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Old 08-12-2015, 06:57 PM   #1
shepd
 
Drives: 2007 Yaris 5 door RS
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Front control arm bolt spinning

I just can't catch a break. :( I'm trying to remove the control arm. Already pulled out the bolt that normally rusts away (was easy as I've already replaced it recently). The bolt that faces the front of the car, though... I got it to turn a couple of spins properly with my electric impact gun. Now it's loose but just spins and doesn't back out any further. It's out perhaps 1/4".

Is there a trick to this I don't know of? Did the captive nut (I assume it's captive, I can't find it!) on the other side decide to come loose? If so... am I looking at a choice of either trying to cut a small hole in the subframe to get at it or replacing the whole subframe?

I still want to replace the control arm on the other side... Is there something I should be doing not to wreck that up as well? My impact wrench isn't all that beefy. Maximum 350 ft. lbs. I've put more weight to break bolts free with my breaker bar!

Every damn job always ends up like this, though usually I can figure out the best way to fix it myself. :( Next time I buy a car I need to remind myself that the cheapest one on kijiji is also the one I get to deal with this shit on. Ugggghhh...
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Old 08-12-2015, 07:58 PM   #2
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It is a captive nut. Sometimes the impact gun is not the best choice for those, as you can shatter the little spot welds that hold the nut in place.
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Old 08-12-2015, 08:31 PM   #3
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Yeah, I just confirmed it's spinning through the tiny hole in the crossmember right near it.

I see that a new crossmember is $850 online. :( I suppose I could get a used one, possibly with the same problem. So that sucks as an option.

I know at this point it's all just guesses, do you think it's a ridiculously bad idea to drill that hole large enough to get a stick welder in there? I figure maybe 3/4" - 1" would be a huge help. I could even put a new nut in there afterwards. I don't really have a way to patch it back up. I know that area will take quite a bit of the weight of the car, so any modifications aren't ideal, but spending this much is just not going to work.

I can cut through the control arm to get most of it off if it's in the way as I'm replacing it anyways.

If an access hole is a terribly bad idea without a repair (As in the car is just going to end up in an accident/fold up) I could try removing the entire crossmember (oh that sounds like fun...) and maybe see if a welding shop could fix it up.

Any other options or suggestions?
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Old 08-12-2015, 08:42 PM   #4
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Dang - I sold a perfect cross member for $50.

I think you would be fine opening up the hole you are peeking through to get in there and either get a wrench on it, or zing it a bit with the welder.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:04 PM   #5
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Go through the tread on rusted control arm bolts, some one had a picture showing access to those upper nuts under the carpet.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-x-fire View Post
Go through the tread on rusted control arm bolts, some one had a picture showing access to those upper nuts under the carpet.
He said the front, not the rear. That one is horizontal into the cross member, not vertical into the floor.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:17 PM   #7
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You could maybe try wedging a small pickle fork in between the 1/4 inch gap while at the same time backing off on the bolt. Perhaps the downward force will be enough to keep the nut from spinning. its worth a try.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:20 PM   #8
shepd
 
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Oh I wish it were the bolt that likes to rust through but it is the horizontal one you can see from the front. It is basically boxed in on all sides with thick welded steel.

I should take pix and document this to help the next poor soul with this problem. :)
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shepd View Post
Oh I wish it were the bolt that likes to rust through but it is the horizontal one you can see from the front. It is basically boxed in on all sides with thick welded steel.

I should take pix and document this to help the next poor soul with this problem. :)
Exactly. Unless someone has disassembled this, they don't have a clue what you are dealing with.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:23 PM   #10
shepd
 
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I'm gonna go at it again this Sunday. I'll give the pickle fork a try. Though I did try wedging a screwdriver under the bolt while turning it with no luck, it wouldn't have the same leverage.

Still gonna leave me SOL once it's out though since it will fall off and I won't have a way to install a replacement control arm. But any step forward is a good step! :)
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shepd View Post
I'm gonna go at it again this Sunday. I'll give the pickle fork a try. Though I did try wedging a screwdriver under the bolt while turning it with no luck, it wouldn't have the same leverage.

