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2006 STS4 4.6L
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Discussion Starter #1
In the middle of replacing my lower (and upper) control arms. AllData says to unbolt and raise the Power Steering gear to make room for removal of the rear bolts on the lower control arms, is this entirely necessary? Any idea what size those bolts are? Someone on the CTS forum said theirs were 18mm but it's far too tight a fit against the drive shaft for me to fit a socket on to verify so I'll have to go pick up some different wrenches, looking for verification before I do so.
 

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05 Stealth Gray CTS-V, 08 Light Platinum SRX V8, 05 White Diamond STS4 V8 1SG
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I visually inspected a while back because this job is on my list of things to do someday. It looked like I might be able to turn the wheel to lock to remove the rear bolts on the front LCAs. It may just clear the boot on the rack. If not, it also looks like if you popped the tie rod out, you could flop it around for the bolt to clear. What do you think about that idea? That was based on the driver's side. Not sure about passenger side.

And yes the FSM also says to raise the rack. Not real interested in that.
 

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2006 STS4 4.6L
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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah I unbolted the tie rod end, it's a pretty tight fit between the steering gear and the bolt no matter how it goes but I might be able to slide it out. It's pretty moronical that they didn't just put the bolt in the other direction and save the hard work.
 

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08 STS 1SG HUD ACC F55 AWD, 08 STS 1SG Platinum HUD ACC F55 RWD
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If I remember correctly, I loosened the 2 bolts that hold the rack in place and moved the rack up with screwdrivers or a wrench. Easy to do IF you are on a lift. Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If I remember correctly, I loosened the 2 bolts that hold the rack in place and moved the rack up with screwdrivers or a wrench. Easy to do IF you are on a lift. Good Luck
Any idea what size those bolts are?
 

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2009 STS 1SG, 2013 SRX
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Any idea what size those bolts are?
18mm sounds right.

I could not fit a socket on these bolts when I did this back in the day. I had to use a wrench with another wrench as leverage, moving it about 1/16th of an inch at a time. It was terrible.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Yes it is 18mm, the other bolts on the lower control arm are 21mm, a deep socket will be required for at least one of them. I didn't have too hard a time on the steering gear bolts, honestly. I got a ratcheting 6 point with an open end wrench combo. The right side is way more difficult than the left, and the bolt doesn't come all the way out (doesn't need to), but all in all it's not too bad. The most difficult time I'm having is with the upper control arm to steering knuckle nut, you have to use a hex key on the stud while wrenching the nut, but of course that hardly ever works and so I'm considering just going at it with a sawzall and/or dremel LoL (worst case scenario). Decided to replace the upper control arms as well so that's why I'm talking about those.
 

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2006 STS4 4.6L
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Discussion Starter #10
Figured I would give an update, the right side suspension is pretty much entirely taken apart. I ended up cutting off the stud connecting the upper control arm to the steering knuckle, everything else I had tried did not work.
The bushings for the upper control arm appear to be totally fine, no noticeable cracking or anything so in hindsight I may have left it alone. Now that I have some new ones on the way I'm considering replacing the bushings with poly bushings, but seeing as the old ones still look good after about 140k miles I may not even mess with the new ones.
Where the strut yoke connects to the lower control arm you will more than likely have to use a pickle fork or something of that nature. Once I had taken the yoke off and separated the lower control arm from the vehicle, I used a pickle fork to separate the two. It would be pretty awkward to safely go at it with the pickle fork while still on the vehicle. A pickle fork will also more than likely be needed where the lower control arm (ball joint) attaches to the bottom of the steering knuckle.
Going to see how much of a nightmare this other upper control arm stud is, in a few minutes.
 

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05 Stealth Gray CTS-V, 08 Light Platinum SRX V8, 05 White Diamond STS4 V8 1SG
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So you had to raise the rack? There was no other way to get those rear bolts out of the LCAs?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So you had to raise the rack? There was no other way to get those rear bolts out of the LCAs?
Correct, but to be honest it's really not a big deal. I used an 18mm flex head 6 point/open end wrench combo and it was pretty cake. The right side is a little more awkward and will definitely require the open end wrench as it is a tighter space; the left side definitely needs to be lifted more than the right side but the bolt comes all the way out so it's no big deal. Use a pry bar to lift the rack.

