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new suspension on the civic

Discussion in 'Wheels / Suspension / Tires / Brakes' started by flydex28, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Ok I finished installing pretty much all new suspension minus the springs so I figured I would post some pics up and what I did. As soon as I put the pics on the computer i'll try to figure out how to put them on here.

    So first off... my car had been driving like crap lately...really mushy feeling, not wanting to corner, always feeling like the back end was wanting to come out from behind me..etc, etc. As far as I know everything was still stock from the assembly line including the struts, so that means there was 260,000 miles on those things and thats not good. The bushings were getting torn and split and all deformed as well.

    The items I purchased were: PIC performance hard rubber bushing kit (which by the way not too happy with that company), new KYB GR2 struts with new boots and bumpstops, all new rubber parts, sleeves, and hardware for the struts, tie rod ends, lower ball joints, and upper ball joint boots with new clips. The only thing i didnt replace were the springs.

    These are the things you are going to really want when doing this: A second car, two or three days, someone to help if possible, a bunch of sockets and various sizes of pipe, an auto parts store or two close by, a torch, shop press!!!, air compressor with an impact gun (this is a must), hack saw is a good idea, rent a spring compressor, maybe a pipe wrench or two, full tool set, a patient wife or girlfriend, and maybe a couple beers for when you are done for the day... because there will be a few of them.

    I want to say this was a PITA bitch of a project to attempt in 2 and a half days and if you attempt it.. my hat's off to you..lol. If anything maybe I can offer some advice or tips to you. More to come.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
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  2. |Chaz|

    |Chaz| Well-Known Member VIP

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    Definitely looking forward to pictures! I've been wanting to do the PIC bushings for awhile now and just been too intimidated to do it yet!

    Congrats! How do you like the way it drives now?
     
  3. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Well I havent driven it yet... I was going to get an alignment today but got stuck trying to fix my fiancees moms truck... broken heater hose that is damn near impossible to replace. Gonna try to finish that tommorrow morning and then go get an alignment. I cant wait.
     
  4. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Ok got it aligned today. LOL... it was way out of alignment but all good now. The car feels much firmer now but not bad at all, and doesnt feel all over the place. It actually goes where I want it to now without feeling like something is gonna give and send me off the road. Also the body roll is waaaaay improved and stays pretty level around corners considering im still on stock springs and regular struts. I still need to install the front upper control arm bushings because the ones they sent did not fit. Ok so here goes with some pictures... I wish I could have gotten some better ones but I either kept forgetting or didnt grab the camera.
     
  5. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    I sprayed all the bolts down with this about once a week beforehand for a few weeks to make removal easier.
    [​IMG]

    Here is all my parts together that I replaced
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  6. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    I put an extra jack stand under the lower contol arm in case it dropped but I didnt need it there after all. I know.. looks pretty crusty and gross. I want to clean everything up under there and repaint it all with a rubberized type coating.
    [​IMG]


    This right here is what you DO NOT want to do. These lower control arm bolts came out ok but when I went to the other side, I ended up breaking the head off of the center bolt and then needed to use a hack saw to cut thru it to get the strut off the arm. This is when I decided to stop and wait for my brother to arrive with the impact gun. It will make your life sooooo much easier.
    [​IMG]


    Here are both rear lower contol arms removed. I labeled everthing I took off left and right to make sure everything went back on the right side. (just realized this picture was taken after the new bushings had been pressed in)
    [​IMG]

    Here is the old rear strut removed:
    [​IMG]

    On the right, this is probably what your bolts will look like when you remove them.. all corroded and rough. I took a wire wheel to them and removed all the corrosion and rust. When I reinstalled them later i put a thin coat of grease on the bolt where those grooves are to try to prevent them from getting corroded again.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  7. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    This here is a very valuable tool to have. I was able to rent it from the knechts auto part store here in town for $60 for three days then get my deposit back. This spring compressor also has safety locks on it just in case.
    [​IMG]

    So here is the old strut with the compressor on it. Dont compress the spring as far as it will go; only go as far as you need to relieve the tension to avoid damaging the spring. The stock struts used a 5mm allen head and either a 12mm or 14mm lock nut up top. You may want to spray these down as well because they were on there pretty good.
    [​IMG]

    And this is what you should end up with:
    [​IMG]


    Keep track of how the metal spacers come off the strut as you will reuse some of them and make sure you dont reinstall them upside down. I believe it was the one above the bumpstop that is angled to fit on the strut shaft only one way.

