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> Suspension: Front Lower Wishbone Replacement
GialloEvo94
post 25th May 2008 14:38
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I know there are other guides out there on the web for doing this job but none of them seem particularly comprehensive in all areas of the job so after doing the job myself yesterday I have created a new more detailed step-by-step guide which is specifically for the 145/146. Hopefully it will help anyone who is thinking of doing the job themselves. This was the first time I had done it and it took me 4-5 hours to do both front wishbones but was at a fairly leisurely pace and also included having to keep stopping to take relevent photos for this guide.


Tools Required
  • Wheel Nut Brace
  • Trolley Jack
  • Axle Stands (x2)
  • 17mm Ring / Open-Ended Spanner
  • 17mm Socket (a hexagonal profile one is best)
  • 15mm Socket (a hexagonal profile one is best)
  • Socket Ratchet Handle
  • Extension Tube to fit over the Ratchet Handle (gives additional leverage when needed)
  • Ball Joint Splitter Fork (optional)
  • Lump Hammer
  • Small Hammer
  • Strong 2-foot Bar (if you donít have one then a chrome vanadium breaker bar is suitable)
  • Torque Wrench (capable of tightening to between 20Nm and 80Nm)
  • Penetrating Oil
  • Grease
Parts RequiredStep-by-Step Guide (click individual pictures for a full size view)

NOTE: For fully tightening of bolts during the fitting process, just tighten them up by hand as all bolts will then be fully tightened to their correct torques right at the end of the fitting procedure.
  1. Jack up both sides of the car at the front and place on axle stands. Locate the part of the sub frame where the front Wishbone bolts to it and then place axle stands under the back of the sub frame where it bolts to the car. This is the strongest point and won't collapse with the weight of the car bearing down on the axles stands.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement03.jpg ( 183.57k ) Number of downloads: 381


  2. Put a trolley back under the brake disc and jack up the wheel which will take the load off the Drop Link which connects between the Wishbone and the Antiroll Bar.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement04.jpg ( 140.9k ) Number of downloads: 296


  3. Remove the nut from the bottom of the Drop Link there it goes through the Wishbone. Use plenty of penetrating oil and leave it to soak in before attempting to undo the nut. Keep applying more penetrating oil as you continue to undo the nut. Even then, be prepared for it to shear off (like mine did). This isn't a problem though because you will be fitting new Drop Link assemblies so you donít actually need the old ones to remain intact.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement05.jpg ( 389.99k ) Number of downloads: 269
    Attached File  WishboneReplacement06.jpg ( 241.75k ) Number of downloads: 239


  4. Remove the bolt where the ball joint connects into the hub. Again, use plenty of penetrating oil and leave to soak in for a while. Do not attempt to undo the bolt head end but instead undo the nut end (the end of the hub nearest the back of the car). You will need a 17mm socket on the end of an extension bar to get the best access and leverage. While undoing the nut, itís important that the socket is kept completely square on the nut so it doesnít slip off as a lot of force may be needed to undo it. Use an extension tube on the end of the ratchet handle to get extra leverage if need be. Once the nut is removed, bang the end with a lump hammer to free the bolt and push it through the hole. Be very careful not to slip otherwise you may risk damaging the rubber CV Joint boot. If it is proving difficult to bang the bolt through then use a 15mm socket on the head of the bolt and attempt to turn it to free it up, and then try to bash it through again. With persistence, the bolt will eventually come out.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement07.jpg ( 386.14k ) Number of downloads: 285
    Attached File  WishboneReplacement08.jpg ( 242.18k ) Number of downloads: 220
    Attached File  WishboneReplacement09.jpg ( 155.87k ) Number of downloads: 267


  5. With the brake disc still raised on a trolley jack, locate the four bolts that attach the Wishbone to the sub frame. Use plenty of penetrating oil on the top of these (where the bolt goes into the captive nut on the Wishbone brackets) and also around the head on the bottom. Leave to soak for a while and then use a 17mm socket on a ratchet handle to remove all 4 bolts. Use an extension tube on the end of the ratchet handle to get extra leverage if need be.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement10.jpg ( 407.01k ) Number of downloads: 249
    Attached File  WishboneReplacement11.jpg ( 432.08k ) Number of downloads: 242
    Attached File  WishboneReplacement12.jpg ( 170.11k ) Number of downloads: 242


  6. Next, the ball joint needs to be split from the hub. If you don't want to re-use the Wishbone and you have a joint splitter fork then this is the best tool to use. Using one will risk damage the rubber boot of the ball joint but if you're not planning to refit or reuse the Wishbone again then it doesn't matter if you damage it. If you don't have a joint splitter fork then the alternative is to vibrate / drift the joint apart. Just keep banging the Wishbone on either side with a lump hammer in a downward action (again, be careful not to hit the rubber CV Joint boot). Slowly you will see the pin start to come out of the hub. This takes time and patience but keep at it and eventually the pin will completely drop out from the hub. The Wishbone can be then be removed from the car (it will probably already have completely dropped away by itself).

