How to Rebuild the Entire Front Suspension in your Car or Truck


Hey guys ChrisFix here and today i’m
gonna show you how to replace your entire front suspension! Everything in
the front wheel well is gonna be replaced, I’m talking about everything! We
have lower control arms, all the bushings the axle, the strut, any boots, we have the
hub, the bearing, all the ball joints, the inner and outer tie rod, and the upper
control arm… literally everything from the wheel inwards is gonna get replaced.
I already started on the other side let me give you an idea what I’m talking
about so here are all the old components and here’s what its gonna look like.
There is nothing left in here it’s all gonna be brand new and the reason why
we’re doing this is because all these components have two hundred thousand
miles on them. They’re old they’re rusty they’re worn out and they have to be
replaced let me show you what I mean. Driving this car is supposed to be a lot
of fun but it isn’t it’s scary, you could feel all the play in the suspension, the
steering is not accurate it’s vague, it wanders all over the road, everything
feels all loose and worn out you could just tell that it’s no good. Now you saw
how bad it drove, well the next thing you’d want to look for is your tire wear.
You can see here the outside edge of the tire is worn out which is due to
excessive camber, this is positive camber if you see the inside wearing out that’s
negative camber, but this wear could be due to a bad alignment, it’s just a
signal to check out the suspension to make sure it’s okay,
and to check the suspension what you want to do is you want to grab a pry bar
and we’re gonna go in here and pry at the front suspension. You want to pry
around the bushings and make sure they’re not worn out there shouldn’t be
much play… It will deflect a little bit, but this is way too much! I’m not even
pulling hard on the pry bar and you can see the whole upper control arm is
moving around and that’s why the suspension on this car feels so horrible.
Now that’s just me and a pry bar, imagine the entire weight of the car on the
suspension, there’s gonna be a lot more play than that, so all the bushings are
bad all the ball joints are bad, the bearing is bad, basically all the
suspension components are bad and need to get replaced so I’m going to replace
them all and the good thing is you guys are going to learn how to replace and
rebuild your entire front suspension and we’re gonna be doing this at home on
jack stands using common hand tools! Now as always I like to start off by putting
on some eye protection and all you’re gonna need tool wise is a breaker bar,
some wrenches, ratchets, and a socket set a pry bar a torque wrench, some pliers, and
snap ring pliers, screwdrivers and a hammer. Now I do have an electric
impact gun here just to show you guys that this is a very very useful tool it
makes your job so much quicker and easier, now I do understand that not
everybody has one but if you’re gonna be working on cars, definitely consider
investing in one since not everybody has one I’m gonna stick to using common hand
tools but I will link all the tools here in the description so you could easily
find them… Now there are some more specialized tools that you’re going to
need because we’re gonna be pressing out a bearing and ball joints so we have a
ball joint press, we have a slide hammer, and we have a bearing press. Now since
most people don’t own these more specialized tools, you can rent them from
your local parts store for free and for whatever reason if you can’t find these
tools for free, when we get to the point where we remove the knuckle, you could
take this to your local shop have them press out the old ball joint and the
bearing, and press in a new ball joint and bearing, it’s not going to cost a lot
then you could come back to your house and continue replacing the rest of your
parts. Speaking about parts, it’s very important that you install good parts
into your car, you don’t want to install junk and then they go bad and you don’t
have a good ride, install quality parts so you want to make sure your parts meet
or exceed OEM spec, it’s a good idea to make sure your parts have all the
included fasteners in hardware, you don’t want to reuse old rusted fasteners that
are bent, in order to do the job a hundred percent you want to make sure
you have new fasteners, and I do want to thank Mevotech for supporting the
video and sending me out a bunch of suspension components so I could show
you guys how to do this, and with that we are ready to start removing the front
suspension. Now of course, before you begin any work you want to make sure
your car safely jacked up and on jack stands, another thing I like to do is I
like to get the tire and slide it underneath just as an extra level of
protection so the car can’t completely drop in a worst-case scenario The next
thing I like to do, since all the suspension bolts have been on here for a
really long time, they’re all rusty, I like to get some penetrating fluid and
just spray down all the suspension bolts I’ve already done this over the past
couple of days because I knew I was going to do this job, the penetrating
fluid is going to help loosen up the rusted nuts and bolts, it’s gonna
penetrate deep into the threads and lubricate it so it makes it easier to
remove all these fasteners, so with every nut and bolt sprayed down with
penetrating fluid, the first thing we want to remove is the axle nut and this
axle nut has a little indentation here that we have to straighten out before we
can remove it so get a little punch and a hammer and just push the rim of the
axle nut out of this indentation… beautiful now
