Front suspension disassembling and assembling

(Szerző: Imre (Richter Imre), utoljára módosítva: 2007.01.15.)

Translated by z.

Question:

> In the upper wishbone, if the bolt is corroded (rotten), then you may try
> heating, hammering and selected tortures of Spanish inquisition. And then you have a chance. [...]

Answer:

No, it is not that difficult to replace it all. Everything depends on the condition of the screws, bolts and nuts. If you decided to replace [the wishbones], I suggest pouring brake-fluid or spraying anti-rust fluid on them a few days before the actual replacement. You could do it once a day. This gives you a good chance to get the nuts off, avoiding the flame-torch heating.

Starting the removal, you have to put the car on supports after lifting it. I would lift it at the crossmember with a trolley jack. I would start with the upper wishbones, this is not a big job. Get the ball-joint's big nut off(*). Undo and remove upper joint's 3 piece of M8 bolt, and get it off. Now the axle stub along with the brake disc and cylinders have to be put on supports too, or removed from the lower ball-joint. If it is taken off, it has to be supported (or hung on a wire) to avoid the brake pipe bent sharp.

(*) in some cases the big nut turns the stud with itself. You can stop this turning if you put a big spanner under the nut, and you support it against the thing. Just like if you wanted to pull the nut off the bolt :-). This pulling will fit the parts of the ball-joint together within its assembly. It stucks, and you can now turn the nut off the bolt now.

It is still the upper wishbone... Take two 22mm spanners, and undo/remove the wishbone shaft nuts. Remove the shaft with a few small hammer hits. It has to be taken off easily. In my '88 2105 it came off very easily, it had no rust but the anti-corrosive paint locked it a bit, years ago. After removing the axle the wishbone can be removed. If the bushing (silent-block) has to be replaced, you are suggested to get a special tool for that, otherwise it is a torture.

The lower wishbone is a bit more interesting. First of all get a coil-spring press, since you have to remove the front coils along with the front shocks. First of all remove the shock absorber. The lower wishbone has to be lifted for that. Press the coil spring with special care! Don't let it bend in a "U"! Try and apply the same force on the presses at both sides of the coil. If the coil gets loose, it can brake anything including your face/body. If the coil is removed, you can proceed to the nuts and bolts. The lower wishbone axle is fitted on the crossmember by 19mm nuts. This cannot be rotten or corroded since it is undone at every suspension adjustment. If only the bushings are to be replaced, it is not needed to remove the wishbone, only the nuts from the 2 ends of the wishbone axle. Now the special tool helps you with the bushing replacement.

Self-locking nuts are recommended when replacing old ones. (Replace them all!)
Ball-joint main nut, wishbone axle nuts: size M14x1.5 , 8-10 pieces.
Ball-joint small bolts and nuts: M8, 3 pieces per joint. (= 12 pieces)

Removal of both front suspensions took me 3-4 hours, putting them back together took the same amount of time.

If the wishbone is replaced with a new one, take care of the four M8 bolts welded on it: two at the sway-bar bushing and two at the shocks. Don't buy a wishbone with impacted threads on these screws. I had to go through them with an M8 nut for the first time, to align threads correctly! One of the shocks lower screws broke when it was already fitted on the car. Just imagine how nice it was to cut an M6 thread on this screw, under the car, laying on my back!

Installation is the same process in reverse. This time the coil spring is the critical point. If it is in there, you install everything in a minute.