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement13.jpg ( 470.8k ) Number of downloads: 289
    Attached File  WishboneReplacement14.jpg ( 235.24k ) Number of downloads: 266


  7. Remove the old Drop Link from the end of the Antiroll Bar. This requires a 17mm socket. The nut isnít usually that tight or corroded on so should be fairly easy to remove without, however it is still best practice to soak in some penetrating oil before attempting itís removal.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement15.jpg ( 376.72k ) Number of downloads: 299


  8. If you have time then take a break and clean up all the bolts and nuts that need to be reused. This will ensure than any existing corrosion will not just continue to grow and the bolt will start afresh. The best way is to mount a wire brush in an electric drill and then grip the drill in the jaws of a large vice or a workmate bench. Then use your hands or a pair of pliers to push the bolt / nut against the wire brush as it spins.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement16.jpg ( 493.13k ) Number of downloads: 238


  9. Apply liberal amounts of grease to the inside of the holes in the hub (both the bolt hole and the hole for the ball joint pin), the end of the Antiroll Bar where the Drop Link slides / bolts on, and also the holes in the sub frame where the Wishbone assembly attaches to. Also grease up the four captive nuts on the Wishbone brackets and also the Drop Link components. Then grease up all the bolts and nuts that you cleaned up in the previous step so they are ready for fitting.

  10. Take the new Wishbone and wriggle it roughly into position. Don't worry about lining up any holes up at this stage.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement17.jpg ( 144.57k ) Number of downloads: 239


  11. Apply a smear of grease to the ball joint pin and then connect it to the hub. You may need to gently tap the bottom of the ball joint to get the pin to fully enter the hole. Keep tapping it in until it wonít go any further (you will see about 5-10mm the pin should be protruding from the top of the hole). Once the pin in fully located, slide the bolt through the hole. Then fit the nut and tighten it.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement18.jpg ( 161.07k ) Number of downloads: 275


  12. Next comes the awkward part of trying to line up the captive nut holes on the Wishbone brackets with the holes in the sub frame. The best way to do this is to just try to line up the outer bracket hole of the front bracket first. It involves a lot of wiggling around of the suspension and tapping the bracket with a small hammer to get the bracket hole into the correctly lined-up position. You can also try to roughly align the holes and then put a screwdriver up through the holes to help pull them into proper alignment as you continue wriggling everything. Due to the angle of the Wishbone, the bracket hole wonít be square with the sub frame hole but donít worry about this as the bolt will still go in at an angle...you just need to be careful you son't cross-thread the bolt but I had no problems at all. Now take one of the shortest bolts and locate it into the captive nut of the bracket. Tap on the head of the bolt to ensure it is properly located into the start of the thread, and then use a 15mm socket to screw the bolt in but leave it loose for now.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement19.jpg ( 407.66k ) Number of downloads: 305


  13. Now wiggle the suspension and Wishbone to get the outer hole of the rear bracket lined up. Then repeat the same process as per the other one to locate and screw the bolt in. You can now fully tighten the two bolts outer bolts just fitted and you will see that it pulls the back of the brackets down over the rear holes into a more or less square position.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement20.jpg ( 425.82k ) Number of downloads: 261


  14. The alignment of the captive nut holes for the inner holes of the Wishbone brackets may not be 100% perfect but it will allow you to insert the rear bolts one at a time so insert these last two bolts one at a time, tapping the head as per the other ones to locate them into the start of the captive nut thread so you can then screw them in fully.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement21.jpg ( 409.36k ) Number of downloads: 230


  15. Next, locate the new Drop Link onto the end of the Antiroll Bar. Donít fit the nut just yet as this will leave more freedom to manoeuvre the bottom of the Drop Link into position so it will fit through the hole in the Wishbone.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement22.jpg ( 399.89k ) Number of downloads: 251


  16. As you can see, due to the close proximity of the Antiroll Bar with the Wishbone there is no way to simply pivot the Drop Link round and into the hole. What you can to do is to use a long 2-foot bar (I used a Breaker Bar). You then feed this between the Antiroll Bar and the Wishbone and wedge the end of it on top of the sub frame. Then use a trolley back to raise the end of the bar up which will flex the Antiroll Bar up and leave just enough room to swing the stem of the Drop Link round so it will go down into the Wishbone hole. When raising the trolley jack, be careful with the position of the bar because it comes very close (if not touching) the steering rack arm / track rod end so you donít want to risk damaging or bending that.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement23.jpg ( 378.38k ) Number of downloads: 289
    Attached File  WishboneReplacement24.jpg ( 138.75k ) Number of downloads: 249


