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sladey

Fitting Elephant Racing Polybronze and low friction mounts

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OK finally got round to fitting my birthday presents - Elephant Racing polybronze suspension mounts. They'd been sat up in my bedroom for ages will me marvelling at how well they turn. Just so you know, this is apparently "not acceptable behaviour" - there you go - it's all a learning experience.

 

I'd ordered enough to do the front of the car, including ordering the low friction mounts. When they arrived I was gutted to find half the mounts had been missed out of the order. After I looked into it carefully I realised that it was me who was the muppet - the kit reuses the existing front mount with it's own special washers. Just to warn you in case your heart sinks when you open the packaging.

 

It's beautifully made kit.

 

 

I'd set aside 2 days to do the job. In the end it wasn't enough but this was only because I wanted to paint everything up before refitting it - I hadn't allowed time for paint drying.

 

When ordering up my parts I hadn't realised that at the rear of the front torsion bars is a foam ring - presumably designed to keep crud out from inside the torsion bar housing. I hadn't even known these were there and hadn't ordered them. I ended up ordering them part way through the job and due to postage problems had to fit them later (which was easy actually). It's also a good idea to get new ARB bushes - you'll be taking the old ones off anyway

 

I'd read up on it on pelican quite a bit - there was a lot of talk about the difficulty in removing the ball joints. I'd no idea whether mine were OK but thought they probably were. Initially I adopted a 'while your in there' approach and ordered a new set of ball joints, the weired nut, and the removal tool. However the ball joints were well expo from the OPC so I decided to give them a miss. I did order a pair of the angled locking pin and nut that holds the bottom of the strut onto the ball joint top.

 

When I started the job I thought about it some more though and realised that as I knew I could easily get the locking pin out (the one in there was only replaced last August when I did the shocks) that I could separate the control arms from the strut by removing that pin and this would allow me to forget about the ball joint (provided it was OK of course). The ball joints turned out to be fine. So I now own a pair of weird ball joint nuts and OPF official weird nut remover. The pins are never meant to be reused.

 

The instructions are pretty simply really - separate the control arm from the strut, unbolt the front mounts, and then slide the control arm out of the rear mount YEAH RIGHT!!!! - there was no way on earth that was moving out of my rear mount (missus!).

 

The front mounts are only held on by 3 bolts - come out easily enough.

 

At the rear there is a bit bolt on each side of the card holding the alu subframe onto the car. After looking around I realised that the alu subframe itself was only held in place by another two bolts - which connected it to some part of the steering. I undid those bolts and the whole thing came out.

 

IMG_2080.jpg

 

I was then able to get a bit more leverage on the whole thing and pull the control arms out. One of the torsion bars was stuck inside though - never got it out. Decided not to worry about it - cleaned up the end I could get at

 

Next step is to remove the old bushings. You apply a bit of heat until you see smoke and then rotate the bushings off with a screwdriver. I managed to bend my mounts a bit while doing this, but apart from that it came apart OK. On the front mounts there are some oval shaped washers that are tacked onto the mount - 3 or my 4 fell off as I was doing this part. It didn't matter though - just remember to put them back when putting it all together again.

 

IMG_2084.jpg

 

Once I'd got the stuff apart I put a wire brush into the grinder and took all the surface crap off the control arms.

 

IMG_2086.jpg

 

Then I used some of the por metal cleaner, and then the por metal ready. Never used any of this before - it seems good stuff

 

Having done this it was time to attach part of the bushes. There's a collar that you attach onto the control arms with JB weld. It's important that you use the front ones on the front and rear ones on the rear. From previous woodworking experience I labeled everything up - I even paid the parts out on the bench in the same place they would go when on the car. The brass parts of the bushings are already labeled front and back but I also labeled them left and right as well.

 

IMG_2087.jpg

 

The JB weld was easy enough to use and one this was on I let ot go off overnight, making sure the surface of each of the collars was spotless.

