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Replacing front suspension bushes, advice please


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I noticed today that one of the bushes of the front suspension needs replacing:

 

front_bush_01.jpg

 

I imagine it's best to do both sides at the same time?

 

How easy is such a job? Anything to look out for that's not mentioned in the service manual?

 

I've noticed that a lot of folk clean up and paint the metal of the upper and lower wishbones; mine are particularly rusty and could with some treatment. What are folks thoughts on this?

 

 

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The ratchet strap method I find a lot safer than the clamps - just a bit fiddly to get right - them clamps do have a habit of breaking loose !!

It will be picked up for shipping today, ETA September 22. I'll see how complex it is and maybe make a CAD drawing of it that perhaps could be made available here on the forums for download. This wo

Having perused the parts manual I have highlighted in red the items I think I should replace, and the optional items in blue.   The optional items are the wishbones; although the bottom wishbones do

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I'd guess that the front rear lower wish bone bolts are ion backwards like all the early SE's that I have seen...

 

Which means there is no room to remove the bolt without drilling a hole in the car, or cutting the head off the bolt and replacing it with a new bolt from the opposite direction...

 

I'm working on this now.  My bushings don't look bad with 86k miles, but I need to replace them with the later V8 conical bushings, and I have to make metal inserts to fit them.

 

Take a photo of the opposite end of that wishbone, where it bolts in the chassis at the trailing edge.

Travis

Vulcan Grey 89SE

My Lotus Photo and Projects Album

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Travis, it looks like I'm okay with both the upper and lower wishbone bolts. The picture below is the near side front (UK car) bottom wishbone bolt.

 

front_bush_02.jpg

 

 

 

front_bush_03.jpg

 

The upper wishbones are looking a bit rusty but still plenty of metal.

 

front_bush_04.jpg

 

Not sure if there's any benefit from either replacing them, replacing them and getting them coated, or keeping the originals and or getting them coated. I will replace all the bushes (like Alex said, with the poly ones) and bolts and fasteners. I'd appreciate what you guys think. The painted metal parts do look nice, but if not prepp'ed correctly the paint will just eventually flake off. Plus there is the downtime while the parts are being done.

 

The manual is a bit vague on the disassembly. Do you start by removing the damper & spring as one unit (top and bottom, safe?) and then all the other parts and bushes as necessary?

 

A quote from the service manual:

 

"Suspension re-assembly: On re-assembly, ensure that the upper and lower wishbone to chassis pivot bolts, and the damper to lower wishbone bolts, are tightened only with the car at ride height; i.e. not even 'nipped' until ride height."

 

How easy is this when on the ground, as I don't have a ramp? There's no mention of any torque settings for these bolts either.

 

Alex, I've been looking at your build with envious eyes :). You're local to me, if you don't mind me asking, where did you get your parts coated and how long did it take and how much did it cost?

 

I'm writing up my shopping list now!

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Having perused the parts manual I have highlighted in red the items I think I should replace, and the optional items in blue.

 

The optional items are the wishbones; although the bottom wishbones don't need replacing, as everything else in the area is being replaced... Also thought about removing and cleaning up the anti-roll bar and replacing its bushes.

 

front_suspension_parts_03.jpg

 

As the wishbones are passivated(?) painting them will mean more work, cost and delay, and it might not even last. 

 

 

 

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i replaced all the parts in red when I did mine.  I used PUK poly bushes and let me say there is nothing wrong with them.  however, after 8k some are destroyed.  the inserts are intended as a bearing and wear surface and should not move relative to the bushing material;  the whole assembly should rotate on the bolts.  which begs the question of just how tight the nuts should be.  the rubber bushings can tolerate more internal movement (shear) than the urethane so miles of big suspension movements may not be conducive to using poly and cranking the nuts. 

I put a jack under the ball joint until the arm was slightly higher than when it sat on the wheels with no people in the car.  doing it a 3rd time I would follow the service notes instructions and measure the hub to wheel arch or some such ref point first, then repeat the procedure above until measurement achieved prior to tightening nuts. 

since I just did them for the 2nd time, I left them all loose enough to freely rotate about the bolts and greased the bolts prior to insertion.  I drove 5 miles this way before removing the engine, so the car is immobile yet again.

