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Cant get UCAs back in


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Hello

 

In the middle of a 2" BB on my 90 4x4 MJ. Had a hell of a time getting the UCA bolts out of the axle side. Seemed like as soon as I dropped the shocks and swaybar mounts and loosened the UCA bolts the axle just rotated forward and now I can't get it to rotate back. The springs are arched forward as evidence of this. I have tried jacking the front of the axle, using a long prybar to rotate the axle (works somewhat but won't go far enough). Vehicle is supported on the framerails by jackstands. Trackbar is disconnected. LCAs are loose at both ends. When removing the UCA bolts, as soon as the bolt passed the first "wall" of the UCA the axle started twising. Springs are reinstalled with 2" spacers. Axle was giving me grief before the spacers were installed. Had to pry/pound the UCA bolts out of the axle side.

 

 

Sorry my thoughts are not organized right now. I guess I am asking how the heck do I get the UCAs back on? :cheers:

 

 

Please help! My truck is stuck in my garage!

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Removed both springs and spacers and tried to get UCAs back on. Able to get pass side but driver side still will not line up. Do I have to take the LCAs off to get the UCAs on? I don't have to remove the tie rod ends do I? I'm no dummy and have been doing this stuff for a while but this is my first Jeep and first coil sprung solid front axle. This is throwing me for a loop here. :???:

 

I used the method described here viewtopic.php?f=2&t=30191&hilit=budget+boost

to do the front

 

"Coil spring installation- unbolt shocks brakelines upper control arms then put new coils and or spacers in then attach control arms then shocks and brakelines! Tighten everything once again!"

 

I know this is abbreviated but says nothing about the LCAs.

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The first time I did it I removed the shocks, brake hoses, track bar and lower control arms and had a heckuva time getting the lower control arms reconnected (same problem). I used a pry bar to get the one done and a ratchet strap for the other one.

 

A few weeks ago I did it again on another vehicle, this time I left all the control arms connected and used a spring compressor.

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Normally I've been able hook up control arms with just a pipe wrench. On one really tough job, a '96 ZJ, I made a loop out of a length of cable, placed it over the snout of the differential, ran it underneath the housing. Took a length of steel tubing, ran it through the loop and over the top of the housing with the other end on a floor jack. Raising the jack rotated the housing. It was a PITB but it worked. :wrench:

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Thanks for the help everyone!

 

I removed the springs, supported the diff with the floor jack, hooked a ratchet strap around the pinion and attached it to the floor jack and was able to rotate the axle enough to get all 4 control arms in. Then installed the springs and spacers with a spring compressor. I had to use my stock jack between the frame and axle to help push the axle down enough to get the springs in. After that I could not get the track bar to line up (axle was about an inch toward the pass side) so I put the tires back on and set the truck down. I was able to turn the steering wheel and center the axle enough to get the bolt into the track bar.

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Another way I've had luck with is to jack up on where the tie rod connects to with a floor jack. Unless there is something seriously binding on the front end, there shouldn't be anywhere near enough pressure on the knuckle to damage anything.

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Another way I've had luck with is to jack up on where the tie rod connects to with a floor jack. Unless there is something seriously binding on the front end, there shouldn't be anywhere near enough pressure on the knuckle to damage anything.

 

 

I tried that but for some reason it was just all bound up.

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I think the lower shock mount is hitting the top of the lower control arm and keeping it from tipping back far enough for the uca to fit.I know some people have trimmed a little bit off the bottom of the shock mount to gain a little flex. Maybe you can put a floorjack under the axle to put some weight on the springs. just be careful not to tip the truck off the stands. I also like jim's idea about compressing the spring, but maybe you don't have a spring compressor available.

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I did the LCA and UCA arm replacements recently and had little problem getting the bolts inserted through. No jacking up or unbolting suspension parts; just left it sitting on the ground and blocked. I did the one side at a time; the left lower, then the right lower, then left upper and right upper. I had to use a pipe wrench and cheater once on the right upper to twist the axle a bit to get the last bolt in. The toughest part of the whole job was replacing the two axle bushings for the UCAs. :dunno:

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As Hornbrod said I think in the future if I need to remove the CAs for bushing replacement or whatnot I will do it on the ground, one at a time, and remove as few components as possible. But for the time being I'm gonna get me some 31s and enjoy as it sits! Ive only had the truck for two months. :wrench:

 

I'm sure my downfall was removing the UCAs in the first place. I was under the impression they would go right back in. But now I know that for stock size springs with a 2" spacer, all you need to do is remove the shocks, swaybar, track bar, and brake lines then use a spring compressor. I used a MacPherson Strut compressor that clamps from the outside of the spring. I didnt think I would be able to use the internal compressor on this. I do agree that it is pretty nerve wracking to have all that stored energy in your hands and near your, ahem, gentlemans area.

 

I think I will check out the lower shock mount to see if I could remove some material to make installation easier next time. Thats a good tip! :thumbsup: Might come in handy when I decide I want to go taller.

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i have previousley done a spacer lift and fought with getting the upper control arms back in (no spring compressor), recently i swapped the axle in the mj. with no coils on i rolled the axle in, started both upper bolts then did the lower arms. it was alot easier IMO to do the lower arms due to access and i just used a wedge/bar a bit and the lowers went in. then i used a spring compressor, but as mentioned before i thought man..... i hope this thing doesnt let loose lol but heck, getting out of bed or just walking down the street is dangerouse, when its your time to go itll happen

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Having pulled springs and control arms from my TJ more times than I can count and doing the same to the MJ for sand blasting, I see no reason why anybody would ever need to use a spring compressor on a Jeep.

 

For simple control arm replacement, I have always done the lowers first followed by the uppers with the rig sitting on the ground. This allows you to use a floor jack to dial in the pinion angle and/or to get the arm holes to line up.

 

For spring replacement or spacer install, just disconnect the shocks, brake lines and trackbar. Lift the front of the Jeep until the springs unseat. Pull the springs out and install new. If the LCAs are contacting the mount, this preventing the springs to be installed you must fix this by grinding the mounts or getting arms that are designed for your lift.

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