DIY: How to Replace the Lower Control Arms in a Saab

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If you have a Saab and the handling performance of the car is beginning to lose its preciseness, you may need to replace your lower control arms. The control arms are what attach the strut tower to the steering mechanism and allow the vehicle to be directed by the driver. Changing the lower control arms on a Saab is not difficult, and most home mechanics can easily accomplish this task in their garages.

Set up the Car

  • Set the car up for the control-arm removal process. Back it up on wheel ramps for the rear tires and then jack the front of the car up and place it on jack stands. Leave the jack underneath the frame just in case the car starts to fall. Use a lug wrench to remove the lug nuts from the wheel hub and slide the wheel off of the wheel studs. This exposes the control arms and steering struts. You should not have to remove the steering struts in order to access the lower control arms.

Unbolt the Mounts

  • Disconnect the mounting bolts holding the strut arm and the steering arm in place so that the lower control arms can be removed. Unbolt the three mounting bolts found on the bottom of the steering strut and remove the bolts holding the lower control arms to the car frame. Do not remove the brake caliper as is often recommended by other repair sources. This step is unnecessary and may even be detrimental to the overall project. The lower control arms should now be loose from the frame, however will still be connected to the upper control arms via a ball joint.

Remove the Lower Arms

  • Remove the lower control arms of the Saab to inspect or replace them. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the cotter pin in the castle nut on top of one upper control arm. Use a crescent wrench to remove the castle nut and then slide a pickle fork onto the ball joint. Strike the end of the pickle fork forcefully with a hammer until the ball joint pops free and allows the connecting arm between the upper control arm and lower control arm to come loose. Pull one lower control arm free from the car and inspect it or replace it with a new one. Repeat the same procedure for the other lower control arm on the opposite side of the car.

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