How to Replace a Control Arm (upper or lower)
How to Replace a Control Arm (upper or lower)

Hey guys Chrisfix here. Today I’m going to show you how to change out an upper control arm. This is an A-arm style control arm. This is also known as a wishbone style control arm. So here are the tools I use to get the job done. Breaker bar, crowbar, torque wrench, a ratchet with some different sized sockets, different sized open-ended wrenches, a rubber mallet, some thread locker, break clean and penetrating fluid. This job is going to be really simple, we’re just going to unbolt the ball joint and then we’re going to unbolt the two parts of the control arm that connect to the frame. Now these two parts on my truck have camber bolts so that adjusts alignment. So I’m going to get this truck aligned anyway. But if you’re messing around this you might have to get your car truck aligned afterwards. You’re going to want to use some penetrating fluid. Make these bolts come off easier for you, so just spray the bolts. For the ball joint I’ll try to spray inside here and also on the nuts here The first step is going to be to get this bolt off right here this connects the ball joint in the control arm to the knuckle In this case it’s 15 millimeter. So I’m going to use an open-ended wrench on one side and the ratchet on the other side. I know on my knuckle that it’s not threaded in here, so you could just knock this out lightly. They give you a new nut and bolt in the kit. You don’t want to reuse the old one You can see it has the teflon blocker on the top. Now with the ball joint stud unbolted from the knuckle. We get a crowbar in here and just lift up. Like so. You can see the ball joint here is really bad. It clicks up and down and there’s way too much movement inside here. Now that we got that undone from the knuckle. Let’s go unbolt these two. I’m going to start back here. Now you can see over here there isn’t much clearance. But over here there’s plenty of clearance. So on the non clearance side I’m using a 13/16″ wrench. I’m going to use a breaker bar on this side, and then I’m going to use a regular ratchet. Good! So now this should come right out. Want to remember how we have this on. It was in like that. And now this is a little tight back here. So while trying to take this out, there’s a clearance issue So you actually have to snap out these brake lines, from this holder here. Good. Got that out. Now this was aligned just like that, so remember that. That’ll be helpful, even though I’m getting an alignment, you still don’t want to be too far off. So we just did this side. Let’s do that side now. We’re going to do the same exact thing that we did on the other side for this side. Put your wrench in the area with the least clearance. Get a breaker bar on there. Okay, got the nut off… Take the wrench off. Now we’re going to take this piece of metal off. It’s like a washer. And after that’s off… slide this out. Okay, and that was in like that. The long part was facing towards us. Now this part’s easy. Slide that out. Here are the two control arms. You can see, old one, new one. As always you want to match up the parts. Make sure they’re the same size and these two look good. I like to clean where I put the new parts. So I’m just using brake clean. With the two spots clean. I put our brand new upper control arm. So with our new upper control arm in the first thing we’ll do is align it and put these camber bolts in just so that everything’s set in place. Remember this camber bolt was like this. Good! Now that that’s in there. Let’s do the other one. Good. With this in place we’ll take one of our camber washers. That’ll fit in just like that, hand tighten that nut. That’s hand tighten. Let’s work on the other one. Again our camber washer will go inwards. Get it in place, and then just hand tighten it down. After hand tightening let’s snug them. Good, this is snugged up. Let’s do the other one. Okay with that snugged, let’s get the ball joint into the knuckle. I’m going to take our knuckle. I’m going to push it right where the control arm is. Now I’m going to jack up the bottom of the knuckle and that will give me easier access to push this in. With that jacked up, you can see this fits in a lot nicer. I’m going to take a rubber mallet and lightly tap it in Got our brand new nut and bolt. Slide that in. I’m going to add a little bit of blue Loctite, which is the removable stuff just to the end of this bolt. Now we can tighten this down. Once it’s snug, we’ll torque it. On my truck this gets torqued down to 35 – 46 foot-pounds. Now we have to torque these two down, and we’re done. The control arm to body bolts get torqued to 83 – 113 foot-pounds Don’t forget to snap in these brake lines back to their spot. Good. And then we’re done! So that’s how you change a wishbone or A-arm style upper control arm. Hopefully this video was helpful. If it was, give it a thumbs up! Also consider subscribing, I publish “how to” videos weekly. On the screen a bunch of videos will be popping out. The links to those videos are also in description below just in case you can’t click on the screen. Also in the description below are the links to my Facebook and Twitter pages. If you use Facebook or Twitter, check it out!

