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Club Barge
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Hello,

Please find attached a rundown on the Wishbones replacement that I completed last year. The following text is how I did the job, if anyone has any different methods which may make things easier, feel free to PM me with the details, and I'll add them at the end of the How To, as Appendices.

Anyway, wishbones. They're not all that difficult. If you're replacing the wishbones it makes sense to replace the droplinks as well. One thing I will say, is make sure you purchase the nuts and bolts for the wishbones, it's best to use new in these situations.

A quick rundown on how I did the job.

Ensure that you have a good flat surface on which to complete the job, and a set of quality axle stands.

1 - Lossen the wheel nuts off with the car on the ground, don't remove completely.
2 - Jack up and support the car on axle stands. Support on the main chassis rail parallel to the jacking point.
3 - Remove both road wheels.
4 - Take some WD40 and thoroughly saturate the bolts on which you will be working on, this is the lower balljoint pinch bolt and the two bolts holding on the wishbone, also saturate the trackrod end joint and the droplink nuts.
5 - Turn the steering wheel so the bolt end of the lower balljoint is exposed, you whould be able to get a spanner on the nut and wedge it on the wishbone, then turn the bolt end with a socket to replace the pinch bolt. Use a drift to push it through.
6 - Turn the steering to the straight ahead position and using a jack handle, or metal pole, place onto the wishbone edge.
7 - Using a lump hammer, whack the wishbone hard to release the balljoint from the hub carrier. Be careful when doing this and ensure that you don't hit the bodywork. It'll take a few whacks, but it'll come eventually.
8 - Released the trackrod end bolt, and using a balljoint splitter, split the joint. This allows the strut some movement, which makes refitment easier. Get under the car, and place a socket on the top of the first bolt, this will wedge against the subframe/chassis rail as you use a spanner to release the lower nut.
9 - Once the nuts and bolts are loose, drift them through and pull the wishbone clear.
10 - The new wishbone, if a cheap part from ebay, use some sandpaper to gently remove the excess metal on top of the bushes, this allows it to go in easier. Sit in front of the hub and offer the wishbone up.
11 - Push the wishbone in, you'll need to wriggle it.
12 - Once in, lie on your back and check the holes line up. I had to rest the strut in-between my legs and move it forward slightly whilst I wriggled the wishbone in.
13 - Insert the top bolt into one of the bushes, it should drop through. If not, use the socket and ratchet to spin it through, this'll pull the wishbone into line and allow you to put the nut on, with the spanner held in place, tighten hand tight and repeat on the other side.
14 - Tighten just over hand tight, and place a jack under the ball joint, jack up so it is just below the hub carrier.
15 - The next is hit and miss, you need to wriggle the strut so it drop onto the balljoint, raising and lowering the jack as you do to get it to sit in properly.
16 - Lower the jack so that if you look through the carrier bolr hole, the balljoint concave edge is visible. Insert the pinch bolt and tighten just over hand tight.
17 - Using a torque wrench and socket/spanners to wedge things in place, tighten to manufacturers recommend figures, consult the haynes manual for these figures.
18 - Re-attach the track rod end, if this spins on tightening, jack it up so it is just under load, this will wegde it in place and allow you to tighten it fully.
19 - With the droplinks, I ensure I have replacement nuts, and just angle grind the old nut off, then, using two correctly sized spanners (17mm and 19mm IIRC) tighten them up, using a torque wrench to ensure correct figures are adherred to.

Other side is carried out in the same way!!.

HTH,

James

PS - This is now in the how to section.
 

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Club Barge
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Discussion Starter #2
Additional Note 1 - Thanks to old crusier for point this out

In my original how to (see above) I did not mention whether you should tighten the bolts on the wishbones to full torque with the car on or off the ground. I would take the following two tier approach.

1 - Tighten all bolts to factory torque with the car off the ground. Put the wheels back on and lower to ground, ensure wheel nuts are torqued up correctly, add some grease to the hub face to prevent the wheels from sticking on

2 - Go for a short drive, say 5 to 10 miles, just to get the bushes bedded in. Check the torque figures on the bolts again, this time with the car on the ground, ideally a flat, level surface. If this cannot be possible, then drive to a car park, say a supermarket, and check the figures here.


