Hi.Last week, not today. But I chickened out of polybushing the ARB in the street in December and took it to Autolusso Bournemouth. It had been knocking away for as long as I can remember, which turned into a rattle after I fitted a new driveshaft in October. Letting it off the jack back then had shoved the ARB a couple of cm to one side so the droplink was clattering against the fork at times. I fixed that temporarily by jacking it up and using a crowbar to force the ARB back to the centre. No more rattle, only knock.
So onto the AL ramp to check my diagnosis. The verdict was that the bushes weren't obviously knackered, and the droplink I replaced when I fitted new upper and lower wishbones 15m ago, had a little movement where some idiot apparently hadn't properly tightened the nut on the balljoint. Did I still want to go ahead with replacing ARB bushes that seemed not to be a problem? I decided yes, because the ARB was loose enough to have slid sideways, I was sick of the sound effects, and at 10 years old it wasn't going to improve.
Laurence let me hang around and watch Jack do the work. It was a pleasure and a privilege to see someone who knew exactly what they were doing zip through removing the subframe (completely) and ARB. Both droplinks had to be cut, including the year-old one that was loose. Apparently this is normal, it's pretty much futile trying to undo a droplink nut after it's been on the car for a bit. I'd had to cut off the one I replaced, so it wasn't just me. (What I had noticed about the new (TRW) link that I fitted was that there was no plain shank, it was all threaded, which meant it couldn't be a tight fit in the hole through the ARB - and I wonder if that caused it to back off. I am sure I tightened it. The replacement links that Jack fitted had a short plain shank.
I was gobsmacked that Jack had a pot of copper grease on his bench, and used it where it was a good idea 'because it'll be me that has to undo it' next time. I've never seen that before in any pro workshop. One of my sons was a Merc, and later Maclaren, tech. He scoffs at my enthusiasm for copper grease, as an amateur indulgence that pro's don't have time for because bonus depends on cutting time off tariff hours, and a seized fastener will likely be someone else's problem. Thank you Jack
The old bushes really didn't look bad or much deteriorated, once off - just a little galling on the inside, and perhaps a little compressed. Anyhow, new Powerflex bushes went on, well greased from the sachet they supply. Which I read because the forum seems to have varying opinions about grease for PU bushes: it's a silicone medium grease with PTFE added. So far I've had no trace of squeaks or other noises.
Once it was all heading back together, Lawrence asked what I wanted to do about alignment. Obviously the front would need doing, but (the inevitable dreaded upsell) a 4 wheel alignment on the fancy digital rig would be a good idea. 'It'll make the car nicer to drive'.
Damn, I'm out of budget, insurance renewal next week, Xmas coming.
I ummed and ahhed. On the one hand I have never had any of the tyre shoulder wear that many do, so no thanks, I don't really need it. But on the other hand, the tyres are pretty new, the back end occasionally felt a bit vague, edgy and loose, and I'd just had a chance to take a look at the bushes on the back and they seemed fine. I'm sure the rear alignment has never been set since it left the factory. So in the end, yes.
I'm really, really glad I agreed. The front was spot on, but the back wasn't. The improvement was clear the moment I drove it, and more obvious the faster I went. 'Nicer to drive' is dead right. Having lived with it for a week, it's clear that I'd just got used to the back not quite doing what the front required. The back had been constantly fighting the steering, an almost subliminal effect that made the car more stressful to drive than it should have been, due to needing continuous slight correction. None of this was conscious or made the car feel insecure, but it added signal noise and uncertainty. To give an analogy: coming back up the M3 it was like I'd been driving with a dirty windscreen for the whole time I'd had the car, and now it was clean. Without much being aware of it, how the car had been previously, was quite stressful, and now it wasn't.
And, yes, the ARB bushes were knackered. It's quiet now. Who'd have believed it possible: a 147 without any untoward suspension noise, just like a normal car. And I'm skint. View attachment 930535 View attachment 930536