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DIY : Honda Civic 1987-2000 Front suspension & sway bar maintenance (Bushing replacement)

Posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 at 9:08 am

So, today I decided, front bushing time! For warm up, we’re looking for some fact;

From the late 1987 (fourth-generation)  - 2000 (sixth-generation) civic, Honda applied a double wishbone suspension, normally used in Formula 1 racing machines and prestige vehicles, to a mass-produced model for the first time. The result was an excellent balance of handling stability and superior comfort.

The advantage of a double wishbone suspension is that it is fairly easy to work out the effect of moving each joint, so the kinematics of the suspension can be tuned easily and wheel motion can be optimized. It is also easy to work out the loads that different parts will be subjected to which allows more optimized lightweight parts to be designed. They also provide increasing negative camber gain all the way to full jounce travel unlike the MacPherson strut which provides negative camber gain only at the beginning of jounce travel and then reverses into positive camber gain at high jounce amounts.

Double wishbones are usually considered to have superior dynamic characteristics as well as load-handling capabilities, and are still found on higher performance vehicles. Examples of makes in which double wishbones can be found include Alfa Romeo, Honda and Mercedes-Benz. Short long arms suspension, a type of double wishbone suspension, is very common on front suspensions for medium-to-large cars such as the Honda Accord, Peugeot 407, or Mazda 6/Atenza, and is very common on sports cars and racing cars. Source : http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Double_wishbone_suspension, http://world.honda.com/CIVIC/technology05/,

And including my fifth-generation, that’s why I love my Honda. Some people say, the system is too much for small car. But, another fact is, the advantages will come with the disadvantages too, the disadvantage is that it is slightly more complex than other systems like a MacPherson strut. Due to the increased number of components within the suspension setup it takes much longer to service and is heavier than an equivalent MacPherson design.

To maintenance the superior level, it must be superior care too, how do I know if my bushes need replacing? I rather use my eyes than suddenly hear with my ears.

DISCLAIMER: I can not say this is the best or safest way to do. I am not
responsible for any thing you damage, or what ever harm you cause to
yourself or others. This is how I did it and it worked for me.

Looking around, there wear, this wear, that wear…

Must take out the ‘wishbone’ itself…

Nothing to worry, nothing to fear…

Must to believe in our self….

Jack up the car and remove the wheels, my goal is to remove entire lower control arm (LCA).  Remove the bracket that hold the sway bar, first remove the bolt that I mark with * at the picture, because the bolt also tie the LCA bracket too. And then remove the other bolts…

Remove the sway bar end link …

To remove the Honda LCA ball joint, I highly recommend you to using ball joint remover, that make your life easy, because Honda ball joint is superior tight, some people may prefer use hammer or ‘jack technique’ .

Be careful not to damage the ball joint boot.

Now, time to go men shopping!

For sway bar end link bushing (Malaysian people called it satay), I use satay (what the funny name) from Honda Accord SM4 (no special reason, just because my dealer didn’t have stock for SR3/SR4).

I go to machine shop and replace all the LCA bushing using press machine,

This is a picture after bush replacement, cleaning and repaint process, look like new! I’m excited to install it back and test drive.

To install sway bar bush, you need to cut it (look at the picture) except if you can do the black magic. Refresh the damper fork and self-locking bolt grease.

Some fact; A sway bar or anti-roll bar or stabilizer bar is a part of an automobile suspension that helps reduce the roll of a vehicle that is induced by cornering or road irregularities. It connects opposite (left/right) wheels together through short lever arms linked by a torsion spring. A sway bar increases the suspension’s roll stiffness—its resistance to roll in turns, independent of its spring rate in the vertical direction. The first stabilizer bar patent was awarded to the Canadian S. L. C. Coleman of Fredericton, New Brunswick on April 22, 1919. Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sway_bar

If the LCA is hanging extended when you tighten the bolts, the bushings will wear out prematurely because they are preloaded when sitting in the normal resting position.  As a generic rule suspension bolts should be tightened with the car’s full weight on its wheels.  If you don’t, the bushings are tightened in a twisted position and will wear out.  To load the suspension, rest the weight of the car on ramps.  You could use a hydraulic jack to raise the suspension arm in relation to the body (this also puts the arms in the correct position) but be very careful to not carry the weight of the car on the jack – this could cause the car to shift or fall down!

Reinstallation is the reverse of removal, DON’T FORGET to put the cotter-pin back, the picture show the cotter-pin correct position. Just remember to tighten the suspension to the final torque in the loaded position.  To do this, install suspension bolts loose (not even wrench tight), rest the car on ramps, and then tighten the bolts to their final torque.

Torque Spec,

Put back the wheel and do tire alignment.

After test drive : Wow, feel so refresh, car going smooth and rigid at the high RPM, improve cornering.

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