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For several years now the feel of my steering wheel had become progressively sloppier. I had 3-inches of free-play movement before I could feel the front wheels respond. I was also experiencing irregular tire wear; the outside edge of the passenger side tread was bald at 8K miles. And to add irritation, I would hear an intermittent clunking noise coming from the front suspension when turning sharply at slow speeds. It was not feeling like the Rolls Royce of my dreams.

I spoke with an expert. He explained what was involved (lower pin bearings, camber bushings, upper ball joints, compliant mounts, etc.) and the labor costs. Talk about sticker shock!

I considered what it would take to do it myself and felt intimidated at first. A mechanic friend who helps me occasionally agreed that special tools (that I do not have) were required, but it could be done in my driveway. I called Kelly at British Tool Works to learn more about the required tools. After hearing my trepidation about rebuilding parts, Kelly offered to provide fully assembled/restored parts that could bolt-on with my basic tools. Here’s what he sent me (pics below).

These parts looked like jewelry to me when they arrived. And they bolted on without trouble. The only downside is no one can see these beauties under the car, and when you peek underneath the surrounding 45-year old crusty suspension just looks sad.

Many, many thanks to Kelly at British Tool Works for proactively offering a solution that made this job manageable for me. I’m a big fan of preassembled bolt-on parts like this. It gives us novices a fighting chance.

By the way, the car drives better than it ever has. Responsive steering, a more sturdy feeling ride, and no more clunking noises when I back out of my driveway.

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Hi Mike

Kelly is such a gift to the community.

This winter I intend to completely rebuild the front suspension on my car (SRX18501). My intention is to start by removing the wheel hubs and work my way in until the whole lot is stripped out, then recondition all the parts. I suspect Kelly will be getting some SOS's from me.

The one thing I'm not sure about is the 4 subframe mounts. I will take advice and see if they can be assessed in-situ. At $400 a pop they will double the cost of the refurb, so hopefully they will be ok.

Thanks for putting up the pics.

Geoff
 

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The subframe mounts you refer to rarely get replaced due to failure. The bushings you need to concern yourself with are the bearing pin bushings, front and rear, shock bushings, and determine if the ball joints need service.
The component that Kelly overhauled in the pic usually needs attention, from the bushing to the ball joint.
 

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The subframe mounts on my car look ok, however I am wondering if they have gone hard over the years. Those pictured on Flying Spares appear to have rubber bushes in them, presumeably to damp down vibration. The problem is the genuine parts they sell are likely to be almost as old as the ones on my car. Since rubber hardens with age they are likely to be no better than the ones I have on my car.

From the workshop manual it appears there is a mounting bolt that fastens the subframe directly to the underframe, so I'm guessing the rubber bushes are there just to restrict lateral movement of the subframe.

The reason I'm going to refurbish the front suspension is to try and refine the ride. There are no big problems however on rough roads I do seem to get too much general vibration transmitted to the passenger compartment. I'm not as insulated from the road as much as I would expect, as is also the case with the "bump thump" when going over larger bumps.

I guess I'm looking for any help or advice before I start this project in a couple of weeks time.

Wraithman - Many thanks for your reply. I will be looking at the parts you mention. It may be I'm overthinking the subframe mounts.
 

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On my first RR, a 1972 Shadow, during a long winter many decades ago, I replaced all hoses, rotors, and for good measure....the wheel bearings.
Technically its the first connection between the wheel/tire and the suspension. I felt a huge difference.
Fortunately, most front end work can be done in stages.
What I would do first:
Front bearings
Front and rear bearing pin bushings (when these go -you feel a knock on the body pan below your feet-especially over a pronounced "lip" on pavement.
Upper ball joint check, slack, new boot, grease, etc.
Upper wishbone bushing.

Check any bushing that moves. When these cars are sorted, it really feels like a carpet ride.
 
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