1955, 1956, 1957 Chevrolet Tri Five
Disassembly of ball joints, upper and lower control arms (A-arms) and cross shafts in a 55, 56, 57 Chevrolet and the reassembly of the Chevy parts.
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On March 14, 2006, I pulled on the emergency brake and chocked both sides of one rear wheel. Before jacking up the car, I removed the front shock absorbers that are placed inside of the springs. I had already replaced the shocks by this time and removal was uneventful. However putting in the shocks earlier had been very eventful. Check back later to read about my “Shocking Story LINK” of replacing the shocks.
- The wheels should be hanging free and not taking any weight of the car.
- Remove the tire and wheel assembly. If the wheel is not removed its weight will damage the joints during spring removal.
- Loosen the four lower control arms cross shaft bushing bolts.
- Install a coil spring compressor through the shock absorber mounting hole in the cross member. The compressor uses holders on both ends and a nut to compress the springs. You have to be really mindful of the compressed spring. If something were to happen, just imagine the power that would be released by a compressed spring. Remember this spring is made to hold up the weight of the car.
- Tighten the compressor nut to slightly compress the spring. I have seen this done with a floor jack, however i will stay true to the Chevy Shop Manual for instructions.
- Remove the lower ball joint cotter pin and nut. I could not get my pin out. I had to cut the eye off of the pin and take it out backwards.
- Remove the lower ball joint (where the ball joint attaches to the spindle) with a stud puller #6627. I could not find the 6627 tool. I used a ball joint fork and beat the ball joint in two. I had a tie rod fork but it was not wide enough. I borrowed a wider fork.
- Remove the upper ball joint the same way. Before you take this apart you have to wire or zip tie the spindle or as the manual calls it the drum and spindle assembly, so it will not fall and tear off the rubber brake line. Remove the brake drum when the wheel is removed will make spindle lighter to hold up from falling.
- Remove the four lower control arm inner shaft to crossmember nuts and bolts. I had a real hard time removing the lower a-arm. The studs were stripped and turned when I tried to loosen the nuts. I used a pry bar to hold the cross shaft in place.
- When trying to take the nut off you have to put a ⅝” inch wrench on the other end to keep it from just turning. The wrench kept falling off. I taped it in place. Getting to the driver’s side upper a-arm off required that I had to remove the power steering pump. The cross shaft was also hard to get out because of the exhaust header. After a great deal of jiggling the cross shaft was removable without removing the exhaust header.
- Unscrew (slowly) the spring compressor and
- Again use the 6627 tool or the ball joint fork and remove the ball joint and seal.
- If rivets were removed for the first time drill out the holes to 21/64” so the control arm will accept the new ball joints later.
you are unable to secure a 5888 tool is either burn the old bushing out, pull them out, saw them out, bang them out with a hammer and/or chisel all the while not damaging the stamped sheet metal control arms. I made a centerpiece out of wood and push some of the bushing out with a borrowed press. The piece of wood kept the control arms from collapsing from the force of the press. I also had to use all the methods listed to get the bushing all out. You have to be creative. Also, one bushing I was able to be pull out with just my fingers, the remainder were not that easy. Fun city!
- Install the new ball joint with flange against the underside of the control arm.
- Attach the ball joint with the supplied new bolts and nuts. Note: Only use the supplied nuts and bolts because they aremade to handle the stress that will be place on them during normal driving.
- Tighten the nuts with a torque wrench to 10 to 12 lbs.
- Coat the outside sleeve of the bushing with a thin coating of grease. Keep the grease off the rubber bushing.
- With the cross shaft in the control arm and a three piece spacer in place, place the control arm on a support. Hand start the bushing into the control arm and over the end of the shaft. Note: The end of the shaft with the greatest distance from the end of the shaft to the bolt holes should be toward the front of the control arm.
- There are special collars to use with tool # 5888. I used sockets and a wrench to complete this task and my piece of wood. Place the collar over the bushing. Be sure that the three-piece spacers is not overlapping the bushing holes in the control arm. I placed a piece of wood over the inside of the a-arm to keep the press from smashing the control arm.
- Press the bushing into the control arm until the flange contacts the control arm. I have known of people installing the bushings with a hammer.
- Install the collar, lock washer and cap screw in each end of the cross shaft. Do not tighten.
- Rotate the spring to make sure it fits in its round holders and seats in the lower control arm and crossmember.
- Tighten the spring compressor to draw it to compressed height. (Again, this can be done with a floor jack. I use a floor jack because it is a hassle to get the compressor out after use.)
- Install new rubber seals on the joint stud.
- Install the spindle to the control arms.
- Releasing the spring slightly to allow the spherical joint studs to enter the spindle bosses.
- Install the spherical joint stud nuts and tighten securely and install cotter pins.
- Remove the spring compressor.
- Place the weight of the car on the front suspension.
- Bounce the front of the vehicle to
|Get a front end alignment after all suspension repair.|