How to Rebuild the Front Suspension on your 1997-1999 OBS 4X4: Step by Step

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OP
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1998Suburban

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Cool! That will make it an easy to find resource for others needing to do the same project.
 

1997-Rangehoe

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Quick question, sorry just joined finally after years of just looking. So the forged HD suspension parts fit just fine? Any modifications you had to do?
 
OP
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The only HD parts I used were the snow plow prep torsion bars (959/960) and yes, they were a direct fit. The LCAs are the stamped arms, not fully forged
 

IPB90

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I found this post incredibly helpful. I just orderd my suspension parts, and plan to follow your step-by-step process to rebuild my front suspension (93 GMC K1500). I plan to remove and replace upper control arms & ball joints, install new LCA bushings & ball joints, remove and replace sway bar bushings & stabilizer rods, and remove and replace tie rods. Mine has bolt-on lower ball joints, so probably wont be as difficult to press in as yours.

I’m most concerned with

1) removal and installation of LCA bushings. Might try your sledgehammer technique.

2) whether I can get the torsion bars to separate from LCAs. I’m sure I’ll be removing the crossmember. If they’re rusted stuck, I might just have to leave them stuck and reinstall.

Feel like I’ve got a handle on the rest of it, though I’m sure it is harder than you made it seem.
 
OP
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Glad to hear you found the write-up helpful. How did your rebuild turn out? My driver's side LCA went to the scrap yard with the old torsion bar rotted to it. Having access to rust free parts for the rebuild helped a lot.
 

IPB90

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Brother, I was successful! Thanks to your post – gave me confidence to tear into it. Took me four days to get it all done. I was able to separate the torsion bars – one was loose and separated easy. One was rusted solid – I knocked it around with a sledge hammer and was ready to give up – then I figured out how to get them to separate. I held the torsion bar vertically with the control arm end in the air, the other end pointed straight down into my garage floor, then dropped it from about six inches. With the weight of the control arm – it released about the third drop. Much easier than with a sledge hammer.

By far, the hardest part was getting the LCA bushings out. Wow. That took hours. I had a 20T press from Harbor Freight, and they still wouldn’t budge (I took the press back – I don’t think I was getting 20T of force). I saw videos of people burning the bushing out - not an option in my neighborhood. I used a drill to loosen the rubber bushings, then pressed out the inner sleeve with a balljoint press C-clamp. After getting the rubber out, I cut, drilled, and pounded the snot out of the sleeves until they released. Happy to say – reinstallation of the new bushings was a breeze – they went in really smooth. Had them in the freezer overnight, and used some motor oil.IMG_0604.JPG IMG_0647.JPG IMG_0649.JPG IMG_0650.JPG

The second hardest part was getting the rivets out for my LCA balljoints. I’ve got the stamped control arms with bolt-on balljoints. The rivets were rusted tight. I ended up having to drill the rivets all the way through to get them out.

After that, everything came apart and went back together with no major trouble. Got a lifetime alignment now from Firestone, all Moog parts from Rock Auto, and all is well.

I think I’ll write a forum post like yours, but probably on the GMT400 website, since I’ve got a Sierra.
 
OP
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Excellent! Glad the write-up gave you the background and confidence to tear into it :). Using the weight of the LCA to break the torsion bar free was a good idea. Your truck looks to be rust free and in great shape. If I still had my old driver's side LCA/torsion bar assembly I'd try hitting it on the floor and see what happened.

When you do the write-up on GMT400 perhaps you can add links for the other write-up at each site. It would help make both easier to find.

Again great job :)
 

97 canadian hoe

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I sure wish I would have found this sooner. Great job. I was just looking for torque specs when I came across it but this was an excellent tutorial! Thank you
 

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