Hi fellow Alfa owners,
A few weeks ago I purchased an Alfa 156 1.8TS with a squeaking front left suspension. Instead of letting a stealership repair the lower wishbone, I decided it would be cheaper and, more importantly, much more fun to repair the wishbone bushings with Powerflex bushings myself. The whole process is documented with quite a lot of pictures, so I thought, why don't I write a tutorial-like post here for those who are considering to Powerflex their cars as well? In this thread I will show the whole process of the front left suspension.
Obviously, start by jacking up the car and removing the wheel (Picture 1). For extra safety measures you can lay down the wheels under the car.
I jacked up both left and right as I planned on doing both sides. Loosen the ARB (Anti Roll Bar) from the suspension (Picture 2). I found that it is best to undo the ARB on both the left and right side as it gives more space if it can be rotated freely.
Next, remove the bolt that connects the SDS (Spring Damper System) to the lower wishbone (Picture 3 & 4). I'm not sure if it is OK to keep the whole mass of the upright hanging on only the upper wishbone, so I try to keep a jack under it to support the weight (Picture 5).
The lower wishbone can than be separated from the upright. Remove the bolt under the upright first. I then used a scissor type splitter to take apart the tapered joint under the ball joint (Picture 6). On the left side this was an easy job, but on the right side it took me more than a day, because the tapered fit was completely stuck.
The only thing that is holding the lower wishbone to the car now are the four bolts keeping the brackets with the bushings on the chassis (Picture 7 & 8). It is a bit of a puzzle to remove the wishbone without excessive force from the suspension, but it really helped that the ARB was loosened.
Yay! The lower wishbone is now removed! (Picture 9)
Unfortunately the bolts in the aluminum bracket were completely seized (Picture 10).
The next step is to remove the bushings from the wishbone and brackets (Picture 11). In the picture you can see a gear puller. This however was not enough to pull everything apart. I ended up using a drill, angle grinder, hammer together with the puller to remove the bushings.
With everything removed it is now time to assemble everything back together. I must say that the instructions which come with the Powerflex bushings are completely useless, so I had to use my common sense to put the bushings onto the wishbone. Also I had to file down a bit from the washers supplied with the bushings, as they wouldn't fit the wishbone perfectly. To make sure that everything would stay in place, I used some Loctite 648 to glue the sleeve onto the wishbone (as advised by Powerflex). (Picture 12 & 13)
As mentioned earlier, the bolts holding the aluminum bracket onto the chassis were seized and thus the thread in the bracket was ruined. I was lucky that I found a shop which had M10x1.25 (uncommon) helicoils and was opened on Saturday. The bracket was rethreaded (Picture 14) and helicoils were inserted (Picture 15).
The suspension can now be reassembled in the reverse order in which it was disassembled (Picture 16 & 17). I used the eLearn software to find the correct values for torquing down all the bolts and nuts.
With the new Powerflex bushings the annoying squeaking noise is gone. The car still works, so I would consider this project a success.
I think this repair/upgrade is easy/intermediate provided that you know what you are doing. It took me about 24 hours of work in total to complete everything, but this was mainly due some small problems I had with the right suspension.
I hope u guys find this 'tutorial' useful. Feel free to ask anything if you want to know more.
(All the photos can be viewed at once at: Photo album