Replacement of front suspension lower wishbone

All 7th generation models

  1. Zebster
    Difficulty Level:
     
    Intermediate
    After some delay I've finally replaced my right/drivers side wishbone following the degradation of the large compliance (front) bush... see link to related thread where I first diagnosed and discussed this problem Compliance bush failed (Suspension, Steering and Brakes - )

    Not a really tough DIY task unless, like me, you have to battle with any seriously corroded bolts.

    I bought a pair of Meyle Wishbones from an eBay seller (one that I have bought Meyle parts from previously)... which also came with the lower ball-joints (which it turned out I didn't actually need, but wanted them handy in case)

    I am aware that the compliance bush can be replaced using a press (which can readily be improvised) but, after 11 years/170k miles, I was concerned that the other two bushes on each wishbone would have also suffered degradation and genuine Honda replacement wishbones would have been prohibitively expensive (i.e. would have cost about as much as my car is worth).

    A few days ago I wire-brushed all relevant exposed threads and applied PlusGas. Because I was expecting some of the bolts to require a lot of effort to remove, I also bought 17mm and 19mm 6-point sockets to reduce the chance of rounding the heads of tight bolts. I used a 1 metre breaker bar for shifting the large bolts.

    Following the directions given by the Honda Electronic Service Manual (ESM), I removed the inboard wishbone nut & bolt (note lower end of droplink already undone from the wishbone and the droplink pushed back out of the way),

    1.

    the horseshoe link arm between the shock absorber and wishbone (but left it in situ)...
    top (onto bottom of shock absorber),

    2.

    and bottom (onto outboard wishbone bush),

    3.

    the the lower end of the droplink, fortunately I'd previously replaced mine with Meyle HD ones, as the OEM ones cannot accept a spanner to stop the joint from rotating and so are practically impossible to remove without having to cut them off (I recommend getting Meyle HD ones, rather than OEM, if you do need replacements),

    4.

    I then undid the vertical compliance bush bolt, which was seriously corroded into the bush inner sleeve and resulted in the captive nut become detached (more on this later) and finally I removed the lower ball-joint nut - this was a minor nuisance, as the split pin was rusted in place and the ends came off when I tried to remove it, so I had to force the nut off with most of the split pin in place and then drill out the remaining pieces of pin blocking the holes using a 3.2mm drill (which was straightforward). I did not have the suggested taper splitter to extract the ball-joint from the wishbone, so had to clout the side of the wishbone with a club hammer until the taper came free, which did take quite a few whacks,

    5.

    I supported the car using several axle stands and a trolley jack, however removing all the necessary bolts did require the suspension leg to be raised/lowered and manipulated as necessary to take the load off each one as it was removed using another trolley jack beneath the suspension leg and after doing that it was fairly easy to pull out the wishbone and completely remove it. Re-assembly was the reverse of removal, with final tightening and torquing of all bolts being performed with the car supported only under the suspension leg to ensure all bushes, etc were in the service position. The new Meyle wishbone was a good fit. The lower ball-joint will require a new split pin, I used one out of a mixed collection that was around 25mm long and 3mm combined diameter.

    Torque settings (in lb.ft):
    Compliance (front) bush bolt - 61
    Inboard wishbone bush bolt - 47
    Clamp mounting onto bottom of shock absorber (top of horseshoe link) - 32
    Bottom of horseshoe link onto outboard wishbone bush bolt - 47
    Drop link - 22
    Lower ball-joint onto wishbone - 58-65 (tighten to lower figure then, if necessary, continue tightening until the new split pin can be inserted).

    I've rated this task as 'intermediate' only because it is likely that rusted threads will cause a few problems. If it wasn't for that, then the task would be 'simple'.

    As mentioned, I had a problem removing the large (19mm) bolt that runs vertically upwards through the compliance (front) bush and into a captive nut. Unfortunately this captive nut broke off during undoing the bolt (the weld failed). It is actually circular with no flat sides so I had to remove a couple of securing pins to move aside a section of the wing undershield, unclip and move a flexible A/C pipe and then grip the loose nut with stilsons (extended with a deep socket and extension bar) while I continued to use a breaker bar to undo the very corroded 19mm bolt,

    6.

    7.

    8.

    However, my excitement at finally removing that nut was short-lived as I discovered that the bolt was now firmly rusted into the inner sleeve of the bush, so I had to partially refit the nut (which now has marks from being gripped with stilsons). Note the shoulder on the nut,

    9.

    I then slid a 19mm socket over the top part of the nut (but coming squarely down onto the shoulder) and used a whole bunch of extension drives to come out into the engine compartment (fortunately there is just room for this on the diesel),

    10.

    Which then enabled me to whack down hard with a club hammer and shift the bolt (yes I did strike directly onto the end and caused significant damage to it, but hey),

    11.

    After a lot of very heavy strikes the bolt finally started to move down and, eventually, far enough to pull completely out from below. In the absence of a replacement, I actually refitted the circular 19mm nut and held it using mole-grips until after the bolt had been fully tightened.

    I just need to do the other side now...
    K24 CL9 GUY, AccordCU2 and AndyB1976 like this.

Recent Reviews

  1. Nels
    Nels
    5/5,
    A great guide for a difficult job. Thank you for sharing.
    1. Zebster
      Author's Response
      Thanks for your help with the pictures
  2. SpeedyGee
    SpeedyGee
    5/5,
    Nice guide @Zebster, I think you were very unlucky to have the problems that you did. You stuck with it though and fought through the problems.
    1. Zebster
      Author's Response
      Good luck with changing the ones on your car. I believe that you'll get the 19mm compliance bush bolt undone without problems using an impact gun.