  17. Before swinging the Drop Link stem into position, first fit one of the washers and one of the rubber bushes to it. The washer needs to go on with the dome part facing downwards (towards the rubber bush). Then swing the Drop Link stem into position and slowly lower the trolley jack while wriggling the end of the Drop Link so it goes into the hole as the Antiroll Bar is lowered.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement25.jpg ( 151.9k ) Number of downloads: 246


  18. Now place a trolley jack under the brake disk and raise it to force the Drop Link bush into the top of the Wishbone hole and also ensure that as much of the stem of the Drop Link as possible is protruding from the bottom of the Wishbone.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement26.jpg ( 354.65k ) Number of downloads: 261


  19. Now fit the other rubber bush and washer to the bottom of the Drop Link stem. Again, the dome part of the washer should be facing the rubber bush (so upwards this time). Now locate the nut and fully tighten it. Then fully lower the trolley jack.

    Attached File  WishboneReplacement27.jpg ( 414.57k ) Number of downloads: 242
    Attached File  WishboneReplacement28.jpg ( 166.76k ) Number of downloads: 261


  20. To complete the job you finally need to go round each of the bolts / nuts and tighten them to the required torques:-
    • Nut / Bolt holds the Ball Joint to the Hub -> 70Nm
    • Four Bolts holding the Wishbone brackets to the sub frame -> 70Nm
    • Nut on the bottom of the Drop Link stem -> 30Nm
    The nut on the end of the Antiroll Bar holding the Drop Link in position should be tightened to 48Nm but as I discovered, it is impossible to get a torque wrench in due to the rubber CV Joint boot being in the way. Therefore I just did this bolt up as tight as I could by hand using a short handled ring spanner which is more than sufficient.
The job is now complete biggrin.gif Well one side anyway. Just repeat the same steps for the other side smile.gif


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Mason
post 11th June 2008 19:57
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Not to be funny... But honestly, with a guide like this, how can one not try do it yourself rather....

This is brilliant. Well done smile.gif
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purple
post 11th June 2008 22:23
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great 'how to' guide
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jimp
post 16th August 2008 22:52
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This is some piece of documentation!

It was a big worry for me (as I'm just about to take the plunge with cheap-cheap 146) about changing these and now I feel quite relaxed!

What a resource- excellent photography- thankyou!
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John Ramsay
post 22nd January 2010 18:39
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Wire brush, like the below, will help with them drop link bolts and ball joint bolts. They get caked in crap so a thorough brushing, then a quick spray with carb cleaner or similar then the WD40 should stop them shearing off.

http://www.screwfix.com/prods/15696/Decora...h-Set-Pack-of-2
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Hybrd
post 22nd January 2010 21:43
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Also worth noteing that the job is so much easier if BOTH arb drop links are undone even to change one side as the arb can be moved right out of the way.


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Smokin' Socks
post 10th October 2010 09:55
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I just want to add my tip:

Even with the outer short bolts done up tight the inner bolts wouldn't take in the clamps.

I jacked the arm up under the ball joint so it was completely horizontal and the clamps moved a fraction further back allowing me to thread the bolts.

As I didn't read this guide before ordering my wishbone I didn't order a new ARB link. Luckily the lower link nut came off easiest of all so I left it attached to the bar. There was enough wriggle room to put the new wishbone in and simply guide the ARB link thread into its mounting hole.
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kirk46
post 10th November 2010 18:10
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wow GE cant believe how clean you got those bolts with the wirebrush.....

i use the drill to but can never get them looking new!!

any more tips on how to get them looking like that or is it just a case of spending more than a few minutes doing it? blush.gif


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(easy naan, the other type of helmet :lol:)

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John Ramsay
post 10th November 2010 19:33
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Sorry for the late response, should've picked this up in my last post...

You've mentioned a tool I don't believe exists, a small hammer? What is this??
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Pujazuba
post 21st May 2011 17:38
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Hi,

Thanks for the guide. It's real clear and straight forward. I'm from alfaowner.com and found this guide through there.

I was attempting this today with all the mentioned tools however had a few setbacks. The front outer thread of the new wishbone got ruined! Luckily there's enough clearance above it so it can be fixed with a longer bolt and a nut on-top of the ruined one.

Another problem I'm having is finding the threads of the inner side. Tried jacking up to get the wishbone horizontal, but still no chance!! Anyways I had to stop for the day as a nice storm started out of the blue. Will continue tomorrow.

