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View Full Version : Replacing upper and lower control arms on a '96 XJ


bradleyheathhays
September 13th, 2017, 07:55
I'm about to replace both the upper and lower front control arms on my XJ and was wondering if there was any advice before I got started. Far as I can tell I just need to take a couple days spraying some PB on the bolts before I do the job and then just yank em out and put the new ones in.

Any advice maybe?

RCP Phx
September 13th, 2017, 08:03
Do one side at a time !!!

blakews2217
September 13th, 2017, 11:35
I'm about to replace both the upper and lower front control arms on my XJ and was wondering if there was any advice before I got started. Far as I can tell I just need to take a couple days spraying some PB on the bolts before I do the job and then just yank em out and put the new ones in.

Any advice maybe?



Prybar, one side at a time, jack stands, maybe take the tire off if you need the room, anyone else?


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90xj06
September 13th, 2017, 13:21
i used a balljoint press to get the old ones out and get the new ones in. lots of angry yelling.

md21722
September 13th, 2017, 13:45
Remember to tighten the bolts with the wheels on the ground, not hanging in the air.

It is likely that you will need a alignment punch and/or floor jack to get the axle lined back up so you can put the bolts back in.

BCKNBLK
September 13th, 2017, 14:30
Remove the front wheel/tire assembly of the side you are going to do first (do only one side at a time, and one arm out at a time).
With a medium length (approx. 16") prybar, remove one arm, adjust the size of the new arm as it sits next to the old one (you ARE getting adjustable replacement arms, right?), lock down the locknut, and install it. As stated earlier above, do NOT tighten the hardware yet.
After you install all four arms loose, install your wheel/tire assemblies, lower the vehicle. Torque your lugnuts, then tighten all of the control arm hardware. Now get your front end alignment checked by a station that can perform proper alignments on raised 4x4's.

bradleyheathhays
September 13th, 2017, 15:44
Thanks for all the advice...taking lots of notes.

I forgot to mention my rig is all stock.

BCKNBLK.. is there an advantage to using adjustable arms if I'm just going for OE stock replacements?

lazyxj
September 13th, 2017, 22:09
I forgot to mention my rig is all stock.
is there an advantage to using adjustable arms if I'm just going for OE stock replacements?
There is no significant advantage for a stock lift and suspension.
As suggested, change one arm at a time.
I use a come-a-long to pull the axle into position, when aligning the bolt holes.
It's a handy tool for a lot of things.

Dragonslayer
September 14th, 2017, 00:28
Ditto. Do one arm at a time.

Be aware that the MOPAR engineers- in their infinite wisdom - decided to use Flag Bolts
at the ends of the control arms. After changing the control arms on my own '96 XJ,
I came away convinced that Flag Bolts were invented by Satan to punish all of mankind.
The hex heads are thin and difficult to grip onto with a conventional wrench or socket,
and the flag part of the bolt will often crumple when you twist and tighten the fastener
nut. Real fun. I used a pair of needle-nosed Vise Grip locking pliers to grip onto the
flag part of the bolts where I had access - but this was not always possible.

While there, you might want to think about changing the upper control arm bushings
(it's on the upper mount that is welded to the axle). They are a separate part, and do
not come with the replacement upper control arm.

Having a set of drifts (made from DOM tubing) and a big C-type ball joint bearing press makes doing this process worlds easier and cleaner - than using flames, a hole saw, or
a Sawzall®, or chisels, etc. that I had often seen in various YouTube How-To videos.

While using the proper drifts, it took me no more than a couple of minutes to do each side, and it didn't risk bending or damaging the axle upper bushing mounts.

Bent
September 15th, 2017, 11:12
Do one side at a time !!!
AND one arm at a time helps too.

techno1154
September 15th, 2017, 16:04
I usually take both wheels off and place jack stands under the axle close to the outer end.

I echo the advice given above i.e. one side at a time. In addition, I place a bottle jack under the front of the spring pad. This is helpful if you need to roll the axle to align the bolts. A come a long as suggested or good ratchet strap to pull the axle forward or backward as needed.

Ivan
September 17th, 2017, 09:16
For positioning the axle to install / remove the CA bolts...

Straps and a pry bar are a pain, and most of the time you need a third hand.....

An even easier way to rotate the axle, to align or remove controls arm bolts; would be to use an 18" or so pipe wrench and a floor jack. Your XJ can even be on the ground while doing this. Plus, you can do this by yourself, to boot!

Clamp the pipe wrench as close to the CA mount / CA you will want to adjust. Align the pipe wrench in the direction you want to rotate the axle. Once you have the pipe wrench biting the axle, put the handle end of the pipe wrench on the pad of the floor jack, and begin pumping slowly. Keep an eye on the rotation of the axle, you'll be able to simply pull out / install the CA bolt with ease, once the load is relieved. It's amazing how much finesse you'll have in lining up the holes.

As mentioned, be sure to do one CA at a time.