Hopefully this should help :).
 

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Excellent guide but having jut completed this job this morning can I offer a few "alternative" techniques which I found very useful.

no. 4 if your omega is 7 years old like mine (or older) its worth saturating all of the nuts and bolts in wd40 or plusgas perhaps every night for 7 days beforehand. These can be heavily seized and can take a lot of effort to remove.

no. 7 Hitting it with a hammer works, use a wooden block between the wishbone and the hammer, however you need a very big hammer or to hit it a lot of times. I found a much easier method, get a scissor jack and place it between the wishbone and the bracket on the shock/strut. slowly wind it open until the joint between the outside of the wishbone and the strut is pried open. Jam something like a jack handle under it when its nearly open to prevent it closing again when you take the jack away.

no. 15 using the scissor jack method above you can push the wishbone down and align the outer joint before gradually allowing it to lift up. Dont bother to put a jack under the outer joint it and try to insert it that way. I tried this and ended up with the whole weight of the car on it,and it still didnt seat. Instead get the joint gently inserted and roughly lined up, then tap it gently a few times from below with a large hammer until it seats.

Otherwise this guide is spot on. If your steering is imprecise, your tracking drifts off quickly, or you have front inner tyre wear this will sort you ut a treat.
 

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Club Barge
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Discussion Starter #4
Top tips there :).

It is worth also getting your allignment checked after work of this nature, just in case.
 

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Ahh perfect, my kind of advice...love anything involving using a big hammer :) I always have my lump hammer ready and prepared for any such tasks...just in case :D
 

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Piece of cake

I changed both wishbones yesterday with cheap pattern ones and i was pleasantly surprised how easy it was, i did not have to take anything additional off for the job and did not have to sand paper anything down, really was a straight swap IMO, when i separated the lower ball joint (last) i was able to manoeuvre the wishbone around the strut and over the tie rod to get it out straight and back in the same way, best advice i aheared to was lowering the car to torque the new bolts back up to save the front bush from getting stretched, lucky me all bolts came off ok. This has resolved my steering wobble and general road stability even i still need to get the wheel geometry down now. Also after removal of the old ones i could not see any damage in the structure or bushes apart from general ware and tear but the replacements have made a big difference :cool:
 
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Can I add something too, I have done these so often and I have found that just before you put the new wishbones in place its best to clear any debris from the wishbone seats and then smere either copper grease or some genral purpose grease, this makes fitting the wishbones in much much easier and making lining the bolt holes up alot easier.
 

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Can anyone offer any advice? Or, more to the point, help!!!!

In the process of changing my Omega front wish bones, and having followed the instrucins here religiously, I'm still unable to get the new wishbone low enough to engage the ball joint.

Can anyone offer a suggestion, other than setting light to it?
 

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Hi, I'm soon going to to do the replacement wishbone thing and I notice that all the manuals say new bolts MUST be used. Can someone please tell me if this is absolutely necessary on safety grounds and if so, what's the best place place to get a set (are they only obtainable from Vauxhall main dealers?) Thanks
 

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Jimrock, get your scissor jack out of the boot. Place it half open between the wishbone, with both inner bolts inserted (but not tightened), and the drop link bracket on the on the shock. Maybe put a bit of cloth between this bracket and the jack. Wind the jack slowly open, holding it carefully straight so it doesnt slip and catch you fingers etc... This will press the wishbone downwards much further past the point you can depress it by hand or by standing on it! As soon as its low enough have your assistant or if the jack is stable enough, yourself align the ball joint and then slowly unwind the jack and it will seat. If the pin and the joint are straight, tap the joint closed with a hammer from below the wishbone. Then replace/tighten the ball joing bolt.

Koduk New bolts.... can't really see the point unless removing the old ones required herculean effort and much violence/abuse. They are massive bolts and I really can't see how anything could damage them. New ones would certainly be easier to replace and look nicer (for 5 minutes before driving off) but its removing the old ones thats hard not replacing them.
 
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