1A Auto Video Library
Our how-to videos have helped repair over 100 million vehicles.

How to Replace Upper Control Arm 2007 - 2014 Chevy Suburban

Share on:

Created on: 2019-07-11

Check out this 1A Auto video and learn how to replace the upper control arm on your 07-14 Chevy Suburban. 1A Auto shows you how to do it yourself!

  1. step 1 :Removing the Front Wheel
    • Pry off the center cap
    • Loosen the 7/8 in lug nuts with the vehicle on the ground
    • Raise and support the vehicle
    • Remove the lug nuts
    • Remove the wheel
  2. step 2 :Removing the Strut
    • Remove the wiring harness retainer from the strut stud
    • Remove the three 15 mm upper strut mount nuts
    • Remove the two 18 mm nuts from the two 15 mm bolts at the lower strut mount, and remove the two bolts
    • Pry down on the lower control arm to free the strut and remove it
  3. step 3 :Removing the Axle
    • Mark the inner axle joint to return it to the same orientation during reinstallation
    • Remove the 15 mm bolts securing the axle joint
    • Slide the axle off and down
    • Remove the 36 mm axle nut
    • Remove the axle washer
    • Tap the axle out with a hammer
  4. step 4 :Removing the Upper Control Arm
    • Pry out the inner ABS wire retainer clip
    • Disconnect the ABS wire electrical connector
    • Open the outer ABS wire retainer clamp and remove the wire
    • Set the ABS wire aside
    • Remove the 10 mm bolt securing the brake line and suspension sensor bracket
    • Remove the bracket from the upper control arm
    • Loosen the 18 mm upper ball joint nut
    • Loosen the upper ball joint from the wheel knuckle with a pickle fork
    • Mark the position of the cam washers on the inner control arm bolts
    • Find a socket or similar object to fit snugly between the control arm and the body to have a reference for the resting position of the control arm
    • Remove the 21 mm nut from each of the 13/16 in or 21 mm inner cam bolts
    • Tap the bolts out with a hammer, or pry them out, as necessary
    • Pull the upper control arm out
  5. step 5 :Installing the Upper Control Arm
    • Clean the contact surface of the mounting points
    • Insert the upper control arm into position
    • Install the 21 mm cam bolts and cam washers
    • Install the 21 mm nuts onto the cam bolts
    • Insert the reference object to set the control arm at the correct position
    • Tighten the 21 mm nut onto the 21 mm cam bolt making sure the cams are in the position marked earlier
    • Torque the nuts to 140 ft-lb
    • Remove the reference object
    • Install the upper ball joint into the wheel knuckle
    • Install the ball joint castle nut
    • Torque the 18 mm castle nut to 37 ft-lb, then tighten further to align the castle nut with the cotter pin hole
    • Install the cotter pin through the ball joint stud and castle nut, and peen it over
    • Install the 7 mm grease fitting into the ball joint
    • Reinstall the brake line and suspension sensor bracket and secure it with the 10 mm bolt
    • Reinstall the ABS wire into the retaining clamp
    • Reconnect the ABS wire electrical connector
    • Reinstall the ABS wire retaining clip
    • Add grease to the ball joint with a grease gun until the boot slightly moves
  6. step 6 :Installing the Strut
    • nsert the top strut studs through the mounting holes and start one of the nuts to hold it in place
    • Position the lower strut mount
    • Insert the lower strut mount bolts, and install the nuts
    • Tighten the 18 mm nuts onto the 18 mm bolts
    • Torque the 18 mm nuts to 37 ft-lb
    • Install the top 15 mm strut mount nuts
    • Torque the top 15 mm nuts to 37 ft-lb
  7. step 7 :Installing the Axle
    • Insert the outer axle into the wheel hub
    • Align the inner axle with the markings made when removing it
    • Install the 15 mm bolts and tighten them in a crossing pattern
    • Torque the 15 mm axle bolts to 58 ft-lb in a crossing pattern
    • Install the axle washer and 36 mm axle nut
    • Tighten the 36 mm axle nut
    • Torque the 36 mm axle nut to 177 ft-lb
  8. step 8 :Installing the Wheel
    • Slide the wheel onto the wheel studs
    • Tighten the lug nuts
    • Lower the vehicle with minimal weight on the wheel
    • Torque the lug nuts to 140 ft-lb in a crossing pattern
    • Lower the vehicle completely