100 thoughts on “How to Replace a Control Arm (upper or lower)”

  1. XIAOYU888 says:

    yes ur videos are awesome n satisfying too. Thanks for all ur videos bro its very helpful

  2. Ventura Diaz says:

    i have a chevy impala 2008 that makes a noise towards the wheel when i turn left, could this be the issue ??

  3. Lisa Faulk says:

    what size is the axle nut on the fords typically?

  4. N D says:

    Just replaced my control arm on my '99 Explorer. Mine came with a greaser cap so I greased it. How come yours doesn't have one?

  5. Daniel B. Urt34rshydr8me says:

    Do you have a video for lower ball joint and tie rods on 2004-06 durango ?

  6. Glyn Robinson says:

    I have a 2003 Crown Vic. Will slack in the ball joint cause a vibration while driving at different speeds? I have new bearing hubs, new tires with balance. The rubber over the joint is deteriorated.

  7. Edgardo De la Cruz says:

    I can't but the screw back him how did you do it I have an 01 Ford Explorer and it's difficult

  8. James Cox says:

    Nice. Thnaks. Now, how about the lower?

  9. Andrew Elgohary says:

    Hey Chris, I need your opinion.  I am trying to replace the front left control arm in my Nissan Versa 2011. However, the middle bolt can't get it out as it blocked by the suspension member. I have no clue how to change. I already did the right which is not bad. If you have any ideas, I deeply appreciate it. Thank you in advance

  10. Steve Stone says:

    on a 2003 dodge 1500 are the upper control arms under spring pressure

  11. bjun salting says:

    How do you change upper arm with a torsion bar on it chris?

  12. TehGamerXeo says:

    It'd be cool to have a simple vid of all the suspension mods that require alignment after the fact; that way someone could plan accordingly and do a few related jobs at once THEN get a good alignment.

  13. Kyle Powell says:

    what do you think about the mevotech suspension and steering parts. are they any good

  14. ahmsw says:

    good job chris I like your videos so much 🙂

  15. Beef, Chicken, and Fish Taco Scented Candel says:

    Great video! I am a new subscriber. Usually I am nervouse about messing a job up but you help make them less menacing. Thanks.

  16. Catalin Delea says:

    Can someone explain how 491.442 people need to replace their wishbone control arm on their truck? Great vid 😉

  17. Jacob says:

    Chris, have you ever seen upper control arms that were different styles? I'm changing both upper and lowers on my 99 Mercury Mountaineer and the left upper control arm is a two piece where as the right side is the one piece A-frame style. I went ahead and ordered two A-frame moog control arms because I read in forums of people doing it. Have you encountered this?

  18. Greg Keiser says:

    Chris,I have a 2009 Ford Ranger Sport 2wd and it is not as easy to put the upper control arm back in the knuckle as you make it seem.Any other tricks ? Otherwise,the videos are well done and very informative,Thanks.

  19. Para La Negra says:

    Thank you.

  20. Wow Nicevideo says:

    Good job 👏. Thanks for showing us how to do this.

  21. Edward Codelia says:

    Chrisfix, thanks for this one. Nice job, I'll be doing this on both sides tomorrow. exact same ball joint on 2001 Ford Explorer. Crow bar and jacking up are great ideas!

  22. JesusRockstarRedux says:

    I watch your videos all the time to fix my 2000 Civic DX Hatchback. Tons of great information.

    I'm always confused as to why there are some people who give a thumbs down on your videos. You do everything so systematically and with exceptional clarity and description. Keep up the good work. I'm about to do my front uppers.

  23. Brendon Rubel says:

    Don't forget the nuts

  24. faze fred says:

    U save my day and my money 💰 great video bro

  25. James Delgado says:

    Hey Chris, about to buy a Mevotech upper control arm, with grease fitting. Do you recommend changing them in pairs. The driver side looks good,but is oe. Thanks.

  26. Samantha Wohlscheid says:

    ughh this seems to complicated for me haha. I'll have to watch this like 20 times to get it.

  27. Google Rapes says:

    Is there a reason they make you buy the entire upper control arm instead of just the parts u need (ball joints), other than its more expensive? Also, is it possible to get those upper ball joints out? I'd much rather not waste $180 on arms that I dont need.

