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1999 Subaru Forester S Turbo
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time posting in the forum but a long time stalker of all your useful guides. As many of you know the lateral link bolts is the devil's butt hole, I bent my rear control arms earlier in the year trying to save my pregnant wife who got bogged down in the snow, who knew that bald summer tires have 0 traction on 3 inches of fresh snow on a freezing day.

see pic of my crazy straw looking control arm
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Please ignore how rusty and horrible my rear suspension is I'm planning on replacing all of it in the future once shes back up and running.

I was successfully able to get the nut off the end of the lateral link bolt and hit the end of the bolt with an impact gun (800nm) after soaking it in penetrating oil and attempt to got at varying torque settings to prevent snapping the bolt. When the bolt just span in the bushing I thought the breaker bar with a long extension so used an old bit of steel pipe and the breaker bar but this didn't do my bar break the steel pipe and split it along the edge. Stupidly I thought maybe something smaller would work so genius over here decided to use a 3/8" ratchet to get it off which was the biggest mistake. Que the explosion of a socket and shortly after the rachet itself which gave me ringing ears for a day.

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It got to the point where the end of the bolt had started to round and I began to struggle to get a socket over it, so in came every mechanics favourite tool a blow torch and angle grinder. I was able to burn the bushing off the bolt head end and cut the rest of the sleeve off which was good tried to hammer it out with a punch but no luck, I then wanted to start on the other side but an assortment of wire and cable was located so close to the other end I didn't want to add more work and cost to the job by melting these unknown wires and cables.

Currently praying I can cut the other end of the bolt off which still has the control arm attached and try and hammer the bolt out hopefully breaking away at any of the corrosion in the knuckle. Worse comes to worst ill probably detach the trailing arm and driveshaft and just scrap that knuckle in favour of one that doesn't have the lateral link internally welded in.
 

· Registered
1999 Subaru Forester S Turbo
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Wanted to add an update to this now I've been able to remove the bolt and put some information on how I was able to achieve this. This is a combination of things read on this forum, a lot of early Impreza forums and some mechanic trade tips which I utilised to get the bolt out.

Firstly I want to add a bit more context:

The Lateral Link bolt seized in the knuckle and on both control arm bushings, no budging whats so ever. The steps I followed initially was, crack the nut loose after being soaked with penetrator spray. Came off fairly easily. Next attempted to remove the lateral link bolt with a 1/2" socket wrench, no budging next attempted with a long breaker bar but no movement. Then tried my rust beater method, a socket wrench (please don't do this!!!!!) and a long metal scaffolding pole which I cushioned with some memory foam off trim for a snug fit. this proceeded to snap the head off my wrench and made me partially deaf for a day or two due to the extremely loud bang of the metal exploding. With this defeat i simily prepared to attack another day and lick my wounds, I disconnected the exhaust and sway bar so give me more room next time.

Before each step or action, I took a ridiculous amount of penetrator spray was used so make sure it had every advantage to soak in and loosen the bolt

Next was to bring in the big boys I went out and bought a decent spec Kielder impact gun which gave me 700nm of breakaway force. Yes, its not the strongest but rather than spending £500 on a 1,000 - 1,500 impact gun was just way over budget. This did very little bar spin the bolt in the bushing which showed I had at least loosed the bolt somewhat from the knuckle. I then brought out a blowtorch and slowly tried the melt the bushing and heat the bolt trying to break the rust, I'm sure this definitely had an effect spent well over 2 hrs heating the bolt and bushing but wasn't able to remove the bolt. I then took an angle grinder to the bent arm as there was no chance of saving it and it only got in the way of progress so off it went. This includes the head of the bolt which at this point had been well and truly rounded this meant I could now pull the arm itself away from the bushing sleeve and give me access to the bolt and sleeve which had rust welded together.
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I then cut the excess off but didn't cut it completely flush with the knuckle as wanted to be able to hammer or punch it with limited risk of just battering the knuckle. At this point I was tired and frustrated after around 4+ hrs getting this bolt out I just went ham hitting the bolt head as hard as I possibly could with all my rage and it moved. See pic below of the bolt stuck in the knuckle and the little nub sticking out before battering. During this process I took a drill to both ends of the bolt attempting to collapse it but snapped a bunch of bits off trying to get a decent hole drilled, I then drilled into the bolt side on slowly stepping up the bit size and with better access behind the bolt sprayed penetrator through the hole.
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As mentioned above I was able to hit the bolt further in but didn't allow me to progress any further even with a range of punches, bolts and old screwdrivers. I next tried to attack it from a different angle so started hitting it with a punch from the newly drilled hold but was unable to get it to shift any further. I also tried on the nut end but no progress, while hitting it from the nut end i destroyed the tread like an idiot as i then had a good idea about trying to pull the bolt out by stacking spacers and tightening the bolt so much that it would pull itself out.
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While debating my life decisions sitting under a rust dream car that hadn't been driven in months due to the damage I had a different idea, I have bolt extractors in the tool kit but as it didn't work on the head of the bolt I thought why wouldn't it actually work on the threaded end of the bolt too so off came the other arm and wiggle to remove the bushing and the sleeve came along with the arm so little win there! I got the right side bolt extracted for the size of the bolt and with my brand new 3/8" wrench started slowly applying pressure then easing off praying not to snap my new tool. Finally, after about 10 minutes of pressure, ease off, spray, repeat I got a little movement and almost cried. I switch to the hammer and punch but was unable to get it moving so back to slowly spinning the bolt till it could completely break free. After another 5 minutes, the bolt started to rotate till eventually came loose and free from the knuckle.

Here are some tips for anyone in a similar position:
  • Use the right tool for the right job
  • Don't use all your force on a socket wrench
  • Penetrator spray is your best friend
  • When using a blow torch or any source of heat make sure to have a wet towel on any rubber lines or driveline comps along with a full bottle of water and fire suppression in the event of a fire.
  • Don't limit your self to one position of attack, move around get under the car, move other components out your way.
  • Research! Research!! Research!!! talk with forum members, friends anyone whos done this before and gathers all tips and tricks possible.
  • Start with the easy and none destructive methods first and then ramp it up to don't go straight to the torch and angle grinder.
  • If your using the angle grinder on the petrol tank side be very careful any leaks can catch easy with all the sparks and make sure you have a good grip on the tool so it doesn't slip and cut the tank.
  • Order your parts way before you need them, I promised the missus I wouldn't order the parts till I got the bolt out but now with the bolt and arms out, I've got a 2-week wait for parts to arrive.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY on reinstallation make sure to bath the bolt and bolts in anti-seize I'm not fighting this poop again!!!!!!
 
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