    I ordered all new rubber parts for the strut assemblies as well as the metal sleeve that goes between those rubber strut bushings. The old ones were corroded and the new ones only cost $0.56 apiece. Basically I went to hondaautomotiveparts.com, looked at the suspension components and ordered everything that I thought would need to be replaced.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Removing the upper contol arm. I marked the position of it before I loosened it but im not sure that I needed to. The service manual DOES say you need to align the bushing before reinstalling it though. Its basically a 90 deg. angle to the arm.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the arm with the bolts off the car. Make sure to clean up those bolts. When we pressed the new bushing in we used a deep socket or pipe to rest the arm on to press it out into and then flipped it over and used a 25mm (I believe) socket to rest the arm on...the saddle shaped side.. for support when the new one was pressed in. I should have gotten a picture because the toe angle arm is the same way. Both of these arms have a wierd angle to them so you have to be real careful when pressing the bushings in.
    [​IMG]


    Pressing a bushing in... Make sure you start them straight.. this one is a little crooked but we fixed it. Notice I stuck them in the freezer for a bit beforehand to try and make it easier to press in.
    [​IMG]


    Here it is going in right. Earlier on we actually bent the presses arm removing the old bushing from this very arm (yes some of them are in there extremely tight) so we had to cut it off and it wasnt exactly straight so we improvised with an old sawzall blade in there to fill in the gap from the uneven cut. I think this is a 7/16 socket. 7/8 and 7/16 we used alot along with our metric sockets.

    Also make sure you notice exactly how the bushings are in there before you press the old ones out. On some of the parts the bushings stick out more on one side then the other!!!
    [​IMG]
     
  9. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Remove the rest of the bolts to the trailing arm and lower it down supporting the back of it otherwise you will be hanging all the weight on that brake line there. You will have to take apart that other brake line before. You can see which one we took apart here.
    [​IMG]


    Remove the toe angle arm. Again... Impact gun is your friend. I forgot to mention...when removing the trailing arm bushings to lower the trailing arm we could only get the bolt to come out part of the way so we sprayed the bolt and then went back and forth with the impact gun a few times until it broke free and came right out. You can see in this picture how on one side the bushing sticks out more than the other side. (this is the left side of the car). Check it out.. there is an orb floating by..lol.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Here is something interesting... BTW make sure you inspect all your parts before beginning otherwise you might end up with what I had here. We noticed that one of the traing arm bushings holes was drilled in the wrong spot and not wanting to wait another 2 weeks or so for a new one decided to "fix" this one. Here is the before with the off centered hole
    [​IMG]


    Some super fine dremel action going on here... btw I broke like three of these bits doing this because I probably wasnt using the right bit and my selection was lacking.
    [​IMG]


    And the finished product Probably could have done better but I was tired of breaking bits and it was taking forever plus it seemed to line up just fine now.
    [​IMG]


    When i removed the old bushings here i made note of how the old bushings came out with a mark, also make note of how the arm of the bushing lines up with the trailing arm, and how far the bushing is pressed in. If I remember right the edge you see here will be flush with the trailing arm. I just used a hammer to tap the old bushing out after seeing a guy on youtube do it this way... the old bushing just popped right out but putting the new one back in this way was a little harder but it went in. You will notice also that the new bushings are kind of beveled on one side to make them easier to line up and tap in. Longer bushing arm goes to the inside as you can see here if you look carefully.
    [​IMG]

    New bushing in place
    [​IMG]
     
  11. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Everything reassembeled. We tried to do one corner of the car at a time so we could reference the other side if we needed to. This didnt always happen though because it was easier for us to remove a couple parts and then press the bushings on them as a pair.. Part of the reason I labeled everthing left and right. We didnt get all the dirt and crud off but we tried to give most things a quick scrub down to remove most of it. I had a deadline and needed to get this done. When I get around to the rubberized undercoating Ill clean it up more then.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Nothing? Anyone?.. I thought I did a pretty good job so far. I'll try to post up the rest tomorrow, I dont have too many more. Still trying to get ahold of PIC about my replacement bushings for the upper contol arms but they are extremely hard to get ahold of sometimes. I talked to him last week and apparantly the stock bushing size is 33mm and the ones I got were 32mm.. this obviously wont work so he said he was going to check his warehouse and give me a call later that day but never did.. I'm going to try to get ahold of him again today.
     
  13. |Chaz|

    |Chaz| Well-Known Member VIP

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    Looks good mang :thumbsup: I wanna see some pictures of how the car sits now with the new stuff vs the old stuff.
     
  14. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Ok I'll go get a picture in a bit.. but I gotta say.. it doesnt look much different and it seems like it is still kinda settling into place. You should have seen the wheel gap on the rear when I first put it back on the ground.. it kind of scared me because the gap on the rear was at least 6 inches. Now it seems like its a tad lower than it was before I started, but just barely, from it being on the ground and driving around on it.
     
