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Mazda 6, 1st Generation – Front Lower Rear Control Arm Replacement

Applies To:

2004 – 2008 Mazda 6

Vehicle In This Guide:

2006 Mazda 6 / 2.3L engine / 5 speed manual / 96,000 miles

Introduction

Update 08-19-2022: So 8 years later I had to do this job again on this car. The car now has 225,000 miles on it and the replacement control arms finally gave out. I’m happy that they lasted this long. I wanted to pass on a tip that will make this job go a lot quicker. Particularly when trying to remove the ball joints from the knuckle. Instead of using separators I used my Bernzomatic TS8000KC torch to heat the joints. Don’t use the blue propane torches. Use the yellow cylinders that have the MAPP gas and burn hotter. There is a rubber CV joint above the ball joints so you’ll need to protect it from the flame with some kind of shield when you do this – I used a soldering heat shield that I got from Home Depot . All it took was a few minutes of heating up the joints and the knuckle from multiple angles and then a couple of blows with a 4lb hammer. The joints popped out with ease.

Update 11-06-2013: Added a video at the bottom of the page. Also updated the article to include all three of the front control arms.

This guide will show you how to replace the lower rear control arms on your Mazda 6. Normally a control arm replacement is easy – couple of bolts and you’re done. Not in this case. In order to remove one of the control arm bolts you will have to lower the rear of the sub-frame a little so that the bolt clears the frame of the car. There is a little more work involved but it’s still not too bad of a job.

How To Remove the Front Lower Rear Control Arm

1. You should have the car up on jack stands and the wheel removed.

2. First thing you have to do is loosen the control arm bolt on the right. Then you have to remove the control arm nut on the left. Because let’s face it, you don’t want to lower the sub-frame and then find out that you can’t remove the bolt & nut from the control arm. You won’t be able to remove the bolt completely until you lower the rear of the sub-frame. You will also want to separate the control arm ball joint from the steering knuckle. You can use a ball joint separator to do this. Be careful when using the separator, you do not want to damage the other ball joint. You can also use a hammer and knock it out from the bottom but, again, be careful – the steering knuckle bushing will most likely come out with the ball joint. mazda 6 lower control arm

If that happens, you can use a jaw puller and separate the two pieces. mazda 6 control arm bushing

3. You will need to disconnect the steering gear from the steering shaft inside the car. Why? Because the steering gear is connected to the sub-frame so when you lower the sub-frame it can do some damage to the steering shaft – unless it is disconnected. Look under the driver’s side dashboard. You will see the cover for the steering gear u-joint. Remove the two plastic nuts and pull up on the cover. mazda 6 steering gear cover

4. With the cover out of the way, mark (index) both the gear and the shaft so that you know how to install them later on. Once that is complete, remove the bolt and slide the steering shaft up. Set it out of the way. mazda 6 steering gear u-joint

5. Pull back the insulation material and take out the rubber seal (green). It is clipped in place so you may have to push from the other side. mazda_6_steering_gear_seal

mazda 6 steering seal engine bay

6. Position a jack under the rear of the subframe. This will provide support as it is lowered. mazda 6 subframe jack

7. You’ll want to disconnect the left cover from the subframe. You probably don’t have to do this as it is only going to be lowered a couple inches at most, but better safe than sorry. Do the same thing on the other side. mazda 6 left wheel cover

8. Remove the one nut and two bolts from the sub-frame-to-body bracket. Do the same on the other side. mazda 6 subframe bracket

9. Using the jack, lower the rear of the subframe just a little, enough for the bolt to clear the frame of the car. Remove the control arm. mazda 6 lower control arm bolt

Installation of The Front Rear Control Arm

1. Position the new control arm inside the subframe and tighten the bolt to 48 lb-ft. You will need to tighten this another 90 degrees once the suspension is in neutral position. If you fail to do this, once you lower the car, the control arm is going to rotate and put a lot of stress on the new bushing. Insert the other end of the control arm (the ball joint) inside the steering knuckle. Tighten the new nut on the ball joint to 148 lb-ft.

2. Raise the sub-frame back up and install the metal brackets. The big nut should be torqued to 111 lb-ft and the two smaller bolts need to be torqued to 76 lb-ft

3. Install the steering gear seal and connect the steering gear to the steering shaft. Make sure the index marks line up otherwise your steering wheel is going to look jacked up. Tighten the bolt to 15 lb-ft. Reinstall the steering u-joint cover – finger tighten the two plastic nuts.

4. Secure the plastic covers at the wheel wells (if you removed them).

5. The final step is to tighten the control arm bolt an additional 90 degrees. You have to make sure the suspension is in the neutral position before you do this. If you fail to do this, once you lower the car the control arm is going to rotate and put a lot of stress on the bushing. So grab a jack and push up on the knuckle to compress the suspension. The suspension is in neutral position when you have 15.83 inches between the bottom of the wheel well and the center of the wheel hub. mazda 6 neutral suspension position

6. Install the wheel and triple check to make sure you tightened everything. The last thing you need is a control arm falling off in the middle of your commute. The end.

Watch The Video!