the idea is that little indented part is stuck inside the axle so the axle nut
can’t come out by mistake so when we install our new axle nut at the end
we’re gonna do the same thing we’re gonna indent the rim into the axle all
right so now we can remove the axle nut but the problem is if we try to loosen
it the axle is just gonna spin so normally what I’d like to do is I like
to put the wheel back on the car and then lower the car down to the ground so
that doesn’t spin but I already did the other side and there’s no suspension
there so another way to prevent the wheel from spinning is to stick a
screwdriver into the cooling vanes on the brake rotor or have someone in the
car press the brakes and that’ll hold the axle in place so you could break the
axle nut loose you’ll definitely have to use a long breaker bar to get enough
leverage to do this because axle nuts are on there tight also don’t hurt your
back doing this bend from the knees and not from your back with the nut loose
now we can remove it the rest of the way by hand good and that’s all there is to
it and notice how the penetrating fluid soaked into the threads a little bit
which made it easier to remove next we can remove the brake caliper there’s two
bolts behind here in order to make it easier to remove just turn the steering
wheel to give you better access to those bolts and you can see we have more room
to remove the top caliper bolt and the bottom bolt just loosen that the rest of
the way by hand and now the brake caliper is loose but before we remove it
we want to follow the brake line and remove any fasteners holding the brake
line to the knuckle like here and here so let’s remove the first ten millimeter
fastener holding the brake line in good and then the second 10 millimeter
fastener which is back here good and with the brake line free we could remove
the caliper so slide a bucket or a block of wood under the wheel well that way we
could remove the caliper and place it on a piece of wood so there’s no pressure
on the brake line finally we could get the brake rotor off and that’s
definitely going to need some hammering only hit it like this if you’re gonna
replace it perfect and with the rotor loose let’s remove it all right so with
the brakes out of the way now we could remove the hub the hub is what the wheel
bolts to so in order to remove this we want to make sure we don’t remove any
other suspension parts because we need the suspension to hold the knuckle in as
we pull the hub out to pull the hub out we’re gonna be using our slide hammer so
let’s grab the hub adapter and fit it in place and it figures because this Honda
has such a small hub the studs aren’t fitting in the slots
here I could get one in but I can’t get the other so I have a quick solution
gonna thread on some lug nuts and then hammer the studs so i bend them apart
since i’m replacing this hub I don’t care if these studs Bend and look at
that perfect now thread on lug nuts to hold the slide hammer adapter in place
then we can grab the slide hammer thread it onto the adapter and let’s remove
this hub so what you do is slide the weight fast to knock the hub outwards
you’re probably gonna have to do this a bunch of times especially if the hub is
original and in this case over 25 years old and this is putting up a bigger
fight than I thought I’m not so sure this is gonna remove the hub and
unfortunately sometimes that happens when you work on cars your plan doesn’t
work it would have made it so much easier just to pull this right out how
this works is here’s what the hub looks like it’s nice and smooth this fits into
the bearing and the slide hammer pulls it right out in this case it’s so rusty
and old it’s not coming out easily but it’s not a huge deal we’re just gonna
have to knock out that hub when we remove the entire knuckle all right so
the next thing to do is to remove the knuckle that holds the bearing in so the
knuckle is held in by the upper ball joint there by the tie rod ball joint
right here and by the lower ball joint under here we remove those three ball
joints and the entire knuckle will come out so let’s start with the upper ball
joint so this is a castle nut and usually castle nuts have a cotter pin
that goes through them and it’s bent around the castle nut but I think the
cotter pin was so rusted it just fell apart so let’s see if we could break
this nut loose beautiful and then loosen it up the rest of the way now we’re
gonna take the same castle nut flip it upside down and screw it back on to the
stud this is actually a really helpful trick screw the castle nut in until the
base of the nut is flush with the stud perfect then hammer that upwards to pop
the stud out of the knuckle and usually with the ball joint loose you can’t
unscrew the nut because the stud just spins like you’re seeing here so get all
locking pliers and clamp down onto the stud now the stud is held in place and
we can remove the nut just like that so with the upper ball joint completely
removed now let’s move on to the lower ball joint down here and with this lower
ball joint you can see now we have a cotter pin so what we’re gonna do is
we’re gonna open up that cotter pin this is gonna be really simple and grab on to
it and pull it right out just like that next we could break this nut loose
and remove it the rest of the way and just like before flip it over and
reinstall it so it’s flush with the stud now let’s hammer it out unfortunately
again things are not working as planned and this ball joint stud isn’t popping
out so I’m gonna remove this nut I don’t want to get the nut stuck on here and
then it makes a bigger problem and you can see the nut was already starting to
get deformed that means we’re hitting this so hard