Tools needed

  • Socket Extensions


    15mm Socket

    Pry Bar

    Jack Stands

    18mm Socket

    21mm Socket

    Pickle Fork

    21mm wrench

    Flat Blade Screwdriver

    13/16 Inch Wrench

    7/8 Inch Socket

    Straight Cutters

    10mm Socket

    Floor Jack

    1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

    36mm Socket

Hi, I'm Mike from 1AAuto. We've been selling auto parts for over 30 years.

What's up guys? I'm Andy from 1AAuto. Today I'm going to show you how to install an upper control arm on this 2009 Chevy Suburban. If you need this part or other parts for your vehicle, click the link in the description and head over to 1AAuto.com. You're going to want to keep in mind whenever you're doing any kind of suspension repair whether you're replacing components or removing and reinstalling components you're going to change your steering angles and you're going to want to go to a local shop and have your alignment performed.

First I'm going to take this center cap off. I'm just going to use a straight blade screwdriver. Get behind this little tab right here, this one right here, slide it off. Now we're going to loosen up the lug nuts. I'm going to take a seven eighth socket and a breaker bar. You can also use a 22 millimeter socket. Loosen these up. Now, I'm going to raise and support the vehicle. I'm using a two post lift. If you're doing this at your house, you can use a jack and jack stands. Going to take the lug nuts off just make sure they're all loose first. Yep they're good. I'll take the last lug nut off, grab the tire, pull it off.

To Take the upper control arm out you don't need to take the straight out but it makes it a lot easier to get these two bolts out because the bolts have to go inward and instead of fighting with them the strut comes out fairly easily. We're going to disconnect the upper strut mount nuts on this vehicle. There is a wiring harness with a retainer right here. Just pull up on that and there's the three nuts up top. If your vehicle happens to have this little connector here you can push on this and pop it off. This vehicle has deleted this option so it's not connected. I'll take a 15 millimeter socket, a swivel extension, and a ratchet. Loosen up these nuts. All right. These lower shock or lower strut bolts are pretty rusty so I'm just going to use a little rust penetrant.

I'm going to take a 18 millimeter wrench, put it on top on the nut, and then a 15 millimeter socket and ratchet on the bottom bolt. Then I'm going to loosen them up. Take those goes out and then I'll take the other one out. It's easier to crack the nut free instead of trying to loosen up on the bolt. Once that's loose then you can loosen the bolt. Pull that bolt out. I'm going to take a pry bar. I'm just going to pry down on the lower control arm. Move this strut inward so that it's off of this little seat right there. Do that and lower this down. Then I can slide the top out. Pull it straight out from the top. I'm going to remove the front axle. Before I take these bolts out I am going to mark the housing where it's located so that when I put it back together it's in the exact same place. I don't know that it necessarily is going to cause any issues I just like to put it back together the way it came apart.

I'm going to use a 15 millimeter socket and a ratchet. I'm going to loosen this up. When I'm loosening this it's spinning so what I'm going to do is take a pry bar from the outside. I'm just going to hold it between the lugs to keep it from spinning. Loosen it up. I'll loosen up the other ones as well. I'm going to take all these bolts out. There's six of them. Once those bolts are out, take the axle and just slide it forward, slip it down. I'm going to loosen up this axle nut. I'm going to take a pry bar and just put it between the lugs right there. And take the axle nut socket, a 36 millimeter, and a breaker bar. I'm going to loosen this up. Be careful when doing this. The axle nut is very tight. All right. Break that loose. I'll take my pry bar and a ratchet socket and I'll just loosen it up and take this nut off. There's a little washer under here or big washer. Take that off as well.

