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Hello all,
I'm guessing that I need to have my front end re-done. My steering wheel has at least 2 inches of play in either direction as I'm driving down the road. Is there a "How To" manual or video out there that can help me do this job at home? I read on some of the other posting that I might be hard to find the needed parts. Do anybody sell a rebuilding kit that would have all the needed bushing and rubber parts that need to be replaced?

Any suggestions would be great...Thanks!

Ed Arango
 

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I'm doing that now. It's not hard. You don't even need to crawl under the car.

I recommend starting with the tie rod ends. With the front end on jackstands remove all three tie rods. It won't be easy but a tie rod separator is dirt cheap at Harbor Freight.

To get your alignment close enough to drive to the alignment shop, measure how far the old tie rod ends are threaded into the rod. I measured from the center of the backside of the joint to the top of the jam nut. The measurement should be equal on both ends; if not subtract from the longer and add to the shorter to equalize them. Write down your measurements. Then thread your new ends into the rods the same amount.

Tie rod ends will have left hand and right hand threads to enable the alignment tech to adjust the length of the rods by loosening the jam nuts and turning the rod. They should be reinstalled on the car in the following positions:

L------R L------------------R L------R

When the nuts are properly torqued the tapered ends will be pulled into place; no need to press or squeeze them in.

While the wheels are off check your ball joints by wiggling the spindle up and down. If there's any play, or if your car has over 100k miles you should rebuild your suspension. By now you should feel confident in removing and replacing the various parts. The hardest part is reinstalling the spring; use the threaded rod method explained elsewhere here. Safety tip: when removing or installing a spring, tie it to one of the control arms with a short length of rope so if it slips and shoots out, it doesn't kill you.

Someone else has posted a diagram from the shop manual showing how much the various nuts should be torqued. If you're reusing the nylock nuts that attach the ball joints to the control arms and the control arms to the body; or anywhere else for that matter, use blue medium hold Locktite on them.

A number of Alfa suppliers have the parts. I'm going with Spruell Motorsport. Alfa parts and other Sports Car Performance Parts There's also IAP and Centerline and even Rock Auto. Alfa once specified different parts for the outer tie rods and the inner (center) link; but now the outer ends can be used on the center link.

Try to avoid the FRAP brand ball joints and tie rod ends. These are the cheapest and most common; and what Alfa is currently supplying but many including the local Alfa techs here in Seattle swear AT them rather than by them. They seem to wear out very fast. The good parts are hard to find. Ask your supplier what they're selling. I think IAP is selling just FRAP.

While your suspension is apart it would be a good time to service your brakes if that hasn't been done lately. Rubber brake lines should be replaced periodically and brakes bled yearly. I had the local brake shop turn my rotors for $10 each because I'm installing new pads. It wouldn't hurt to repack your wheel bearings while your at it. These parts can be found at Rock Auto as well as the Alfa suppliers. I splurged on the braided lines but the rubber lines I've seen for as little as $6 each (Rock Auto). There's two for the front and one for the back.

I recommend buying the Car Disc factory shop manual on CD and investing in a torque wrench and a quality metric wrench and socket set.
 
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