Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby turntupturnip [OP] » July 28th 2017, 2:01am

.
I bought a 05 AWD Astro with 136K that I am converting into a camper. I intend on doing a 2" body lift and putting larger tires on it for mild off-road activity.

I just noticed that the van has a cracked stabilizer bar, so I am going to replace that and do the idler arms at the same time.

From the look of the rest of the suspension parts, I am guessing that they are all original. They look like this :

Image
Image

Any suggestions on what else I should replace while I have the van in the air and the front end taken apart?

FYI, I'm new at auto repair. I have done a fair amount of work on my little Saturn S-series, but it is so much simpler under there than this AWD beast.
.
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby Mmusicman » July 28th 2017, 2:10am

What I notice even more from the looks of your photos... is that these parts don't appear to have been lubed in quite some time! This could lead to a possibly dangerous condition.

If nothing else... clean off those fittings and zerk them up!
Especially the ball-joints!

Some of these parts "can" go a very long time... others not.
Everything should be wiggled, pried, and checked!

I just changed some tie-rod ends on my 92 that had close to 300K original on them. They weren't terrible... but the idler arms have been changed several times already.

Your results may vary.... :D
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby TurnNburn » July 28th 2017, 4:30pm

How big is your budget. Parts for astros are CHEAP and plentiful. You could replace EVERYTHING in the steering/suspension components for around $600 if you do it all yourself. For piece of mind, I would ( and did on mine) replace everything up there that you are comfortable and capable of changing. Since its new to you and admittedly a noob you might not be able to spot something that is really quite bad. And like MM said, they already look in rough shape.
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby 1lowcab » July 28th 2017, 4:45pm

Yeah, those look to be pretty dry and old. Check on rockauto and price the pieces to rebuild the front end, you will be surprised how affordable it really is. It's also a very straight forward job, every part of the front end (and rear) on mine is new and there wasn't anything really hard about it...and I was dealing with 14 years of good ol Ohio rust on the nuts and bolts!
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby AstroWill » July 28th 2017, 5:05pm

Might as well while you are in there, then get an alignment and be done with it(other than grease) for a long time.

Piece your own 2" lift together and save a bunch of $ there as well.

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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby Mmusicman » July 28th 2017, 5:24pm

You can buy complete front end kits... save yourself some money vs buying individually
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby turntupturnip [OP] » July 29th 2017, 3:08pm

Thanks everyone!

I greased everything and am going to start ordering parts to do the front end all at once.

So, in addition to the sway bar, and idler arms, I can pick up the following :

front end kit:
moog
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=6386013&cc=1430962&jsn=10554
Anyone know if the control arms that come with this stamped or forged?

drag link
moog
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=201499&cc=1430962&jsn=10688

shocks
RANCHO RS5150 - promotion going on right now...require forged control arms
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=1133111&cc=1430962&jsn=52

Is there anything else in addition that I'll need, or is that about it? To me, it seems like there are a lot more parts in the suspension than in that front end kit.

EDIT:I can't seem to find a good labeled diagram of the front suspension and steering linkage of the AWD Astro. Any links?
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby 1lowcab » July 29th 2017, 4:44pm

The only thing I would add is the upper control arms, looks like that kit only comes with the lowers.

Also, while you have the whole front end apart now would be a great time to do the wheel bearings and cv joints.

When I did mine I did the wheel bearings but not the cv joints... about a month later the passenger side outer joint went bad and of course to get to them you have to pretty much take the whole front end back apart! :roll: lesson learned.
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby Corsemoto » July 29th 2017, 4:54pm

All the AWD lower control arms (factory, aftermarket) are stamped/welded. You don't need special control arms for the Rancho RS5150 or any other shocks so the Moog lower control arms would be fine. They do use cheaper ball joints and bushings in those R-Series control arms as they aren't the Problem Solver line.

Also, upper ball joints & upper control arm bushings (or complete upper control arms), stabilizer bar bushings and might want to consider front axle seals and perhaps new cv axles since they are going to be out...

New subframe bushings if you are going to be adding body spacers.

