Sunday, March 9, 2014

Knuckle Joint Dust Covers Knackered

Yesterday, I had been working on the front subframe mounts and while I had the front wheels off, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to give the front suspension a bit of a spit and polish. But to my shock and horror, I noticed that the knuckle joint dust covers I fitted last April were looking pretty knackered.

Looking back over my paperwork, I'm not sure where I got these knuckles from as I used two different shops at the time. But I do know that I bought generic parts and not genuine mini parts. Maybe that would account for the poor quality of the rubber. But still, you would expect that even generic parts would last at least a year. Well I would!

Luckily I had two dust covers spare, but I suspect that they're from the same stock as the knackered ones. As I want to get the car back on the road, these will have to do for now. I will check them in the future to see if they go the same way as the others. If they do, I will make sure I buy genuine parts from now on. They say the quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten, and I am beginning to think that it's true.

With the car already jacked up and the wheels off from yesterdays antics, this job shouldn't take too long to sort out. To start with, I will need the BIG socket and breaker bar to remove the tower bolts.

The BIG socket
On and...

Now I need my cone compression tool I bought last year to fit the suspension. Trouble is, I couldn't find the stupid thing. After wasting a good half hour searching for it, I could finally compress the cone. I find that a large adjustable spanner works really well on the top nut as you need quite a lot of torque towards the end of the compression.

Finally found my high quality
cone compression tool.
Proper spannering!

With the cone compressed, I could now get at the Hi-Lo strut, I found that I needed to put the Hi-Lo to it's shortest setting to get it off the top of the knuckle joint. Once it was off, it could be pushed out of the way enabling me to get at the knuckle joint itself.

Both the knuckle joints came away leaving their nylon cups in place. One nylon cup came out of the top arm no probs at all, the other had to be ripped to bits to be removed as it got jammed. Luckily, I had spares.

Schlerp!! Out it comes from the nylon cup.
This cup had to be ripped out in bits!!
The other side came peacefully.
The top arm ready for the new knuckle.

Once they were out, I could see how bad they really were. They had been in 11 months, but it looked more like 11 years!!

After 11 months!!!!!!!

The ball part of the knuckles were still in pretty good condition, glad really as I didn't have any spares. So I rebuilt the joints with new dust covers and new nylon cups making sure there was plenty of grease splattered inside.

Pressing the new knuckle joint into the top arm, I made sure there was a light coating of grease over the dust cover. Hopefully this will add a little protection. I also greased the hole that the cup sits in with the hope it will be easier to extract next time. Probably won't be though!

After that, it was just a matter of putting the Hi-Lo back on and adjusting it to where it was before and releasing the cone. As I released the compression, I kept wiggling the Hi-Lo to make sure it was centered properly on the cone. Then I just needed to re-attach the tower bolts and put the road wheels back on and it was done.

Glad I spotted this when I did as the rubber looked pretty far gone which would leave the joint exposed to all the road crud that inevitably ends up everywhere under the car.

This has really made me think going forward, I will definitely be buying genuine parts from now on and not generics. They may be more expensive, but I don't want to be replacing bits every year!

<Next Post> - 'Central Locking and Keyless Entry (Part 1)' 
<This Post> - 'Knuckle Joint Dust Covers Knackered'
<Previous Post> - 'Front subframe mounts' 

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