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51 Comments
  • Great video. This answers all the questions on how to drop the subframe. You went through a lot of work to make it but now I now what to do without guessing.

    Thank You.

    • It will damage the rubber boot that covers the ball joint and will squeeze a lot of the grease that is inside. If you want to preserve the balljoint and the boot you are much better off getting the spc balljoint press. I believe it costs something like $110 online.

  • I am going to change the lower front control arms on my 2004 Mazda 6 wagon (V6) so thanks in advance for your video. It appears a catalytic converter is going to prevent the removal of the inboard bolt on the passenger side lower front arm. Is there a way to remove the arm without removing the exhaust? Thanks.

    • Looks like the pre 06 V6 models had the exhaust going around the oil pan and blocking that passenger side bolt. I don’t have a V6 so I can’t say for sure but judging from the photos, you should be able to fit a long extension in there and get at the bolt. Otherwise you will have to drop that section of the exhaust. That should not be too complicated – remove the two nuts on one end, two nuts on the other end and a nut from the bracket. I would definitely spray those with rust penetrant first though.

    • I can tell you that I just did this job and no, you don’t need to touch the catalytic converter. You will have room after you lower the subframe. I u-joint for your socket will come in handy.

    • You can also loosen the passenger side motor mount and jack up the engine under the oil pan on that side. Use a piece of wood between the jack head and pan and only go as much as you need to get the wrench in. No sub-frame drop needed.

  • Hi there, many thanks for the guide – I found it on YouTube to begin with and it was spot on. Did the whole job in a couple of hours, I wouldn’t have been confident to drop the subframe on this car without your guide. Job done – thanks again. 🙂

  • what year/model is the video for? I have a 2004 mazda 6 V6. seems like the exhaust gets in the way for the front bolt? And I saw on on other sites where they were talking about the 2 bolts to unbolt the steering to lower the frame. Is this different as well from your video? thanks

    • The car in the video is a 2006 Mazda 6i with the 4 cylinder engine. Yes, you have a pre- 06 V6 exhaust which gets in the way of the right side control arm. Check out my comment above to address this. Most likely you will have to drop that section of the exhaust. As for the 2 bolts, that is a different way to do the same thing. You can remove the two bolts that hold the whole steering rack to the frame. Or you can remove the one bolt that secures the steering shaft u-joint (like I did in the video). That one is up to you.

  • The best auto repair video I have ever seen to the point, no 1 minute of time wasted. Very clear and everything covered. Impressed! Thank You! for taking the time to make this video. I’m about to replace all this on both sides tho hoping to only replace the bushing using the pre-existing arms. Also my son’s car is lowered so looking to install an adjustable ball joint.

  • This was a great video! I helped me a lot! One note that you may want to put in is to disconnect the power steering return line from the sub frame before you lower it. The two inch drop was enough to cause a fatigue crack in the metal tube. That tube appears to be a dealer only part and my local dealers had it for 150-300 dollars. Glad I save a ton on the other parts at rock auto!

    • Chris, thanks for your comment. I checked out the lines and I don’t see why you would need to disconnect them. They (along with the steering rack) are bolted to the subframe and are lowered as one when you drop the back of the subframe. The only point of pivot in the line is in the front by the radiator and by that point the line is a rubber hose, not a tube. So I don’t see any way for the tube to crack.

      Can you tell me what year your Mazda 6 is and what engine it has? Thanks.

  • Excellent video!
    I came here looking for a how to on dropping the subframe, and it was right on.
    The video helped a ton. Thanks!
    Whenever I’m ready to tackle the control arms, I’ll be watching this video again.

  • Awesome video! I’m about to tackle this job and your video has given me confidence that I can do it! I’m only replacing the lower front control arm though, do I need to do anything besides remove and replace that one control arm? Do I need to loosen any thing? Thanks in advice for your assistance!

    • Blake, if you have the 4 cylinder engine then no, you do not have to do anything else other than removing the front control arm. If you have the pre 2006 with a V6 engine then the exhaust will be in the way of one of the control arm bolts. You will then have to drop that section of the exhaust. Remember to compress the suspension to a neutral stance when tightening down the control arm bolts

  • Video is great. Much thanks for creating and posting it. How difficult is it generally to loosen the various bolts? It looks like perhaps you Pre-loosened most for the video. I am weighing doing the job myself but am concerned of having enough leverage in the tight confines under the car and also worried about the potential of breaking a bolt or worse breaking whatever they screw into. I have a 2003 v6 so the bolts have been on for roughly 12 years at this point.

    P.s. I checked the coolant line Chris mentioned. Not sure whether it would break or not but there is a simple bracket with a bolt on top of the frame rail that holds the tube to the sub assembly which could be removed just to be safe.

    • Loosening the bolts was not a problem. You will need to use some type of a breaker bar or a pipe (like I am using in the video) to create more leverage.

      I would be more worried about your exhaust. Since you have the v6 you will need to drop a section of the exhaust in order to reach one of the front control arm bolts.

      May be better to let a shop tackle this one.

  • Great video. I worked on my mazda 5 2007. I’m getting a lot of noise coming from the area. Not sure if it’s the brake caliper or the bushings on the knuckle. Do you have any advice to guide my in the right direction.

