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Discussion Starter #1
I was changing out my front control arms last night on my 2004 PIlot, and encountered the following problem. I've included photos to help show the issues.

First, the rubber was badly cracked on the compliance bushing on both arms, and both ball joints were torn and leaking, hence the reason for the repair. The tie rod joint boots were also badly torn and leaking, as well as the rubber on the top and bottom of both end links, so I replaced them, and also replaced the struts while I was there.

The passenger side removal and replacement went great, no problems other than requiring lots of brute force, PBBlaster, and breaker bars, pickle forks, etc.

However the driver side had really rusty bolts on the two places where the control arm connects to the frame. It took 2 hours to remove the forward one after lots of lube, heat, and picking rust with a dental pick out of the exposed threads of the bolt before it entered the retaining nut that's welded to the frame. I still needed a 5-foot breaker bar to remove it 1/16 of a turn at a time. Once removed, I could see that the threads are corroded and can't be chased with a nut even with the bolt in a vise, so I'll be replacing that bolt.

Likewise, the bolt that holds the compliance bushing into the frame took even more force to break it free and back it out. It was actually twisting the compliance bushing too, as if the shaft of the bolt was seized into the metal sleeve of the bushing. Eventually it popped and the bolt started to come out, still requiring a lot of force to turn it. I got it about halfway out and it won't drop down any further, it just spins in place inside the bushing. On the passenger side, the bolt dropped out as soon as it cleared the threads of the retaining nut on the top. Looking into the inside of the bushing on the old control arm I pulled from the right side, you can see that there are actually two separate bushing surfaces inside the rubber part, with a wider open space in the middle. The bolt is only partially threaded, about halfway down the bolt shaft, and I think there was so much corrosion around the threads of the bolt that they aren't passing smoothly through the lower part of the bushing due to the tight tolerance. The new Proforged control arm bushings have a 1-piece center instead of the original Honda 2-piece center, so hopefully this won't happen again.

But for now, any recommendations on how to remove the bolt? I've tried forcing it down while spinning it with an air ratchet, hoping the threads would catch into the lower sleeve and help it twist out, but it just binds. I've also tried banging it downward using the tie rod pickle fork behind the bolt's flange, inserted from the side, bracing the fork's tip against the frame on the opposite side, and hitting downward on the fork with a 3-lb hammer, but it still won't break free. I think I'll just end up using a cutoff wheel to cut the bolt, then tap it back up into the bushing so the arm can free the mounting slot. I've already ordered new bolts to replace this one and the front arm bolt, but they won't be delivered until Tuesday. I couldn't find them anywhere online that had faster shipping since we're going into a holiday weekend, so my local Honda dealer is ordering them, they'll arrive Tuesday, and a coworker will pick them up and bring them to me, since I can't drive anywhere till I get this arm fixed. So I've got until Tuesday to come up with the easiest solution to removing this bolt. Any ideas?
 

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I'd use a wood block beside the bolt as leverage for your fork. Or you could drill a hole in a 2 x 6 block large enough to slip over the bolt, if you can't get a block to stay in place beside it. Pry down on the bolt against the wood while using an impact wrench. It would help if you had a 2nd person.
 

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I agree with more leverage. As NailGrease suggests, giving yourself more purchase with the pickle fork is probably the cleanest approach. Perhaps get a second fork and stack them?

My suggestion is to seriously irrigate with PB blaster tonight, then again in the morning, again tomorrow evening, then try removing it again Sunday. Time is on your side.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree with more leverage. As NailGrease suggests, giving yourself more purchase with the pickle fork is probably the cleanest approach. Perhaps get a second fork and stack them?

My suggestion is to seriously irrigate with PB blaster tonight, then again in the morning, again tomorrow evening, then try removing it again Sunday. Time is on your side.
I tried for another couple hours this evening. I've got 2 pickle forks, and tried everything I could to get a better angle on it, but still no luck. I can't go anywhere to get any other tools since the Pilot is my only vehicle, I live alone and don't have anyone to call to help. I think using the cutoff wheel is probably easiest at this point, I've just never cut through a large bolt like that, so I'm wondering how hard it's going to be. It's 14mm.
 

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I tried for another couple hours this evening. I've got 2 pickle forks, and tried everything I could to get a better angle on it, but still no luck. I can't go anywhere to get any other tools since the Pilot is my only vehicle, I live alone and don't have anyone to call to help. I think using the cutoff wheel is probably easiest at this point, I've just never cut through a large bolt like that, so I'm wondering how hard it's going to be. It's 14mm.
I would not cut the bolt off. It will make getting what's left in the frame harder to get out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would not cut the bolt off. It will make getting what's left in the frame harder to get out.
There are no threaded parts left in the car frame, only about 1 inch of the bolt is not visible in the photo, the threads are stuck in the middle of the bushing, which allows the arm to wiggle around since it's not making any contact at the top. It's only the bottom of the bushing that isn't able to clear the car because of the bolt. The bolt actually moves up and down with no restriction about 1/2 inch and rotates freely because the corroded wide part of the bolt is in the area of the bushing sleeve that is wider (see the photo showing the internal part of the bushing). So cutting off the bolt as flush as I can get it will allow me to push it back up into the bushing and the arm will come right out.
 

