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Use a prybar, you should be able to get it to drop another inch or two at the hub. Alternately, disconnect the ball joint and swing the hub to the rear for more clearance
 

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If the control arm is already hitting the subframe, I don't see how prying on it is going to move it any further downward. Lower the subframe, disconnect the ball joint or remove the control arm bolts and pull it outward from the subframe a little to gain some downward movement,
 

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If the control arm is already hitting the subframe, I don't see how prying on it is going to move it any further downward. Lower the subframe, disconnect the ball joint or remove the control arm bolts and pull it outward from the subframe a little to gain some downward movement,
Using a pry bar will help compress the control arm bushings a little to provide the needed downward space. It may also give a little flex of the subframe bushings. Had to do it on my three Taurus for the front struts, Depending on corrosion situation trying to remove subframe bolts can lead to broken bolts in the T nusts in the subframe which is difficult to fix.
 

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Your point about rusty subframe bolts is well taken. That's why when I was replacing a wheel bearing and ball joint (wheel brg was seized inside the spindle and couldn't get it out while on the car), I just removed the control arm to get the strut out and spindle removed so I could beat that bearing out on the bench. Always more than one way to skin a cat!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for the advice. I have gained a lot of insight, and I'm sure one of these solutions, or a combination of a couple will do the trick!
Keep the repairs at home and know your vehicle. I am learning this lesson 30 years too late.
 

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Note that installation of the strut is NOT the reverse of the de-installation.

When you take the strut out, you first lift the ball-joint stud - you detached from the control arm with a ball-joint separator - out of the control arm.

When you install the strut, you first put the ball-joint stud into the control arm and then wriggle the strut into the hub.
 

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Using a pry bar will help compress the control arm bushings a little to provide the needed downward space. It may also give a little flex of the subframe bushings. Had to do it on my three Taurus for the front struts, Depending on corrosion situation trying to remove subframe bolts can lead to broken bolts in the T nusts in the subframe which is difficult to fix.
When I get a used Bull, I like to remove one sub bolt at a time, clean and grease the shank if bolt is OK, if not get a new bolt, or as for me, around the JY find good ones on the ground. All mine are DOHC and sometime expect to replace the Alt. Pic of my method of sub drop. I did my daughters '03 Taurus struts in her driveway with limited tools. Of course OE struts are much easier. I got 2 pair at RA on closeout or ~$50 per. Some brands have longer free length than OE. And had a shop do my '03 wagon in a hurry due to broken spring, he used Monroe and ride height over 1" high. Car now sold. Strut extended length difference based on how they bump the full extended on the car. One method is a spring inside, one is rubber bumpers inside.
-chart-
 

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Your point about rusty subframe bolts is well taken. That's why when I was replacing a wheel bearing and ball joint (wheel brg was seized inside the spindle and couldn't get it out while on the car), I just removed the control arm to get the strut out and spindle removed so I could beat that bearing out on the bench. Always more than one way to skin a cat!
well, awhile back on my 98 turd i was doing the front strut and was dropping the subframe. Bolt snapped off flush. thought it was a goner, but i got creative and salvaged it. took a hole saw and drilled a hole in the side of the subframe for access, then managed to wedge in there and remove the lock nut bar inside of the subframe. got another one at the upullit yard and tabbed it back into the subframe. car is still running and driving. sooner or latter though i will wake up to a pile of rust in the driveway.
 
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