GM Truck Club
Founded in 2004 ~ We're the #1 Chevy Truck & SUV Forum.
Silverado & Sierra | Tahoe & Yukon | Suburban & Yukon XL | SUV & CROSSOVER
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Jr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Hudson, MA

    Default Replacing upper control arm bushings and ball joints - PICS

    Last week, I had to replace the upper control arm bushings and ball joints in my 1999 K2500 Suburban. I figured I'd document it for those who may have to do it in the future...

    So, let's start...

    First off, I modified a 27mm socket on my lathe to make it easier to take the ball joint nut off. As an aside, I am extremely impressed with the steel used in Autozone's sockets.. I ended up having to fashion a small grinding wheel attachment on my lathe by handholding a dremel while the lathe turned the nut..

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0365-1.jpg 
Views:	9132 
Size:	33.7 KB 
ID:	24097

    Then, get all your tools ready. I used an extra jack to hold up the lower control arm, but it's probably not required.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0368.jpg 
Views:	9243 
Size:	94.8 KB 
ID:	24098

    Soak the all the bolts well with some aerokroil for a little bit to help make things easier. Also, take note of where the cam bolts are so when you reassembly things you can get them close. Might even help to scratch some lines in the washers and mounts that you can line up later (though in my case these wouldn't have helped because I de-rusted the washers before reinstalling them).
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0370-1.jpg 
Views:	9238 
Size:	36.8 KB 
ID:	24099

    After getting the upper control arm nuts off (leave the bolts in), remove the cotter pin (easier said than done.. in my case, I had to drill both of mine out), and then use the modified socket to remove the ball joint nut. I had to use a big cheater bar for this nut.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0366-1.jpg 
Views:	9106 
Size:	46.1 KB 
ID:	24100

    Now, the fun part! Unbolt the brake line clamp and move it out of the way so you can get the pickle in and hammer away.. Mine was really in there pretty good..

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0374-1.jpg 
Views:	9105 
Size:	37.4 KB 
ID:	24101


  2. #2
    Jr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Hudson, MA


    Next up, is to remove the ball joint. On my truck, 1 of the 4 locations used a bolt and nut that was presumably part of the brake line fixturing. Remove that with a couple of wrenches.

    Next we need to drill out the rivets pinning the original ball joint to the control arm.

    First, use a center punch and center punch the rivet heads. You want to try to get these as centered as possible...
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0376-1.jpg 
Views:	8961 
Size:	46.1 KB 
ID:	24102

    Then, starting wih a small drill bit at first (~3/6"), drill about 1/2" into the rivet
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0377-1.jpg 
Views:	8838 
Size:	48.8 KB 
ID:	24103

    Then using a drill bit that matches the diameter of the hole that is in the control arm from where you removed the bolt, enlarge the holes to full size.

    After that, you may need to use a cold chisel to knock the heads off the rivets.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0378-1.jpg 
Views:	8925 
Size:	42.1 KB 
ID:	24104

    Now, with a bit of pounding using the cold chisel and a 4lb sledge, you should be able to get the ball joint off the control arm.

    Then remove the upper control arm bolts and rip that sucker out of the truck. NOTE: on my truck, on the passenger side forward bolt, I had to turn the cam bolt to move the bolt all the way to its *inside* position so that it could clear the shock. I was able to get it out without removing the shock.

    After they're out of the truck, it's time to remove the bushings.. I didn't want to go through the hassle of machining special press plates to let me use the press to remove the bushings, so I just used my bandsaw, a drill bit, some big channel locks and the chisel hammer.. After I learned the nack on the first bushing, the rest only took me about 5 minutes each..

    First, use a bandsaw or reciprocating saw (or manual hack saw) to cut into the metal sleeve on each side of the control arm. You want to try to cut through the metal sleeve all the way around the bushing. The further you can get into the rubber, the easier it will come out later, but the saw blades really don't like it too much. Note that there is a hardened center sleeve that you most likely won't be able to cut through.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0379-1.jpg 
Views:	8833 
Size:	44.7 KB 
ID:	24105

    Here you can see the groove all the way around.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0380-1.jpg 
Views:	8938 
Size:	90.6 KB 
ID:	24106

    Now, using the channel locks to twist and turn, and the chisel and sledge when necessary, wrench the outer sleeve and rubber off of the center sleeve on each side of the control arm.


  3. #3
    Jr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Hudson, MA


    Here is a picture of me using the chisel to know the end caps off. I found out on the 2nd one, that using large channel locks and turning was much more efficient.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0385-1.jpg 
Views:	8830 
Size:	40.5 KB 
ID:	24111

    After the outer sleeve is cleared off (at least on the inside) I used a drill to drill out the rubber in the center.. this made quick work of removing the heart of the bushing:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0381-1.jpg 
Views:	8809 
Size:	39.7 KB 
ID:	24107

    A little twisting and turning after drilling, and the rest pops out:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0382.jpg 
Views:	8782 
Size:	91.0 KB 
ID:	24108

    Then, thread in a hacksaw into the hole and just cut the sleeve just through:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0383-1.jpg 
Views:	8715 
Size:	35.8 KB 
ID:	24109

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG0384-1.jpg 
Views:	8730 
Size:	49.5 KB 
ID:	24110
    After cutting through the bushing, the sleeve will pop out pretty easier with the chisel.


