1994 Grand Am - Axle

piddlerdad3November 16, 2006

I own a 1994 Grand Am 4 cylinder with 84,000 miles on it. I took off both front wheels and inspected brakes and front end parts.

1) Noticed that the driver side stabilizer bar has a bolt on it with some grommets. bolt is supposed to extend into the lower control arm. It looks like the bottom grommet fell off and the bolt has separated from the control arm and is hanging with one end still attached to the stabilizer bar.

Question: I'm going to purchase the parts i need to replace the bolt on the stabilizer bar. Is this as simple as it looks? or is there more involved than just removing the old bolt and putting a new one on. How do i line up the control arm?

2) Both CV boots on the driver side axle are torn. Grease has been thrown out. I imagine CV joints are dry.

Question: Is this an automatic "replace the axle" situation? I plan on removing the axle to inspect. How can I tell if the axle is still ok? I've never replaced an axle myself, but have no money for a mechanic right now. I plan to do this myself. Any suggested websites to get instructions from? I have a Chilton's manual that covers 14 years worth of Grand Ams. Not sure I'm the best prepared right now.

Any help is much appreciated. thanks, dennis

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I generally replace both sway bar links at once, since they cost around $10 each, and the other side is likely to be in the same condition shortly. Just use a long pry bar to turn the sway bar down and get the bolt through the control arm and get the nut started on it.
When a customer has torn axle boots, I just replace the axle. It's possible to clean, repack the CV joints and install new boots, but the labor involved ends up costing more than a replacement axle. Also, the joints have been running exposed to water, sand, etc. and will have a shortened life. To test them now, listen for a clicking noise in turns. For replacement, you will need an axle nut socket (34 or 36mm) and possibly a pickle fork to separate the ball joint. The Chilton manual should detail this procedure.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 10:43AM
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What Delbert says is absolutely true.
IMO, if one runs more than three days with an open CV joint boot, irreversible damage has been done.

$95 is the price I have seen for a rebuilt axle assembly - all they do is replace the boots and hopefully clean, inspect, and repack the joints..
Most all cars, after 7 to 10 years ,need new rubber(boots, hoses,bushings,belts)..

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 1:45PM
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Delbert, Earthworm,
thanks for the advice, well taken. The sway bar links (bolts) came cheap from local auto parts store. I did as you said and removed both old ones (had to cut them loose with a hacksaw). The washers and sleeve that surrounds the bolt were all "frozen" together after 12 years. So, there was no loosening the nut or bolt on either side. The passenger side bolt broke once I applied stress to turn it loose. Lots of labor hacksawing, but worth it. Sway bar swung free once both bolts were removed, and easy to install new bolts. Chilton's manual told what torque spec to follow and having a torque wrench is one of the best investments i've made.

The axles are next - right after the brakes and tires. Have to take it a step at a time for pocket book's sake.

I wont' need a front end alignment unless I remove the struts, correct? Struts / springs are squeaky, but no leaking and seem okay on the bounce test. Also, right now, car drives with no pulling to left or right.

Thanks again! dennis

    Bookmark   November 24, 2006 at 1:29PM
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