Figure 8-15. - Torsion bar.
A suspension system takes a tremendous "pounding" during normal vehicle operation. Bumps and potholes in the road surface cause constant movement, fatigue. and wear of the shock absorbers, or struts. ball joints, bushings, springs, and other components. Suspension system problems usually show up as abnormal noises (pops, squeaks, and clunks), tire wear, steering wheel pull, or front end shimmy (side-to-side vibration). Suspension system wear can upset the operation of the steering system and change wheel alignment angles. Proper service and maintenance of these components greatly increase roadability, reliability, and vehicle life.
Rubber bushings are commonly used in the inner ends of front control arms and rear control arms. These bushings are prone to wear and should be inspected periodically.
Worn control arm bushings can let the control arms move sideways. This action causes tire wear and steering problems. To check for control arm bushing wear, try to move the control arm against normal movement. For example, pry the control arm back and forth while watching the bushings. If the control arm moves in relation to its shaft, the bushings are worn and must be replaced.
Generally, to replace the bushings in a front suspension requires the removal of the control arm. This usually requires the separation of the ball joints and compression of the coil spring. The stabilizer bar and strut rod are also unbolted from the control arm. The bolts passing through the bushings are then removed which allows for the control arm to be removed from the vehicle. With the control arm placed in a vise, either press or screw out the old bushings and install new ones.
With new bushings installed, replace the control arm in reverse order. Torque all bolts to the manufacturer's specifications. Install the ball joints cotter pin. Check the manufacturer's service manual for information concerning preloading control arm bushings.
Always refer to the manufacturer's service manual for exact directions and specifications. This will assure a safe, quality ride.
Worn ball joints cause the steering knuckle and wheel assembly to be loose on the control arm. A worn ball joint may make a clunking or popping sound when turning or driving over a bump. Ball joint wear is usually the result of improper lubrication or prolonged use. The load-carrying ball joints support the weight of the vehicle while swiveling into various angles. If the joints are improperly lubricated (dry), the swiveling action will cause them to wear out quickly.
Grease fittings are provided for ball joint lubrication. If the ball joint has a lube plug, it must be removed and replaced with a grease fitting. Using a hand-powered grease gun, inject only enough grease to fill the boot of the ball joint. Do not overfill the boot, because too much grease will rupture the boot. A ruptured boot will allow dirt to enter the joint, which causes them to wear out quicker.Continue Reading