  4. #4
    Jr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Hudson, MA


    Next up is pressing in the new bushings..

    I spent a good amount of time cleaning out the rust and ID of the control arms and deburred both sides.. this is probably not necessary. I also applied a light film of grease to both the control arm and the bushing to make the pressing go easier.

    Make sure that the top is well supported so you don't deform the end cap while you press it in.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2011-01-02 23.27.50.jpg 
Views:	9076 
Size:	84.8 KB 
ID:	24112

    Now, you have the control arm all set with the bushings.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2011-01-02 23.31.21.jpg 
Views:	9033 
Size:	97.0 KB 
ID:	24113

    I ran out of picture space... but the rest is pretty straight forward:
    - Bolt on the new ball joint and torque appropriately
    - Reinstall the assembly in the truck and torque everything appropriately.
    - Take it to the alignment shop and get her aligned!

    Make sure to install the cotter pin and grease fitting in your ball joint and grease it up.

    For what its worth, I spent a bit of time really cleaning up the cam bolts and washers in my setup so that they would continue to work correctly in the future and not seize up. I applied a light film of antiseize to the washers (not the bolt threads!) to help out as well.

    In my truck, the adjustment slots were already knocked out, but obviously, this is a really good time to do this if it hasn't been done yet in your truck.

    Last edited by srracer; 01-12-2011 at 01:20 PM.

  5. #5


    Great write up! This should be stickied ASAP.
    04 ECSB Custom silver & grey, Soft 8's, BFG KO's, ReadyLift Leveling Kit, Hellwig front sway bar, K&N filter, DeeZee EZ-Down, Rhino liner, Alpine CDE103BT, Rockford 6.5's, 12" V.A.T. Hammer Pro in a Subthump box, Alpine PowerPack amp, Hifonics amp, BackRack w/ 55w 5000k HID KC Daylighters, KC light bar with 4 KC Slimlites, UWS toolbox, Shaved Antenna mod, Black Bowtie, LED backup, license plate, dome lights & 3rd brake light

  6. #6
    Legend Bigbomber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010


    That was awesome,thanks!
    [/SIGPIC]2009 Chevy Silverado LT 1500 EXT CAB 4X4 Vortec 4.8L SFI,K&N air filter,Weathertech Floor Liners ,Weathertech Stone/Bug Deflector, Line X Spray On Bedliner, TruXport Rollup Tonneau Cover, Molded Mudguards, Viper 5701 LE 2 way Security Alarm/Remote Starter, Xm Satelite Radio,BILSTEIN 5100 rear shocks,BILSTEIN 5100 front levelling shocks,READYLIFT 2" rear lift blocks,Goodyear Wrangler Territorys -265/70R 17"

  7. #7
    stephan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Far West, Oregon USA,
    Blog Entries


    That's a good write up SR. Looks like your shop is outfitted pretty nice.
    1988 Chevy C-3500 2wd (no pic)
    350 c.i. 5.7 L Stock Block, 4 Bolt Mains
    L-31 Vortec Heads, Edelbrock Cam & Intake,
    Holley 650, Flowtech Headers, Magnaflow exh.
    Jet Trans 700R4, B&M Ratchet, 4:10 gears,
    3" susp. lift kit "shadetree"
    No rev limiter, No speed limiter lol

  8. #8


    Moved to Write-Ups. Good job! Just out of curiosity, why did you have to mill the socket down? And in what way did you mill it? It looks like you made it shallower maybe?

    1991 Chevy Suburban 1/2 ton 2WD w/ chevy SBC 350-3/4 ton drivetrain upgrade w/4.10 gears 200K miles
    2005 Saturn ION-2 Stock 265K miles
    1982 Bronco, 1993 Bronco (sold), 1971 M35A2 Deuce and a Half

    There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary, and those who dont...

    Remember kids, the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down- Adam Savage

  9. #9
    Jr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Hudson, MA


    The shortest 27mm socket I could buy was still too tall to fit between the CV boot and the nut even with the thinnest 1/2" socket wrench I owned, so I had to cut it shallower.

    Unfortunately, even my carbide bits weren't good enough to cut into the chromed steel of the socket, so I used my lathe to turn the socket and then hand held a dremel with a cutoff wheel to trim it down.

    If you could find a 27mm closed end wrench, you may do just as well, but for me the socket was easier to buy ($6 at autozone) and then modify.


  10. #10


    im concerned about the lower controll arms with the torion bar plugged into them....
    Gas was $1.83 when Obama took office.....

Similar Threads

  1. Replacing Ball Joints, DIY?
    By KonaBurb in forum Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)
    Replies: 7
    Last: 12-04-2011, 06:18 PM
  2. Ball joints
    By Drifter in forum Lifted & Offroad Suspension
    Replies: 0
    Last: 10-07-2008, 04:55 PM
  3. Ball Joints
    By cao88c in forum Lifted & Offroad Suspension
    Replies: 3
    Last: 05-21-2008, 12:41 AM
  4. upper control arm bushings [Expired Topic]
    By gmcjohnny in forum Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)
    Replies: 8
    Last: 01-19-2007, 10:40 AM
  5. ball joints [Expired Topic]
    By MrShorty in forum Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)
    Replies: 1
    Last: 01-21-2006, 04:46 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts