**HOW TO** Fit lower front wishbone
Really not for the feint hearted this one and the parts alone are going to cost you £200+ (more from Alfa), but there is no option if you lose a lower ball joint as the unit is only sold in one piece. In replacing the wishbone, you might also wreck the track rod end and the anti roll bar dog bone, so be prepared to spend more than you were anticipating.
You are going to need a very comprehensive tool kit, including spanners, sockets, screwdrivers, pliers etc and both male and female Torx sockets. Some of the tools are in odd sizes too, like 18, 21 and 16mm. You will also need a trolley jack and some wooden blocks or really sturdy axle stands. Also helpful will be several very long socket extensions a universal joint, a big socket wrench (at least 2 feet long) oh, nearly forgot, an angle grinder, a ball joint splitter, scissor jack and not to mention a blowlamp!!
Ready? Here we go...Be prepared for about 5 hours work.
1. Jack up the opposite side of the car to the failed arm so that the wheel is off the ground and block the chassis or use an axle stand. You need to do this to release the pressure on the anti roll bar. Yes you do, honest.
2. Jack up the failed side, remove the wheel and block the chassis. Do not leave the car on the jack, you will die later when you start yanking on stuck bolts! With the car in the air, remove the plastic under tray.
3. Remove the track rod end. You need to do this to gain as much freedom as you can for later in the process. The down side is that you may need to grind off the nut holding the rod end to the hub if as mine it was totally siezed. An alternative is to unscrew the rod end from the rod shaft but this will mess up your tracking unless you are very carefull.
4. Unbolt the top fixing for the anti roll bar dog bone. Again, you may need to trash the dog bone to get it off. You need to do this for later in the process.
5. Remove the bolt that joins the suspension arm to the aluminium fork at the bottom of the strut. There should be no spring pressure on this and it should come out with some persuesion from a soft hammer. If not, the blowlamp and some WD40 are the order of the day.
6. Crack the bottom ball joint. Sounds easy dosn't it, have fun!!
7. Now we get onto the hard bit! The back of the wishbone is held in with 3 bolts and nuts. Unfortunatly, the italian designer managed to hide 2 of them behind the anti roll bar bracket. Using a small female torx socket, a 9" extension, a universal joint, a 24" extension and a ratchet, get a friend to post the tool down the side of the engine from under the bonnet whilst you guide the torx socket onto the tiny screw holding the anti roll bar bracket in place. Get your friend to take the screw out. Next crawl under the car and using a long socket bar on the bottom (these bolts are very, very tight) and a ring spanner on the top, take out the bolt that holds the back of the ARB braket in place. Again WD40 will be required in buckets. Now the ARB bracket is free, the ARB can be lifted to get a ring spanner on the two hidden nuts. (This is why the other side of the car is in the air and the dog bone is removed). Use the same process as before to remove the 2 remaining bolts.
8. Now the really hard bit!! The The front of the arm is held in by 2 bolts that pass through the chassis from the engine bay and into threaded holes in the arm pivot. Again that idiot of an italian designer decided that it would be a great idea to run the power steering oil pipes along the chassis right in front of the bolt heads. You will have to move the pipes to get a socket on the bolts and you can do this by removing 2 nuts and a screw that hold the pipe brackets in place. (NB. My car is a 3.2 Q4 and your pipes might not be routed in the same way). With the pipes out of the way, use a socket and ratchet to remove the bolts. This is easier said than done and I had to use a blowlamp on the threads where they poke out of the bracket and buckets of WD40. In the end I had to lie on my back and kick the ratchet to get the bolts to shift. No wonder my back hurts!
9. With everything detached, the arm will come out. I had to use a scissor jack to push the hub, disc and caliper up out of the way to get access and a pry bar also came in handy.
10. Replacement is pretty much the opposite of removal. I used loads of copper grease on threads and where aluminium was in contact with steel to stop corrosion.
It would also be worth getting the tracking checked after assembly, or better still 4 wheel alignment.