z-5A968-AC Knuckle And Hub Assembly (R).
Ford 4S4Z-5A969-AC Knuckle And Hub Assembly (L).

These fit 00-07 non-wagon. And I dont think there is any aftermarket equivalent.



Oh wait, I take that back: I've also not found the rubber bump stop that goes on the rear LCA. Nothing wrong with mine now, but why the hell is that part impossible to buy? It's nerve wracking trying to get it off knowing that if it's damaged the only option for replacement is wandering around the local scrapyard hoping they've gotten a compatible Focus since last time I looked, and then having to spend the time there to pull the darn thing. (No doubt after dealing with an equally seized bolt but without the benefit of having electricity nearby.) Though FWIW, some Deep Creep and a pickle fork took the left one off quick and easy.
I do not think Ford sells it separately. You just pry off your old one and transfer it to the new arm.

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Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
To cut out these control arms Ive used a reciprocating saw (sawzall) and a thin cutoff wheel and found the thin cut off wheel to be easier. If you go with a saw be certain to use a carbide blade. Either way you need to cut so that you do not cut into the trailing arm.
Don't have a reciprocating saw, and HF is sold out of the Warrior that's on clearance cheap enough for me to change that right now. I do have a grinder with cutoff wheels and an oscillating tool with a carbide flush cutter. And I did manage to back the bolt completely out of the nut, just can't get it to go any farther even with a sledge and punch through the nut. Theoretically, I should be able to cut the head end off flush to the outside of the bracket, and then the threaded end as close to the bushing as I can get, then just tap from the head end enough to clear the wall of the bracket there.

Ford 4S4Z-5A968-AC Knuckle And Hub Assembly (R).
Ford 4S4Z-5A969-AC Knuckle And Hub Assembly (L).

These fit 00-07 non-wagon. And I dont think there is any aftermarket equivalent.
Seems crazy that everything else back there has tons of options, but the one part they all have to attach to is dealer or junkyard only. Still good to know the year and model range to look for in the junkyards.

If I ever run across one of these in a pick-and-pull, I'll be there all darn day stripping it to the frame...and then trying to figure out if I can haul the frame off too.

I do not think Ford sells it separately. You just pry off your old one and transfer it to the new arm.
Also crazy. "Yeah, we've managed to duplicate the precise metal part and all the bushings to match and improve on Ford's original part, but the plain lump of rubber has us completely stumped."
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Ok, after cutting both bolts, I now have both LCAs and both springs replaced. Left wheel is still insane on camber though: it leans in visibly while sitting on level pavement, and of course, eats the inside tread, same as before. Adjustment bolt is cranked in as far as it will pull. (And yes, I did turn it 180 degrees to make sure I wasn't just misunderstanding something.)

Going to have to cut and replace bolts for the upper and lateral arms, so I'm thinking I may just get all of the bolts for both sides and make a fresh start with anti seize.

Anything else I should check? Wheel doesn't feel wobbly like a near-dead bearing. Spins smooth, quiet and steady. I'd like to get this fixed and get a proper alignment before it kills the current tire, so I won't have to do more creative rotating to ruin the worst tire instead of the newest again.
 

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Going to have to cut and replace bolts for the upper and lateral arms, so I'm thinking I may just get all of the bolts for both sides and make a fresh start with anti seize.
The bolts for these arms - both ends - are Ford W500744S439 (ie 4 per side). These bolts all go into nuts welded to the rear cross member or trailing arm.

Odd that its out that much with the LCA adjustment cam turned all the way in. Can you post some pics?

Are you going to use aftermarket adjustable toe arms?

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
The bolts for these arms - both ends - are Ford W500744S439 (ie 4 per side). These bolts all go into nuts welded to the rear cross member or trailing arm.
The one that I had out the other day seemed fairly normal for a ~2.5" long bolt Are they packed in 3" thick lead shielding or something? Because the shipping estimates from Tasca and FordPartsGiant were insane. Can't get through to the local Ford dealer, even though the parts counter is supposedly open today. Managed to get a couple ordered through Amazon for a way higher base price, but still cheaper than the price+shipping from the other vendors. Worst case, it'll be enough to do the driver side, where the camber problem is.

Odd that its out that much with the LCA adjustment cam turned all the way in. Can you post some pics?
Since flat, level surfaces aren't its normal parking environment, I tried to grab a pic while I was at Subway earlier, but it's impossible to see the lean. Suffice it to say I put a drywall square on the concrete, touching the bottom of the tire and I could fit my hand between the square and the top of the tire. Haven't done the math, or even bothered measuring to the top and bottom of the rim from the square blade, but I'm guessing it should be way tighter than that, with the rim looking pretty much plumb top to bottom rather than an easily visible difference.

Are you going to use aftermarket adjustable toe arms?
Hadn't planned on it, given the price, but it might be worth a try if I can't get anything else to pull that camber back to normal. Haven't even bothered to pull strings to check toe yet because of that issue.

Now I do have a fairly heavy floor jack, tool bag, etc in the back when they're not under the car, but surely the design accounts for at least a normal load of stuff back there without destroying tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Woke up early this morning and decided to take advantage of the 60 degree weather to try to swap out the upper control arm, since the only seized bolt I know of right now is the lateral arm outer bolt. Went pretty smoothly, and in the process I noticed the camber bolt was in what I'd call the neutral position with the wide part of the washer straight up. Must not have torqued it last time. Cranked that back over, torqued everything and there's a definite improvement. Still looks a bit off, but definitely better. I'll try to find some flat concrete after church for a more accurate assessment.

