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Replacing front lower suspension arm (wishbone) Escort Mk6


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The Haynes manual doesn't make this seem too difficult so I thought I'd have a go.

It was a nightmare getting the old arm out, and I can't get the back bush anywhere near where it needs to be to get a bolt through.

I realise that my cheap replacement arm might be the problem, but the angle of the arm compared to the frame seems all wrong.

I am a bit OTT on safety and have put an axle stand on the outer member, and a trolley jack under the inner member. As well as the car jack at its normal point.

The axle stand is the prime load bearer. I was wondering whether this might be lifting the chassis higher than it should be for the suspension arm to fit in.

I don't really want to change my safety arrangement. Is it safe to jack the disc assembly higher to change the the angle to help the suspension arm fit in? I would probably jack via the underside of the ball joint housing.

Any ideas?

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Did you compare both arms before fitting the new one?

As the Mk6 arms used fixed bushes, you will need to get the arm perfectly horizontal against the subframe to line up the bush. 

You can jack up the suspension below the bottom ball joint, but make sure it can't slip off and can't pull away from the gearbox as you do so.

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I purchased the exact same part number as had been fitted years ago (ie what I took off). The bushes, ball joint etc are exactly the same. It was a struggle pulling the old wishbone arm out from the chassis member - it required a lot of hammering.

No matter how I try I cannot get the rear bush of the new unit to sit over its mounting hole, even with hammering - the angle is wrong. I have tried with the ball joint inserted or not inserted, and approaching from the front and side. It all looks so easy in the video.

I think it is the track rod end which is causing me to have insufficient manoeuvrability, but I don't really want to take that off.

Is it possible that my use of supports has raised the relevant part of the chassis wrt the disc unit? I don't want to try raising the disc unit against spring pressure. And I don't really want to change my supports because I have this fear of the chassis collapsing to ground.

The car is on level ground so that isn't the problem.

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The new part may not be manufactured to the same tolerance as the old one, that's why I'd suggest checking both together.

Can you post a picture showing where the axle stands are?  I'm not quite sure what you mean about inner & outer crossmember.  Unless the stand is directly under the wishbone mounting point, I can't see that it would be distorting the subframe.

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Thanks for the response. I've been out of action for a few days due to a damaged hand, but I've got some photos of the support arrangement now.

The car does have a lot of rust but that is why I am tackling this job for the first time (to keep the repair costs down a bit knowing a expensive amount of welding will be required to get another year out of it).

The S-shaped bar (stabiliser?) is making it impossible to get the suspension arm flat for insertion. However I have seen no mention anywhere of removing the bar so presume that shouldn't be required. I only got the old suspension arm out from the frame by extensive hammering., and not just to get it started.

The axle stand is taking the strain, partially shared with the jack, with the trolley jack just touching the beam it is under.

I have tried to insert the arm with its ball joint out and with the ball joint inserted. The videos imply that you insert the ball joint after getting the 2 inboard bolts in position but now I'm not sure what the correct sequence is. It makes no difference at the moment since the plane of the arm is totally wrong for any practical means of insertion.

If the problem isn't the chassis being lifted by my supports (really the axle stand), and removing the stabiliser bar is not possible / irrelevant then I'll probably have to scrap the car. On that subject - if I can't insert the arm is it still safe to fit the wheel and lower the car? I mean, would the whole axle collapse when taking the weight due to no suspension arm in place? If not, would it then be safe to drive the car down a steep slope to a better location on our drive for collection?

Sorry for all the questions but I'm rather stuck.









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That jack & axle stand arrangement is fine.

With these wishbones it will be easier to fit into the subframe before locating the ball joint, but it doesn't actually matter which way you do it in terms of safety etc.

Regarding driving without a wishbone fitted, it's not possible.  The wheel will immediately move backwards and turn out.  And it'll pull the CV out of the gearbox and make a right mess as well as becoming totally immobile.

I do have a solution for getting the wishbone back on but you're not going to like it.  The anti roll bar is directly connected to the suspension strut.  If you place a jack under the the hub to jack the hub & strut upwards, that will also push the ARB upwards and give you a clear space to push the wishbone into the subframe.

Obviously there is risk in doing that, but as long as you're careful it's definitely doable.

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Thanks again for your responses.

I did wonder about jacking against the suspension earlier in order to lift the whole disc/hub assembly higher.

I won't be able to do anything for a few more days but whereabouts under the hub is it best to jack? I don't know if there is enough clearance to use a bottle jack plus block of wood under the bottom of the disc itself, unless I jack the whole car higher which I'd rather not. Although I could use the trolley jack under the disc. If I jack behind the disc I would have enough height but could damage something especially as I would be pushing against the pressure of the spring. I could jack under the suspension arm ball joint housing but that would limit my ability to manoeuvre the new suspension arm into position. I suppose that a point as directly underneath the bottom of the shock absorber as possible is ok. Sorry to be pedantic but I can't look for myself at the moment because I've put the wheel back on and have to protect my hand for a while yet so can't take the wheel  back off to investigate.

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Make sure to use something that can't slip.  I'd rather use a trolley jack & cup than a bottle jack & wood in that location.  

My first attempt would be jacking right under the balljoint hole on the hub itself.  Discs are only held on by tiny disc screws which can snap with the slightest sideways movement so I'd never jack under the disc.  You are right that will stop you getting the ball joint in, but I think you'll be able to lower the strut after getting the bush side of the wishbone in, and then use a different method to get the ball joint in.  (One job at a time...)

You can also turn the steering wheel as far this way as it'll go.  That has the affect of pushing the whole strut outwards to give you more clearance.  Just remember to steer it back straight again when you want to fit the ball joint.

I must admit though, whatever method you use, it does some brute force, especially to get the balljoint back in.  You may struggle with an injured hand.  Is there anyone else that could help with it? 

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I can't get anyone (who possesses any degree of brute force) to help here but, now that I know that I have to get it sorted to even be able to push the car elsewhere on the drive, then I'll get a mobile mechanic if I have to. 

Thanks for all your help in this.

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