Fixing Brera front wishbone (How to do it)
Lots of chatter on this forum about suspension noise from the front of Breras when going over pot holes and speed ramps. My car was no exception and sounded like there were midgets in there with big hammers!
Well, today was the day to fix it, and here is how to do it. BEWARE This DIY job is a big one and not for the fient hearted. You have been warned....be prepared to lose knuckles and end up with a bad back by the end of the job.
Firstly, you are going to need some tools, and quite special ones at that. Aside from the usual stuff like ratchets, screwdrivers and regular sockets, you will need the following;-
E18 and E20 female Torx sockets.
11, 16, 18 & 21mm AF sockets (these are not always in your average socket set).
18mmAF ring spanner (Again an odd size).
A long (700mm) socket bar or a long torque wrench for undoing and retightening tight bolts.
A 4mm drift for knocking out pad pins and bolts.
A threaded spring compressor. (just 1 needed).
A ball joint splitter.
Metric Allen key set.
Lump or Ball Pein hammer.
A decent trolly jack (2 ton) and an axle stand or blocks of wood also a small scissor jack.
I think thats about it, can't think of anything else. If you don't know what any of these tools are then think twice about attempting this job. so here we go......
1. Jack up the car, block it and remove the front wheel. Do not be tempted to use the car jack for this, you will die!
2. This is optional, but it is going to make the job a whole lot easier from an access and weight management point of view. remove the caliper, disc, disc shroud and the plastic inner wing protector. If you do all this, it's an ideal opportunity to get in there and clean out all the road crud that will send your lovely Brera rotten in 5 years. Also, unclip and put to one side all of the cables for the brake pad and ABS sensors.
3. Using the ball joint splitter, crack the top ball joint.
4. Open the bonnet and remove the 3 nuts and washers from the top of the strut.
5. Using your spring compressor, compress the road spring till you think it's going to go bang! The tighter the better. This will enable you to remove the bolt from the bottom of the alloy casting on the strut by relieving pressure on it. I made a mistake here and tried to remove the bolt that clamps the alloy casting to the bottom of the shock. Don't do this, it dosn't help you as you can't split the shock from the casting with the strut on the car.
6. Remove the anti roll bar dog bone from the hub casting. It helps if you use a scissor jack under the bottom ball joint to even up the tension on the roll bar, because you still have the other wheel on the ground. You have to take the nut right off and then give the thread a clout with your big hammer.
7. OK, now you can get down to the real job. Using the Torx socket and your big bar, slacken the two pivot bolts that hold the wishbone in place. This is a really fiddly job as you are fighting the strut all the time and I could not find a way to remove it without first removing the hub from the driveshaft and I wasn't prepared to do that as I didn't have a new driveshaft nut or torque figures for it. With the bolts loose, you can get them out with your ratchet and then your fingers.
8. With the bolts out, the wishbone drops right out. I photographed the two parts next to each other. I couldn't see too many differences apart from the casting shape, so much for Alfa having re-engineered this part 6 times!
9. As all the best instruction manuals say, assembly is the reverse of disassembly. I use loads of copper grease on the new wishbone as I think that water ingress into the pivots might be why they are failing. I popped into my local Alfa dealer in Derby last week and asked them about Torque settings for all the bolts that have to be removed. In all honesty and with a straight face, the mechanic told me that there were no figures and they just did them up F*****g tight! I applied this theory with my big bar and nearly put my back out.
10. When fitting the top ball joint, use a scissor jack against the chassis to jam the taper together. far less fiddley than using the allen key in the end of the thread. Unfortunatly, the same process cannot be used to refit the dog bone and you will have to use an allen key.
11. I coated all of the suspension bolts with copper grease to as many were showing signs of corrosion due to steel and alloy in contact. Please yourself if you do this or not.
12. I cleaned and sprayed the entire wheel arch with stone chip paint from Halfrauds before refitting the plastic shroud. I also fitted new brake pads and some mud guards whilst the car was in the air.
Thats about it chaps, the wishbone has transformed the feel of the car and it no longer rattles as it passes over every blemish in the road surface.
The job took about 4 hours on my drive in the wind and drizzle, not impossible, but a tough one.
Last edited by 427scr; 13-02-11 at 17:30.