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chaseincats

Ball joint & strut not lining up

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Hi guys, (first post!),

I changed the front driver lower-ball-joint but cannot get its housing (steering knuckle) to line up/bolt onto the strut. The problem is that the strut's screw mounts are angled inward, but the knuckle's aren't (see attached pic).

Do I need to compress the strut to get the knuckle to line up, or is there a trick to this I am missing?  I tried compressing the spring last night with some strut spring compressors, but the strut was still stuck in the down position.

 

I came up with an idea last night but have yet to try it :  Would it be possible to bolt all of the other suspension components back on and then thread an allen key (or just any bit of metal that will fit) through both the strut and knuckle mounting holes, then lower the car?  Shouldn't that allow the holes to line up, or is this a bad/unsafe idea?

I attached a picture of what I'm talking about with the issue boxed in red.

 

Any ideas?

-chase

atPojOB.jpg

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These were a PITA to get lined up, for sure, but you should NOT have to compress the strut in order to get this to work. Bend your steering knuckle towards the car. It looks the ball joint and the knuckle are facing outwards. That ball joint should be adjusted so it as closely matches the angle of the bottom of the spindle as possible.

Once I got it "close" I used a fat screwdriver that I fit through both of the mounting holes (on on side) that you are talking about and pried that around to try to line it up enough the other side enough to get the bolt in.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, I think I did use a jack under the control arm or something to get it to line up a little easier. But I didn't let the car drop on its own weight. I think I just gave it a couple of pumps under the arm to kind of get it into position. It didn't take much with that method.

Edited by AlbatrossCafe

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4 minutes ago, AlbatrossCafe said:

These were a PITA to get lined up, for sure, but you should NOT have to compress the strut in order to get this to work. Bend your steering knuckle towards the car. It looks the ball joint and the knuckle are facing outwards. That ball joint should be adjusted so it as closely matches the angle of the bottom of the spindle as possible.

Once I got it "close" I used a fat screwdriver that I fit through both of the mounting holes (on on side) that you are talking about and pried that around to try to line it up enough the other side enough to get the bolt in.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, I think I did use a jack under the control arm or something to get it to line up a little easier. But I didn't let the car drop on its own weight. I think I just gave it a couple of pumps under the arm to kind of get it into position. It didn't take much with that method.

Thanks for your reply, I'm glad to hear I don't have to mess with those springs/struts.

Regarding bending the steering knuckle, that will be pretty tough because its still connected to the tie rod end and an hour of banging on the tie rod end screw/banging on a pickle fork to separate them didn't work.  Your idea with the jack and the control arm is really solid, do you think it will work though even if I can't bend the knuckle?

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bending the knuckle and using the jack to get everything lined up worked perfectly, thanks for the tips!

I ended up getting one bolt in but the other bolt's threads got knackered so I will have to put a bolt and nut in it's place but definitely better than nothing.

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It will be safer to to re tap the threads in the strut housing and get a new grade 8 bolt or clean up the original bolt. If you still have the other side to do you could bolt the the lower control arm/steering knuckle to the strut then you only have to line up the one hole of the LCA and the cross member with no threads to get buggered up.

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4 hours ago, grannyknot said:

 

It will be safer to to re tap the threads in the strut housing and get a new grade 8 bolt or clean up the original bolt. If you still have the other side to do you could bolt the the lower control arm/steering knuckle to the strut then you only have to line up the one hole of the LCA and the cross member with no threads to get buggered up.

I'm not following.  Isn't the lower control arm bolted to the ball joint which is bolted to the strut?

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7 hours ago, chaseincats said:

I'm not following.  Isn't the lower control arm bolted to the ball joint which is bolted to the strut?

Yup, but the other end of the LCA is held on by one bolt that goes through the cross member so easier to deal with, sometimes you still need a jack to get it into place.

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3 hours ago, grannyknot said:

Yup, but the other end of the LCA is held on by one bolt that goes through the cross member so easier to deal with, sometimes you still need a jack to get it into place.

Good news, I was able to get the bolt in.  We're all set, thanks so much everyone!!

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Don't know about what you're doing, but the TC rod definitely assembles easier with weight on the strut.  If the wheel is hanging it's almost impossible to get the bolts in.

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2 hours ago, Zed Head said:

Don't know about what you're doing, but the TC rod definitely assembles easier with weight on the strut.  If the wheel is hanging it's almost impossible to get the bolts in.

That's definitely true

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