These should help:

http://www.wholesalegmpartsonline.com/productSearch.aspx?&ukey_make=1024&modelYear=2005&ukey_model=14478&ukey_trimLevel=00&ukey_driveline=00&ukey_Category=19483&numResults=50&sortOrder=Relevance&isOnSale=0&isAccessory=0&isPerformance=0&searchTerm=

http://www.wholesalegmpartsonline.com/showAssembly.aspx?ukey_assembly=434244&ukey_make=1024&ukey_model=14478&modelYear=2005&ukey_category=19483

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http://www.wholesalegmpartsonline.com/showAssembly.aspx?ukey_assembly=434254&ukey_make=1024&ukey_model=14478&modelYear=2005&ukey_category=19483

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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby turntupturnip [OP] » July 30th 2017, 9:12pm

Whoops! I meant ball joints. Rock Auto says that those shocks need forged ball joints.
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby turntupturnip [OP] » August 10th 2017, 5:38pm

It seems like most people on here opt to replace the lower and upper ball joints with the Moog problem solvers instead of replacing the entire control arm, that comes with the r-series ball joints. The stock control arms do not look damaged in any way. Is this recommended?
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby TurnNburn » August 10th 2017, 7:02pm

I don't imagine they will "look" damaged. People replace them as an assembly because they are cheap, and come with new bushings.
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby turntupturnip [OP] » August 10th 2017, 7:29pm

It seems like since I am spending the money to rebuild the front end with better than original parts, that I should stay away from ball joints that are listed in the Economy section of Rockauto. Am I putting too much stock in the categorization of their stock?
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby Corsemoto » August 10th 2017, 8:19pm

Moog Problem Solver, do it once, do it right, lifetime warranty and if you do need a warranty replacement, Rock Auto is great to deal with.
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby turntupturnip [OP] » August 10th 2017, 8:22pm

Corsemoto, are you suggesting that I

a. keep my stock control arms and replace the ball joints and bushings with the problem solvers?
or
b. purchase new control arms and replace the included ball joints and bushings with problem solver parts?

-moog does not make control arms for the astro in the problem solver line.
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby Corsemoto » August 10th 2017, 8:33pm

The economy line is just that, they are not premium quality parts.

Replacing bushings (and ball joints) in the your control arms is a bit more work but you'd be using be better quality parts for less money and your control arms are probably fine. They mostly sell the complete control arm assemblies for convenience.

I wouldn't bother buying new control arms (unless one is damaged for some reason) and replacing bushings.
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby turntupturnip [OP] » August 10th 2017, 8:52pm

Thanks! I have more time than money these days, plus I could use the experience.
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby turntupturnip [OP] » August 11th 2017, 2:16am

Here is my shopping cart.


KYB 565062 MonoMax Front Shocks x2
MOOG K6292 PS Upper Ball joints x2
MOOG K6291 PS Lower Ball joints x2
MOOG K6417 PS Control arm bushings
MOOG ES2838RL PS Inner tie rod x2
MOOG ES3254RL PS Outer tie rod x2
MOOG ES2004S Tie Rod End Adjusting Sleeve x2
TIMKEN 710491 Axel Shaft Seal x2
DORMAN 924003 Sub Frame Bushing x 2

I already bought a new doorman sway bar (original is cracked) and moog idler arms (on clearance!).

I think I will skip the CV Axels for now, unless the CARDONE SELECT ($44) or SURTRACK/TRAKMOTIVE ($52) Axels are worth getting. The ACDelcos are $300 !!

I'm also going to wait on the bearings/hub assembly for now, since those can be replaced independently of everything else, right?

Any final thoughts before I push the checkout button?
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby 1lowcab » August 11th 2017, 2:29am

Man, Id get it done while its all open. Maybe it's just me, I hate revisiting things after they are all done.

Also, get the cv axles at NAPA, get the reman ones (per Leeanns instructions) they are the right length and a good price, if you have AAA you get a discount. A lot of the new axles are too short and will pop in and out while you drive.
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Re: Noob questions about front end rebuild.

Postby sadglad » August 11th 2017, 2:33am

turntupturnip wrote:Thanks! I have more time than money these days, plus I could use the experience.

If you are replacing the control arm bushings you need a press of some kind. You can burn the old ones out but the new ones need to be pressed in. You need to rig up a homebrew press or pay a shop to do it. A local shop quoted me $10 each bushing plus tax so close to $90 labor.

The rebuild kits come with new bushings already installed but they are not the premium bushings.

I did my front end a little bit at a time. I wish I would have just done it all at once.
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