Next, we're going to take a hammer. If this is on really tight when you tap it then you can put the nut back on so that you don't ruin the threads. This axle is not that tight so I'm going to hold the axle with my other hand. Gently tap it so that I can remove the axle just like that and just pull it out of the way. I'm going to remove this ABS harness out of my way. I'm just going to take a trim tool. Just go underneath the retainer, just underneath there, just pry up. Pull that out and then we'll disconnect the electrical connector. This little button right here you can push or if yours is stuck in there a little bit you can release it underneath here with a straight head screwdriver. Push down here. There we go. Disconnect that connector and I'm going to release it right here. Just take the straight blade screwdriver. Disconnect that just like that. Set it aside.

We're going to disconnect this bracket. This holds the brake hose and also this is for the suspension. It's a sensor that senses the suspension height. Let's use a 10 millimeter socket, and extension, and a ratchet. Take that out of this bracket. We'll just come up here, slide it out of the way. You can pop this little ball and socket off if you want but be careful. Generally these little plastic things break so if you just set it out of the way it should be fine.

Next thing I'm going to loosen this upper ball joint nut up. I'm going to use an 18 millimeter wrench. Loosen it up. I'm not going to take it off completely. This would help to have a ratchet wrench at this point. All right. Now this is finger tight. Actually I pulled it off but I'm going to put it back on. Just a couple of threads, it doesn't really matter. It's fine. I'm just going to turn the wheel a little bit.

Now, if you were reusing this upper control arm and ball joint, you might not want to use a pickle fork to release this ball joint. You might want to, there is other types of tools you can do to use to release a ball joint. You can give it a little tap. You've got to be careful when you do this. Just tap on the knuckle and it will release just like that. The reason I leave the nut there is so it all this stuff doesn't come flying so it's easier for me to later go in with a pry bar. Just push down on this and I can take the nut off. And then gently release this.

Okay. At this point just make sure your brake hose doesn't have too much tension on it. It is a good idea if you wanted to put a support underneath this lower control arm, but it's not necessary. So then we're gonna move on to these two bolts. I am going to spray these down with some rust penetrant. They are pretty rusty. Right there and right here. Before we take this upper arm out we want to pay attention to the alignment cams that are on the top.

Now these actually have these plastic little inserts in. They're basically like knockouts. The older vehicles had something called knockouts which you actually had to take and hammer them out. These ones just have these plastic little pieces. So, in the factory when they put this vehicle together, they use those and that aligns this where it needs to be. So if you have those then you're good. If not, you're going to want to take a marker, just make a mark where this little pin is. You can do it on the inside or the outside. And then same on this one as well. And just get it as close as possible when you go to put it back together and then your alignment might be closer which is good. It'll make it easier to drive down the road to go have your alignment performed.

So before I take this out, one more thing I want to keep in mind. When I put the new upper arm in and I tighten down the bolt, I'm going to want this arm to be in this same location because that'll prevent your bushings from wearing out too early. What I do is I take a socket right here. I happen to measure a 13 millimeter socket and it fits in there nicely. So, when I put the new arm in I'm going to put this in this position and put the socket here. So, just check that before. And then I will go and tighten those down. Otherwise what you would have to do is have these bolts in there loosely and then put the vehicle on the ground so that it's at ride level and then torque those two nuts down. Which when the vehicle is down on the ground at ride level it's hard to get a torque wrench in there. So if you do it this way it makes it a lot easier.

Next I want to loosen up this nut and the bolt. I'm going to use a 13/16 wrench on the inside. You can also use a 21, and then a 21 millimeter socket, and a breaker bar on the nut. Loosen it up. It's on there pretty tight. I'm going to loosen up this one. Now that it's loose, I can use a ratchet. I'll just take a hammer, just give the bolt a tap. Tap it inwards. It's sticking a little bit so I'm going to spray some more rust penetrant. Spray it on the outside. I'm just going to take the hammer and just work it back and forth. Just grab a punch and then hammer it through. This cam came off this side so just keep in mind that that is the one that's closer to the driver. Just tap it through. Slide that bolt right out. This bolt actually broke in here so I'm just going to try to take a punch and try to hammer it out a little bit. Excellent.

