I expect this is old news,but i am so chuffed to have done this i thought i would write it down.
Having bought the company tart last November i am now faced with having the car examined to pass the Control Technique here in France and register it on French Plates.
After buying the car it suffered from clutch slip within 200 miles (only 85,000 on the clock),wheel wobble,various knocks and groans from the front end,bottom kissing on the crappy French roads around here in the Gorges du Tarn.The worst of all was a damaged inner rim allowing tyre deflation within 2-3 days,and the rear tyre wearing alarmingly down to canvas within 3,000 miles of ownership.
The clutch was seen to by a garage in Seaford Sussex just before the ferry,the rest i decided was down to me.The N/S/F Lower arm was examined during the clutch fit and found to be cream crackered,along with a rear wheel bearing droning on and on more than the wife.The garage i purchased it from said it had "just been fixed by "quick fit" in or near Gleneagles" i.e. (filled full of copper grease).The car had a "New MOT" when i picked it up 2 days before.
These would have to wait until the time was right,which,with things getting worse is Now!
Upper and lower arms,drop links,rear wheel bearing,check rear links,look for rusty o/side front b/pipe,change headlamps over to L/H/D.Fix floppy sump guard and inspect shocks etc.Straighten inside rim on a damaged wheel and replace 4 tyres before a brief holiday in Spain.
Off we go then,.....wheels off and attack......seized bolts everywhere!Not just seized but worse of all stripping on the way out.Undo ,do up undo do up heat,WD40 and finally both bolts came out of the bottom arm aluminium block.Front mounting block not much better but at least you can reach them to lubricate,but having whizzed them off eventually with my rip gun i might add they are effing hot, so don't be tempted to pick them up to examine!
The front mount bolts clean up with a good wire brush,the back mount bolts from the ally were,...well full of ally.Knife edge the tooth side of a new hacksaw blade and run it gently around the threads and with a good wire brush,it's as good as new.Grease them and spin them up and down the new arm mountings to make sure.
Top arms off by dropping the shocks and mounts,and undoing on the bench.Before refitting new arms i dissembled them and drilled the end washers on the pivots with 5 holes and grooved the tube to allow grease and lubricant in.All these stories i here on the forum have made me anal about putting them in without at least the chance of being able to lubricate after.Re-assembled the top arm, no problems and refitted the shocks.
Then the poo hit the fan!
Struggling to fit the lower arm in,i noticed the roll bar flopping up and down.Shine a light in there and hey presto.What bush???? Naff all rien nada zip.It must have been there at some time,so perhaps moving it to get the arm out,it popped out.Not likely....off to the forum for a search.
Not possible to do without blah blah blah, it will cost etc. and you have to ......and in reality i would agree,but 30 km from the major town and an Alfa dealer who spends most of the time shrugging his shoulders and saying "non"...that **** don't fight so here we go.
The remains of a bush were found sunning itself under the rack,but it hadn't played any part in the proceedings for some time.Whether it had been dislodged at another stage i don't know but for sure this was the clank under the floor i had heard for months.
I read and read about procedures in this very forum,but dropping the subframe etc is no go,as i haven't the time or the space to crawl around on my back at my age.It has to come off!
Undo bolts and...hang on; they were really easy to take out.Everything else is seized why not these? IT'S BEEN OUT BEFORE!The u clamp fell apart,and it was easy to slip off.Two parts.Obviously it had a replacement bush before.A troll through the history showed that at the last MOT the bush had been replaced at a cost off £90.00 for labour.(Not).
Whoever it was at Q/F had beaten the clamp into submission eventually splitting it and allowing the knackered bush out.A new bush had been pushed in and clamped back up.Not removing the damaged rivet heads had not allowed the clamp to clamp,leaving a 3 mm gap between the two halves.Result,the bush works loose and gets a holiday.
A search of my old parts bin and the local garage, and manage to find a bush almost exactly like the Alfa non replaceable one.Split and at 22mm and the same external diameters.I don't know what it came from and the "garageist" just shrugged his shoulders so don't ask, but it is surely not Alfa!
In a vice i straightened the u clamp,drilled out the old damaged rivet heads,and ground both surfaces flat.The result is that when i fitted the bush and clamp to the exposed end of the bar and tightened it up.It clamps.Properly.Now the hard part....putting it back.
There is no room! Hang on....!
Slide the top half of the clamp over the roll bar and hold loosely with the rear retaining bolt. Stick a screwdriver through the front retaining bolt hole.Grease the new bush.Make sure the joint faces forward.Push the new bush gently into and between the clamp and the bar.It takes a little pressure but not enough to damage the bush.The thickest part of the rubber should be facing forward at 90 degrees to the cross member,so you feed the thinnest part in first at the top.Gently and with the required swear words you will feel it ease over the rubber retainers at the sides of the bush and locate in the clamp.
Gently push and prise the bush anti clockwise until it starts to turn and by pushing at the top periodically,locate in the groove.If you have lubricated it well enough it will turn and locate properly;split facing forward.
Remove the screwdriver locating the front hole and support the bar upwards to allow a gap large enough to slide the lower support of the clamp in (front end firs)t and then locate the two together with the screwdriver.At this point you can put the front bolt back in loosely to hold the two halves together and remove the rear bolt.Tease and slide the rear of the lower half clamp into place (you may need to push the rubber up a little to allow the clamp to slide under) and when lined up,replace the rear bolt.Tighten and hey presto....a new bush is fitted.And it works.
The right side is to be done in the next two days, and i will drill the rivets out whilst in place so the two halves can be separated before attempting to remove the rubber.I shall report it's success or otherwise.
Question; yes the roll bar has lost it's powder coat under the bush, Answer; it is a million times better than no bush or a worn bush and a lot cheaper than 165 Euro for a complete bar.I noticed the end eyes are a little worn so i will spot weld a washer in place once the drop arm is fitted,to stop the mount loosening in the end of the arm.
I might add this is best done with the lower arm removed,with it in place it makes it ten times harder i would think.
The company tart is being an absolute pain in the rear,it's reliable so far and is easier on the fuel bills,but around these roads even with slack and wobbly bits you have to smile.
Can't wait to thrash the ***** next week!