How to Replace the Front Lower Control Arms
& Lower Ball Joints
1990-1994 Lexus LS400
Removing the front lower control arms requires a little more work than doing the upper arms. Mainly because you need to disassemble most of the front suspension just to remove them. Like the upper control arms, these are pricey parts. Luckily I have not had to replace these. I removed them only to install Daizen bushings. Check with your parts supplier for the correct part numbers because they vary depending on year.
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- Jack & 2-Ton jack stands Breaker bar or impact wrench
- 10mm, 14mm, 17mm, 19mm, 22mm, & 24mm sockets (impact sockets if using impact wrench)
- Socket wrench set
- Socket extensions
- Thin flat-head screwdriver
- Ball joint puller
- Pen or pencil
- 17mm, 19mm, & 15/16" box wrenches
- Torque wrench
2) Remove the two 14mm bolts for the brake caliper. Carefully pull the caliper off the brake pads and set it on something so it doesn't stress the brake line. Torque = 25 ft-lb (34 Nm).
3) Remove the two 10mm bolts for the front speed sensor; one is halfway up the steering knuckle and one is right next to the sensor. I'm not sure if my sensor has ever been replaced so this was VERY tough to remove. You have to be careful with it too, and also don't get any dirt into the hole. I got it out by turning and pulling it out. Once I had a small gap I then used a thin flat head screwdriver to help pry it out. Set it aside by the brake caliper and don't let anything touch the sensor. Torque = None specified, just tighten both bolts and make sure the sensor is flush on the metal.
4) Using an impact wrench or breaker bar, remove the two 17mm bolts from the lower ball joint. The axle assembly won't slip off of the lower ball joint with these bolts removed, you'll see why. Torque = 83 ft-lb (113 Nm).
5) Remove the clip for the upper ball joint and then remove the 17mm nut. Torque = 48 ft-lb (65 Nm).
6) Using a ball joint puller, remove the steering knuckle from the upper ball joint. Just tighten the puller with a 19mm socket (for Autozone puller) and the ball joint will pop out. Fully push the upper ball joint bolt out and lift the steering knuckle off the lower ball joint and set it aside.
7) Remove the front shock, follow steps 5-6 here. Set the shock aside.
8) Remove the clip and 17mm nut on the lower ball joint. Then, using a ball joint puller, disconnect the lower ball joint from the tie rod. Torque = 43 ft-lb (59 Nm).
Optional: If you're replacing the lower ball joint add this step. Remove the cotter pin and 24mm nut. Then use a thin flat head screwdriver to pry the dust boot up slightly so you can attach the ball joint puller. Use a ball joint puller to disconnect the lower ball joint from the lower control arm. Torque = 121 ft-lb (164 Nm).
Optional: I removed the sway bar links from the shock bracket but you don't need to. Unless you're replacing the links don't remove them. I'm just adding this so the next step doesn't look strange with it removed.
9) Using a 17mm box wrench on the bolt and a 17mm socket with impact wrench or breaker bar on the nut, remove the outer bolt for the shock bracket. This one was VERY hard to remove. Even with an impact wrench it took a while...WD-40 helps. Use a 19mm socket to remove the inner bolt. Set the shock bracket aside. Torque = 83 ft-lb (113 Nm) for 17mm bolt, 43 ft-lb (59 Nm) for 19mm.
10) Remove the two 19mm strut bar bolts, then disconnect it from the lower control arm as shown. Torque = 121 ft-lb (164 Nm).
11) This pic is out of sequence with the nut removed but you need to do this step now, otherwise you'll almost definitely need an alignment after replacing the arms. Place matchmarks on the camber adjusting cam as shown.
12) Fully turn the steering wheel toward the control arm you intend to remove. This gets the steering rack out of the way just enough to remove the bolt. Use a 15/16" box wrench toward the back of the car, and a 22mm socket with breaker bar toward the front and remove the nut. Torque = 185 ft-lb (251 Nm).
Front lower control arm & lower ball joint removed.
13) Install is reverse of removal.
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