  15. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Ok so now to the front. I dont have as many pictures of this as the rear because at this point we were just trying to get it done. So first remove the axle nut and pop the lower ball joint off You could use a pickle fork if you are replacing the ball joint or use a ball joint tool to pop it free like I did. Then unbolt the brake line off the strut body and remove the brake caliper. From here you can remove the whole spindle assembly by popping free the upper ball joint. I dont know why but in some of these pictures the camera makes it look like there is a lot of rust but there really wasnt.
    [​IMG]

    Next we just removed the lower contol arm You cant really take off the upper one until the strut is removed or you get this lower fork off. In this picture we were using a ratchet for some reason but if the bolt is stuck you're going to want to use the impact. This bolt had a nut on the back you have to hold with a wrench.
    [​IMG]


    Old tie rod end.. These were the 555 brand and lasted quite awhile.. in fact I think this one was still good. The other side was shot because I punctured the boot when I installed them six or seven years ago. I ended up replacing them with just regular Napa tie rod ends.. nothing special. I wish I would have known that this is what I had on there as I probably would have gotten the exact same ones. I marked them before removing them and also noted that they were on there 16 1/2 turns. BTW the nut is easier to remove if the tie rod end is still attached to the spindle.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    So here I am with my home made Honda lower ball joint removal tool. Who needs Honda special part number xxxxxxx. Basically just lift the whole thing up and then drop it down together and let the weight of the spindle do the work for you. Just make sure you have removed the snap rings first and the dust shield that covers the bearing. Another interesting thing I found out: I ordered Napa's premium line ball joints and when I was changing them I discovered they were the exact same ball joint as the originals on the car... 555 made in Japan. Score!!! Getting the new joints back in I ran into a problem because I didnt have a tool to press them back in (stupid special tools) and the ball joint press available to rent at the auto parts store was way to big, so I ended up using a hammer and tapping it back in I dented the raised ring slightly on top but not too bad.. shouldnt hurt anything at all.
    [​IMG]


    My upper ball joints were still good with no movement at all in them so I just bought new boots and boot clips from honda. Again these clips require a Honda Special tool sooooooo I made my own. This is a small sheet of thin guage aluminum rolled up into a sort of cone. This will allow you to slide the clip down it with the larger end placed over the ball joint boot which is already on the ball joint and snap it down over the edge into place on the boot. Here is my brother using a screw driver to slide the clip down into place. A second person is helpful here to make sure it is lined up before snapping it onto the boot. We also cleaned up some of the old grease and packed in new grease as well as put a good lining of new grease in the new boot as well. Not too much in the actual boot.. just enough to get a good coating in there.
    [​IMG]


    And here it is in place:
    [​IMG]
     
  17. BrutalB83

    BrutalB83 Brutal Moderator Moderator VIP

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    It really shouldn't look any different. The ride height is determined by the springs mostly. If you re-used the stock springs, then it's going to sit pretty much the same.

    Was it because you had the e-brake set? Any time I worked on Integra's suspension it would sit high once you put it back on the ground until you release the e-brake for the first time.

    I'm curious, are those PIC bushings supposed to be performance-oriented? Or just stock replacements?
     
  18. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Here is half of the front lower control arm on the ground. The reason for the pipe wrenches is because the compliance bushing on this arm had seized to the shaft it is supposed to slide off of. We tried different pullers to try to remove it and ended up somehow ripping most of it off except what you see here. You will notice there is still a fair amount of the rubber still on the sleeve there so we had to use the torch to burn and scrape most of it off so the pipe wrench could get ahold of the sleeve. Im not sure why the wrench is where it is in this picture.. I think it was to elevate the arm off the ground a little to get the other pipe wrench on that sleeve and break it free while holding the arm in place while also stepping on the arm. But in the end it came off and the new one went on although for some reason the bushing on this side went on tighter than the other side so i needed to lightly tap it onto the arm.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  19. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    Getting the center bushings, (the ones the stuts attach to) was a major pain. Our problem was we couldnt find a pipe the right size to put under the bushing that would support the arm and allow the bushing to pass thru. So remember that ball joint press kit that was too big for the ball joints? Well we went back and my brother rented that as well as a crank pulley holder for honda/acura, which i'll explain why soon, for $180.00. The kit has a piece of pipe.. the one on the left next to the clamp in the picture that fit perfectly on the bottom side of the arm. To press it out we had to use a 1 3/16 inch socket which when lined up just right will press out the bushing and pass right through the arm with no problem. However in our case that bushing was in there so damn tight that we heated up the arm around the bushing with a torch, my brother was practically hanging on the presses arm and another guy pulled out a small sledge and gave the top of the press a couple good whacks before it finally popped free and we were able to press it the rest of the way out.
    Here is the ball joint press kit and the honda/acura crank pulley holder:
    [​IMG]

    The crank pulley holder was used underneath the outer bushings on this arm to support it and allow the bushing to pass through it. This diameter of the tool was just barely big enough and had to be lined up perfectly to allow the bushing to be pressed through.

    And here is one of the outer bushings that came out of the front lower control arm... this one was pretty bad.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. flydex28

    flydex28 Senior Member

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    It may have been set when I lowered it... then again I actually lowered the back tires down onto some bricks so that I could still get under there and tighten down the bolts while it was resting on its own weight. At this time though the front was still on jack stands. When I got everything back together I lowered the whole car down onto bricks and tightened everything and then lowered it to the ground. Once I did this I noticed a big difference.

    PIC bushings are a hard rubber bushing that I believe i read to be like 20-40 percent firmer than stock. Kind of a halfway between OEM rubber bushings and poly. I read a lot of great reviews about hard rubber bushings like PIC and Hardrace compared to poly ones Plus you can get them for quite a bit less than the stock bushings.
     
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