Take a pry bar or a screwdriver. Take this front cam off. Use a little more rust penetrant. Then I'll take my hammer, just hammer it in. It's frozen pretty good. Take my wrench and just try to work it back and forth. So, our bolt on the front of this upper control arm actually sheared off right here. So, what I have to do is hammer it in. We tried pulling it out and it's not coming out so we're going to have to use an air hammer to get it out. Spray a little rust penetrant there. Let it soak for a little bit.

Just try taking a wrench and just see if I can get it to move a little bit more. If I can spin it then it'll loosen up. It's in there good. I'm just going to tap it back in. Okay. Just take a wrench and hopefully be able to spin it and there it goes. It's loose enough. Take a pry bar and just pry it out. And there's the bolt. I can grab this upper control arm, wiggle it back and forth. If you need a pry bar get underneath and pry it out. Make sure you watch out for this sensor keep that out of the way. There you go. Pull it out.

Here's the old upper control arm. Here's our new upper control arm from 1AAuto.com. As you can see the shape is the same. The ball joint itself looks a little bigger which is going to make it last a lot longer. Flip it over. It comes with new bushings. It comes with a new nut. Take this nut off. There's a little cover on here. That's just for shipping so you want to take that off. It comes with a cotter pin and a grease fitting. It's greasable which makes it last longer. Get yours at 1AAuto.com. And you'd be ready to rock and roll.

So, we need to swap this cam off this bolt from the old one to the new one. But where we were hammering on the end it's mushroomed out a little bit so it's not going to come off of there. So, what I'm going to do is take a die grinder and I'm just going to sand this down a little bit. Slide that off. Now we can transfer that to our new bolt. Now we can reinstall this. I'm just going to take a wire brush just because I got a lot of rust penetrant in here and I don't want that to cause my upper control arm to move. So, I'll just use a wire brush, clean this up a little bit. Take some brake parts cleaner. Clean that off. Do this side as well. All right. So now we're going to take the upper control arm, try to get it in position, take the new bolts, I'll get that in position. See if you had the strut in here at this time it would be a little bit tricky to get these in and out.

I'll take this cam on the back side and try to line that plastic up with that little tab just like that. Put the new nut on this side. We'll take the front cam and just slide that in position. Line that up with the plastic. Put the nut on. All right. Now we're going to position the upper control arm where we took it off. We're going to use the socket that we used before to measure the distance so that's at the height that we want to torque it down at. What you could also do is put it all together, put the wheel on, and then torque it with the wheel on. It's a little bit trickier to do it that way so let's just do it with the socket to hold it there. I'm going to use a 21 millimeter wrench, and a 21 millimeter socket, and a ratchet. I'm just going to snug these up first. You can also use a 13/16.

Then I'll take a torque wrench with my 21 and I'm going to torque these to 140 foot pounds. The same with the front one. Now we can remove our socket. At this point we can install the knuckle, just get it lined up, then use a pry bar. Pry down on the upper control arm. Then I'll take the castle nut that it comes with. Get that started. While I'm praying down on that put the nut up there and I'll take an 18 millimeter socket and a ratchet. Get that snug.

Now I'm going to torque this nut to 37 foot pounds. The new ball joint comes with a new cotter pin and you have to line it up with the hole in this stud and after you torque the nut if it doesn't line up, you can tighten it up a little bit more to get it to line up a little bit more. Take the cotter pin, put it through the hole. Then I'll take some straight cutters. I'm just going to bend the cotter pin down. Just like that. I'm going to trim off the excess, then trim it up off up top as well. You're all set.

Then I'll take the grease fitting that it comes with. Get that started. Just take a seven millimeter wrench or a seven millimeter socket. Just snug it up. Not too tight. You don't want it to break. Next, I'm going to get this bracket lined up. Take the 10 millimeter bolt. Get that started. Take a 10 millimeter socket and a ratchet. Just snug this up. Then we can reposition the ABS wiring harness. Get that positioned there then lock it down in place. Connect the connector, lock it in place, and then we position it.

