Ford Capri

Capri Swaybar/TCA Installation

captured nut Maybe you're installing new struts or poly bushings. Or maybe you're just replacing worn out parts. But one thing is for sure, if you own a Capri, sooner or later you're going to have to remove the Track Control Arms. This is a classic example of a job that looks a lot easier in the shop manual than it does from under your car. But there are some tips and techniques that make the job a lot faster, safer and less frustrating. captured nut

First off, block the rear wheels and make sure they absolutely can't move. This is essential to making the job go easily. You'll see why later. Loosen the front lug nuts, raise the front of the car, support it on jack stands and remove the front wheels.

track control arm Getting the ball joint off the lower strut assembly is the hardest part of the job. The ball joint is situated directly below the strut, so you can't use any of the snazzy tools you see in your JC Whitney catalog to get them apart. A "pickle fork" will do the job, and may be your best choice. But if you're going to re-install the TCAs, you risk damaging the Ball Joint Boot.

wide One trick is to remove the castle nut from the ball joint and re install it upside down. Then capture a socket between the nut and the bottom of the strut. My Craftsman 17mm fit perfectly. Now give the nut a few twists. If the TCAs are reasonably new, you can crank on them until they pop off. If you're removing the originals, you may have to crank so hard you'd damage the threads. Use some judgment here so you don't end up with a cross-threaded mess.

tighter Once the ball joints are loose, the rest of disassembly is a no-brainer. Take out the inner TCA bolts, unbolt the sway bar mounting brackets and drop the whole thing down. You'll probably have to pop the tie rod ends off the steering arms to get it all out. Just remove the nut, flip it over, and give it a whack with a hammer. They'll pop right off. It's also a good idea to loosen the big nuts at the end of the sway bar while everything is still tight in the car. It's just easier than trying to do it on the ground.

wrenching This is where a lot of folks start wondering if they will ever drive their Capri again. But it's easy to get it all together again if you know how. I learned this great driveway technique from Norm Murdock at Team Blitz. I've done it at least half a dozen times and it works great.

Attach your new TCAs to your sway bar. Attach the big nuts at the end just tight enough to hold everything together. Install one TCA into the cross member, and bolt its ball joint to the strut assembly. Attach the sway bar brackets at the front of the car. Attach the other ball joint to its strut assembly, making sure the TCA is situated in the crossmember.bushing

Here's the trick. Put the front wheels back on the car and lower the car to the ground. Putting the car on the ground moves the suspension closer to its normal position. This puts the sway bar where it "wants" to be so you don't have to force it together to get everything to line up. screwdriver

This is where blocking the wheels firmly pays off. If the car moves on the way down, the TCA can bind in the cross member. If nothing moved, you should be able to move the TCA freely in the cross member. Pull it down until you see the metal part of the bushing through the mounting hole. If you need to move it to one side or the other, just pull on the wheel. Sometimes it helps to use a philips screwdriver to help position it.

Install the inner TCA bolt from the back. The hardest part is getting it through the front. A little patience, and a little tugging on the wheel will get it through. Sometimes you have to tap it with a hammer, but just a tap. If it's not going through, you aren't lined up yet. If it's close, you can sometimes get it through by cranking on it a few times with a wrench.

Once it's through, just tighten it up and you're done. Don't forget to tighten the big nuts at the end of the sway bar. I can do the job in my driveway by myself in just a couple of hours with basic hand tools.

That's it! Now jump in a find a nice twisty road to test out your handiwork!

Ed Cushing
'72 2600
'88 XR4ti
Fast Eddies's Homepage

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