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OT: Cars and replacing suspension components

gingamangingaman Posts: 576
edited September 2015 in The cake stop
Afternoon all,

After an unfavourable trip to the MOT station my car has been off the road for a few months. I am now of the mindset that I might as well get it fixed and back on the road, it cant be sold as the cost of the repairs are pretty much the same as the value of the vehicle... :roll:

I am slightly handy with a spanner [and duct tape] so I am looking to source the parts and do the swap myself, then take it to be tracked and MOT'ed. I dont have an hydraulic press to swap out the bushings, so I am going to buy the complete control arms and replace the whole lot.

The problem is, for someone who is new to car mechanic-ing, there are too many parts for too many cars to sort through. Will the relevant part numbers be stamped on the currently installed components? Is there a handy 'one stop shop' that will know what I am talking about when I say I have a 2001 Honda Civic with 3 doors, and be able to tell me what parts I need?

Also, how hard is this job? From what I have read and watched on the net, it looks relatively un-complex, only needing to jack the car up and remove some bolts...

TL,DR: I dont want to pay a garage over £500 when I can [potentially] do the majority of the work for around £100 and a weekend of labour, and where can I find the correct parts?

Thanks,

gingaman
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Posts

  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,411 Lives Here
    What car is it? You may need a spring compressor for some, not normally but check. See if anyone has done a decent YouTube tutorial or if there is an appropriate forum. The part number on the part may be a casting number rather than the part number. Do you have a large bench vice? That will do in the absence of a press.
    Best place to buy depends on the model of car. CES are a good motor factors, FAI make decent suspension arms.
  • gingamangingaman Posts: 576
    Its a 2001 Honda Civic SE SPORT, looking for car parts is like looking for a needle in a pile of similarly shaped needles
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,411 Lives Here
    BluePrint are good quality for aftermarket Japanese car parts, register here and look up what you need, then find a supplier in your area.
  • gingamangingaman Posts: 576
    Thanks Veronese, I'll check it out
  • lesfirthlesfirth Posts: 1,104
    Somewhere not too far from you there will be a motor parts factor. This is where your garage gets most of its spare parts from. On its front door it may say" trade only",ignore that and see if they have what you need.
    Look on you tube for some help. Most suspension bush jobs don't need a press,just a big hammer,suitable sized sockets and some confidence.
    Trouble is those nuts and bolts have been having a salty shower for the past 14 years and might not want to cooperate.
    Good luck!
  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    My honest advice would be to scrap it.
    If the case of parts are similar to that of the value, you are simply throwing good money at bad.
    Go out, get a car on a monthly deal with small deposit and drive safe in the knowledge that your monthly payment is your total cost.
    Trust me, 95 times in 100 doing things like this turns to shiat, when a car is old its old and unless the value makes it the wise move, your just heading into a minefield.
    Living MY dream.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,411 Lives Here
    But to counter that if you don't have money to burn. The parts will cost you less than a monthly payment on a new car. Only you know if the car has been reliable otherwise, if so fix it. You won't lose money because the repaired car is worth more than the scrap value. Bangernomics make sense financially, especially as you don't seem to do a lot of miles in it.
  • dj58dj58 Posts: 2,161
    Depends on the overall condition of the OP's car, if it has failed on just the wishbone arm ball joint and/or bushes, then if he can obtain either discounted Honda parts or Delphi of other after market brand O.E. spec parts and does the work himself it may be worth it, the car has been off the road for a while so he can take his time and hire any specialist tools he may need.

    I do agree that once a car has reached 10yrs or more it can become uneconomical to repair unless you source discounted new/good used parts and do the work yourself.

    OP if you can get the parts off the car you could go to a local garage and ask them to press out the old bushes and fit the new ones for an agreed fee. Or have ago yourself like this bloke
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhrY7clDIGE

    However if the ball joint is also worn consider replacing the complete suspension arm. http://www.eurocarparts.com/ecp/c/Honda_Civic_1.6_2001/p/car-parts/suspension-and-steering/suspension/suspension-arm-and-suspension-joints/?615601035&1&4c161825a05cb6d878a85c40063c80ef2aff55b5&000320
  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    I probably didn't emphasise my point properly.
    The issue with worn suspension is that it very much assigns itself to other areas of wear and tear on the car, after all, these components don't wear in 20,000m!
    Seriously, once you start you never stop unless your really lucky and the money pit is very deep.
    There really is no need to drive old cars these days (unless credit is an issue) as they can be so cheap to lease. £50/month and £500 deposit will put you in a brand new 4 seater with warranty and zero issues, if thats too much money you shouldn't be driving (that isn't meant at anyone in particular but motorists in general)
    Living MY dream.
  • gingamangingaman Posts: 576
    Thanks all for the replies. A little background for clarification:

    It is my first car. I like it. I am currently in the middle of an apprenticeship (mechanical engineering) so money is tight, however I have learned/ am learning skills that will help, as well as having access to beefier tools etc. I would like to give it a go anyway as I feel too many people these days don't know enough about repairing things and would rather phone someone/ pay someone else to do it/ can't be bothered.
    Bangernomics make sense financially, especially as you don't seem to do a lot of miles in it.
    8000+ by bike last year compared to 2500 by car... 8)
  • wongataawongataa Posts: 906
    Is there a handy 'one stop shop' that will know what I am talking about when I say I have a 2001 Honda Civic with 3 doors, and be able to tell me what parts I need?
    Your local motor factors should hopefully be able to help. If it is a more uncommon car a specialist might be required.
    Also, how hard is this job? From what I have read and watched on the net, it looks relatively un-complex, only needing to jack the car up and remove some bolts...
    The process is usually pretty simple. The main problem is usually accessing some of the fasteners and finding that the fasteners really don't want to be removed easily requiring beefy tools, in confined spaces, while trying not to strip heads.
  • team47bteam47b Posts: 6,424
    Great to see a can do attitude, you will probably learn a lot and enjoy the sense of achievement. :D

    Get started and if you get stuck there are more than enough 'experts' on here to help. :roll:
    my isetta is a 300cc bike
  • pinnopinno Posts: 40,138
    Hurried response, PM me if you need a bit more specific help.

    Bushes are rarely replaced now anyway - most suspension bits are replaced whole. The car registration number should be sufficient to source the parts.
    Get a crow bar and use it to check play in all the suspension bits. It won't tell you exactly what you need but it will give you a rough idea.
    You are not going to be able to check brake efficiency or emissions. Maybe you should put it in for a pre MOT and then you will know what you can and can't do yourself. Some offer 14 days to resit the MOT without extra charge. If you plan to do this more often, you can pick up an OBD2 device specific to your car pretty cheap - helps a bit.
    I can call up the garage that is doing my MOT/MOT work and they insure the car to and from the test place - maybe you have this facility.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • capt_slogcapt_slog Posts: 3,442

    +1 for eurocarparts.com

    Not that I've used them or that I know them to be good, but merely for the fact that you can put your reg in and it will identify the part you need. Which was the crux of your original query.

    Often from this starting point, you can then search using a part number.


    The older I get, the better I was.

  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,411 Lives Here
    Having worked at ECP I'm careful when buying from them, some parts are better than others shall we say. With Japanese stuff Blue Print is normally good quality. Local stockist will be a motor factor of some sort. I recommend CES as we need to keep a certain member in booze (not me).
    Agree with others, much better to fix something than to throw it away and start again.
  • dj58dj58 Posts: 2,161
    Having worked at ECP I'm careful when buying from them, some parts are better than others shall we say. With Japanese stuff Blue Print is normally good quality. Local stockist will be a motor factor of some sort. I recommend CES as we need to keep a certain member in booze (not me).
    Agree with others, much better to fix something than to throw it away and start again.

    Yes I agree, I only use them for well know brand parts, I tend to use CES more for Delphi brake and suspension parts, they are also a stockist for Brake Engineering reconditioned brake calipers.

    OP what I have found when working on suspension is that the various nuts and bolts can be seized and that the pinch type bolts are usually coated with red grade locktite. Be careful not to just put a long breaker bar on the head of those bolts and apply lots of torque, as it is easy to shear the head of the bolt off, which will then require drilling out/extracting which can be a time consuming PITA. Much better to use and impact wrench to vibrate the bolt loose, I also apply a little heat the head of the bolt, then let it cool before trying to remove it. One of those mini blow lamps is useful.

    You can hire a impact wrench and transformer for Speedy for a day rate, I have done that in the past. I bought one of those £20 Clarke 12v battery powered impact wrenches, the type that is recommended for undoing overtight wheel lug nuts/bolts. I wanted to see if it would undo a crankshaft pulley bolt, which it did, I also used it to undo a hub drive shaft nut, which it did to my surprise, you do need a fully charged 12V battery for this to be successful.

    I think that if you do your research and take your time you will be fine, just make sure you have the vehicle properly and safely supported, keep three wheels on the ground and work on one side at a time.

    Soak all the fasteners with PlusGas for 24hrs before you start
  • me-109me-109 Posts: 1,365
    As above, give everything a good soak with rust penetrator and give it a good wire brushing.
  • ben@31[email protected] Posts: 2,322
    edited August 2015
    ...Also, how hard is this job? From what I have read and watched on the net, it looks relatively un-complex, only needing to jack the car up and remove some bolts...