  28. Patriotic Texan says:

    Is this the same for 07 chevy tahoe ,

  29. Allen W says:

    Failed my car inspection. Used this video and (another one of your videos) to repair it myself!

  30. CanadaCraig says:

    GOOD FOR YOU CHRIS!! With most 'how to' videos I feel like I know LESS after watching them and lose almost all of my confidence! But with your videos I end up thinking to myself, "I could probably do that myself!" Thanks!

  31. Gregory Harrison says:

    One can also use a little white out or correction fluid marks to make part alignment on reused parts easier.

  32. Caden Norton says:

    Is it just me or does he sound really depressed compared to his older videos? Maybe he doesn't like doing YouTube anymore

  33. King Cuan says:

    Adding loctite to a nylon nut is a little bit of over kill 🙂

  34. Susan Cousineau says:

    I specifically just search "ChrisFix + [needed repair]" now… Thanks Chris! Great clear videos, no jiggling and overshadowing your work, and nicely edited. Really appreciate the time & effort you've put into these… I saved at least a few hundred dollars replacing the springs & struts on my '91 Mazda 323 last week. This week – control arms and front brakes. I almost can't wait for the next repair!

  35. Richard Juel says:

    Chris you torque down your Wishbone on the upper control arm without loading your bushings and you have a video on that so you blew it on that one buddy just thought I'd bring that up we're not perfect so you know me and my buddy replace my lower control arm on my 96 Thunderbird and I've never done it before and he's done several but he didn't take the camera washers off the one we did not end and we fought that bolt for hours I can believe it now I watch your video and first thing you did was take the square not off for the washer and it worked Dandy so just thought I'd bring that up people take the washers off

  36. Trino Ponce says:

    Hey Chris, another question, I don't get it, how does it effects the alignment ? You did a very good video on lower ball joints, explaining why it effects the alignment. But this one, I dont get it why alignment ? Keep up the good work, you're a man.

  37. merc marc says:

    Try getting those bolts out on a ranger that has been through fifteen salty winters in Massachusetts. Good luck.

  38. undertaker131313 says:

    Hey chris I'm a mechanic not by trade ok but I did do a few yrs as a disels mechanic..apprentice. when i was 17-21 yrs old and have bin mechanically inclined fer 33 yrs I've owned my own big truck race cars and blah blah I've put a few race cars and banchi or baha trucks ok. suspensions together over my I've taught my 15 yr old and my 29 yr old that when u play with suspension…be for torquing them to spec..isn't the vehicle supposed to be on ground under its own weight befor u do the final that there's no binding possible breakage of parts going down the road?..listen I'm not tossing u under bus ok…u do AWSOME WORK just wondering if u do the same that's all bro wouldn't have subscribed if I didn't think you were worth the time…your young bro and it's great that u r showing all these younger generation all the shit u have done and know with all these new vehicles…see me I was hatched in 1969 lol and I'm all about the old school cars trucks whatever oh and the 80s bitches lol. joking. I learn everyday from my eldest son, bec him and his buddy's like the jap scrap cars..whatever..but we learn from each other….and teaching my 15 yr old both…now I'm really sorry fer my life history….but buddy keep up doing wth u r doing…I'm surprised u haven't gotten urself a shop to get out of the fucking snow. Ya I live up in guelph ont canada. Dunno if you no where that is…but it's about 1.5hrs west of Toronto ont. Lol ya it's sux here I hate the cold I hate snow now bc my youngest hates it to lol ok bro have a good one again sorry for the long history

  39. Rob NOspam says:

    Great video! I have a 1998 Ford F150 and I know my top control arms definitely need replacing, the bushings are toast. Do you recommend changing the bottom control arms/ball joints on each side as well or can I get away with just changing the top control arms? Is there anyway to test just the bottom control arm/ball joint besides using a visual inspection?

  40. aaf1218 says:

    I noticed you are a lot more calm in the older videos. The newer ones you sound pumped to make the video and excited. Good video tho!

  41. Bill Webb says:

    excellent, thanks

  42. Two Chainz PB says:

    I need to do this on my 2001 Toyota celica

  43. Luis Urrea says:

    could you please tell me how much is the labor for a work like that? thank for the video

  44. ArkSoul Wake YaShone says:

    THANK YOU MASTA CHRIS….. Helpful Video

  45. JT 1200 says:

    Hay Chris I'm doin my 06 Dodge Charger do I have to but load on the tire when I put the top bolts on

  46. Miguel Cruz says:

    This video made it very simple and easy to replace my trucks upper control arm, Thank you Chris..

