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My winter project will be replacing the bushings on my 1979 Spider. My question what should I tackle first, front or rear suspension. I have a low frustration threshold, so which would be least frustrating.
 

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I try the rear first. That being said the trailing arm bushings are going to be a challenge. It may be worthwhile to buy arms with the bushings installed to save time and money. Thrust washers can be split and slid into place (may need to thin them).
The front is straight forward. I recommend new upper arms as they came with bushings and the ball joint.
Parts are not inexpensive but are available. I recommend Classic Alfa in the UK.
You will need a press to install the bushings (front and rear), and maybe a torch to get the old ones out. Melt rubber, saw out remainder of bushing (true for rear trailing arms).
Check all of the ball joints, they wear.
Just for reference I had this work performed on my car and it was 2 solid days of labor.
Good luck on a time consuming task, but one well worth it.
 

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This is what worked for me when I did mine, took a little to get the technique right, but then it was easy, saves all that pollution burning out the bushes.

 

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Start by studying these two threads:

https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/sp...4/192358-front-suspension-change-dummies.html

https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/sp...0-rear-suspension-bushing-change-dummies.html

The rear is a bit simpler, but you have to deal with those big bushings, which is not easy. What I did was exchange the arms but I'm not sure who does that anymore unfortunately. It was nice because not only did I not have to deal with the bushings but they came nicely painted as well. I got mine from IAP (R.I.P). Neither Centerline nor Vick lists them now. Shipping FROM the UK is cheap but shipping TO the UK for the core return would probably not be!

You could go whole-hog and get the lightened arms from Classic Alfa - I now kinda wish I'd done that. They're not stupidly expensive. You could do poly bushings which makes the install quite easy as well and future service a snap. If you do go with rubber and you don't have a press (or aren't confident with it) you should be able to find a local shop to press them in for not much money.

Up front study around here a lot on the parts - there are (or at least were 4 years ago when I did mine) a lot of dodgy parts out there. I did the adjustable upper control arms on mine but replaced both the bushings as they were rumored to have short life spans at the time. Not sure if that is still true or not......on the inner one I went with a bushing specced for a different part of the car for better durability and performance. I think maybe a lower control arm bushing? Don't remember now - I'd have to consult my written notes at home.

Whatever you do - just do everything. Bushings, ball joints, tie-rod-ends, etc. Unless you know some of the parts have been replaced relatively recently, they're probably bad or on their way out. When you're done the car will drive like new!
 

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I read somewhere, just recently, that poly bushes are not a great idea, I cant remember why, it might have been something to do with rid quality or noise transmission back into the car. The place you do need one it where the yoke attaches to the top of the diff housing.
 
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This is what worked for me when I did mine, took a little to get the technique right, but then it was easy, saves all that pollution burning out the bushes.


Great technique. I recently replaced the same bush however used a reciprocating saw. It was not nearly half as neat as the drill
 

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I read somewhere, just recently, that poly bushes are not a great idea, I cant remember why, it might have been something to do with rid quality or noise transmission back into the car. The place you do need one it where the yoke attaches to the top of the diff housing.
Definitely a matter of controversy just like spring and shock rates. I like mine.
 

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Konati,

Most definitely you need to replace the front lower outer ball joints. Even if these appear visually good. Unless you have an invoice showing these were just replaced they will need replacing and these are often overlooked as they are hard to test for play. When these are worn your Alfa will crash over bumps and feel very unsophisticated.

+1 for sticking with rubber bushes. They are not hard to replace, just takes time and patience and they will never squeak or transfer vibration. Also you don't need a press, can be done in a large vice or with threaded rod and some steel plates to pull them in. Just have to be creative in your thinking, plus I bet your local garage/engineering workshop would put them in for a case of quality beer
Pete
 

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I read somewhere, just recently, that poly bushes are not a great idea, I cant remember why, it might have been something to do with rid quality or noise transmission back into the car. The place you do need one it where the yoke attaches to the top of the diff housing.
I have them in my Spider and Sport Sedan. Not in every possible position though. The newer poly stuff is better than the original stuff and a breeze to install.

Andy at Performatek has all you need.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to everyone for all the great replies. When the weather turns to winter, I will take on the rear first.
 

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Up front study around here a lot on the parts - there are (or at least were 4 years ago when I did mine) a lot of dodgy parts out there. I did the adjustable upper control arms on mine but replaced both the bushings as they were rumored to have short life spans at the time. Not sure if that is still true or not......on the inner one I went with a bushing specced for a different part of the car for better durability and performance. I think maybe a lower control arm bushing? Don't remember now - I'd have to consult my written notes at home.
Just closing the loop on this - yes, I did use a lower control arm bushing for the inner of the upper control arm.
 

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I read somewhere, just recently, that poly bushes are not a great idea, I cant remember why, it might have been something to do with rid quality or noise transmission back into the car. The place you do need one it where the yoke attaches to the top of the diff housing.
Two things :- Poly bushes are normally good quality, but don't put them in the brackets that attach to the body (at the front of the rear trailing arms), or you will transmit more noise to the inside of the car. OK to put them in the end that attaches to the axle.
Ask me how I know.......
My car is set up as above and location is much better & doesn't transmit any more noise.

Fronts. I agree with the posts above that recommend inner upper bushes, bottom ball joints, and A arm bushes. The car will not feel right until they have been done. Once again, poly bushes where they don't attach directly to the body. Poly bushes particularly good in the castor rod ends, as the standard rubber ones are way too pliable IMO, particularly when not fitted with the plastic inserts.
 

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This is what worked for me when I did mine, took a little to get the technique right, but then it was easy, saves all that pollution burning out the bushes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyXksKuneLk

I found an easier way... that is to use a propane or MAPP torch to heat the bushing from the outside... heating the cylinder that it is pressed into from the side. Heat it evenly and fairly gently. You just want to melt the very surface all around, like removing ice from a tray. Then give the end a whack with a hammer and it will squirt right out without any smoke and no shavings all over the place. Of course, you still have the outer surface that is likely fused to the trailing arm. That has to be cut as shown.

One thing I found is that the tube that the new bushing will be pressed into will probably be all galled up from when the original was pressed in. You will want to grind down any areas that have been lifted up or you will have a terrible time pressing in the new one.
 
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If you do install poly bushes, please double check that the suspension bolts do not work loose. The last time I used poly bushes, on an Alfa, with my Sud where they absolutely ruined the handling, this happened. The reason this happened is poly bushes are designed to rotate around the inner sleeve, and amazingly even though the bolts were tight eventually somehow that inner sleeve was able to rotate and worked the bolts loose. I ended up double nutting to solve this ... but should have reinstalled the rubber bushes.

Please note this was a very long time ago and new poly bushes might be better, although if softer surely their marketing direction of more accurately locating the suspension is now also untrue.
Pete
 
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