How to Replace the S10 Lower Control Armby Russell Wood
S-10 pickups have been popular since the '80s because they're affordable, easy to work on and have lots of aftermarket accessories. If you want to lower your truck or install airbags, replacing the lower control arm for a new unit is a common modification and can be done at home with the right tools. It should take about an hour for each side to accomplish.
Lift up the front of the truck using the jack and secure it on jack stands. Make sure the vehicle is secure before you crawl underneath it.
Remove the front wheels using the tire iron and place the tires to the side.
Unbolt the brake caliper from the spindle using the 3/8" ratchet and sockets. When the caliper is off, connect it to the wire hook and hang it from the frame. You don't want to let the brake caliper hang loose by the brake line, otherwise the brake line could break, causing failure.
Unbolt the bottom of the shock from the lower control arm using the the 3/8" ratchet.
Disconnect the top of the shock by clamping the vice grips on the shaft and using an open-end wrench to loosen the top nut. Then slide the shock out through the lower control arm.
Place the jack underneath the lower control arm and lift it until the jack is against the lower control arm, but do not apply enough pressure to lift the vehicle in the air.
Pull out the cotter pin that secures the upper control arm to the spindle using the cotter pin puller. Repeat this process for the cotter pin on the lower control arm.
Unbolt the upper control arm from the spindle using the 3/8" ratchet. This will free the spring, so make sure the jack is there, otherwise the lower control arm will shoot out and could damage you.
Lower the jack slowly, allowing the pressure to release from the spring.
Pull out the spring from the lower control arm using the 24" pry bar.
Unbolt the spindle from the lower control arm using the 3/8" ratchet. You can then pull off the spindle using your hands and place it to the side.
Unbolt the lower control arm from the chassis using the 1/2" ratchet, sockets and an open-end wrench. Once the bolts are removed, the lower control arm can be pulled from the chassis.
Install the new lower control arm using the factory hardware and the 1/2" ratchet, sockets and an open-end wrench.
Reassemble the front suspension in the reverse order of disassembly.
Things You'll Need
- Jack stands
- 1/2" ratchet and sockets set
- 3/8" ratchet and socket set
- Wire hook
- Tire iron
- Open-end wrench set
- Cotter pin puller
- Replacement cotter pin
- Replacement control arm
- 24" pry bar
- Vice grips
Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.