At this point we can grease the fittings. Just take a grease gun, position that on the grease fitting, and give it a couple of pumps. I normally look to see the boot expand a little bit. You don't want to put too much grease in. That's pretty good right there. Now we're going to install the strut. Just slide this in. And then slide it up and you're going to align the studs up up top. And I grabbed a nut and I'm just going to get one of the nuts started. We'll use a pry bar, pry in on the spring side. This actually is a little easier if you have the sway bar link out, get that in position. I'm going to pry it back into place just like that. Now I am going to take these strut bolts, get these lined up. If they don't line up with the holes you can take a screwdriver. Try To get this to line up first. Get the bolt through, put the nut on top. Same with this side.

We'll take a 18 millimeter wrench, and a 15 millimeter socket, and a ratchet. Tighten these bolts up. Now I'm going to torque these to 37 foot pounds. Then I'll take the other nuts and get those started up top. Then I'll take a 15 millimeter socket, and a ratchet, and just snug these up. And then I'm going to torque them. Now I'm going to get a torque wrench and torque these to 37 foot pounds. We're going to push this wire retainer onto one of those studs. And then if you have this connector you're going to connect that to the top of the strut.

Now we're going to send the axle back into position. Slide it up from underneath. Slide it into the the wheel bearing. You might have to twist it a little bit. Then we're gonna take this flange and just bend it out a little bit. Slide that in position. Going to try to line this up with how I took it out, the marks that I made. Take these bolts, get these started. Now I'm going to start to tighten these up and use a 15 millimeter socket and a ratchet. What I'm going to do is just snug this side up then I'm going to spin the axle and tighten the opposite side. Snug that one up. Going to go around the rest of the axle. Tighten these up.

I'm going to use a pry bar to hold the axle from spinning. Just put it on the lugs up up front and then I'm going to tighten these down to 58 foot pounds. I'm going to do this the same way. So I just torqued that one down. I'm going to spin it to the complete opposite side. Torque this one down so it gets tightened down evenly. Then I'll just go around and tighten them all down. It's good. Then I'll take the washer, put that on the axle, and then the nut, the axle on. Then I'll take a 36 millimeter socket and a ratchet and just snug this down. Now I can lower this vehicle down and put the prime bar on the ground. I'm just going to do it by hand. Hold it. Just be careful. I'm going to torque this to 177 foot pounds.

Now I'll take the tire and put the tire back on, put the lug nuts back on. Now I'm going to use a torque wrench a seven eighth socket. You could also use a 22 millimeter socket. And I'm going to torque these lug nuts to 140 foot pounds. We're going to do this in a cross pattern that will tighten the wheel down evenly. Just go around again and double check. Then we're going to install the center cap on the back side of the center cap. It shows where the valve stem is so you're going to line that up with where the valve stem goes and push it back on.

Thanks for watching. Visit us at 1AAuto.com for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.

2007 - 2007  GMC  Sierra 1500
2007 - 2007  Chevrolet  Silverado 1500
2007 - 2013  Cadillac  Escalade EXT
2007 - 2013  Chevrolet  Suburban 2500
2007 - 2014  GMC  Yukon
2007 - 2014  Cadillac  Escalade ESV
2007 - 2014  Cadillac  Escalade
2008 - 2013  GMC  Sierra 1500
2008 - 2013  Chevrolet  Silverado 1500
2007 - 2013  Chevrolet  Avalanche
2014 - 2016  Chevrolet  Silverado 1500
2014 - 2016  GMC  Sierra 1500
2007 - 2014  Chevrolet  Tahoe
2015 - 2016  Chevrolet  Tahoe
2007 - 2014  Chevrolet  Suburban 1500
2007 - 2014  GMC  Yukon XL 1500

How To Diagnose a Loose or Worn Ball Joint

Watch this video to learn how to diagnose problems with your steering or suspension. The experts at 1A Auto show you how to check for a loose or worn ball joint on your car, truck, van, or SUV.

Search Videos
Go To Top

Same Day Shipping

Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.

Guaranteed To Fit

Highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts enforced to the strictest product standards.

USA Customer Support

Exceeding customers' expectations, our team of passionate auto enthusiasts are here to help.

Instructional Video Library

Thousands of how-to auto repair videos to guide you step-by-step through your repair.