On another note, the left side upper control arm to steering knuckle nut came off just fine. Put a bit of liquid wrench on it for a few minutes beforehand. On the stud you use a 5mm hex key to hold it in place as you remove with nut with an 18mm open wrench (used the same aforementioned 18mm wrench). I ended up fully cutting off the right side upper control arm stud/nut with a dremel, maybe if I were a little more mindful of the procedure before I got into it on that one it would have came off more easily (strong maybe).
 

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When I did my uppers I removed the whole upper mount and shock, and replaced the uppers on the floor. My experience w/ pictures is here: 05 STS front end clunk - Repair-It

Sounds like I need to get some larger sizes of ratcheting wrench for my tool collection.

Speaking of tools, did you use anything special for the lower ball joint?

I'm also trying to gauge whether I should attempt to add engine mounts to this job since some interfering stuff may be out of the way...thoughts on that?
 

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2006 STS4 4.6L
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Discussion Starter #14
@kevm14 You used Mevotech upper control arms? How have those treated you? I ordered mine from Detroit Axle or some such, I'll see how those are. Worst case scenario they don't last long and I'll pull them and replace the bushings with the poly bushings I was looking at and have someone machine a new ball joint in there or whatever.

I used a pickle fork for the lower ball joint, made it pretty easy. Used a pickle fork for the strut yoke-control arm part also (highly recommended).

Not sure on the engine mount idea, I've heard that is an extensive job and may consider letting a shop do that one with some poly mounts.
 

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They've been fine. I bought into the PR that said they are improved over OEM and stuff like that. I may go with them for lowers, too. Not decided yet. I did my uppers because of ball joint wear. Torqued them off the car by positioning as the originals were on the shock mount and then reinstalling the whole thing.

On the mounts, I thought if I was already moving the steering rack around, that may be a plus (or maybe that's not an interfering item), plus I've heard with the lower control arm removed, maybe just the front axles interfere with access to the mounts (or mount plates/adapters). I'll have to study it more closely I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I've heard mixed reviews, so I decided not to mess with them, but I believe those blue boots on their ball joints are polyurethane so that's cool (could be wrong though).
 

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Used a pickle fork for the strut yoke-control arm part also (highly recommended).
Not that it matters if it came off but a jaw puller is the proper tool for the lower part of the yoke. There is a lip on the back part of it for the jaw to grab against. Set it up just right and it pops off after a good amount of tension.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Finished the project last night at about 12, had to wait until I got the new upper control arms to come in. Also knocked out a couple other extra things (fog light bulbs, replaced the side marker lights for the led's). It looks like the suspension is mildly adjustable (using the term lightly), you can tighten the bolts on the upper control arms with them sitting higher and basically have it seemingly hold more of the weight (I imagine this will only work until the suspension really totally settles). The suspension definitely feels much tighter, I had previously already upgraded the front sway bar to the V bar with poly bushings so maybe that helps it feel even more noticeably better. Now I will look at replacing the rear sway bar bushings for poly bushings, and I'll also look at those control arms to see how the bushings look and potentially replace them with poly bushings, time permitting. I'm also going to look at adding a strut tower brace.
I'll be keeping the old upper and lower control arms from the fronts to have the bushings replaced with poly bushings and I'll replace the ball joints with the ACDelco professional ones (this will be for when I inevitably have to replace the control arms again in another 100k+ miles hopefully).
My next project will more than likely be the rear diff bushing.
If anyone would like a write up of the control arm(s) replacement let me know, I know Kev has a solid write up of the uppers on his other site though.
 

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I don't see any adjustability in the uppers. In fact I didn't even get an alignment after. The lowers have significant adjustability however, as you know.

I have considered tracking down a front STB. What fits? I'm all for a tight chassis...if you know what I mean.
 
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