it’s not working so this gives me the opportunity to show you a specialized
tool designed exactly for popping out ball joint studs all you need to do is
place the tool over the control arm and slide it under the ball joint stud and
tighten it down so it presses against the stud now you just tighten this until
it pops this is part of a ball joint puller set that could be rented for free
from many parts stores so this is another option I wanted to show you boom
that is all there is to it now we can remove the tool and the ball joint is
free from the knuckle and finally the last thing to remove to get the knuckle
out is the tie rod end so let’s bend the cutter pin open and it’s okay to break
the cotter pin because we do need to replace this anyway a lot of times it
makes it easier to remove like this then break the nut loose and unscrew it the
rest of the way again flipping the castle nut over and then hitting the nut
and stud with a hammer to pop it out then remove the nut and the tie rod can
be removed and the knuckle is finally free so now that the entire knuckle is
removed we can remove the ball joint and bearing and that hub that we couldn’t
get off before but before we do that let’s finish removing the rest of the
suspension and we might as well continue by working on the inner and outer tie
rod we’re gonna keep this as one assembly we’re just gonna disconnect
this right here from the steering rack and the reason why we want to keep this
connect is because we’ll be able to get a measurement from here to here and when
we install the new inner and outer tie rod we can use that same exact
measurement to give us a pretty accurate alignment so to remove this tie rod
we’re gonna need two wrenches and we need access to the inner tie rod ball
joint right here so slip one wrench on to the steering rack to hold it in place
and use the other wrench to loosen the inner tie rod with that loose now we can
loosen it the rest of the way by hand good and notice there’s a lock washer at
the end here I’ll show you how to install this on the new tie rod so the
tie rod doesn’t come loose while you drive and finally remove that old broken
boot alright so next let’s go and remove the
right the strut comes down and goes into this metal bracket here right here there
is a pinch bolt holding this in we want to remove that first before we remove
any fasteners so let’s go get that loose there we go now it’s loosening up and
let’s remove this bolt the rest of the way by hand beautiful and that’s gonna
make it so much easier to separate the strut from the metal bracket down here
so the next thing we need to do is remove this bolt holding the strut into
the lower control arm so get a wrench on one side holding the bolt in place as we
unscrew the nut with the ratchet then we can remove the nut all the way and
lightly tap the bolt out with the hammer and with that bolt removed the only
thing holding the strut in are two fasteners right on top of the strut
tower so let’s loosen up the first 14 millimeter nut and remove it the rest of
the way and let’s remove the other nut as well and once that’s off we could
push the strut down and have to push it somewhere to clear the control arm
wiggle it a little up and the strut Forks separated from the strut so that’s
one last step okay and that gives us room to remove the axle so now we just
need to follow the axle all the way to the transmission so we’re coming in from
the outside going under the car and the axle goes right into the transmission
right here now you just want to grab a pry bar slide it between the axle and
the transmission and just pop it out perfect now before you remove the axle
completely get something to catch the leaking transmission fluid because when
you remove the axle some fluid might come out and in this case it looks like
nothing’s leaking which is nice so there’s no mess and we don’t have to
refill it later on so now with the axle free we can remove it completely from
the car and we’re so close to being done with the disassembly all that’s left is
the lower control arm here and the upper control arm there so let’s get that
upper control arm out this is so easy to do it’s held in by two fasteners so
let’s start with breaking this nut free right here and loosen it the rest of the
way by hand now let’s get that other nut removed completely as well good so with
both of these nuts removed now we could go back under the car and this control
arm should come right out like that beautiful so now with that done we have
one more thing we need to do and that is remove this lower control arm there is a
bolt right here and there’s a couple of bolts back here holding in a bushing so
let’s go remove those bolts first and there are three bolts that we need to
remove that hold the control arm bushing in place so let’s break the first one
loose and that was a lot easier to break loose than I thought given how rusty all
this is next we can remove the second bolt and
finally we could finish off with removing that last bolt so with this end
completely loose now we have one more bolt we need to remove and that is right
here so let’s break this final 17 millimeter bolt free and unscrew it the
rest of the way by hand and then we could wiggle the control arm right out
of here alright so with this control arm removed
we have officially removed everything in this wheel well and it wasn’t that
difficult it’s really that simple in most cases all the fasteners came off
pretty easily if they were hard to remove you just use a breaker bar make
sure you spray everything down with penetrating fluid and it’s that simple
it’s just a bunch of nuts and bolts so out with all the old suspension parts
and in with all the brand new ones I cannot wait to get these installed it’s
