156 V6 front suspension upper and lower arm guide
Thanks to the help of various posters on this forum I have now finished the "tune up" of the front drivers side corner of my '98 156 V6. Just the other side to go now......
But I thought I would add to the already helpful info on here with my own version of how to do it all. I will describe changing:
i) upper arm
ii) lower arm
iii) brake pads
I did these all at the same time. Please remember to copper grease parts where required, and if nuts and bolts are knackered or corroded, throw them away, don't reuse them!
So you have that "eek eek eek" as you go down the road that sounds like it is coming from behind the dashboard in the right hand corner? It is very likely to be your upper front suspension arms ball joint! These are cheap to replace (I got mine for £29.20 + VAT from EB Spares), and fairly straight forward to do - but not as simple as you might think!
1) Raise the car, support safetly, and remove the wheel.
2) The upper arm has a long bolt that it pivots on, and the small balljoint that connects to upper arm to the upright. That is all that keeps it in place.
3) Take of the 15mm nut that holds the balljoint to the upright.
4) Surely if you just take out that long bolt, and undo the balljoint, it is a straight swap of the arm right???? WRONG! It is more involved then that...
5) No matter how much you want it to be so, that long bolt has not got enough room to slide all the way out so the arm will come off without doing some work to make enough space. Some say the bolt will just pull out after you take the nut off, but I really beg to differ! (On mine the nut was facing the spring, bolthead facing the door). To make the space you will need to lower the strut/damper/spring by a) undoing the long bolt that joins the strut to the lower arm, and b) lifting the bonnet and undoing the 4 nuts that are at the top of the wheel arch (they may have black plastic covers on them) at the top of the strut.
6) With the strutt/spring loose it will (carefully) drop down in the wheel arch, and you will be able to rotate the whole assembly around and have enough space to get that 17mm socket on the long bolt to attack it properly and pull it out. Now you can put the new arm on put the long bolt back in. Reverse the above procedure and you are home free!
7) Act smug that you did it yourself.
Got clunks and knocks as you go along, and you are not sure why? You have checked the drop link as its cheap and easy to do, but that is not the problem? Lower arm swap time then! THIS IS NOT EASY, AND UNLESS YOU HAVE THE SPACE, TOOLS, AND DON'T NEED THE CAR THE NEXT DAY THEN DON'T START!
1) Raise the car, support safetly, and remove the wheel.
2) Remove the two nuts holding on the drop link. Mine came off really easy, but many say they had to cut them off. I guess it depends how corroded the threads are.
3) Remove the big nut holding the lower arm to the hub.
4) Remove the track rod/steering arm by taking off the nut.
5) Take out the long bolt attaching the lower arm to the (soon to be very annoying) fork at the bottom end of the strut.
6) Remove the fixings in the corner of the undertray so you can reach the four bolts holding the lower arm on
7) Remove the four bolts that hold the lower arm to the front subframe. Make sure to note where each bolt goes, as they are all different lengths.
8) "Remove lower arm". Ho ho ho - easy to type, harder to do! Try and make a mental picture of the angle that it comes out - you'll have to match it to put it back in again!
9) To put the new lower arm in you'll need to connect things in the right order. That order is:
ii) 4 bolts to front subframe
iii) lower arm to strut/spring/damper fork
10) Balljoint to hub, put the new nut on a few turns to hold the two together. It is vital this is the first thing to be connected.
11) Now slide the lower arm into place on the subframe. This is tricky! The antiroll bar will be in the way - I raised it slightly with a scissor jack (without bending it) as this enabled me to get the rear lower arm silver bracket into place. I had the the strut fork held up high out of the way with another scissor jack - be careful as you will be compressing the road spring and a lot of force will be in play. I spent a lot of time bashing the oil sump with the front silver bracket and bashing the antiroll bar with the rear silver bracket trying to get the arm in the right location. It took me so long I had to shave halfway though.
12) Now you will need to put the 4 bolts back through the lower arms into the front subframe. The silver brackets can be "gently" drifted into location so that; a) the brackets are rotated round to be in the right "horizontal plane", whilst b) also banging them fore and aft to get them to line up with the holes in the sub frame. I thought getting a few bolts in would make the rest of the bolts easy - but no! I had three bolts in and the last one did not line up in the slightest. I was absolutely CONVINCED my new arm was faulty and had the holes in the wrong place which is why they did not line up. The hardest one is the rear inboard one - do that one first and then use a small vanity mirror under the car to make sure you have the other holes lined up before putting the bolts in. Prepare to fanny around a fair amount! My girlfriend went on holiday and had came back by the time I had managed this! I found that at one point it was easier to raise/drop the lower arm with a jack as if the car was on the ground to make the brackets line up with the holes. When all the bolts are in don't do them up tight, but proceed to the next step.
13) Now you can entertain yourself by getting the strut fork to line up with the relevant part of the lower arm. I used scissor jacks and soft mallets to get it all in place. When the holes line up put the bolt through and bobs your uncle.
14) Connect the drop link up via the two nuts, connect the track rod end/steering arm to the hub by its nut, (I did mention to remove this earlier didn't I?)
15) Check all the nuts and bolts are in place, and you have no bits left over!
16) Put the wheel back on and lower the car.
17) Tighten all the nuts and bolts to the correct torque. (The four bolts holding the lower arm to the subframe, the big nut on the ball joint, and the bolt through the middle of the lower arm and through the strut fork.... and any others I have forgotten!
18) Act smug that you have done this yourself!
To stress the point, the above task is difficult and time consuming, and will not be a two hour job if it is your first time. You will also find this almost impossible without two of you, as most of the time someone will be pushing/pulling/twisting something with all thier might whilst you put the nuts and bolts together. You will also need several jacks of varying sizes. Try and do it in the rain, like me, as it is really character buiding.
To confirm - you WILL NOT have to:
1) Disconnect the driveshaft.
2) Remove the disc or calliper.
3) Remove the strut/damper/spring assembly.
4) Remove the antiroll bar.
5) Lie and say it was easy. It isn't.
At last, an easy job! This is very simple.
1) Raise car and support safetly.
2) Remove wheel.
3) The two bolts you'll need to remove are hidden behind black plastic caps/plugs on the front of the calliper, so prise these off.
4) Remove the two previously hidden bolts with a 7mm allen key.
5) Remove the front part of the calliper, (might take mild force), and be sure to unplug the brake sensor from the connector on the calliper.
6) Push out the old pads, (the one on the piston side has spring clips holding it tight in place).
7) Throughly clean all the guides that the new pads will slide in, and copper grease them up whilst remembering not to get any on the disc or pads.
8) You'll need to push the piston back into the calliper - relax, this is not the nightmare it can be with the rear callipers, but they are still quite stiff. Make sure the rubber boot is in good condition and not all torn and perished. Don't reassemble it if it is!
9) I pushed the piston back in with the proper tool that winds it into place. You will have to wind it ALL the way back in, (so the rubber boot is quite squashed).
10) Copper grease the piston and the BACK of the pads.
11) Push the calliper spring clips into the piston, being sure to put the wear sensor wire through the slot in the calliper casting and connect it to the plug, making sure the connections are clean.
11) Put the bolts back in, and replace the plastic caps.
12) Pump the brake pedal a bit to get the pads back in line. Don't drive off first, or your pedal may go to the floor at the first junction! This is embarassing.
13) Act smug that you did it yourself.
So, thats it! I realise that this is very lengthy, and much of it has received almost "MAF Sensor" levels of threads before, but some older posts get lost in the past a bit. If I have forgotten anything or just plain got it wrong, then shout!