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Discussion Starter #1
Am thinking of having a go at upper and lower wishbones on my old 156. Starting with upper then maybe lower if it goes well.

Should I assume the 16 year old ball joint is knackered and replace the whole upper wishbone? O could I get some powerflex bushes?

Is it easier to do the lowers at the same time?

I've read TRW are the ones to go for, will they give the same stiffness that power flexing the existing wishbone?

Thanks guys :thumbup:
 

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TRW upper and lower wishbones, Powerflex the uppers if you like but not the lowers. For what its worth I don't usually Powerflex the uppers unless the car is going to see some track time or particularly hard road use. So my GTA is on standard upper wishbones, the track slag has them Powerflexed.
 

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Change your droplinks at the same time. TRW ones will be OK if you are still using standard roll bars, otherwise a little bit more money spent on Meyle HD droplinks is worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice. I'm a novice so not done this before, should I give the uppers a go and see how that turns out or while I have the shock/spring lowered will this make removal of the lowers?
 

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As you are just putting the upper wishbone back in, but haven't yet completed the job, that is the best time to change the lower wishbone. You'll have the strut top mount nuts all back on, but will not yet have re-attached the droplinks or the bottom fork bolts. Then you just need to undo the bottom arm balljoint and the 4 mounting point bolts, wiggle the bottom arm out, wiggle the new one back in, and then put it all back together again. Its a lot trickier than it sounds if you haven't ever done stuff like this before and don't have a second pair of hands to help, but its a good job to start on.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As you are just putting the upper wishbone back in, but haven't yet completed the job, that is the best time to change the lower wishbone. You'll have the strut top mount nuts all back on, but will not yet have re-attached the droplinks or the bottom fork bolts. Then you just need to undo the bottom arm balljoint and the 4 mounting point bolts, wiggle the bottom arm out, wiggle the new one back in, and then put it all back together again. Its a lot trickier than it sounds if you haven't ever done stuff like this before and don't have a second pair of hands to help, but its a good job to start on.
Ah thought that might be the case. Thanks, will probably wait until the GT is ready so I have something to drive if I **** it up!
 

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The first time you change the lower arms you may wonder why you bothered....it's a bit of a faff, but take your time and persevere. Once the car is in the air a couple of small jacks can be handy with positioning everything if you are doing the job on your own.
 

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Should I assume the 16 year old ball joint is knackered and replace the whole upper wishbone?
I would be staggered to discover a 156 with 16 year old wishbones, they're almost a service item.
You should definitely replace the whole arm.

Last MOT mine failed on upper bushes on branded wishbones less than 2 years old so I replaced just the bushes and all was well. They really are a hopeless design and, whatever brand you go for as a replacement, take them apart annually to regrease the bushes to prevent early failure.

Upper arms are straightforward, however if yours are indeed original you'll have to do a bit more work to replace them, follow the guide on Alfaworkshop. If the drop-links are original too wouldn't hurt to replace them, the original design are a pig to remove and often have to be cut off as the allen key hole in the end of the thread rounds, newer drop-links have a flat on the shaft to facilitate removal. Meyle drop-links are a quality replacement and I can highly recommend them.

When replacing the upper wishbone fit the long bolt through the wishbone the other way. Next time the wishbone can be removed by removing the wheel arch liner, split upper balljoint and remove the long bolt.

Lowers should only be attempted if you're handy with the spanners, nothing technical to it but they are awkward, plenty of threads regarding lowers.

Good luck

Pub
 

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I have posted this some where else but really want to get the message out there.
If you are fitting arms with rubber bushes(not urethane like powerflex) it is important you do not tighten the bolts going through rubber until the car's suspension is at normal ride height!
Failing to do this will pre-load bushes when the car is lowered onto the ground again.
This stress will cause them to tear away from the shell and become loose.
This was our mantra at the suspension shop and I saw the results of techs not heeding this.
with urethane bushes its no problem only rubber like OE or TRW need this treatment
 

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I have posted this some where else but really want to get the message out there.
If you are fitting arms with rubber bushes(not urethane like powerflex) it is important you do not tighten the bolts going through rubber until the car's suspension is at normal ride height!
Failing to do this will pre-load bushes when the car is lowered onto the ground again.
This stress will cause them to tear away from the shell and become loose.
This was our mantra at the suspension shop and I saw the results of techs not heeding this.
with urethane bushes its no problem only rubber like OE or TRW need this treatment
Not true for the UPPER wishbones regardless of bush type, e.g. rubber bushes such as TRW. The bushes aren't bonded to the inner metal sleeve but instead fitted with grease so intended to rotate around the sleeve. Preloading doesn't matter in this case, the arm will happily rotate to whatever position you like without any elastomeric loading, just greased (if you're lucky) metal rotating past rubber.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So how do you get them at normal ride height before tightening? Use a jack from below to apply pressure?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I would be staggered to discover a 156 with 16 year old wishbones, they're almost a service item.
You should definitely replace the whole arm.