gonna make a huge difference from these old rusted parts to the brand-new parts
now what we need to do is we need to get our knuckle and remove the hub bearing
and ball joint I’ll show you how to do that
off the car and since we have everything removed how I’m gonna clean up
everything in here I’m gonna hose it down and I’m gonna put a fresh coat of
paint so we don’t get any rust it’s important to clean the wheel well before
you paint to remove all the dirt oils and grease which will prevent the paint
from sticking I’m gonna remove the fender liner for some more access and
let’s spray down the wheel well with some soapy water which will act as our
degreaser then grab a brush and brush everything down this is gonna agitate
all the dirt and make it easier to remove look at all that dirt just
getting washed away so let’s finish up with a final rinse and finally I’m gonna
set up a fan right here to dry this off faster so as we let that dry that gives
us the perfect opportunity to work on our knuckle so we’re gonna go from this
to this this is the passenger side I already did it already replaced
everything it looks great now I did say at the beginning of the video if you
can’t get the specialized tools for rent or if you just don’t want to tackle this
part of the job you can take your knuckle to a shop they will press out
all the old parts so they’ll press out the hub the bearing the ball joint and
the press in the new parts for you sure it’s gonna cost you a little bit extra
but it might not be a bad option if you want now of course I’m gonna show you
right now how to remove everything and replace everything so let’s get started
the first thing we need to do is get this old stubborn hub out now you saw
before slide hammer was not working at all it’s just so rust welded in there
we’re gonna need something with a lot more force now we don’t have any fancy
presses or anything here so we’re going to be you
good old hammer and let me show you how so grab your knuckle and this hub is
gonna come out this way so we’re gonna set this up in the vise so this outside
ring right here is the bearing this inside ring is the hub just so you get a
better idea you can see this inside ring right here is the hub we’re gonna go get
a sock and place it right there so we could push the hub only and leave the
bearing in place so get a socket that fits right on the hub and let’s hammer
this hub out you’re probably gonna have to use some pretty good force to get
this out considering the slot hammock didn’t work for it beautiful and you can
see how much better this work compared to using that slide hammer this worked a
lot quicker and was a lot easier to get it out and now let’s get the bearing out
so the bearing is held in with a snap ring and this is what prevents the
bearing from coming out and the trick with removing old rusty snap rings is to
soak them in penetrating fluid to loosen them up now we could grab our snap ring
pliers squeeze them good and that’s not budging so when your snap ring pliers
just aren’t strong enough to move that snap ring because the snap ring is so
rust welded in here a little trick is to get a punching hammer and get that punch
in one of the snap ring holes and tap the punch to break the snap ring free
from the rust do this to the other side of the snap ring as well and hammer
around the flat part of the snap ring again to break that snap ring free from
all that rust that’s gripping tight onto it now we could go back in there and
give that snap ring pliers a good squeeze and that’s working a lot better
than before but it’s still stuck so grab a flathead screwdriver
and work your way around the snap ring to loosen it up and there we go now
since we removed our snap ring from this side of the bearing that means the
bearing is going to come out this way because the snap ring was preventing it
from coming out so let’s flip over the knuckles so we can knock this bearing
out then we’re gonna get our bearing crest kit and we want to grab a bearing
adapter that we think will fit right on the outside of the bearing so this right
here is the correct adapter you can see the outside edge of the bearing we want
this to fit right on the outside edge like that there’s a little bit of space
around the whole thing where this will allow us to push that bearing out but it
won’t get caught up if you use something too small like this you’re gonna only
push on this race right here and the bearings gonna get damaged you’re just
gonna pop that inside race out and if you use something too big like this
you’re not even going to be hammering the bearing you’re gonna be hammering
onto the knuckle and that’s not going to move the bearing so you want to
on the right size that fits right in there and now we’re gonna just hammer
this out for the bearing you’re gonna need a decent amount of force to knock
this out just be careful not to hit the knuckle which could damage it I like to
use some penetrating fluid to both loosen up the rust and to lubricate the
bearings so it comes out easier and you won’t damage the knuckle as its
four-step and we’re almost there you can see that bearings about to pop out
beautiful and there you go that is how you remove an old wheel bearing there’s
nothing to it and this one was pretty stuck in there yet we still managed to
pop it out with just a hammer next it’s important to use a pic or a
thin flat head screwdriver and clean out the channel the snap ring sits in get
all that rust out that’s gonna prevent the new snap ring from seating properly
into that channel this is important because this is what prevents your
bearing from coming out so let’s wipe all the loose rust away
and see how that snap ring fits perfect that snap ring is all the way into the
