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DIY upper A arm removal

30 April 2002
Communist State of California
Hi all,

I’m in the process of doing the Camber Correction modification introduced by NSXPrime member THOM. Since I have finally removed the upper A arms, I thought I’d do a write up on the troubles I encountered removing the A arms in hopes that you would not make the same mistakes I made and make it a little easier if you do the work yourself.

I ordered the following item for removing the arm from the wheel knuckle: Ebay
The tool seems to be well made and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another should this one ever break or wear out. I don’t know if it’s better than the Honda tool and I don’t know what the Honda tool costs. The purchase was $30 plus $13 for shipping.

Looks like this:

I have a lift but it’s very feasible to do the work using jack stands.

Once the car is in the air, remove the wheels, brake calipers and disks.

After the brake disk is off, remove the dust shield (four 10mm bolts) and rotate it for access to the castle nut. You won’t be able to take the dust shield off unless you remove the axel, but it is not necessary to do this job.

Remove the cotter pin and castle nut.

I removed the four bolts (each side) that hold the A arm to the chassis. I’m not positive if they should have been removed as the last step, but it worked out okay removing them first.

Now for the fun. Find or go to the hardware store on buy two 12mm X 1.25 nuts. You will place these nuts on the stud in place of the castle nut that was removed previously. DON’T USE THE CASTLE NUTS. Place the nut on the stud so the removal tool does NOT touch the nut, but just the stud. The nut will help keep the stud from expanding while under pressure from the tool. (Yes, there is that much pressure needed to remove the ball joint!)

Before using the Ball Joint Separator tool mentioned, I had to file some of the material from the inside of the U of the tool as it was touching the rubber ball joint boot. (Actually, it made a nice little slice into the rubber but I’ll fix it with RTV). File enough away from the inside of the U to where it barely touches the rubber. The Honda tool probably fits without touching.

Place the separator on the top of the ball joint and the bottom on the stud.

Use the tool as directed (mine did not come with instructions but it’s easy to figure out). As I put pressure on the tool using a ratchet, it was clear that the joint was not coming out without a fight. I moved to a breaker bar to continue tightening the tool and putting more pressure on the joint. I got to the point where I was struggling with the breaker bar and stopped. The tool was definitely bending but it’s a very stout tool but did not want to continue without some assurance from an expert. I sent an email to Larry Bastanza and told him the situation. He responded back quickly and told me he ended up using a 24” breaker bar to break it loose. He suggested that I continue using the tool with the help of a large cheater bar and hopefully the joint will break free before the tool does. He also suggested the use of safety glasses of which I complied.

Back in the garage, 24” cheater bar on the breaker bar, tightening and tightening. I can see the tool bending more and more. I’m to the point where I know the removal tool is going to explode and I’m very keen about keeping any part of my body I really care about in a direction away from the tool. I stopped for a moment and thought this tool is going to break for sure. I decide to take a small sledge hammer and a punch and give the bottom of the tool (where the tool is in contact with the stud) a “whack” and see if I can jar it loose now that it is under so much pressure. “POP”. Finally, it broke free!

The other side was pretty much the same but without the “whack” of the punch and hammer. I think I tightened the tool a bit more - either that or the one side was not a tight as the other. The tool did not break and appears to be in excellent condition.

That’s it. Send the arms to Thom or the designated machine shops that Thom has indicated on his website and the new pieces will be press into place and sent back.

Good luck if you decide to do the work yourself.
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Did you take any pictures?

If not, when you are putting the control arms back in take some pictures of the tool in place.
I cant seem to find that exact tool and it says that item is not even listed anymore so I can't "view seller's other items".

I need to get my arms to thom :(
Is not the issue that the tapered metal sleeve, that is pressed into the spindle/knuckle, comes out with the joint?

Does the tool press down on the sleeve shoulder?