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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m replacing control arms, tie rods, stabilizers and struts on my ‘03. It took me all day to do one side. It was a combination of inexperience and not the right tools. The ball joint separator I ordered was too small, so I had to do a run to the store to get a larger one after several attempts to whack the knuckle failed. The second tool run was the inner tie rod tool I got last week the largest end was too small. I had to get another one. The inexperience was things like trying to install the new lower control arm and the geometry on the ball joint wasn’t correct for the knuckle. I had watched a video this week. I had to watch the video twice more today to see that the geometry on the one he installed was different than mine. I wrestled with that at least 45 minutes before I called a friend. Of course it makes perfect sense that it is a ball joint, so a few light taps aligned it.

Tomorrow when I do the other side if the inner tie rod boot is intact I may not replace the inner end. The one I replaced today seemed fine and was not loose. The outer end was trashed. The strut seemed ok, but it was only a matter of time. The boot had come off the strut at the bottom.
 

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I’m replacing control arms, tie rods, stabilizers and struts on my ‘03. It took me all day to do one side. It was a combination of inexperience and not the right tools
Good job! At least tomorrow’s excuse won’t be inexperience. IMO with the age and mileage I would replace the inner TR while your in there and with the front end all new.
 

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It's done. The other side took less than 3 hours. It needs an alignment, but I can tell that it drives much better than it did. If anybody else is planning on a similar job, PM me. I can give you some suggestions that I did not find in any videos or online. I
Mind posting here? I may take on this job in the summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mind posting here? I may take on this job in the summer.
Sure. This is for the 03-08 Pilot, but likely applies to the others.

Rent the tie rod tool from AutoZone. The one at Advance Auto isn’t large enough. Get a ball joint separator, or at least a pickle fork. Banging on the knuckle did nothing for me. It’s impressive when those ball joints pop loose. Find the longest crescent/box wrenches you can. You’ll need a dead blow hammer, a breaker bar and a 1/2 drive ratchet - it will have a longer handle. Consider getting an impact gun. I’m going to before I do our ‘12 pilot in the next few months. If the boots on the inner tie rods are in good shape, you don’t need to replace them but you will need zip ties to replace the factory metal clamps. If you’re replacing the strut assemblies, it’s a two person job to put the new strut in, or at least it’s a lot easier with two people. When you’re installing the new lower control arms, the control arm has 1 bushing where the hole is vertical and one bushing where the hole is horizontal. With the control arm behind the axle, put the vertical bushing in place and screw the bolt part way in. Rotate it and put the horizontal bushing in and screw the bolt part way in. Then align the ball joint to the knuckle. I tried pre-alignment using the old control arm, but that didn’t really work since the ball joint on the old one was shot. I used my ratchet wrench with a socket dropped over the threads on the ball joint as a lever. If you don’t have the bolt holding the vertical bushing aligned, it can go in at an angle and jam. Then it takes a long time to wrestle out. If you’re replacing struts, the stabilizer only needs to be disconnected from the car. You can just leave it attached to the old strut.

I did the struts last after replacing everything else. I only had 1 part removed at a time - I replaced the control arm, then the tie rods, then the strut. I was trying to minimize movement on the wheel and screwing up the axles. I put my floor jack under the control arm ball joint just to hold the wheel before I pulled the strut out. I saw a video where he removed the axle before replacing the strut, but I couldn’t find a big enough socket anywhere.
 
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