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  #1  
Old 05-21-2012, 12:41 PM
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Installing/Replacing UCAs

Yesterday I attempted to replace the upper control arms on my Jeep. After 7 hours I finally gave up and put everything back together. Everything was fine until it came to removing the rear UCA bolt. No matter what I tried I could not get the bolt out passed the springs. I tried raising and lowering the LCA with a floor jack like someone here suggested, but the more I would raise it the more the springs would compress which gave me less room. Lowering the LCA all the way down had the bolt aiming right at one of the coils and everywhere in between just wasn't happening.

Does anybody have any helpful hints or suggestions for getting the bolts out? Trying to avoid taking it to a mechanic, but at this point it's looking like my only option.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:38 PM
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Re: Installing/Replacing UCAs

From your post above it seems you are trying to do this without removing the strut tower. Remove the strut tower and it will be a lot easier.

Why are you replacing them?
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:25 PM
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Re: Installing/Replacing UCAs

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Originally Posted by Escape View Post
From your post above it seems you are trying to do this without removing the strut tower. Remove the strut tower and it will be a lot easier.

Why are you replacing them?
Thanks. Not sure what removing the strut bar entails, I'll have to check it out. If it involves me needing a spring compressor, I'm not interested.

One of the bushings on the passenger side is bad and creates a squeek with stretches in the suspension and when the wheel is turned while braking.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:45 PM
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Re: Installing/Replacing UCAs

You do not need a spring compressor to remove the strut tower, but some of the bottom bolts can be tough to remove (especially if you live in a state which salts the roads).

Steps are:

RIGHT SIDE
1) Remove airbox and intake tube
2) Disconnect cruise control servo
3) Remove coolant resevoir (just unbolt it and move it off to the side)
4) Remove the 4 nuts holding the top of the shock
5) Remove the tire
6) Remove brake caliper and adaptor..don't let it hang down by the brake line, place it on an upside down bucket or something
7) Remove rotor
8) Remove the Upper ball joint nut and separate
9) Remove the lower clevis bolt at the lower control arm
10) Remove the lower stabilizer bolt at the lower control arm

After this, the shock should be able to come out as a whole unit.

To do the left side, it is pretty much the same steps, but you have to move the power distribution center out of the way (3 nuts, I believe) to get at the top nuts holding the top of the shock.

Not sure if this is the easiest way to go about replacing the UCAs, but it certainly would stop those pesky bolts from having clearence issues!
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:50 PM
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Re: Installing/Replacing UCAs

I just swapped mine out

Mine is a srt with eibach springs

What I did, and it was a little challenging was to use a pry bar and with the suspension unloaded push the spring forward enough to get the bolt out. Almost thought It wouldn't work but it did. Had an extra pair of hands for one of the bolts
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:16 PM
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Re: Installing/Replacing UCAs

I would imagine your srt has fewer coil (lower ride height and all)... I just did my upper and lower ball joints like 3 weeks ago and there was absolutely no way in hell that mine were going to fit into the spring... I do also have a daystar lift so my spring is compressed about 1.2-1.5" more than stock springs as the spacer is mounted at the base of the spring. I had to drop the strut assembly out... Ultimately for me I was doing my lower ball joint too so I completely removed the knuckle and had tons of room to just drop the strut assembly out and throw it back in.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:41 PM
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Re: Installing/Replacing UCAs

If a spring compressor is needed, they are free at your local o'reillys. They charge you, for colatteral, then refund you once you bring them back. Air tools also make a spring compressor a lot easier ha
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:43 PM
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Re: Installing/Replacing UCAs

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.lee.baugh View Post
You do not need a spring compressor to remove the strut tower, but some of the bottom bolts can be tough to remove (especially if you live in a state which salts the roads).

Steps are:

RIGHT SIDE
1) Remove airbox and intake tube
2) Disconnect cruise control servo
3) Remove coolant resevoir (just unbolt it and move it off to the side)
4) Remove the 4 nuts holding the top of the shock
5) Remove the tire
6) Remove brake caliper and adaptor..don't let it hang down by the brake line, place it on an upside down bucket or something
7) Remove rotor
8) Remove the Upper ball joint nut and separate
9) Remove the lower clevis bolt at the lower control arm
10) Remove the lower stabilizer bolt at the lower control arm

After this, the shock should be able to come out as a whole unit.

To do the left side, it is pretty much the same steps, but you have to move the power distribution center out of the way (3 nuts, I believe) to get at the top nuts holding the top of the shock.

Not sure if this is the easiest way to go about replacing the UCAs, but it certainly would stop those pesky bolts from having clearence issues!
Pardon my ingnorance if this is a ridiculous question...Is it possible to eliminate some of the steps and still allow the strut tower to swing forward? I don't need to remove it alltogether, just move it a little out of the way.
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:14 PM
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Re: Installing/Replacing UCAs

That's a good question - I'm not sure...I have only ever taken them completely out...

Thinking about the linkages now in my head, I would say no...I think in order to move the strut laterally any measurable amount, it has to be dropped down so the top mounting bolts are out of the holes in the frame, and in order to drop it down you need to remove the lower connections...but to be honest I couldn't say one way or another...
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:37 PM
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I plan on giving it another go tomorrow morning. As long as I can remove the strut tower without the threat of killing myself (I've heard messing with the struts is dangerous) it shouldn't be too bad. Hoping I can avoid messing with the caliper/rotor. If it's just removing the coolant reservoir and loosening a couple more bolts to avoid the spacing issue, I think I should be good. Can someone confirm I'm not at risk of injury removing this strut tower? Sorry if the question is stupid, I only know enough to know what the parts are, not exactly what they do until I can look at it.

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Old 05-26-2012, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swing4terps View Post
I plan on giving it another go tomorrow morning. As long as I can remove the strut tower without the threat of killing myself (I've heard messing with the struts is dangerous) it shouldn't be too bad. Hoping I can avoid messing with the caliper/rotor. If it's just removing the coolant reservoir and loosening a couple more bolts to avoid the spacing issue, I think I should be good. Can someone confirm I'm not at risk of injury removing this strut tower? Sorry if the question is stupid, I only know enough to know what the parts are, not exactly what they do until I can look at it.

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Your totally safe, your only problem would be if your upper mounts were rusting apart. So long as your strut assembly is intact I PROMISE with hand tools you won't be able to do anything dangerous fast enough that you wouldn't have tome to realize your doing the wrong thing, leave the nut on the top of the strut and you got nothing to worry about.

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Old 05-27-2012, 12:33 AM
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Re: Installing/Replacing UCAs

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2005JGC View Post
Your totally safe, your only problem would be if your upper mounts were rusting apart. So long as your strut assembly is intact I PROMISE with hand tools you won't be able to do anything dangerous fast enough that you wouldn't have tome to realize your doing the wrong thing, leave the nut on the top of the strut and you got nothing to worry about.

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I second this. I just changed my UCA's a couple weekends ago and had the same problem you mentioned. I had to completely lower the strut assembly and then it made things go SUPER easy. I don't know why I even bothered trying to take out the UCA bolts without lowering the strut assembly. You might need a 2nd pair of hands or a jack to help hold it up in place while you're reinstalling everything though. 2nd pair of hands helps most. Also, when I was removing my strut assembly, I did have to pry it out on one side of the car (i believe drivers side) because the angle stop for the LCA was set higher than the passenger side and wouldn't give me enough travel to get it out easy. Don't be afraid to man-handle it a little if it gives you some trouble.

ALSO, I had to go and buy a deeper 18mm socket in order to loosen the bolts on top of the strut tower. Keep that in mind if you dont have a deep 18mm socket already.
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