  47. Dave Budbill says:

    Can anyone tell me the torque specs for the control arm bolts on my 2006 dodge ram 1500.. This video is great!!! Doing mine in a week when I get parts..

  48. Tigershark says:

    Hey Chrisfix, can you do a video on the lower arm of your Ranger, I have damaged mine and need to see how to replace it…if possible.

  49. Philip Babb says:

    Thank you.

  50. Kyon says:

    make a video on how to change just the bushings!

  51. guar67 says:

    Would the torque specs be the same for a '09 ranger 2wd with coil spring suspension?

  52. Squidward Tentecales says:

    how long does this repair usually take at home?

  53. radcop4u says:

    what type of vehicle is that?? i have to replace upper and lower ball joints on the passenger side. i decided it's just easier to replace the control arms

  54. Roberto Diaz says:

    Good.. I am going to do it.

  55. Derek Taylor says:

    Hey chris I am going to replace my upper control arm, how do I preload using a jack? im confused. please help

  56. Gage Smith says:

    I just realized it must be a pain to keep moving your nice camera when your hands are all greased up.

  57. Juan Vigay says:

    Hey chris do you have any suggestins for good brands for control arms currently trying to get them replaced on my 2008 G 35 x a response would be really appreciated ive never ordered car parts before and dont want to get screwed , keep up witht he awesome videos

  58. V.C. Venezia says:

    I have an issue with my '97 Explorer XLT where I cannot remove the control arm bolt that's next to the fuel/brake lines. These lines aren't the issue though, it's the metal pipe behind them which I think might be the power steering line. Seems like the Explorers with the V6 don't have this, as mine is a V8. I was thinking of resorting to shortening the end of the bolt just so I can get it out, but I'll just have the same issue putting a new bolt back in.

  59. Jaime De La Cruz says:

    So that’s how you align them

  60. Elizarobin Robinson says:

    Good video. I have a question. My 2006 Pontiac Montana SV6 3.9L. Is having a lot of problems. I replaced the front wheel bearings and ABS sensors but the traction control is still on. Now it seems I have a problem with the RR wheel sensor wire harness. Can I solder in a new clip? The line is broken just before the clip. They want 156.00 for the harness and over 200 for the rear wheel bearing. ??? Does that sound right? The transmission is slipping. The fluid level is correct. It feels like I am driving with the emergency brake on. Using a lot of gas. Is there a sensor on top of the transmission? Or somewhere that controls the shifting? I am a poor 70 year old woman, but I am handy. Changed the wheel bearings myself. I really need this van because I live in it. Pensions not that good. There is 250,000 kilometres on it ( about 150,000 miles) . Any suggestion's. I am going to change the tie rods, thanks for showing me how.

  61. Stephen Good Channel says:

    Hey Chris, I have an issue with this task simply because my car happens to be a 2004 Chrysler Sebring and it's also a sedan, not a convertible.. I don't have any clearance to take the bolts out to take the upper control arm regardless of the spring being in the way even when I took the whole strut off.. So do you have any helpful tips?? That's if you worked on any Chrysler Sebring lol..

  62. Aldo C. says:

    Do you need to replace upper control arms in pairs?

  63. GeneCARRASCA says:

    I tried doing this earlier ton the driver side and that camber thing on the right is a pain in the butt. I was having a hard time getting it out

  64. James F says:

    Just an observation the link to the socket set you use is for a Stanley set while you are actually using a craftsman set.

  65. DeadBeat Recording Co. says:

    I'm about to do this on my 94 Toyota pickup. Do you happen to know if the process is the same as your video?

  66. Roberto Chavez says:

    As always Chris like the rest of your tutorials, you make seem really simple, keep up the good work helping us tree shade mechanics.

  67. Revelation 3:16 John 3:16 says:

    Why did you have tô replace the upper control arm and not just the ball joint.

  68. Rick Avila says:

    Can you replace the ball joints even though they don’t have snap rings?

  69. g Davis says:

    I have an 04 crown victoria.
    It's confusing as how to get the shock/spring assembly out of the way to remove the upper control arm bolts. Am I going to get hurt moving the strut and coil spring?
    Any advice?