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There are no threaded parts left in the car frame, only about 1 inch of the bolt is not visible in the photo, the threads are stuck in the middle of the bushing, which allows the arm to wiggle around since it's not making any contact at the top. It's only the bottom of the bushing that isn't able to clear the car because of the bolt. The bolt actually moves up and down with no restriction about 1/2 inch and rotates freely because the corroded wide part of the bolt is in the area of the bushing sleeve that is wider (see the photo showing the internal part of the bushing). So cutting off the bolt as flush as I can get it will allow me to push it back up into the bushing and the arm will come right out.
Ok, then I guess at that point you can knock what's left out with a hammer and punch.
 

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There are no threaded parts left in the car frame, only about 1 inch of the bolt is not visible in the photo, the threads are stuck in the middle of the bushing, which allows the arm to wiggle around since it's not making any contact at the top. It's only the bottom of the bushing that isn't able to clear the car because of the bolt. The bolt actually moves up and down with no restriction about 1/2 inch and rotates freely because the corroded wide part of the bolt is in the area of the bushing sleeve that is wider (see the photo showing the internal part of the bushing). So cutting off the bolt as flush as I can get it will allow me to push it back up into the bushing and the arm will come right out.
Another option: reciprocating saw with metal cutting blade would cut that bolt quick
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't have to
Another option: reciprocating saw with metal cutting blade would cut that bolt quick
Last week I bought a recip saw, cutoff wheel tool, and angle grinder to have on hand for this job. Already used the saw to remove the rusted end link bolts. So one way or another, that bolt is coming off today.
 

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Update: 10 minutes with a recip saw and I was able to cut off the bolt, knock what was left of the bolt back up into the bushing, and remove the arm. Once I had it off the car, I could knock the rest of the bolt through with a punch. You can see in the photo that there indeed was a bunch of rusty crap around the center part of the bolt that was keeping it from dropping through the bottom of the bushing. Luckily my local Honda dealer who ordered the new bolts called around noon and said they came in early, so I was able to have my friend pick them up and she dropped them off at my house about 5 minutes after I got the bolt cut off, so great timing. I also replaced the bolt that holds the arm into the forward frame rail. The 2 parts cost $14.

Got the rest of the suspension and tie rod installed and took it for a test drive. Everything seems okay with the new suspension, a much stiffer ride than before, and the top of the front wheel well is about 1 inch higher now than before. And just as I got back to my driveway, the CEL came on with a P0420 code. That seems to be the story with this car. Fix one thing, something else breaks. But enjoy these photos of the carnage. Cut-off bolts and end links, and only one sway bar bushing because I never could loosen that back driver's side bolt holding the bushing bracket. I'll have to save that for another time.
 

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And just as I got back to my driveway, the CEL came on with a P0420 code.
Hopefully it's not an actual catalytic converter and it's just an O2 sensor you disturbed while you were busy getting rough on your bolt. :)

Check those O2 sensors.

I was able to have my friend pick them up and she dropped them off at my house about 5 minutes after I got the bolt cut off, so great timing.
Sounds like a keeper. Take her out to dinner once the Pilot and the economy are back up and running. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Factory bolt prices are getting silly. On occasion il buy them, match them at fastenal then return them.
I tried to find a similar non-Honda bolt online, but this one has that thicker part near the bolt head, and everything else I could find was almost the same price, plus expedited shipping. These got delivered 24 hours after ordering, no shipping fees, and are the exact part. I don't mind using generic bolts on certain parts of the car where it doesn't matter, but I figure holding the control arm to the vehicle wasn't somewhere I wanted to risk using a different bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Note to self. Tuesday Morning have the vehicle aligned.
Forgot to mention that, I already made the appointment with the shop, I called them a few days ago and reserved a slot for Tuesday morning. I won't drive it between then and now, but I could tell things seemed pretty straight and weren't drastically off. I counted turns of the outer tie rods as I was removing the old ones, so I got the new ones back to pretty much the same spot, give or take a turn.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hopefully it's not an actual catalytic converter and it's just an O2 sensor you disturbed while you were busy getting rough on your bolt. :)

Check those O2 sensors.
I made sure to stay clear of the sensors so I don't think I disturbed anything, but it's probably about due for new ones. 170k miles, and the previous owner's records say he only replaced one upstream O2 sensor last spring. The other 3 are all original.
 

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I tried to find a similar non-Honda bolt online, but this one has that thicker part near the bolt head, and everything else I could find was almost the same price, plus expedited shipping. These got delivered 24 hours after ordering, no shipping fees, and are the exact part. I don't mind using generic bolts on certain parts of the car where it doesn't matter, but I figure holding the control arm to the vehicle wasn't somewhere I wanted to risk using a different bolt.
Convenience is a factor for me. Honda is more convenient but I'm glad we have a Fastenal. Yes, I'd want these bolts to match.
 

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I tried to find a similar non-Honda bolt online, but this one has that thicker part near the bolt head, and everything else I could find was almost the same price, plus expedited shipping. These got delivered 24 hours after ordering, no shipping fees, and are the exact part. I don't mind using generic bolts on certain parts of the car where it doesn't matter, but I figure holding the control arm to the vehicle wasn't somewhere I wanted to risk using a different bolt.
With all due respect, there are certain parts of the vehicle that you should bite the bullet and purchase the OEM nuts and bolts. Suspension is one of them. Just like in the aircraft industry, parts like that have high specs that they are made to for a reason. Would you really want to fly on a commercial flight if you saw the mechanic buying bolts at Ace Hardware or Lowes for the engine mounts or landing gear?
 
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