 

maybe a Moderator could contact Brian Angus about this ambiguity

Edited by ragingfool35

chris

90SE

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

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If you are going to do bushes buy a press. A 10 ton one from ebay will do the job for about £100 and will be worth every penny.

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Cheers Chris, good info there. I think I'll stick to the Lotus bushes.

 

Incidentally, I've found the torque settings for the suspension in the TDF section of the service notes.

 

Malcolm, I have a basic press, not hydraulic though, more of an arbour. If I struggle I'll take the items to the workshop at work :).

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hi alan how local are you ? best thing to do is order all the bushes first some will be in stock some will need to be ordered . dont go with the cheaper split bushes theres no need they just seperate and your back to square one . get the proper all in one bushes to fit them simply grease a tube similar diameter to the hole on the arm there going into doesnt need to be exact just close . then press the bush into this tube then once inside put the tube onto the arm above where the bush needs to go and using a small socket inside the tube push the bush through into the arm first ones tricky but after a few youll find them easy .

as for the suspension use a jack under the lower arm pivot point where the bottom of the shock sits and jack up to compress the spring when safe undo the 4 10mm nuts at the top and slowly allow the jack out this will release the arm meaning your safe to undo the bolts without getting a face full of sping .

try and assemble all the arms without the old bushes press them out and box the arm components seperate ie front left top and bottom front right top and bottom and so on .

 

i used sun base in swindon they will media blast all your parts then powder coat them for you its roughly 15 to 30 quid a box more parts is cheaper than 1 at a time .

 

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Cheers for the info Alex. I'm in north Swindon, if Swindon is big enough to have a north!

 

I'm still in two minds about the painting of the wishbones. It does look good, but I've read problems due to the passivated coating, which has to be removed prior to powder coating. How long do they take to do the powder coating?

 

I'm hoping to do all this work next week if the weather holds up.


The lower wishbones are galvanised & shot blasting will remove the zinc.  :thumbdown:

 

That's my concern John. The galvanising may not look pretty but it'll be more protective than powder coating (?). Painting over the galvanising isn't ideal either as it'll flake off (?)

 

The (?) means I'm not sure!

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Don't forget the ARB bushes, ayes dividends to do them.

I got everything powder coated, road springs look good in red.

And by the way that disk rotor looks badly scored, find out why.

Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it. (Tom Leahrer)

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Hi Roger, I have indicated to replace the bush for the ARB to lower wishbone, and optionally the bush for the ARB to chassis. For the cost and since the ARB will be off I think all the bushes for the ARB shall be replaced.

 

Such a mixed bag of responses regarding the powder coating of the wishbones. Pros - looks nice, adds some protection against the elements; cons - removes original coating, adds some thickness / affects tolerance to contact points, adds cost and delay.

 

The disk rotor is not badly scored, it's brand new as are the pads; it's just a little surface rust. The disk and pads were replaced almost a year ago, with a total of probably 50m on them (that's metres, not miles ;) ). They're not properly run in yet and I've also not had full brake servo power capacity until recently. A good drive will sort them but not yet had the chance.

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im not getting at any one but  if "it removes the galv coating " its corroded and looks shit . i spend a lot of time maintaining and driving it so if i have just taken off the galv ill get it re-done should it get rusty .

i spend as much under a car as i do in it thats why mines so nice and there are so many sheds out there .

 

takes roughly a week mate unless there real busy . 

 

as your so close we can meet up if you need help or out :)

 

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Travis,

You have no Idea what we have to contend with on our roads..

For the winter  the Local authorities are given a budget for putting

rock salt on the roads in icy conditions... If we have a mild winter and

they do not use all the rock salt purchased that year then their budget is

reduced for following year.... which makes sense.... BUT as most of the

authorities hate budget reductions ,  they spray rock salt on the roads in

questionable temperatures to use up supply.... Stupid, yes... :wallbash: 

The end result is an abrasive highly corrosive element shot blasting the underside

and front of our cars for 3 to 5 months of the year... most of the time when not needed

for icy conditions...

I used my Esprit through all last winter and the suspension arms etc took a real hammering..

not nice to look at any more... :(   A job for this winter..