Super noticeable difference in stiffness since swapping the springs, though; my earlier eyeball estimate that the car looked like I'd done a 3" lift was with all the tools, jacks, jack stands, spare tire etc. still out of the back. With its usual load I'd guess it's only about an inch up, but I'm feeling every bump, and some pretty violent, though I haven't felt the extra jolt of hitting the bump stops, which is an improvement. (There are a couple of really nasty hidden bumps from half-done construction nearby. I'm not the only one I've seen pulled over just after it counting to make sure all the wheels are still there.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Ok, we all know how inaccurate eyeball alignment estimates can be, but I'd swear the darn thing is toed out a bit now.
The bolts should be here mid week, so hopefully I can get that lateral arm cut out and replaced soon. I know the outer bushing's liner is seized to the bolt, and my cranking on it has definitely ripped something loose since I can turn the bolt, just not get it out. It seem like mangling that bushing could easily cause a toe issue.

If that doesn't get it, I guess I'll have to swap the upper with an adjustable one.
 

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You should be able to source flange bolts at the big box hardware stores. Bolt should be an M12 x 65. Thread pitch I believe is 1.75--you can verify that with the bolt that you removed successfully. Be sure the non threaded portion isn't too long or you won't be able to tighten the bolt enough.

If you do go that route, please post the thread pitch--I have this job ahead of me this summer...
 

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You should be able to source flange bolts at the big box hardware stores. Bolt should be an M12 x 65. Thread pitch I believe is 1.75--you can verify that with the bolt that you removed successfully. Be sure the non threaded portion isn't too long or you won't be able to tighten the bolt enough.

If you do go that route, please post the thread pitch--I have this job ahead of me this summer...
They are M12 x 1.75. Buy the Ford bolts.

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Buy the Ford bolts.
They're the ones who couldn't bother with anti-seize in the first place. I want bolts from a more conscientious source.

Unfortunately, Dollar Tree's hardware section is pathetic. I don't think #10 wood screws will work. ("Work" is a pretty relative term where Ford hardware is concerned, but I suspect that might actually be the rare case where random guessing is worse than what a Ford engineer came up with.)

Anybody got a Rolls Royce part number for a M12x65 bolt? If they're reasonable on the shipping, it's probably cheaper overall anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Well crap; the tire is now bald on the inside edge, so the camber issue is definitely not my imagination.

All three control arms and the spring replaced, and the adjustment bolt for the LCA is cranked as far in as it'll go, and still in the same position I left it in when the tire was worn but not bald a few weeks ago. Any other suggestions before I burn the extra cash on an adjustable upper arm?
 

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Well crap; the tire is now bald on the inside edge, so the camber issue is definitely not my imagination.

All three control arms and the spring replaced, and the adjustment bolt for the LCA is cranked as far in as it'll go, and still in the same position I left it in when the tire was worn but not bald a few weeks ago. Any other suggestions before I burn the extra cash on an adjustable upper arm?
I assume you had a 4 wheel alignment after replacing all of the parts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I assume you had a 4 wheel alignment after replacing all of the parts?
Not yet, since I can't get that wheel even particularly close. I did get it on level concrete and measure from a framing square to the top and bottom of the rim. Forgot what the angle turned out to be, but it was way more (less, I guess, since it's negative) than the right side. Well into "that just can't be right" territory. Since nobody around here does lifetime alignment or anything even particularly close, (with the streets here, they'd go broke fast) I'm holding off until I at least can get it in the ballpark with string and a machinist rule.

Don't really see how they could do more than maxing out the LCA bolt's adjustment already has, so unless there's some other trick, I'm sure they'd just be charging to tell me I need the adjustable upper arm. (Well, and offering to charge me way more to put one in for me, of course.)
 

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Not yet, since I can't get that wheel even particularly close. I did get it on level concrete and measure from a framing square to the top and bottom of the rim. Forgot what the angle turned out to be, but it was way more (less, I guess, since it's negative) than the right side. Well into "that just can't be right" territory. Since nobody around here does lifetime alignment or anything even particularly close, (with the streets here, they'd go broke fast) I'm holding off until I at least can get it in the ballpark with string and a machinist rule.

Don't really see how they could do more than maxing out the LCA bolt's adjustment already has, so unless there's some other trick, I'm sure they'd just be charging to tell me I need the adjustable upper arm. (Well, and offering to charge me way more to put one in for me, of course.)
I think your rear subframe is bent.
 

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Definitely a possibility I wouldn't rule out, especially after the construction on my road this spring.

Any tips for figuring out if one in a scrapyard is also bent? What years/models share this one's subframe?
Any focus that is not a wagon up to 2013 will work.
 

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They're the ones who couldn't bother with anti-seize in the first place. I want bolts from a more conscientious source.
Ford has updated all their corrosion coating on their hardware, and anything new from them will be far better than what came on the car. You can do similar with hardware from McMaster, match hardness and size, and look at their black ultra-corrosion-resistant and zinc-aluminum coated. Both are rated up to 1k hours of salt spray. Load them up with anti-seize.

Any focus that is not a wagon up to 2013 will work.
I also believe all Mk3 (2012+) will work with a change to the rubber exhaust hanger over the subframe, excluding the RS.
 

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I also believe all Mk3 (2012+) will work with a change to the rubber exhaust hanger over the subframe, excluding the RS.
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FWIW, I read on this forum what heat says above about the Mk3 subframe--I have one waiting for me for this job.

As to your problem, it sounds like your springs aren't stiff enough. if I understand correctly, you bought new springs which were much taller than the old springs. That is a bit mystifying...
 
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