Click on thumbnails for larger images.
Stage 1 - remove the subframe from the car.
I found the easiest way to remove the subframe was to remove it complete with wishbones and anti-roll bar - less new
hardware is required, and everything can then be tightened with the car still in the air.
Jack up the car, and support securely on axle stands under the jacking points.
Remove both road wheels and place them under the car - hopefully this will prevent you getting crushed too bad if you
manage to pull the car off the stands, or the jacking point(s) collapse etc.
Pry downwards on the wishbones against the hub with a suitable bar, to check for play in the balljoint.
I found a lower balljoint that was about ready to seperate!
Remove the lower balljoint to hub pinch bolts, and pry downwards on the wishbones again to loosen the balljoint in the hub.
Remove the 2 long bolts and nuts which go through the centre of the gearbox - subframe mounts.
(You don't have to support the gearbox).
Loosen (but do not remove) the 4 bolts which go through the subframe - body mounts.
Roll 2 small trolley jacks under there, and support the subframe either side, then remove the 4 subframe - body bolts.
Gently lower the subframe / wishbones / anti-roll bar assembly on the 2 trolley jacks - the balljoints may require
a bit more encouragement to leave the hubs.
The subframe assembly is easy enough to carry once it's out from under the car, but heavy enough to be a struggle if
attempting to manoeuvre it whilst laying on your back under the car.
Stage 2 - remove the old bushes.
I found removing the old bushes to be a lot easier than I thought, after reading nightmareish descriptions involving
blowtorches and hacksaws etc. I did it like this:-
First, take a reasonable, hopefully mains powered drill with a 6mm or so drill bit. Look closely at the old mounts -
You will see that one side has less metal in the centre - drill from that side. Drill through the rubber, between the inner and outer metal sleeves of the bush in several places.
Drilling through the rubber is very easy. Swing the drill about a bit to remove / destroy a lot of rubber
Support the subframe on a suitable block of wood, right near the bush in question.
Now use a club hammer and suitable drift or chisel to tap out the inner metal sleeve of the bush.
Again, this was much easier than I thought it would be.
Your bush should now look like this:-
Now flip the subframe over, and remove the excess rubber from the other side of the bush with a hacksaw:-
The hacksaw cuts through the rubber very easily, and you should be left with this:-
Now try gently prying the remnants of the bush out of the subframe like this:-
If it won't pry free easily, support the subframe on your block of wood, near the mount, and try tapping it out
with a hammer and chisel on the outer metal sleeve of the bush.
Three out of four of my bushes came out easily using this method, but there's always one...
In an extreme case, if the bush is still very tight in the subframe, you need to assemble a hacksaw though the hole
in the bush and carefully cut through the outer metal sleeve of the bush like this:-
Even this is not as hard as it sounds. Just be careful to only cut through the bush outer sleeve. The subframe has an
eyelet fitted to each mount hole to strengthen it - look at the hole left by a mount you have already removed.
Try not to cut though the eyelet as well as the bush.
Now you have cut through the outer metal sleeve of the bush, you should be able to easily beat it into submission with
the hammer and chisel.
Stage 3 - put it back together.
I fitted solid aluminium bushes - in my opinion, these are a good upgrade. The car feels sharper with them, there is
no noticeable (to me) increase in road noise, and they are easy to fit.
The solid bushes come in two halves, and push in to either side of the subframe. I found a tap with a hammer and block
of wood seated them easily.
When replacing the subframe, you should use new subframe - body bolts and new pich bolts and nyloc nuts at the
balljoint - hub union.
Support the subframe assembly on your two trolley jacks and roll it under the car.
Slowly lift it up into place - watch that the balljoints clear the brake disc backing plates - the struts will have
a tendancy to swing about a bit, and you don't want to tear the rubber boots on the balljoints.
The two-trolley-jack method allows you to easily align the subframe with the mounting holes in the body.
Fit the new subframe mount bolts, but don't tighten them yet. You can now remove the trolley jacks.
Fit the new balljoint pinch bolts & nuts, and the gearbox mount bolts & nuts.
You are now ready to torque everything up, but note that the subframe to body bolts must be done in a specific order
which depends on front or rear subframe, and that the pinch bolts must be inserted from the rear, towards the front
of the vehicle
Don't forget to refit the heat sheild around the right, rear subframe mount.
The tightening sequence and torque settings can be found here:-
Torque values from Phil Payne
Put the wheels back on, and get the car back on the ground.
Do not forget to torque up the wheel bolts when it's back on the ground!
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