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Beverley goes under the knife today...

Posted by Earendil 
Or Bev for short, my sweet little E30.

In the next 24 hours, with any luck, she'll have brand new:

Engine Mounts
Sway bar bushings
Control Arm Bushings
Control Arms
Sway Bar end links
Tie Rods
New front rotors (because my old ones are warped spinning smiley sticking its tongue out)
New Brakes
And a little bit of my skin.

I'll update this thread with pictures and stories as I go smileys with beer
....we need CBC, Chem 7, and get her up to cat scan stat.................

alan
Sounds great. Good luck grinning smiley

I'd be interested to hear whether you notice a drop in vibration with the new engine mounts.
All done! Almost...

Engine mounts were never replaced. We couldn't use the scissor jack to hoist the engine with the front end of the car up on jack stands, and didn't have the time/energy after she was back on the ground to tackle the engine mounts that day. All in all it took me 11 hours to do, which included 3 trips out, a broken 19mm socket (split in two), and a full two hours spent on getting the passenger side control arm bolt off. My friend and I have more bruises and scratches from that one bolt, than the rest of the car combined. In addition, one of our trips out was a special one just to get a new tool to try and get that bolt off.

It's one of those repairs where, with the knowledge I have now, and a friend, I could do all the work in 4 or 5 hours.

Parts that slowed us down:
1. The passenger side control arm bolt, the center one that goes up into the frame. The position of the engine mount and the exhaust pipe makes this think impossible to get to without special tools (or at least more special than we had).
2. The hex screws that holds the brake disks on were rusted and ended up striping. Nothing a drill and rubber mallet couldn't fix. But we still spent an hour trying to do it "right", and then doing it wrong.
3. We managed to break our only 19mm socket, and had to run out to get a new (better) set, as well as a rubber mallet.
4. We spent probably 45 minutes trying to work out a system to get everything reattached to the knuckle, after the control arm and tie rod were bolted into place. I had read that using a jack works, but after a while we figured a pry bar worked far better.

In addition to what was listed above, I also ended up doing minor little things while we waited for a tire shop to press the bushings into the bracket (NAPA wouldn't do it, but told us to go next door). It took the shop 3 hours to get around to it, but they called us when they were done, were 5 minutes down the street, and charged $33 for the pair. I replaced the high pressure power steering hose finally (one came with the car when I bought it), and installed a new belt, only to have the power steering pump fail(more on that later). New windshield wiper pump, new manifold seal.

We took her out for a drive to make sure nothing would fall off. She seemed* to drive fine, went down the road in a straight line, and didn't pull to the side under breaking or accelerating. We were too late getting her done on saturday to get her aligned, so Monday morning I'll take it in for that. I really hoping the shop doesn't get done, and warn me about whatever mechanic just did the work, because it's all FUBARed :rolleyes:

Unfortunately I didn't have a CF card in my camera as I was taking pictures (whoops...). But I'll take pictures of the parts I took out of the car (it's kind of scary) and a picture of the underside with the new parts.

*I say it seemed to drive okay, because I really can't tell. With the power steering engaged again, we sat in the drive way turning the wheel back and forth with the car running. The power steering system was making bubbling sounds, but after a while we started hearing other noises. With my head under the car, and my friend turning the wheel back and forth, I could hear non-bubbling sounds, almost a grinding sound, coming from the pump. In addition, the wheel was really hard to turn, easily twice as hard as not having power steering at all. Two years again when I bought the car, I wasn't aware of the leek in the hose, only the cracked reservoir, so I replaced only the reservoir and put a belt on her two years ago only to have it work perfectly, but dumping ATF onto my driveway at a rate of about a gallon a minute thumbs down So this time around with the hose replaced, I was surprised to find out it didn't work at all, and even made the steering worse. There was also still a small leak of ATF while running, more like a drip here and there. So, I think I'm going to go drain the ATF, and just keep driving her without the power steering. With the belt off, the system was still steering hard (due to the power steering system still being pressurized I hope?), so it was hard to get a good feel for the new steering. However it was far sharper, and didn't make any unusual noise.

I'm hoping the stiff steering is due to the power steering system, and not to my suspension./steering job. We tested the steering before starting the car (though granted int he air) and saw nothing wrong, nor felt any resistance. I'm hoping you guys can confirm that it is in all likelihood the power steering system that is shot, and causing problems.