channel and that’s exactly what we want to see next let’s remove this old rusty
break dust shield I need to try to unscrew these three screws there
Phillips heads but I could tell this is gonna be hopeless and it is just
stripping that screw away I’ll have to try the other screw just in case and as
you can see the rust is just too much but don’t worry I have a super simple
trick and that’s using a saw what we want to do is saw a slot into the screw
essentially turning it into a flathead screw instead of a Phillips then we
could use a larger flathead screwdriver and that’s what I’m talking about that
gave us enough leverage to break that screw free so we turned something that
was going to be a real pain to remove into something that wasn’t difficult at
all you can’t beat that now we can apply the same method to the other two screws
good that’s the second one free and again saw a slot and good that’s the
third one free finally with all the rusted screws removed we could remove
the dust shield now let’s remove the old worn out lower ball joint so we’ll start
by removing the snap ring use that snap ring pliers to spread that snap ring
apart and remove it from the ball joint it’s also helpful to remove the rubber
boot so let’s do that as well so with the snap ring removed now we could
hammer out the ball joint and just like the bearing we’re gonna have to hammer
it out on the shoulder of the ball joint so find the right size socket that’s
gonna fit on the shoulder just like that then use penetrating fluid that help
lubricate the ball joint for easier removal and just hammer the ball joint
out notice I’m using a black impact socket which could take the abuse of
hammering and that’s all there is to it so with
that old hub the bearing and ball joint removed from the knuckle now we want to
prepare the knuckle to install the new hub bearing and ball joint what you want
to do is you want to look on the inside of the barrel here with the bearing sits
and make sure there’s no pieces of metal that are sticking out any burrs or
anything from hitting that bearing out that could cause issues when you push
the new bearing in in this case this looks nice and smooth same thing with
our ball joint here if you did have any burrs on the edge what you could do is
you get a file and just file those burrs down so when you push the new bearing or
ball joint in it won’t damage it since this is good all you want to do is get
some 400 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the surfaces with a ball joint and
bearing slide into the idea is to get them rust free smooth and clean and just
give the ball joint and bearing a fresh surface to press into beautiful so you
see how nice and smooth and clean that surface is it’s rust free that’s exactly
what we want to see in the bearing spot and in the ball joint spot now for
everybody who knows me this is not going to be going back in looking like this
we’ll be painting the knuckles so I taped off where the bearing and ball
joints slide into next use a metal wire brush to remove all the loose dirt and
rust from the knuckle it doesn’t have to be a hundred percent rust free because
we’re gonna be using paint that bonds to the rust but we definitely need to make
sure the loose rust is removed good and that’s what we want it to look like so
not only am I going to paint the knuckle but I’m gonna paint the strut fork end
I’m gonna paint the entire chassis over here in the wheel well I did move the
bumper off to the sides just a couple of Clips so let’s get started so with the
clean and dry surface I’m starting off with a special silver colored paint that
bonds to the rust and it seals the metal surface so no new rust could form after
that dries I’m going over it with a special thick black paint that adds a
second barrier against rock chips break dust oil and grease it’s also going to
make this wheel well look really nice I’m gonna follow the same exact steps
for the knuckle and strut fork paint on the silver colored paint and after that
dries paint on the thick black paint all right with those parts painted and with
our wheel well and chassis painted look at that not only does that look good but
that paint barrier is gonna prevent rust so now all we need to do is let it dry
and 24 hours later our paint is completely dry so we’re ready to install
our brand-new ball joint and bearing so for this video we’ve already covered a
lot of information we dis the entire front worn out suspension
from control arms to tie rods the axle the strut ball joints and bearings and
hubs and even the brakes we removed it all so we went from this old worn-out
suspension to this completely gutted wheel well with fresh paint so with all
these old parts removed in the next video I’m gonna show you how to install
your entire front suspension including pressing in the new ball joint bearing
and hub that way everything’s gonna be brand new in our front suspension we’ll
get her aligned and see how she drives so I’m gonna make it really simple for
you guys to find that video so you can see how to install all the suspension
parts I’ll post a link in the description and I’m also gonna have a
link right here on the screen just click the screen right there and that’ll take
you to the next video I’m putting the suspension together hopefully this video
was helpful if it was remember to give it a thumbs up also if you’re not a
subscriber consider subscribing and hitting that notification bell for more
videos just like this and finally all the tools and products I used in this
video are linked in the description so you could easily find them

About the Author: Michael Flood

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