This post has been edited by Pujazuba: 21st May 2011 17:39
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stevepx
post 21st May 2011 19:40
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QUOTE(Pujazuba @ 21st May 2011 18:38) *
Hi,

Thanks for the guide. It's real clear and straight forward. I'm from alfaowner.com and found this guide through there.

I was attempting this today with all the mentioned tools however had a few setbacks. The front outer thread of the new wishbone got ruined! Luckily there's enough clearance above it so it can be fixed with a longer bolt and a nut on-top of the ruined one.

Another problem I'm having is finding the threads of the inner side. Tried jacking up to get the wishbone horizontal, but still no chance!! Anyways I had to stop for the day as a nice storm started out of the blue. Will continue tomorrow.


had a similar problem myself. just losen off the front bolts so you have some movement, i then used a screw driver to help line up the holes and with some pressure on the hub/disc was able to locate the inner bolt but it was a bit of a pain. if you have a large set of molegrips to hold things in place this may help too!! oh and welcome to the forum.


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GialloEvo94
post 21st May 2011 19:48
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QUOTE(Pujazuba @ 21st May 2011 18:38) *
I was attempting this today with all the mentioned tools however had a few setbacks. The front outer thread of the new wishbone got ruined! Luckily there's enough clearance above it so it can be fixed with a longer bolt and a nut on-top of the ruined one.

Unfortunately it's a well known problem with some of the aftermarket wishbones with the captive nuts having a threads seemingly made from cheese no3.gif You don't get this with the OEM parts but you pay double the price or more for a set of those. The solution is as you've already mentioned, or to cut the ruined nut off and weld on a new stronger one but that is obviously quite a bit more work than the first solution.


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Pujazuba
post 23rd May 2011 14:11
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Thanks Steve, good to be here.

You're right Giallo. Let's hope it doesn't have to come down to welding a new nut tongue.gif

I thought Q&H spare parts were better built than this!
In the end I managed to get all the bolts in for now. Just needed some loosening here and there.
The next problem I ran into is lifting the anti-roll bar to get the drop-link in the wishbone. It's a no go!! Also the new Q&H drop-links I've received are a tiny bit longer than the originals to make it worse.
So plan B is to remove the wishbone again and start putting it back in with the drop-link hanging from the a.r.b. to begin with.

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Pujazuba
post 23rd May 2011 14:15
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Just noticed your suggestion. I'm feeling like a monkey to not have thought of that. Thanks worshippy.gif

QUOTE(bla3d00r @ 22nd January 2010 21:43) *
Also worth noteing that the job is so much easier if BOTH arb drop links are undone even to change one side as the arb can be moved right out of the way.

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GialloEvo94
post 23rd May 2011 14:22
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QUOTE(Pujazuba @ 23rd May 2011 15:15) *
Just noticed your suggestion. I'm feeling like a monkey to not have thought of that. Thanks worshippy.gif

Just note that if you use that method, both wheels/wishbones need to be on the same level. You can't do it with one wheel raised and the other wheel on the floor. It is best to remove both wheels and place an axle stand under each side of the car. This will be easier than trying to do it with the wheels still on the ground. With both droplink nuts removed, the wishbone will then just swing up and out of the way with no resistance smile.gif


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Pujazuba
post 23rd May 2011 16:58
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Yes definitely on axle stands!
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stevepx
post 23rd May 2011 17:56
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just another tip, undo the track rod ends gives you more clearance to "shimmy" the drop links in. oh and the new drop links i bought were also a little longer than those i took off, but with the track rod out of the way there was much more room to lever the arb up and get the droplinks into place


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Pujazuba
post 23rd May 2011 18:10
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I was trying to not touch the rod-ends, but they weren't really an issue. The main issue was the fact that when I lift the a.r.b. the top of the links touch the bottom end of the damper preventing you from lifting them enough! That's why I started thinking about doing it all over again starting with the links.
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Pujazuba
post 29th May 2011 17:39
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I finally got both sides in. Starting by putting the drop-links in worked out fine with a little bit of wrestling here and there.
Unfortunately I managed to ruin another thread on the left side as well. Same position as the misfortune on the other side. This time the thread simply got ruined while I was torquing the bolts to finish up! Can't believe it couldn't withstand the designed torque. So after I replace that bolt too, it's finished.
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stevepx
post 29th May 2011 18:27
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even the most straight forward jobs sometimes just don't work out the way they should wacko.gif

mind you, there will be certainly a vast improvement in the handling of your beast!!! smile.gif

hope the volcano isn't causing you guys there too much trouble wink.gif


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I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die.
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