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Discussion Starter #1
Trying to find some clarifying information about replacing the upper control arms on my 69 mach 1 with a 428 in it. I thought i read somewhere on vmf about it being a pain due to the size of the engine and very little room between the valve covers and shock tower.

Just wondering if any one has any experience and some tips. I plan in doing it myself unless it requires anything major with the engine.

Thanks, appreciate the help in advance.
 

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Yeah, the hardest part will be getting the shock tower nuts off of the studs as they point in toward the valve covers and exhaust manifolds.

Other than that, they're easy peasy.

Might drop the motor mounts out with a floor jack and block of wood under the oil pan. That way you can wiggle the engine from side to side or up or down to get the nuts off the horizontal studs easier.

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, the hardest part will be getting the shock tower nuts off of the studs as they point in toward the valve covers and exhaust manifolds.

Other than that, they're easy peasy.

Might drop the motor mounts out with a floor jack and block of wood under the oil pan. That way you can wiggle the engine from side to side or up or down to get the nuts off the horizontal studs easier.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

So without dropping the motor mounts, it is possible to replace the upper control arms? Do i need to get to them from below? I didn't see much room trying to get nuts from above.
 

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So without dropping the motor mounts, it is possible to replace the upper control arms? Do i need to get to them from below? I didn't see much room trying to get nuts from above.
That's why I said drop the motor mounts. Can't move the engine around to get to the nuts without dropping the mounts

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Save your knuckles. Yank the engine. Way easier job when you have room to work. While it's out you can address any other issues in the engine bay. Not sure of your location, but it's winter here in the northeast. Plenty of time. Come springtime, you'll be glad you did.
 

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I have done it with the engine in with hooker long tube headers on my 390. You'll need a good open end to be able to do it. It's best if you have a ratcheting version. To get the upper control arm off I had to loosen the little by little and pull the UCA out to move the studs out to make room.

It's possible, but not easy....
 

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Should be very do-able without pulling the engine. If you are running headers, expect some skinned knuckles otherwise your critical focus should be the coil springs. A compressed coil spring contains a considerable amount of kinetic energy. Some spring compressors are less than safe and if the compressed spring gets loose, it can cause considerable damage including death. Be very careful and treat the spring with the respect it deserves and you should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Appreciate the feedback all. Don't really want to pull the engine so good to know there are some options to get the UCA off without doing so. Looking at going to the ponies in the smokies in March so not entirely comfortable with the idea of pulling the engine. Might look at doing that next winter to clean up the engine bay. Understand about being cautious with the spring, I fully intend to be careful with it. Any particular spring compressor I should look into?
 

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I looked at my 1970 Shop Manual to see what it says. The only special procedure on a V8 is to remove the air cleaner for tool access. My car is a 70 with a 351C and the big block spring towers. It is possible to get the control arm nuts off with a regular combination wrench. It is not easy and might help to remove the battery tray or whatever helps give access from any angle. You'll be going in from the sides more than above the valve covers. Once you break it loose you can use the open end of the wrench and flip it over every eight of a turn. Some wrenches might be easier than others to get in there. Gear wrenches are thicker and don't always fit like a thinner wrench. Obviously you have to guess at the torque. Ford did design these cars so the suspension and steering could easily be serviced without pulling the engine. If your car didn't originally come with this engine or has headers it might be a different story.

This spring compressor will work safely and cheaply: OEMTOOLS 27035 Coil Spring Compressor
 

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It's a tight squeeze, especially if you've got big hands. If you're like me and have big hands, call up a buddy that has small hands to see if they can get the nuts off the UCA bolts. That and using a low profile socket wrench/breaker bar/open ended wrench or whatever else fits will definitely make things easier for you. As others have said, you can always detach the motor mounts and move the engine up or down slightly to give yourself more room. I doubt the engine would have to come all the way out of the car for it to be done.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just figured I'd give an update in case anyone searches and has the same question I did. I was able to get both UCAs off without having to detach the motor from the motor mounts or removing the valve covers. On the driver's side I was able to get at the nuts from underneath and break them loose and from the passenger's side I was able to get at them from above near the valve cover. There wasn't room and it took a bit of patience as I was feeling around from under the car as to where the nuts where with my low profile socket wrench. But they are off and new UCAs are installed and cranked down. like cougar70 said, torque'ing them down was kind of a guess as there was no way a torque wrench was fitting in there. Almost got the entire front end suspension back together just in time for Ponies in the Smokies.........to be postponed until July.
 
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