Thursday, December 18, 2008

MGF Ball Joints pt.2

Yay, it's time to do the other side!!!
I had a lot of difficulty removing the wheel nuts for starters. Why oh why oh why do tyre fitters use an air tool to tighten them up? I managed to to destroy the nut and had to sacrifice a socket by hammering a smaller size onto it AFTER applying a blow torch to it for 1/2 an hour. Ridiculous. The wheel then refused to budge and required a load of boots to it to shift it. This put me in the mood and I went straight for the angle grinder in preparation.

It's a bad sign when nearly every single bolt/nut has had to have an angle grinder to remove. If it didn't come off or even slightly rounded, I went at it with the grinder of doom, I wasn't wasting 1/2 an hour trying to tempt these bastards off. It's either comply or die and luckily, EVERY bolt on this side stayed put and I killed them. MWUHA. MWUHAHAHA. MWUHAHAHAHA. DIE!! DIE!!!!!


This only took half an hour with the added trouble of -putting it back together again-. I used new nuts and bolts in the process, destroyed two -somehow- as I went along.

I removed the bolt off the steering arm (this will probably rotate so clamp it shut with a trolley jack on a breezeblock). Tap it with a hammer to release the taper. You can now move the hub around freely without having to use the steering wheel. I attacked the bolt on the bottom of the hub that connects to the lower arm. If, like me, you have little patience, you will cut a big chunk of the nut with an angle grinder - this has two advantages:
  1. You have a choice of going further and cutting the bolt in two,
  2. The heat an vibration will free the 'lock' that corrosion has on it.
You should use new nuts/bolts anyway, so this is the way it should be done. The top bolt on the top balljoint is easily removed, it comes straight off. The bolts holding the ARB links, which are probably broken will be corroded, so cut straight through the middle with the grinder. MWUHAHAHAHAHAHA! I even cut straight through the rubber, sending plumes of black smoke out!!!

The top balljoint has a taper, and needs a bvalljoint removing tool to separate. I tried the first one - a fork type. This didn't work (as usual), so tried the screw type. This works, as usual. They separate with a crack, with the separater usually flying out, so it's best to cower away while you tighten it up. ;)

To remove the bottom, I hammered a screwdriver into the 'clamp' (you'll understand when you see it) and pulled the hub up. It came up first time, but the other side needed some pursuading (no, I didn't attack it with the angel grinder ;) ). Usually a bit of wiggling, and more hammering screwdriver. Putting on is a pain as you have to line the bolt up in the hole.

I used my MFKB tool to remove the top ball joint. This balljoint is screwed into the top of the hub, and it's a big, mean old bastard that doesn't want to budge. It's held in by a washer that is bent up to prevent it from unscrewing ... hahahaha, it's on so tight I don't think the collapse of a star will budge it. Here is the MFKB tool:

It's called a Stilson Grip and is a plumbers tool for releasing old nuts that have sat in water for decades. It is very old fashioned and refuses to take any nonsense from stupid, stubborn nuts and bolts and you can hear it calling them rude names as it unscrews them. If it could get anymore harder, I have attached an extension bar. I reckon it has more torque than any other tool available.

I've done this type of thing to release the top nut on McPherson struts - you put a big bolt through the hole in the desk and just undo the nut (as you can see in the above picture). It works on everything, but is tricky to seat the Stilson on the 2mm wide nut. Later nuts have a wider width, and tighten is just a reversal of removing (with less feelings of impending doom). Make sure you put the new washer on the ball joint and then tighten up to a similar amount of torque (just a bit less). Congratulations, you can now put it back in the car.

As the lower arm passed the previous MOT, I left the old one on (even though I bought a new one). I don't have time to change it (one day left), and have a shed load of things to do still.

I put the ARB links on both sides, and bolted everything up (having to cut a bit of length off the bolts to prevent the steering from not moving). Look, they're nice and shiny!! But the bolts are too long, and will 'foul' the hub as it turns! (cue angle grinder).

^ Actual 24 carat gold connectors ^

Trying to get one of those clutch flexible pipes is proving to be hard and expensive. A single 8 inch bit of rubber pipe costs over 50 pounds. It's identical to brake hose (which costs under 5 pounds). Since when did British cars have such expensive parts? I went to the scrappers who have a green MGF in. I took the hose off that (and a load of unions :D ) and he didn't charge me anything for it (as is looked in a sorry state). Hopefully, I'll get the unions off and clean it up, otherwise this will be post-xmas completion. :( I will probably end up paying that 50 quid in the end though.

There is not a lot to do now. It's the clutch hose and the little tiny bits of metal needed to weld in. I can't believe I was going to get charged 350 quid ... yes, 350 quid for this?! It has taken me 1/2 an hour (including welding and filling). I'll give it spray of 1 quid primer and 5 quid Halfords 'Nightfire Red' rattle can. I'm aiming for a Saturday morning MOT, which means going back to the same place as before (the place that made up most of the faults - and the reason I'm faffing about here). Hopefully it'll sail through. If not, Sunday is there, and Monday will sort it. Fingers crossed it gets through Saturday though (which is one day away).

1 comment:

Akira said...

I hear the words "ball joint" and cower. Hate them. I've never seen those huge ones that you had to get the Stilson onto. Damn that's a big bitch. With all the weight constantly going on and off that thing, no wonder its locked shut.

PS: If ever you come to help me work on my car, I'm hiding the angle grinder. :P