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Front suspension advice - Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Hubs/Steering/Geo - The Lotus Forums Jump to content

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I have now finished the rear suspension upgrade on my GT3. A job I hope I will never have to do again. A word of advice here, dont even try to remove the bottom link stud in one piece, cut and drill it every time. The design of the split spacer means it lets water in between the stud and the hub carrier and siezes it solid.

Anyhoo onto the front now. I have done the bushes and ball joints on the upper front wishbones, and now onto the bottom. I am looking for any clever tips on removing the bottom ball joint and the metal sleaved bush. Is it even worth trying to do these in a bench vice or do I need an engineering press? I rekon there is a market for a special tool for the bottom ball joint.

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  • Gold FFM

In principle, yes, a swine of a job (covered in detail elsewhere on the site).

However, seizure tends to be cumulative in that there are four possibilities for binding (from rear to front): 1. The damper; 2. The rear portion of the alloy-hub leg, 3. The transverse link bushing; and 4. The spacer in the hub.

First, see if the pin will turn, use spacers to self-pull the (b . . . .) through the assembly.

If it won't turn, apply heat to capitalise on differential expansion. The hub will expand more than the pin. Take care not to fry the bearing.

If it still won't turn, cut the pin into its various sections. Reheat and apply lots of WD or similar penetrant.

Now the cumulative resistance to turning and withdrawal - especially in the legs of the hub - is reduced. If the pin has been well coppaslipped, it will come out. (That's a big "if").

The pin of course, isn't a bolt so the nyloc and locking nuts at each end provide the torque. Nevertheless, suitable spacers can assist in the self-pull removal of the two remaining i.e. still-in-the-hub pieces. That way tension is restricted to each individual leg rather than across both legs.

The spacer can be the real sticking point but it can be self-pulled by suitable use of spacers.

I once re-used an existing spacer and didn't take sufficient care. The spacer has to slide to take up slack between the two legs of the hub wto accommodate the transverse link and its bush. After all the aggro of disassembly - to replace springs, dampers and bushes - I wound on the torque wrench to tighten refitted components and got the sickening thud-sound as one of the legs broke. The spacer hadn't moved so I was actually pulling the legs together - by only 30 or 40 thou (approx 1 mm) - but it was enough to fracture in this case, the rear leg.

That wasn't a huge problem: I got it welded. Of course, everything had to come off again plus the drive shaft and bearing. Incidentally, a good welder is needed. They are around. You might need to give them a pin to centralise everything during the repair. Aluminium (alloy) welding requires skill; distortion through differential heating, flow of original and weld and so on.

It's all an exercise in thinking-things-through and it helps if you have a good mate to help. Two heads are better than one and four hands rather than two are immensely useful.

It's a bugger of job though.

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Thanks Edward,

I have actually finished the rear. I did end up cutting the pin and drilling it out and then collapsing the split spacer. All new parts fitted including new 1/2" UNF SS nylock nuts.

I am onto the front now and wanted advice on removing the bottom ball joint and inner lower bush (metal sleaved one) As I have said I have done the top wishbone bushes and ball joints, very staightforward, but before I takles the more tricky lower stuff I was looking for handy hints and crafty tips. Also what are the torque settings for tightening all the front link pins and ball joints?


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Well, I did few years ago and the bottom wishbone had problem with take out bushies.

to removed hushies :

- drilled out all the black rubber then cut 2-3 from indside and puched out the rest metal !

The ball joint you need a press mashine with sutable socket I think !

Good luck

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I have recently done my bottom ball-joints and you are quite correct there is a special tool for removing same.

I used a large spark plug socket and loads of penetrating fluid, let it soak for a while and gently tap it out.

Putting the new ball-joint back in, I smeared it with copper grease and tapped it back in, quite straight forward

made easier I suppose because I had the suspension components stripped off the car for powder coating and shot blasting.

I sat the caliper/hub unit on an axle stand so it did'nt put any strain on the brake pipe which I was replacing anyways with a stainless one

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Mmmmmm thanks guys, looking forward to this almost as much as the rear ones :lol:

Do I need a press to put the metal sleaved bush back in, or would over night in the freezer, pleanty of lubrication, and the bench vice be enough? I am using Marus's poly bushes.

For the ball joint, I will try the penetrating fluid and tap it method first, if not I will try and find an engineering shop locally with a press.

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The fronts need to be critical or they wont fit.

They determine the spacing between the main arm and the small welded support arm, if you dont push them in correctly, too far or not far enough it is impossible to fit the wishbone.

You can try but they're meant to be REALLY tight to ensure they stay in place, what we found was the press was building up pressure then the friction jumped moving the bush 2mm steps, when it had to move by about 1mm - thats a fault of the press really building up pressure too quickly so we made a spacer to ensure the press didn't move over a certain distance.

It's a tricky one to get right

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i did mine recently (ball joints and bushings)

used a manual hydraulic press at work

def the way to go

really not a bad job

but have to correctly support the control arm

or else you will bend parts of the control arm before the ball joint goes in



just because I don't CARE doesn't mean I don't UNDERDSTAND

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Got all the parts off the car over the weekend and today I took the lower wishbone to Nick Whale who are going to remove and fit the lower ball joints and inner bushes. I am picking them up tomorrow, so should be straigtforward to reassemble. Just hope the weather holds out. cant wait to get her back on the road.

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