Well I've been looking forward to doing this for a long time, it's something I've always wanted to do myself, just for satisfaction really. I've been buying bits and tools every month and just got the last piece, a set of these https://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/p...al-coil-spring
Anyway, in the true tradition of AO, I thought I'd do a guide.
1. Make sure your phone is charged up, you'll need it.
2. Find a copy of Yellow Pages.
3. Find a specialist garage.
4. Phone em and beg em to change your suspension.
5. Take it to them, drop it off..
6. Do something with your Kids.
7. Pick it up and pay.
In all seriousness, unless you already have the full complement of tools below, aren't keen on getting hang nails, uncleanable finger nails, stiff legs or have shed loads of patience, leave this to a pro and happily pay them. The front suspension is pretty easy IF none of the bolts are seized, unfortunately on my 6 year old car, they were pretty much corrosion welded in place.
The other thing to bear in mind is that you'll need an alignment afterwards and you want someone who knows what they're doing on your Alfa doing that, so my advice is just get them them to do the whole lot. If you do decide to do it then this is a great guide for the rears http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-...-part-1-a.html
and a few tips I picked up whilst doing the fronts (I've now had the drivers side off 5 times, so it really is easy enough when you've dealt with the corroded stuff)
Here's what I needed.
Ideally 2 x 1/2" rachets.
2 x 18mm sockets for the lower damper securing bolt. Or one socket and a spanner.
17mm ratchet spanner and 5mm allen key for upper wishbone ball joint.
18mm rachet spanner for the drop links and either allen key, torx keys or with my Meyle HD links- a 5/8" spanner to stop it spinning.
5/8" socket for top mount (engine bay) bolts. Get a deep one then u can use it for damper thread bolt.
21mm and E18 torx socket for fork to lower wishbone bolt.
Jacks and axle stands
Impact wrench (I didn't have, wish I had, so many times)
Coil spring compressors and full face mountain bike helmet with goggles!
4" ANGLE GRINDER
Ball joint splitter just in case
You can read through the rest of the thread to see what a potential ball ache his job can be, but here's a quick step by step guide that works if you're lucky enough that the previous owner took it all apart and copper slipped it for you. If he/she did, it'll take about 40 mins to jack a front up, strip down, rebuild and jack down. If it's old kit as mine was, it took me a day for one corner, that aint worth it! Here's my method, might not be the right/best way, but it works.
1. Chock the wheels, jack up BOTH front sides (even if just doing one side) and support on axle stands. (if you didn't know this, stop reading and go see your Alfa specialist)
2. Undo the top drop link bolt (if it's old, just angle grind the nut off, PIA removing otherwise)
3.Undo lower damper securing bolt. (this is where an impact wrench might save 2 or 3 hours)There'll be a hose attached to this, remove it from it's mount otherwise you'll probably damage it at step 6/7.
4. Put a bottle jack under the lower wishbone, close to the hub.
5. Undo the 21mm nut from the E18 torx bolt that goes through the lower fork/ lower wishbone.
6. With the bottle jack supporting the lower wishbone, undo the 17mm bolt from the upper wishbone ball joint, shouldn't need a ball joint splitter here, should just knock out.
7. Release the bottle jack so the hub can drop, keep an eye out that no brake lines are getting caught /pulled tight-they shouldn't be, but check anyway.
8. You might need to knock the top of the fork to release the damper bottom.
9. Undo the three 5/8" nuts from the top mount from inside the engine bay, when the nuts are nearly off, keep hold of the coil over in case it drops on a brake line.
10. You can now remove the damper as the fork will have dropped.
11. Mark a line on the the coil over top mount in line with the lower bolt guide on the damper, makes it easier to line up the new shock/spring. I sprayed a bit of silicone between spring and rubber of top mount, otherwise it's very hard to rotate top mount should you be a bit off line between top mount guide/bolts and lower damper bolt guide.
12. Compress spring, don't worry if you look a spanner in your full face helmet, it beats dying.
13. An impact wrench gun might help here, but you need to remove the top damper nut. One of mine came off with a socket, the other span the damper shaft, if this happens, you could wrap some inner tube around the shaft then mole grips to stop it spinning. If that doesn't work, then you've just realised another reason you should've gone to a pro. Unlikely you'll get an angle grinder between the coils to make some spanner flats.
13. Assuming nut is off, you can pull damper out of spring. Compress new spring, put rubber spring seat from original damper onto new damper, push damper up through spring then shove original bump stop and dust cover over shaft.