Still gonna leave me SOL once it's out though since it will fall off and I won't have a way to install a replacement control arm. But any step forward is a good step! :)
Drilling is really your best bet, so you can get in there to tighten the new one. A round hole will not weaken that area.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:54 PM   #12
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What about cutting the bolt?
Then fishing out the nut and whats left of the bolt?
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Old 08-20-2015, 08:58 PM   #13
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So the other side decided to do the same thing (despite the major pita trying to keep the engine out of the way, and using only hand tools, no power tools). Got mad and drilled a good sized hole in there (1 3/8"). Didn't make me any happier to see how Toyota tries to keep the nut from spinning. From what I can see, it's not welded in place. Rather, the nut is inside a metal cage that seems to be trying to hold it in place. Of course that's torn up.

I'll apply a weld bead and try to finish removing it on Sunday. I'm starting to take pics so others can try the same thing when they ruin theirs. :(
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:00 AM   #14
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WHat about torching the head of the bolt off?
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:44 AM   #15
shepd
 
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I could do that for the right side, but I'd still have the bolt stuck in the control arm. It would come out easier now that I've drilled the hole, though, so there's a good chance that's how I will go. Without the hole, there's no way to remove anything from the area due to how it's sealed up. Toyota makes me sad. :(

Probably will go for the angle grinder though, due to space constraints, and I don't want to go buy a torch set for one bolt (I keep saying that I'll buy one for the next bolt... Someday I'll do it, LOL).
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:52 AM   #16
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Here's a couple of pix. First is the hole I used as the centre for my hole saw before cutting (other side, but the two sides are identical). And second is the hole I cut. You can see inside how the cage holding the nut is damaged (the hole saw did put a nick in it, but I believe it bent itself out of shape due to rust when I attempted to remove the bolt). As I continue fixing this, I'll post most photos.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg before.jpg (134.1 KB, 82 views)
File Type: jpg bolthole.jpg (79.3 KB, 79 views)
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Old 08-23-2015, 05:50 PM   #17
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Cage on the nut fell off on the one side, that's the quality we're dealing with here. LOL! Anyways, ran a bead of weld between the nut and the crossmember and the bolt almost jumped out when I used my wrench, LOL.

A couple of helpful notes: The bolt may get stuck in the control arm bushing. Let it cool off, apply liquid wrench, and jam a screwdriver in between the underside of the cross member and the bushing. With the pressure applied, you can just unscrew the bolt through the bushing.

I also found that the right side was trapped by the oil pan. I... ahem... improved the oil pan by bending the flap of metal in the way with a hammer.

I plan to clean up all the freshly exposed metal with some brake cleaner (AFTER assembling the new control arm... NEVER weld metal after cleaning it with brake cleaner). Then I'll spray several coats of rust paint to keep the rust away. By assumbling first you don't have to worry about the rust paint getting into the nut.

I could have used a smaller (perhaps even as small as 3/4", but 1" would have been a good choice) hole if I had not used the hole already present as a guide, but went a but offset from it to expose the nut better. The nut is square, if you're wondering. You could try to jam a screwdriver in there to keep it from spinning (After cutting the hole) but welding is just much easer and, IMHO, better.

I used one of those really useless $99 80 Amp 120 volt AC stick welders and 7014 rods. Did the job but was very hard to penetrate the rust. Connected the ground to the bolt head. Don't forget to disconnect the battery before welding. You don't need to be any good at welding to be successful here. :)
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Old 08-25-2015, 02:35 PM   #18
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Control arm bolts and nuts are a common issue with the Vitz/Echo/Yaris. Technicians at the Toyota dealer will know them very well. First thing I did the same day I took delivery of my car was remove the hardware and reinstall them with anti-seize.

In some cases, you only need to cut a few well-placed slits in the crossmember, enough to fold the steel back, and fit the open end of a wrench in there to hold the square nut. Installation is by the same method. Welding it back together or welding the nut is up to you.

Don't worry about your impact wrench being too strong or too weak when working on the car. Ideally, heating the bolt cherry-red with a torch and then quenching it would be an adequate first step before shooting it with my impact wrench. It's the shock from the impacts that we want to free up fasteners. Peak torque is usually a non-factor. One of my 1/2-inch drive impact wrenches has a breakaway torque of 1'600 Nm (1'200 lbft!!) but I prefer my weaker one because it is lighter, smoother, quieter, and (most importantly) it delivers hammer impacts faster.
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