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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Angry "Captive" Nut for Control Arm Bolt is Spinning

The bolt that goes through the Front Lower Control Arm Rear Bushing goes up into a nut that should be captive in the frame. This nut is no longer captive, so I can neither tighten nor remove the bolt!

I can't see it, but I can feel it. It seems that this nut is not welded to the frame, but simply slipped into a sheet metal "box" in the frame to hold it captive. My guess is that this "box" is no longer square and the nut is simply spinning inside it.

It would be my guess that GM Service has a solution as these bushings require frequent replacement and a good impact gun on a seized bolt would quickly create this problem (as it did for me).

PLEASE HELP!!! What is the solution to this problem?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 01:33 PM
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Did it only spin when you went to put it back on?

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I got the bolt out (requiring extreme torque with a breaker bar for about three turns before the torque dropped to where the impact wrench would work) and got it started back in the nut (a couple turns; it's not cross-threaded). Halfway home the impact wrench started spinning freely. Now it spins freely in both directions.
What is the implication of it breaking loose when going in or coming out?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 02:15 PM
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Crap, i cant remember, but is there a nut that comes out on the backside of the frame rail thats welded to the frame rail? If not the threads in the frame are stripped (it happens I deal with the crap everyday im a tech) If so you'll have to re tap the frame rail if you dont have access tap and die kit maybe you can go buy one. But if the bolt comes out the other side of the frame rail try to find a nut that will fit the bolt and tighten it down that way i just dont remember from when I did mine.

NVM ignore everything i said I didnt read your OP very good, your gonna have to find a way to hold unto that free nut.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 05:05 PM
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Can you get a open ended wrench around it?


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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No chance of getting ahold of the nut... like I said, it seems to be held captive in a "sheet metal box". I can feel the edge of it spinning, but I can't get to any of the other sides or the top of it. The end of the bolt comes through the heavy sheet metal that is above the nut.

It really doesn't make sense to me! I can't fit my head between the steering rack and the drive shaft to look and it was too dark at the time to see anything in a mirror, so I'm stuck guessing at what's up there by what I can see (just the edge of the assembly) and what I can feel (and it's not easy getting your fingers up there).

My only thought is that maybe they wanted the nut to be able to "float" side-to-side, so it would align itself with the bolt coming through from below, but not rotate so you wouldn't have to hold it from above. Why else would you not weld the nut to the frame rail? The nuts for the side bushing on the control arm are welded in place.

I couldn't get any official answers late Saturday or today. Hopefully I can talk with someone Monday. I'll let you know what I find!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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NOTE to those working on control arms - buy replacement bolts and cage nuts BEFORE starting the job (these needed to be ordered from out-of-state).

So now I feel a bit (not a lot, just a bit) stupid . Because that nut is hard to access GM doesn't want to weld it to the frame (or it would be impossible to grind off and replace) so they use a CAGE NUT. The offset taper on the end of the bolt is to ensure the nut is properly aligned before thread engagement.

The cage nut now freely spins inside the cage, so the cage is what I thought was a sheet metal box. I should be able to break the cage loose, slide the bolt up and get an open end on the nut. Then replace the cage nut ($4.50) and a new bolt ($8.50) and I'm back in business.

I'll update again... hopefully with pictures!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 08:41 AM
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Well, I just ran into the same problem getting the bolt out, Cage nut is now loose, can't get the bolt in or out. How did you resolve your problem? which side was yours..drvr or psgr side?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2011, 03:32 AM
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if you can feel one side of the nut, jam a screwdriver in there to hold it in place. I have to do this all the time at work either with a screwdriver, wedge, or prybar depending on what the torque is...Had some scary moments when I had to use a machinist wedge to hold a nut in place while torqing the bolt to 10200 ft/lbs O.o

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