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Post Info TOPIC: 2006 Jeep Commander Front Suspension Control Arm Replacement - Sway Bar Repair / Popping sound in front end


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2006 Jeep Commander Front Suspension Control Arm Replacement - Sway Bar Repair / Popping sound in front end


Had a customer recently bring in his Jeep Commander for a front end noise and as happens with these particular vehicles the sway bar bushings were wearing out in what seemed like less than a year. The customer had previously had another local shop install new quick strut assemblies to rid himself of what can only be described as a hollow popping sound coming from the front end hitting any old small bump. Obviously the struts didn't fix the noise, but I should point out that these vehicles are known for going thru sway bar bushings where the sway bar will pop around inside the now hogged out bushing, but this condition was being made worse by this particular vehicles loose front inner tie rod ends and lower control arms. I found that sometimes repairs need to be made to ensure the sway bar retainer brackets are not loose as a result of the spot welded nuts breaking free. If that's the case it will always make noise as it never gets tight. A decent repair for this is shown in the photos below. I also like to replace the retainer brackets as they are only $20 each and make for a very snug fit, which is what you're after.

I can not stress how much of a pain in the butt it's going to be replacing lower control arms on these vehicles without messing up the cradle that holds them. Due to the design of the lower control arm and the steel dowel that centers the bushing, it will always rust and become fused with the bushing causing you to have to "fillet" the bushings and cut the bolts. It's very important to realize that all the mounting areas for the lower control arm also serve as pivots for you camber and caster alignment settings. Hogging out the ears and slots trying to air hammer out a bolt that is frozen up in a dowel will almost certainly result in damage to the cradle that holds the control arm, so one must take the time to free these things with the least amount of stress to the mounting areas. 

I took these photos of the job to maybe help others... Obviously a 90 degree cut off wheel is required along with a particulate filter mask with about four 3 inch cut off wheels. It can be done, but it take some time if you want to do a good job. Naturally a torch would work too if you were doing this out in the middle of a field or a garage where no one cared about smelling burnt rubber, but some have greater flexibility than others. The same cuts would be made using a torch, but extreme care would be needed to prevent fire or possibly burning the attachment ears, which is what were trying to avoid in the first place.

Here are the photos

Obviously, it make sense to buy in bulk if you're planning on keeping your vehicle and your bushings are shot.

Here you can see the cuts needed to free the strut wishbone that connects to the lower control arm. This bushing in the lower control arm pretty much takes ALL the shock and transfers it to the strut assembly that dampen all them bumps in the road. This bushing gets absolutely pounded after 100,000 miles.

Here you can see a nice new, fresh bushing pressed into a new control arm. Prices are such that complete control arm replacement are the best way to go and include the rear bushing as well as the ball joint.

Here you can see the cuts that have been moved to remove the control arm. Naturally the bolt is seized in the bushing so to gain access you must remove the arm.

Here you can see just how tight they get bound up... Enough to break the bolt, and it's no small bolt! Figure about $100 in bolts from the dealer to perform this job.

This is how you fillet the bushing to gain access to the dowel.

Here you can see how worn the bushings become, and you soon realize why your sway bar bushings are wearing out every 8 months.

And finally we hit pay dirt! From here you can work the bolt free without damaging the mounting ears.



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State of Michigan Certified Master Auto Mechanic +2

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Disco!

Get er' done!

Here you can see where one of the nuts that they spot weld to the cradle has become detached. You use a heavy gauge bolt and with magnets insert it backwards with the proper washers and nut, and it's just that easy!

Disco!

DONE!



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State of Michigan Certified Master Auto Mechanic +2

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Member

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Good work ! You earned your money with that one...Things can go smoothly & according to plan, or they can cause you a days grief too lol.

The one thing I do suggest for anyone trying this, is NOT to tighten any of the suspension-points until the weight of the car is back on-load, so as to allow the bushes to freely move / seat into their working positions, before being tightened in place. The rubbers can sheer when tightened off-load, & then placed back into regular service. A jack under the lower ball-joint lifted to balancing point ( very dangerous ) is where you have to load things BEFORE tightening, if there's no room under the car to do it, or a drive-on hoist is unavailable.

Ciao,

Rastus

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Yes that is true... You want to tighten the control arm bushing with the suspension in the middle of its travel. You do this, as Rastus has mentioned, by jacking the control arm up until it is in the middle of it's travel before tightening. 



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State of Michigan Certified Master Auto Mechanic +2

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Awesome tutorial man. This should be the same issue with my uncle's TJ with unknown squeaky sound. Gonna work on it right after we installed those Smittybilt stuffs. Good tip also Rastus.



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