 

Dave   

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Hi Travis

 

Rusty British cars:  British weather i.e. damp and occasionally cold along with salt treatment on our roads in the winter. Oh, and of course heat cycling of engine and especially exhaust systems.

 

All make for an aggressive cocktail.

 

Removal of components - especially exposed ones that characterise suspension systems - requires ingenuity, an array of hammers (large to very large), levers, assortment of spanners ("wrenches") and means to apply direct heat.  After that, heavy presses for bushes.

 

Rarely do components come apart easily - unless recently assembled ones that have plenty of copperslip have to be dismantled to fit a forgotten part.  Even then, the hammers might have to be returned to service.

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Might also have something to do with the fact UK owners drive their cars regularly throughout the year and often park them outdoors. In other parts of the world the Esprit is often pampered extensively or reduced to a garage queen that might see a few hundred miles a year.

 

I'm basing my opinion on the cars here in Sweden, as well as posts from owners in the USA and a lot of the ads from countries outside UK (i.e. always garaged, pictures of the underside of the car provided to show off the condition etc...very uncommon for UK ads.)

 

Hell, my own (nice and rusty UK imported Esprit) spends 8 months of the year under wraps in a headed climate controlled garage. And I NEVER drive in rain unless I can help it....

 

My next car will hopefully look a little more like Travis'....

 

The rust literally makes every first-time job an absolute nightmare. Any time approximations given in the guides on LEW need around 20 hours added to them to approach the reality I've sometimes had to contend with.

 

On the other hand, one does get a lot of mileage out of the dremel/angle grinder...

Edited by Vanya

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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Hi Roger, I have indicated to replace the bush for the ARB to lower wishbone, and optionally the bush for the ARB to chassis. For the cost and since the ARB will be off I think all the bushes for the ARB shall be replaced.

 

 

When I replaced all the bushes on my SE, the only ones that gave me a headache were ARB to wishbone. The first set ruptured during install, the second time I got them in with a lot of trouble and probably still caused some fissures. There shaped like a figure 8, and I found it almost impossible to get the big part through the small opening (where the center should end up).

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I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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My car usually does stay in a garage overnight, but I often park it outside at work or around town. I drive through the winter, though not when snowing, since we often get deep snow and it seems like it rains every time i drive it in the summer... I've driven my Esprit up to 13k miles in a year, again through winter as well.

Our climate here is just really dry, and they don't use salt.

Travis

Vulcan Grey 89SE

My Lotus Photo and Projects Album

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Alex, always welcome to come round and give me a hand, two heads better than one! I'm off for a week soon, and as long as the weather holds out I'll be tackling a number of jobs.

 

Travis, yeah it's probably the salt/grid that's the culprit.

 

Filip, thanks for the warning on the ARB to wishbone bushes. The service manual does state that they should be fitted in a particular orientation (large part towards the front) and the use of rubber grease on assembly. I've decided to invest in a proper hydraulic press as recommended, as the number of times I've needed to use one and can't get access to one....

 

Parts are ordered, I'll let you know how I get on.

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Use the right type of lube as well mate if you can. Can't remember the name of it though! Bugger! It'll be in one of my resto posts somewhere no doubt!

It doesn't stay lubey after it dries so the bushes hold better with almost zero possibility of slippage.

Chunky Lover

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Simon, I've tried looking for your post where you mention this lube but can't find it. If you remember let me know please!

 

I'll probably the coating the wishbones with clear Waxoyl instead of painting or leaving them untouched. It'll be easier to do them before fitting to the car - anybody have any issues with this approach?

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I was told to use a little dish soap as bushing install lube, by JAE in CA, when I bought the bushings.  Which is also what I used to install bicycle hand grips as a kid.

Travis

Vulcan Grey 89SE

My Lotus Photo and Projects Album

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I'll get my thinking cap on!

Clear waxoyl sounds like a sticky mess!

Maybe just dust off the loose stuff and over coat with POR15. It is pretty tough stuff and the rough surface underneath will help the paint to adhere. Personally I'd not bother too coating it. It discolours in UV light, but I too coated it with sterling silver and it wiped straight back off with WD40 after it dried! POR15 stayed tough and strong just yellowed a bit.

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Chunky Lover

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