Last MOT mine failed on upper bushes on branded wishbones less than 2 years old so I replaced just the bushes and all was well. They really are a hopeless design and, whatever brand you go for as a replacement, take them apart annually to regrease the bushes to prevent early failure.

Upper arms are straightforward, however if yours are indeed original you'll have to do a bit more work to replace them, follow the guide on Alfaworkshop. If the drop-links are original too wouldn't hurt to replace them, the original design are a pig to remove and often have to be cut off as the allen key hole in the end of the thread rounds, newer drop-links have a flat on the shaft to facilitate removal. Meyle drop-links are a quality replacement and I can highly recommend them.

When replacing the upper wishbone fit the long bolt through the wishbone the other way. Next time the wishbone can be removed by removing the wheel arch liner, split upper balljoint and remove the long bolt.

Lowers should only be attempted if you're handy with the spanners, nothing technical to it but they are awkward, plenty of threads regarding lowers.

Good luck

Pub
I'm fairly sure they are all original. Got the car with 52k and it was on original water pump etc. I have not replaced any suspension parts and now on 96k! So yes will go for all new bits trw. Don't think I'll go for meyle drops as bit more expensive and this is supposed to be an 'economical' overhaul.

Thanks for the advice, not sure if I am 'handy' as never really tried this before. I'm generally a competent individual though. If it all goes **** up tow to autolusso!

Edit- where does everyone get their bits- mister auto?
 

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So how do you get them at normal ride height before tightening? Use a jack from below to apply pressure?
As mentioned above you don't need to worry about that for the uppers as the bushes rotate. You only have to nip up the long bolt through the lower wishbone with it in its natural position, yes, stick a jack under the hub and lift it to the point where it's at the sort of angle it would be on the floor.

Last set I bought were Births from this Italian eBay seller , just under £150 delivered to the UK for uppers, lowers and droplinks.

Can't stress how important it is, regardless of make, to pop the top hat collars out of the upper wishbone bushes and apply a generous dab of rubber friendly grease.

Good luck

Pub
 

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So how do you get them at normal ride height before tightening? Use a jack from below to apply pressure?
Put all bolts and nuts in place but where there are rubbers that twist or rotate don't fully tighten them. Lower the car to the ground and bounce it a few times. Then fully tighten those last bolts.

Yes they can be a pain to get at if the car isn't on a two or four post lift but, where the suspension movement is by twisting the rubber, it will ensure you get maximum life from those components. I learnt this the hard way.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Put all bolts and nuts in place but where there are rubbers that twist or rotate don't fully tighten them. Lower the car to the ground and bounce it a few times. Then fully tighten those last bolts.

Yes they can be a pain to get at if the car isn't on a two or four post lift but, where the suspension movement is by twisting the rubber, it will ensure you get maximum life from those components. I learnt this the hard way.
So you think pop the wheel back on and try and access the bolts then? Surely impossible on the drive?! Could I just put a jack under the lower wishbone ball joint and prop it up a bit?

Also can you detach and lube lower bushes?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Checklist;
- axle stands
- hydraulic jack
- big spanner set (metric)
- ball joint splitter
- penetrating spray
- rubber grease (type?)
- wishbone set

Anything I'm missing?!
 

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Socket set, breaker bar, couple of pry bars. A decent ratchet would really help too. I don't use a ball joint splitter personally, I prefer a big hammer. Too easy to damage the boots on the ball joints, although in your case this doesn't matter as you're replacing all the components with ball joints. Vice grips might help for getting the old drop links off.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Socket set, breaker bar, couple of pry bars. A decent ratchet would really help too. I don't use a ball joint splitter personally, I prefer a big hammer. Too easy to damage the boots on the ball joints, although in your case this doesn't matter as you're replacing all the components with ball joints. Vice grips might help for getting the old drop links off.
Cheers! I assume then if I want to change shocks I can do so without damaging the upper ball joint?
 
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