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I recently replaced the lower control arms on my 2011 Outback. The rear bushings were supposedly going bad according to a recent inspection, but it made sense to go ahead and replace the LCAs and get new bushings and ball joints at the same time.

Getting the old pinch bolts and ball joints out was a bear and took a good part of the day . . . finally I used the "socket" method described by Sylverius and got the old ones out.

Now that I've got the arms back in place (with both bolts through the front and rear bushings, but not tightened), I can't get the ball joint back in the knuckle. There is ~3/4" from the ball joint to the hole in the knuckle. It's like the bottom of the wheel hub assembly is sticking out too far from the car.

At first I thought the Mevotech LCAs might be too short, but I checked and they are the same dimensions as the OEM arms.

Any tricks?
 

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2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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It just sounds like the CV shaft has uncompressed a bit, pushing the strut and knuckle out a little. I would try loosening the top strut bolts so the strut has some flexibility. The shove the knuckle toward the engine. There is length travel built into the CV shaft, it has just lengthened on you when it was apart.

Or get a ratchet strap around something solid in the center and draw it back in.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It just sounds like the CV shaft has uncompressed a bit, pushing the strut and knuckle out a little. I would try loosening the top strut bolts so the strut has some flexibility. The shove the knuckle toward the engine. There is length travel built into the CV shaft, it has just lengthened on you when it was apart.

Or get a ratchet strap around something solid in the center and draw it back in.
Thanks, it did seem like the CV shaft had possibly come out a bit. I'll try the ratchet idea first.

It's been awhile since I've worked on a CV axle . . . do I need to rotate the rotor by hand to try and get it back in place?
 

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if it's just the tripod joint's boot pushing outwards, there's no need to align anything.
 

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If you yanked on the axle when you pulled the hub, you may have pulled the rollers completely out of the inner trunion housing. If this is the case, you will be able to feel the rollers through the inner cv boot. To push them back, you do need to align the axle with the trunion housing with slight inward pressure until you feel them go back into place. If you force them, your next question will be where to buy a new axle.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I ended up getting a buddy to help out. We put the wheel back on the other side of the car, and used it to rock axle back and forth while putting pressure on the other end. After about five minutes it popped back in, about 1/2" to 1". After that, the ball joint lined up easily with the knuckle.


Same thing for the other side.
 
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