 

IMG_2088.jpg

 

I set about cleaning everything else up - the cover, the ARB, all the brackets etc. I ground all the rust off everything, metal cleaned it, metal readied it, and then POR-15'd it. I've never used this stuff before and was pretty impressed. Once on it feels like the part is plastic coated. However they recommend 2 or 3 coats and it all take time to dry - this slowed me up a bit.

 

Then I had a look at the alu subframe I'd taken off. This was OK but very cacked up - I used the grinder wire woll thing on that - came up a treat.

 

Next you have to press the other part of the bushing into the mounts.

 

For the front ones you re-use the originals - I found these went in no problem on mine - I was able to start them fine on my own and then use the vice to push them all the way in. One popped out about 3 mil and wouldn't stay in but I didn't worry about it and it hasn't been a problem.

 

For the rears you do the same but you are then using the Elephant racing brand new mounts (if you bought the low friction mounts kit that is).

 

I trial fitted the rear mounts into the subframe - with the low-friction mounts - it wouldn't go. I ended up filing a bit of material off the subframe until it was a tight fit, and went in OK.

 

The low friction mounts by the way work on the basis of cupped washers that fit each other perfectly allowing a degree of rotation in the mounts themselves which should take out any kinks in the mount/body and allow the arms to rotate freely and not bind.

 

Assembly was easy enough - took it nice and steady. You're meant to slow torque things up and if they bind give the mounts a knock with a hammer to resettle them. Mine did bind a bit - the knocking helped. People have said they can move the control arms with one finger - I couldnt but I could with one hand and not too much effort.

 

Before putting it all together you're meant to grease everything up. I did this by spearing grease over everything. However after I'd assembled everything I was getting an intermittent knocking noise from the front. It was quite weired. I greased everything then with a grease gun - forcing the grease through. Haven't had the knocking noise since then so hoping that's cured it. SO my top tip would be pump some grease through the grease nipple before assembly - don't just rely on smeared stuff.

 

Once it was all together you have to fiddle-arrrr5e around with the ride height again - not too big a job on the front.

 

Driving impressions - fantastic - I feel I could drive the car through the eye of a needle! The steering feels lighter from low speeds upwards, and turn-in is definitely better - crisper all round. The only downside is that I feel it's created a bit of an imbalance with the rear so I'll probably do monoballs and polybronze on the rear as soon as funds allow.

 

I'd thoroughly recommend the upgrade

 

Hope this helps

 

Mark

Edited by sladey

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Thanks for the detailed writeup & pics. I have some Polybronze here in a box - just waiting for the time to do it.

 

Ian

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Excellent work Mark, you're not just a slick 'lunch is for wimps' solicitor after all. ;)

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I'm planning to do new bushes on the front of mine soon (superpro) with new shocks etc. Most parts are either on order or here and these threads have proved great help. I do have one question, however, which I hope you can help with.

 

I'm not sure how to 'pre-load' the torsion bars or whether it is necessary? I haven't got anything apart yet and the answer may be obvious then but my current thinking is that if I tighten everything up with the suspension arm hanging I'll get a different result than if I do so with the suspension arm level as the former would introduce a preload into the system once I attached the arm to the strut.

 

Is the rate of torsion bars so linear that this isn't a problem or am I missing something here?

 

Cheers

 

Roy

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Hi Roy

 

As I remember from doing mine you need the a-arms just below horizontal when you place the end cap on the torsion bar to get a sensible ride height. Its easy to tweak if you get it too high or too low by just jacking it up again and rotating the caps clockwise of anticlockwise to achieve the desired result. Its all a lot easier once you have taken it all apart and seen how it works.

 

Hope this helps, good luck.

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Its all a lot easier once you have taken it all apart and seen how it works.

Yes it is, you'll have no trouble Roy. What you might be able to do is measure the height of the hanging a-arm before you take it off, and then try setting as close to that when you reassemble. That puts you in the ballpark and then it's just fettling with your 11mm spanner.

 

On R4s and R5s you can make a small factory-spec jig up to judge where you'll be height-wise on reassembly, wonder why P never did that.

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