  70. J.B.M J.B.M says:

    Why do mechanic say this is solo difficult

  71. Jeremiah Ellison says:

    Mechanic wants to charge me $500 Labor for this……

  72. El Chuky says:

    What happens if the alignment is far off??

  73. diamondsanddimebags says:

    love all your videos, but quick question: where do you find torque specs for all the various bolts in your vehicle?

  74. Rajeev Mahajan says:

    Thanks for your videos. They really help me understand how the systems of a car work. I am amazed at your camera shots in tight spaces!

  75. David Mclain says:

    I like your editing. I would like to to know how much time really elapsed at about the 3:48 mark to the 3:50 mark. Because when I did mine today (01 Ford Sport Trac), that part took about 30 minutes. 🙂 Thanks for the video.

  76. Vincent Vega says:

    This was a great video, thank you!

    Would you recommend changing both sides at the same time?

  77. Angel Otero says:

    My mechanic is telling me my rack and pinion is bad on my Mazda 3 2015

    I would be a million times grateful if there was a video for that. He wants to charge me 450 buckssss

  78. turborsx says:

    Thanks for the useful video! I plan to replace the bushings on the upper control arm on an xterra, do I need to get an alignment after putting everything back together?

  79. Adam Skead says:

    Wouldn't it be cheaper to replace the bushing and ball joint?

  80. PetrosRZ says:

    Only if my dad allowed me to work on our car 😔. We fucked the lower control arm in our car but my dad wont let me fix it myself 😔.

  81. Taha Abdullah says:

    What's the smallest ball joint I could get? Dimensions please

  82. Ryan V. says:

    Chris I can’t find any info online of the way to tell if the control arm is OE or aftermarket. Ball joint is bad and obviously OE is non replaceable with aftermarket ball joints unless whole arm goes too.

    Do you know the way to tell?

  83. The Corn Gunner says:

    I think your videos are great but I think it would help if you were pause each step and highlight the exact step in text. I understand that this is more work but it helps avoid any ambiguity. Otherwise keep up the good work!

  84. Arlie Box says:

    Chris, I really like your videos, got started on them in FRF. If this is on your Mazda, it appears to on the left side. The right side is the different animal, especially when it's the 2 piece design with over 200,000 miles on it. Something on that side (right) would be great as long as it stays 2 piece. changing over to the upgraded 1 piece is not in the cards for my Ranger at this time. I need to replace the bushings on all 4 control arms. The last time I did it was on a '69 Buick Sportwagon in the mid/late '70s.

  85. Will Morris says:

    Can you do a video on a 2008 F150 NON LARIAT if possible?

  86. Mitchell Hasselquist says:

    Really good straight forward videos you have I will be using these videos for my own truck ! Keep it up

  87. Khoa Nguyen says:

    How do you know how much to torque it and how did you measure it when using your tools?

  88. BloodSweatnBass says:

    Does a wheel alignment require a pro? Im assuming that its not a "DI" type job?

  89. Raj Bahadur says:

    Good video sar

  90. Doug Akers says:

    You are really good at these videos. The best actually.

  91. Tom Yum says:

    How do I know my control arm is faulty?

  92. travis00017 says:

    Aren’t you supposed to not tighten the nuts until the wheels are on ground (or lift platform)? I thought most of those arms have teeth that “bite” into the frame. When not tightened while under load, I’ve heard of some people’s cars sitting too high because the rubber bushings were binding. They had to redo later to correct.

  93. Robert Jaynes says:

    I heard that the bolts should be torqued under load. Is this true, or does it matter?

  94. Oscar Lopez says:

    Thanks for your help 👍👍

  95. Max von Werssowetz says:

    Do you have a video about the passenger side, especially if you have the 2 piece design?

  96. Michael Jones says:

    With this can you not just change out the ball joint and bushings or do you have to buy the whole arm?

  97. Sean Orourke says:

    Chirs would you rather use the seald ball joints or ones that have grease fittings.

  98. Smooch Boone says:

    Thanks Chris. I love your videos. In the past I used to be afraid to work on my own car, I was one that gave my hard earned money to mechanics hoping they wont over charge me. I've had mechanics tell me one price than once its fixed they will tell me a different price. Since I've started watching your videos I fix my own car. Who would've ever thought I would be fixing a Jaguar?

  99. Skullrider 123 says:

    So how do you get yours off so easily? Mines stuck on

  100. Audra Herkelman says:

    Nice! Love how you don't have a ton of intro, get to it and are smart about it.

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