Thanks again to everyone who gave advise, opinions, and loaned tools. Outside of the basic repair stuff, your words made this thing go a lot smoother, and gave me the confidence to get this done.

Cheers,
~Tyler



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/12/2009 03:33PM by Earendil.
Quote
Earendil

Parts that slowed us down:
1. The passenger side control arm bolt, the center one that goes up into the frame. The position of the engine mount and the exhaust pipe makes this think impossible to get to without special tools (or at least more special than we had).

~Tyler

I get at this one by removing the nut from the bottom of the motor mount on that side and jacking the engine up a little bit. You can get enough room to get a socket with a swivel joint on the nut. Then you run a really long extension up through the engine compartment and use your favorite ratchet or breaker bar in a standing position beside the car. I know you mentioned that you had trouble reaching the engine with the jack after you had it up on the stands. You don't need to lift a lot of weight with the jack under the engine to do this, so you can use wood blocks under the jack and against the oil pan to get the reach you need. In fact, wood against the pan is necessary to prevent punching a hole in it. Isn't it great to get all this help now that the job is done? smiling smiley

It sounds like you had a fun day. I bet you'll really like the way the car rides after you get the alignment done.

John
Quote
John Yust
Quote
Earendil

Parts that slowed us down:
1. The passenger side control arm bolt, the center one that goes up into the frame. The position of the engine mount and the exhaust pipe makes this think impossible to get to without special tools (or at least more special than we had).

~Tyler

I get at this one by removing the nut from the bottom of the motor mount on that side and jacking the engine up a little bit. You can get enough room to get a socket with a swivel joint on the nut. Then you run a really long extension up through the engine compartment and use your favorite ratchet or breaker bar in a standing position beside the car. I know you mentioned that you had trouble reaching the engine with the jack after you had it up on the stands. You don't need to lift a lot of weight with the jack under the engine to do this, so you can use wood blocks under the jack and against the oil pan to get the reach you need. In fact, wood against the pan is necessary to prevent punching a hole in it. Isn't it great to get all this help now that the job is done? smiling smiley

It sounds like you had a fun day. I bet you'll really like the way the car rides after you get the alignment done.

John

Actually, that thought had crossed my mind, especially since I wanted to change out the motor mounts anyway. But as it was we only had a 1x4 piece of wood and 2 cinder blocks. My buddy also was against the idea of jacking up the engine my the oil pan anyway, so with all that in front of me, I crawled back under the car with vice grips and a pry bar. Amazing what you can do with vice grips and a pry bar grinning smiley

If I was smart I would have removed the sway bar when I replaced the bushings, and left it off while I replaced the control arm. As it was I replaced the sway bar bushings in my down time, and found the brackets a real B*tch get get back on, so I reluctant to remove them.

We also weren't sure how far up we could jack the engine. Enough to get the motor mounts out, sure, past that?
I also wasn't thrilled at the idea of having the engine suspended by a jack while I tried to break that nut free. But, it's good to know it can be done that way!

I start these kind of threads half for me, and half so that some more collective wisdom be present on the internet, and here at BENN.
Update:
The steering stiffness is better, but still far more stiff (or resistant to turning) than it was before. I haven't done anything but drive it and remove all the ATF from the reservoir tank. This next weekend I'll get down and dirty again and drain everything from the lines and pump, and make sure there isn't any pressure left. Anything below 20mph is a two hand over hand job to get the wheel cranked. And I can feel the stiffness at anything below 50mph. Oddly, 60mph through tight hairpins and I don't notice it. But the jury is out on exactly why it is I don't notice it ;-)

But as for the handling, wow nelly!
At first I thought the alignment shop screwed up the job, because I was getting a weird turning sensation at the start-in to a turn. The feeling kind of scared me, because it reminded me a bit of what a Suburban does when it gets out of alignment. Than I remembered the M3 bushings. Damn. I decided I needed to get used to this new form of steering, and so after homework, which just so happened to correspond with after midnight, I went out and became familiar with the new bushings. I came home and told one of my house mates "She's a @#$%ing race car now".

Thanks everyone for the encouragement and advice.
For those reading, information pertaining to my work can be found in the following thread:
Front Axel Support/Suspension Advice

Anyone else reading this and looking for more info, feel free to message me if I don't respond to threads pertaining to similar jobs.

Cheers,
~Tyler
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