    • If you haven’t already, check out your sway bar bushings and sway bar end links.
      My sway bar bushings were shot on my Mazda6 and making a lot of noise, which at first I thought
      was coming more from the control arm area.
      It was hard for me to narrow down too because it would only make that noise while driving and even then not constantly, just certain dips in the road would bring it out.
      It took me pulling/pushing at my sway bar from different angles to find it out.
      Also, check out Eric The Car Guy – suspension noise on YouTube for some great advice on finding suspension noises.
      Hope this helps!

  • Brilliant video but I have a question. part of your video shows a view from the front and shows the lower front control arm There is a large bolt that goes thru from the front thru the outer [ wheel side not engine side] goes thru what looks like a 2.5 inch diameter 1 inch thick rubber/metal washer . This big rubber/metal washer pulled off my car yesterday, and the one on the other side was hanging off also. I clipped a foto out of you video if that would help to identify what this does and if it matters
    any info appreciated

    Trevor

  • Just out of curiosity is there any way to adjust the front alignment after the job is finished? After replacing my front upper and lower control arms my castor and camber are off and really wearing out the tires on the passenger side.

  • Hi All,
    I know it states it is the same for 2006-2009 Fusion do you know if it will be the same for 2011 3.5 FWD? Also does anyone know the part numbers of the three Control arms i would hate to order the wrong ones.

    Amazing write up and video!!

    Thanks,
    Elias

  • It will be the same. The 2006 – 2012 Fusion uses the same suspension setup. As for part numbers, I would call a Ford dealer and give them your vin number. They should be able to give you the correct part numbers.

  • Hi Guys. What brand are the upper and lower control arm? Motorcraft o Dorman? I see “made in taiwan”, I suppose are Dorman? Quality? Durability?

    Thanks

  • Excellent Video! I have a 2012 Fusion (4 cyl, 152K miles, yes I drive a lot). I had already replaced the right front strut/spring assembly earlier this year. I now have a lower ball joint creaking/squeak ing (really annoying on days when outside temp is above 85 F). Can’t tell whether it’s the front or rear control arm but plan on replacing both. My question: It appears that the rear frame has been modified such that the front lower rear control arm bolt may be removed without dropping the sub-frame (might have to remove one of the bolts as it’s head appears to be in the way). The 3 sided plated that connects the frames is flat (no flange) so the there no flange in the way. Can anyone confirm? Would like to know before I do the repair job.

  • Great info. The arm that goes through the strut on the driver side 08 fusion has a small opening to get to back bolt. What can you use to get on it and have room to turn it. thanks

  • I completed this job about 3 months ago. Replaced all three on each side and the drivers side axle. After lowering the subframe, you can get a u-joint on it. Getting that bolt: not terrible but not great either. Mine is an ’04 v6. Slow and patient.

    Had power tools.

    My advise is to get a tool for removing the two lower balljoints. Not expensive. You can pound them out, I did, but it was a pita. The worst part was the front, lower rear with the dynamic damper. The bolt will almost surely break. Order the bolt. Just do it.

  • When I did this (to get to the wheel bearing, not to replace control arms), the steering knuckle bushing came out with each of the lower ball joints (stayed attached to the ball joint), and I broke one. Is this part replaceable? I can’t find it anywhere. Thought maybe they would come with the assemblies, but they don’t. Any idea where to find this bushing? Ever had that happen?

    • As far as I know the only way to get that bushing without spending a ton of money is to buy another used knuckle assembly. Be careful though, I’ve seen a lot of used knuckle assemblies with missing bushings – seems its a common problem when taking off the control arms. eBay will probably be your best bet as you can look at the photos of the item.

      • I did exactly what you said. First off, I went to the local Ford dealer and spent some time in the parts department, showing them the Ford exploded view diagram of the knuckle that clearly showed the bushings and the part number, but was told that part number just meant they are only included in the entire knuckle and that’s the only way to get them. I asked them what happens when one of their techs happens to break one of these? Do they then force the customer to pay for an entire knuckle? Blank stare. Went to a local boneyard and found an entire knuckle assembly (with bushings intact) for just $35. The guy at the yard said he’d heard this story before. (So where is Dorman or some other aftermarket parts supplier? There is opportunity here I think with all the Fusions, Milans, and MKZs out there?) I used an impact socket and 4 lb hammer and the bushing popped out easier than expected. Thanks for your reply.

  • great video gave me confidence enough to try this. but… I am having problems getting the subframe to drop. both brackets are off but when I release the jack the subframe does not lower. It appears that something is holding up the subframe but I can not locate it. any suggestions? 2007 6i auto 2.3l 4 cyl

  • I did the job on my Mazda 6s 2006 V6 with automatic transmission and the ball joints were a pain to start with. Bushings came out and had to press them in.

    I ended up buying the SST from Mazda to do the job and it took me just a few minutes to finish the job vs hammering the ball joint. I paid $75 on eBay for it so it was worth it as I will have to do it again to change the CV axle. Had to do an alignment afterward as steering wheel was crooked.

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