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Brian
Brian, Auto Service Technician
Category: Ford
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Experience:  5 years Ford Technical Hotline/Service Engineer. 2005 Ford Master Cert. Automotive Technology degree
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how to install bushings on 96 Ford Aerostar ...

Customer Question

how to install bushings on 96 Ford Aerostar
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Brian replied 8 years ago.
Here are instructions for removing/installing the control arms on the front suspension. To install bushings, you have to get the old ones out. If the new ones come with a metal shell, then the entire old bushing and shell must be removed. There are lots of ways to do this. Some people use a hole saw to cut the rubber out, then cut the metal shell so it can be removed. Some people drill multiple holes in the rubber to get the center of the bushing out then cust the shell. To cut the shell, you could use a sawzall with a metal cutting blade, a jigsaw, or a hacksaw. One cut through the shell is all that is necessary, then the shell can be pulled out of the control arm. Some shops soak the control arm in hot water to help loosen the old bushing and then they press the bushing out. Care must be taken not to crush the control arm when pressing out the bushing. A new pushing can be pressed into the arm using a vice, c-clamp, or press.

If the new bushings require you to reuse the old shell (usually the case with polyurethane bushings), you cannot cut the shell. You will need to remove all of the old rubber. Some people use a torch to burn it out, but be careful not to overheat the metal of the control arm which could weaken the metal. Use a drill with a wire brush to clean the inside of the shell.

Upper Control Arm
  1. Place the steering wheel and front tires in the centered (straight ahead) position.

Anytime the steering linkage is disconnected from the spindle, the steering system must be centered before beginning the service procedure.

  1. Raise the van and support it safely with jackstands placed under the frame lifting pads. A hydraulic floor jack should be placed under the control arm to raise and lower the arm during coil spring removal. Make sure the van is supported securely on the jackstands and only work on one side at a time.

NEVER service both front suspension assemblies at the same time.

  1. Remove the spindle, as described in this section.

  2. Remove the bolt retaining the cowl drain bracket and bolt retainer plate, then remove the bracket and plate.

  3. Matchmark the position of the control arm mounting brackets on the flat plate.

  4. Remove the bolt and washer retaining the front mounting bracket to the flat plate.

  5. From beneath the rail, remove the three nuts from the bolts retaining the two upper control arm mounting brackets to the body rail.

  6. Remove the three long bolts retaining the mounting brackets to the body rail by rotating the upper control arm out of position in order to remove the bolts. Remove the upper control arm, upper ball joint and mounting bracket assembly, and the flat plate from the van.

  7. If necessary, remove the damper assembly from the upper control arm by removing the three retaining bolts.

  8. Inspect the upper and/or lower ball joint boot seal and replace if necessary.

  9. If required to service the upper control arm and upper ball joint assembly or the mounting brackets and adjusting arm assembly, remove the nuts retaining the upper control arm to the adjusting arm. Note the exact position and number of shims on each control arm stud. These shims control caster and camber. Remove the upper control arm from the adjusting arm.

The adjusting arm and mounting brackets are serviced as an assembly, Ford recommends that the upper control arm and upper ball joint also be serviced as an assembly; however, aftermarket ball joint kits are available.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 1: Exploded view of the upper control arm and front crossmember-1986-90 models (1991-96 same except for torque specifications)


Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 2: Upper control arm and related components-the upper control arm. ball joint and control arm bushings should be serviced as one assembly


To install:

  1. Install the upper control arm in the adjusting arm. Install the shims on the control arm studs with the same number of shims in the exact position as marked during removal. Install and tighten the nuts retaining the shims to the control arm.

  2. If removed, install the damper assembly to the upper control arm. Tighten the damper retaining bolts to 22-29 ft. lbs. (30-39 Nm).

  3. Place the flat plate for the mounting brackets in position on the body rail, then install and tighten the bolts to 10-14 ft. lbs. (14-18 Nm).

  4. Place the mounting brackets and upper control arm assembly in position on the flat plate.

  5. Install the three long bolts and washers retaining the mounting brackets to the body rail. Rotate or rock the upper control arm and mounting bracket assembly until the bolt heads rest against the mounting bracket and the studs extend through the body rail.

  6. Move the mounting brackets into the position marked on the flat plate during removal.

  7. Install and tighten the nuts and washers retaining the mounting bracket bolts to the body rail to 135-142 ft. lbs. (175-185 Nm) for the front bolt, and 145-152 ft. lbs. (188-198 Nm) for the center and rear bolts on 1986-90 models, and to 145-152 ft. lbs. (188-198 Nm) for 1991-96 models. Make sure the mounting brackets do not move from the marked position on the flat plate to minimize corrections.

WARNING: The torque required for the mounting bracket-to-body rail nuts and bolts is critical. Be precise when tightening to the specified torque and use an accurate torque wrench. Tighten with one smooth motion rather than short jerks.
  1. Install and tighten the bolt retaining the front mounting bracket to the flat plate to 35-47 ft. lbs. (47-64 Nm).

  2. Place the bolt retainer plate and cowl drain bracket in position on the mounting bracket and flat plate assembly, then install and tighten the bolt to 10-14 ft. lbs. (14-18 Nm).

  3. Install the spindle as described later in this section.

  4. Have the front end aligned by a professional automotive mechanic.


CONTROL ARM BUSHING REPLACEMENT

The manufacturer recommends that the lower control arm, bushings and ball joints be replaced together as one assembly. Therefore, separate control arm bushing removal procedures are not necessary.


Lower Control Arm
  1. Place the steering wheel and front wheels in the centered (straight ahead) position.

Anytime the steering linkage is disconnected from the spindle, the steering system must be centered before beginning the service procedure.

  1. Raise the van and support it safely with jackstands placed under the frame lifting pads. A hydraulic floor jack should be placed under the control arm to raise and lower the arm during coil spring removal. Make sure the van is supported securely on the jackstands and only work on one side at a time.

  2. Remove the coil spring as described earlier in this section.

  3. Remove the bolts and nuts retaining the lower control arm to the crossmember and remove the lower control arm from the frame.

  4. If new control arm bushings or ball joints are necessary, replace the entire lower control arm assembly.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 1: Exploded view of the front suspension components-lower control arm mounting bolts should be tightened to 100-140 ft. lbs. (136-190 Nm) for 1991-96 models


To install:

  1. Position the new lower control arm assembly to the frame crossmember and install the retaining bolts in the proper direction as illustrated. Temporarily snug the bolts, but do not tighten to specifications.

  2. If the old crossmember is being installed, inspect the lower ball joint boot and replace it if necessary.

  3. Install the coil spring as previously described.

  4. Install the front tire and wheel assemblies.

  5. Lower the van so it rests in the normal ride position on a level surface.

  6. Tighten the lower control arm-to-crossmember mounting bolts to 187-260 ft. lbs. (254-352 Nm) for 1986-90 models, and to 100-140 ft. lbs. (136-190 Nm) for 1991-96 models.

  7. Have the front end alignment checked. info from Autozone.com


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Brian
Brian
Ford Mechanic
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5 years Ford Technical Hotline/Service Engineer. 2005 Ford Master Cert. Automotive Technology degree