14. Make sure spring is compressed enough that you can push top mount on to damper rod until it hits the stop. ( I may have screwed up here, not making sure it was right up to it's stop, even 3mm off will end up sounding terrible in car)
15. With the new coilover made up push it up into the bodywork and put the nuts on.
16. Push the fork up so the damper bottom slots into it, you may need to knock the fork up- I sprayed some WD40 to help.
17. Use your bottle jack to push the lower wishbone up so it alignes with the fork holes. Push the bolt in.
18. Put back in lower damper bolt, drop link bolt, brake, torque up.
The rest of the thread was written after this guide, so you can get an idea of how little fun it was.
I could've easily paid for this to be done, but I honestly thought it would be fun and had to get it out of my system.
Everything started fairly well, but the bolt that holds the shock into the fork took me around 2 hours to get out, it was totally stuck with corrosion from the alloy fork.
Unpacked the new ball joint splitter to find one prong had broken off. I also thought I had all the sockets I'd need, but alas, no 18mm sockets or spanners, so had to make another trip out only to discover later a 17mm deep socket would've been handy for the shock absorber nut. Gotta make sure you have all the tools before this job.
I've pretty much got one front back together, new upper wishbone, shock mount, Bilstein B4, Eibach pro kit spring, Meyle HD drop links (which are a dream because you can get a spanner on them instead of an allen or hex key).
I've got new track rod ends too, but I was going to get them put on when the alignment is being done. Unfortunately, they were Torx key and I've managed to round the slot off, so it just keeps spinning. So it looks like I'm going to have to grind it off and replace it. If anyone can advise me on this, that'd be great.
I'm thinking if i measure from the end of the rubber gaiter to the middle of the track rod ball joint?
Also, how do they come off? Do you literally just unwind them off the threaded bar or does the threaded bar spin when you try to do so?
Here's what I did, if anyone can suggest an easier way, please, please bring it on as i still have the other side to do.
Slackened off the 3 strut mount bolts in engine bay.
pulled brake cables out of their holders and secured elsewhere.
Undid top wishbone ball joint, release wishbone.
Undid anti roll bar drop link.
Undid track rod end ball joint. Not sure if this was required, but didn't want to stress it too much when the hub dropped.
Took the Fur King bolt out of the fork that holds the damper, this is massively corroded, so hone your swearing skills before attempting removal.
Let the hub drop, supported with bottle jack. Hope that damper releases from fork-it didn't for me!
Remove top strut nuts from engine bay, I hoped to be able to remove the coil over now but it wouldn't pass the upper wishbone, so I had to fart around taking the wishbone off with the coil over partially in the way.
Coilover still too long to come out, so it was either a case of compressing the spring, but my compressor weighs a lot, or removing the lower fork bolt which I did and thankfully it came out easily enough.
The fork will then drop onto the driveshaft (be careful not to damage gaiter).
Pull coilover out. I marked a paint line up from damper bolt hole, up centre springs and to top mount to make it easier to line the new top mount up.
Strip it down and put the rubber spring seat on to the new damper along with bump stop and cover. Copy the line up marks onto new top mount as it's hard to spin into alignment once the spring is active. You really want one of those tools the specialists use where you can put an allenkey or similar inside a socket, I haven't got one so had to hold the shock rod with mole grips to stop it turning whilst tightening up the top bolt.
Put the new coil over back in (a mate would be perfect at this point), struggle to get the bolts and guide up into engine bay and then get the nuts on to stop it dropping out.
Put the damper into the fork, it might not slide in easily, so use your bottle jack to help push it in and align the lower fork bolt holes, slide the bolt back in, do up and then put the bolt back in to hold the damper in.
Put all the brake lines back in their holders.
Hope what you've done is correct.
Alright this was my first go, but it took me way too long, there has to be a quicker way, so please chime in if you know, cos I've to do the other tomorrow and hopefully the rears. The Fur King bolt is already out of the other side, so I just need the drop links to come out easily. I have new bolts for the rear, so if they give me any stool, I'll grind em off, in fact they're in a way that can't be removed without cutting them off.
Make sure you have 18mm sockets, 17mm deep socket, 18mm rachet spanner or impact gun for drop links. Can of Plusgas and WD40. Some of those ratchets torx spanners would be good for wishbones and lower fork bolt.
So any advice on this and the track rod ends would be great. Seriously hoping the rears are the easier!