Whiteline Rear Control Arm and Lateral Link Kit Install
Well, quick history. I was on my way to work and was going around a sharp turn at a pretty good speed. I heard a clunk and my back end felt light. Inspected the car and didn't notice anything. Later I got it on a lift and saw my lateral link snapped, and I managed to bend up my aftermarket rear sway bar pretty badly.
Bent sway bar
Snapped lateral link near the end link
Close up of the damage
... don't ask
More pictures of the bent sway bar and one of it off the car
From some research, it seems like it's not that uncommon of a problem. Examination alone shows that it was not due to rust or anything physical hitting it. It looks like it occurs more often to people with stiffer sway bars and/or end links.
The kit I'm installing is the 4 piece kit. A full set from Subaru costs about the same as this kit does. As you can see in the following photos, it's quite beefy. It comes with 4 adjustable pieces, a packet of bushing grease, instructions, and some stickers.
If your car is pretty old and you live in the salt belt region, or your car generally is very rusty this may not be the best job to do on your own unless you have proper tools and experience working on cars. Rust slowed me down heavily. Even with a ton of PB Blaster, 22 inch breaker bar, and an impact gun, I had some difficulty getting pieces apart. We had to resort to using a torch at one point.
Tools I used (may not be all inclusive):
Ratcheting Wrench w/sockets and box ended wrenches in 12mm, 17mm, 19mm, 22mm
Lift or Jack with jack stands
If I have the terminology correct, what I actually broke was a control arm. The lateral link is the secondary pieces closer toward the front of the vehicle.
First thing is to disconnect the end links from the control arms. I don't have photos of this because I ended up removing the entire sway bar as part of another upgrade. It's pretty straight forward. I had problems with rust here, but all you have to do is unbolt the nut and bolt from the bottom portion of the end link that goes thru the bracket on the control arm.
I have aftermarket endlinks so yours may look different. Also ignore the socket. I was just sizing for a future step.
You can start to see the amount of rust and deformation I had on the bolt. I ended up having to use a hammer and a punch with a lot of PB Blaster to get it out. Destroyed the bolt. Luckily I'm replacing the whole setup.
After they're disconnected, you can just twist them out of the way.
I'm going to remove the control arm on the passenger side toward the back of the vehicle first since that is the section I broke.
What you'll want to do is to remove the bolt that attaches the control arm to the frame of the vehicle. If I recall correctly, it's a 17mm. Here is a photo of where it was. This is where one of the alignment adjustments are made.
You can see the control arm still in between the mount with the nut and bolt removed
Now don't lose the pieces because a lot goes to it. I just put them together like this so I know what order it goes in.
A shot of the control arm in the same place from the back side.
Here is the broken side of the control arm removed.
As you can see I started to try and remove this bolt only for it to hit the axle. I thought I had to drop the axle to remove this, but if you lower the car back onto its wheels, it will drop enough for you to pull it out.
Next, you'll want to remove the wheel so you can gain access.
There is a small bracket that holds the brake lines in place. It blocks access to the nut, so you'll want to unscrew it and push the bracket up the line so it's out of the way. That way you can bent the brake line back to get a wrench in there. Sorry for the blurry pic. Here's the bracket and where the nut you need to remove. I think the bracket is a 12mm.
Remove the nut 1st. Not the bolt. There is so much rust on crap on that bolt since it's exposed it'll be near impossible to remove if your car is at least a couple years old. Make sure you hose it down with plenty of PB Blaster. An impact wrench ad breaker bar came in very handy here. It's 22mm by the way.
After the nut is removed, you'll have to just work at the main bolt until it frees up and you can back it out. If not, you'll have to put a torch on it. We didn't have to here, but we did the other side.
Go ahead an undo the other side since that long bolt holds both the control arm and laterlink. I did this over a few days so one is already in for me.
Both go in. Keep in mind the orientation of all the washers, bolts, and weird looking extra stuff.
Side by side comparison
Both installed. Now I didn't do this to all of them, but I wish I did, make sure the adjustable portion for the length of the bar is centered. If you need to adjust them in the future or when you complete the install and notice everything is a bit off, you'll have the room to do it.
Start breaking free the other side
And don't forget to put that rubber protector back on. It slides on one way, and twists to lock in place.
With the other side removed, remember the order the washers go back on.
Now for this part again. Unfortunately, we were unable to break that nut with a breaker bar or with an impact gun.
Last resort... I'd only do this if you know what you're doing. My friend is a mechanic. Be sure to protect melt-able pieces with a wet rag.
Finally got the bolt out. But now the bushing melted off and the metal part is stuck on.
In the vice it goes.
Remember to grease the bushings it the supplied packet. Anywhere with bushing to metal contact.
That's it. Now you must get an alignment when everything is done! Try and make sure your control arms and lateral links are as close to stock as possible because I was fairly off when I was installing them in order to get them on. Car drove insanely weird because of it and adds a lot of stress. So do it before driving it to the tire shop.
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