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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,

I bought a complete set of bushings etc. to overhaul my Spider's front suspension and got new top arms. OK. When I wanted to remove the old ones, I was frankly astonished to find an adjustable top arm just on the left side. What the heck???
I realized earlier the lower wishbones were very slightly different on the sides (one set had little threaded holes, I presume for greasing), so I thought the car had been wrecked in the past on one side and they replaced the wishbones only one side. If the same had happened to the upper arm (at some point, somebody installed adjustable arms, then one of them was destroyed and was replaced with a non-adjustable one), well, I can live with that. The new arms won't be adjustable, as I won't race the car; case solved.
However, I'm a bit nervous about another possibility: what if the car was wrecked and the suspenison geometry suffered, and instead of correclty repairing the body, they got ONE adjustable arm to correct the error in the geometry? Is that even possible? (When it comes to the suspension, I'm about as dumb as one can get.) Shall I discard the adjustable arm, install the non-adjustable ones and forget all about it?

See pics of the adjustable relic and the new non-adjustable arm. Any help greatly appriciated!
 

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If the old and new top arms are of the same length, your problem solves itself. If they are not, your theory of previous suspension damage may hold water, but I'm not sure what kind of accident would cause only the camber to suffer. Is (was?) your front geometry correct with regard to camber when the adjustable arm was mounted? If so, and the new, non-adjustable arm is of the same length as the old, I can't see any problems.

My guess is that some workshop in the past have scrounged for parts and assembled a working, correct suspension from parts they had lying around.

But I could be wrong. My experience with the 105-series is on Montreal only, where the top suspension arms are always adjustable and has quite different attachments points.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the hint. I checked and the result is bad news: the adjustable arm is about 1cm (0,4") longer than the stock one. I think that's a rather large difference. However, I spoke to the guy who does the body work on the Spider and he doesn't think the chassis is badly distorted. He says we shall put the car together using the new parts and see if the geometry turns out to be correct. And worry later.
I can't say if the geometry was correct or incorrect before; I never had it measured beacuse I meant to replace the rubber bushes etc. before I properly set it up. Driving the car always felt a bit strange and she had a tendency to veer off the road, but I put that up to the out-of-date steering system and all-around worn suspension parts.
My tires don't seem to be badly worn on one side. (Perhaps a little bit.)
Oh, and you can see how the main upper bush was installed in the arm. (It didn't twist free when I removed the arm; it had been this way for years or even decades.) It's a small wonder the car was driveable at all :(
 

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That's a little strange; it means that, when you reassemble the side that had the adjustable arm, it will have 1cm more positive camber than before since the stock upper arm is that much longer. I think you may want to order another adjustable arm but, as your mechanic said, just wait until everything is back together and you can check the alignment.

And, you're not alone with the inner bush problem; others have posted the same issue.

Good luck with the car. Be sure to post pictures of your progress.

Thanks for the hint. I checked and the result is bad news: the adjustable arm is about 1cm (0,4") longer than the stock one. I think that's a rather large difference. However, I spoke to the guy who does the body work on the Spider and he doesn't think the chassis is badly distorted. He says we shall put the car together using the new parts and see if the geometry turns out to be correct. And worry later.
I can't say if the geometry was correct or incorrect before; I never had it measured beacuse I meant to replace the rubber bushes etc. before I properly set it up. Driving the car always felt a bit strange and she had a tendency to veer off the road, but I put that up to the out-of-date steering system and all-around worn suspension parts.
My tires don't seem to be badly worn on one side. (Perhaps a little bit.)
Oh, and you can see how the main upper bush was installed in the arm. (It didn't twist free when I removed the arm; it had been this way for years or even decades.) It's a small wonder the car was driveable at all :(
 

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I agree with the mechanic. Since the car was prone to veer, the longer, adjustable arm may have been the culprit. Maybe the whole issue is due to sloppy parts ordering at one point ... ?

If only old cars could talk :)
 
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