    TL,DR: I dont want to pay a garage over £500 when I can [potentially] do the majority of the work for around £100 and a weekend of labour...

    When I was a single and skint young pup. I had the same mindset. I did pretty much everything on my car including change all the suspension components springs, dampers, wishbone, bearing hub assy.

    However! There was many late nights where my car was half dismantled only to find I did not have the right tool in my cheap Halfrauds 10 piece socket set or more commonly the nuts and bolts were badly corroded and totally siezed on. I had to literally jump on the ratchet handle only to remove skin in my knuckles or round off the bolts. I did not have another car to pop to Halfrauds / main dealer if something went wrong .

    I used to watch a programme on the Discovery Channels where they restored old cars (Wheeler Dealers?). Everything looked rosy but they never told you the cost of the entire garage equipment including jacks or the man hours away from a day job. They never showed siezed on bolts ether.

    Now I'm +1 for buying a new car. After accidentally going in a garage and finding the finance deal for a new car was less per month than what I was actually paying for a second hand car ( the new car was the end of a production run before a new model came out). With a new car, zero worries , everything works every morning and no MOT for 3 years. There's some pretty good finance deals out that makes a new car affordable, I do notice these days there's not many old cars from the 80's and 90's about.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    ...Also, how hard is this job? From what I have read and watched on the net, it looks relatively un-complex, only needing to jack the car up and remove some bolts...

    TL,DR: I dont want to pay a garage over £500 when I can [potentially] do the majority of the work for around £100 and a weekend of labour...

    When I was a single and skint young pup. I had the same mindset. I did pretty much everything on my car including change all the suspension components springs, dampers, wishbone, bearing hub assy.

    However! There was many late nights where my car was half dismantled only to find I did not have the right tool in my cheap Halfrauds 10 piece socket set or more commonly the nuts and bolts were badly corroded and totally siezed on. I did not have another car to pop to Halfrauds to buy something else.

    I used to watch a programme on the Discovery Channels where they restored old cars (Wheeler Dealers?). Everything looked rosy but they never told you the cost of the entire garage equipment including jacks or the man hours away from a day job. They never showed siezed on bolts ether.

    Now I'm +1 for buying a new car. After accidentally going in a garage and finding the finance deal for a new car was less per month than what I was actually paying for a second hand car ( the new car was the end of a production run before a new model came out). With a new car, zero worries , everything works every morning and no MOT for 3 years. There's some pretty good finance deals out that makes a new car affordable, I do notice these days there's not many old cars from the 80's and 90's about.

    Thats called common sense my friend :mrgreen:
    Seriously, for years I tinkered with cars and the cost when I look back was astronomical, tools, spares, travel to get parts, time used to get parts, it all adds up.
    In the case of someone restoring a car for pleasure its a valid trade-off, you get something in return for your hassles but for a daily driver, when suspension parts are worn you would be stupid (no offence meant) if you honestly thought that replacing the part ends your problem and you can continue to drive safe in the knowledge that you have thousands of trouble free miles ahead.

    The fact is, its simply the start of a lifetime of replacements and hassles because if one part is worn, you can bet the rest of the car shares the same issues and for an old car with low value, all you are doing is throwing good money at bad.
    I am all for getting your hands dirty and fixing things but you have to understand the value in doing that, also the dangers involved if something later happened !

    Its very funny how when you grow up you realise that the finer things in life are much cheaper in the long run and whilst others look at you with your new cars wondering how you can afford them, you look back at those same people wondering how they can afford their old cars and the repair bills.

    True story, I used to mess with Cosworths as a kid, I loved them but spent a fortune, easily losing £20k in a year.
    Now I have Ferrari's and Lamborghini's and keep them for 6-12 months and the most I've lost is a couple of £k.

    I used to use old cars as daily drivers, I could easily spend £300/month keeping them on the road.
    I now have brand new cars and drive a Ford Transit Custom as my daily driver that costs me £129/month without a worry or care in the world, never costs me a penny outside of fuel.

    Once you realise that newer is cheaper you will never look back.
    Living MY dream.

  • In the case of someone restoring a car for pleasure its a valid trade-off, you get something in return for your hassles but for a daily driver....

    With regards to restoring a car, in my own opinion it's only worth if it's a very classic car, such as a concourse condition E-type or a classic shaped Porsche 911. Interestingly you can now get new replicas that look like the old thing ! Doing a lot of work and pouring money into a Ford Fiesta isn't worth it.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736

    In the case of someone restoring a car for pleasure its a valid trade-off, you get something in return for your hassles but for a daily driver....

    With regards to restoring a car, in my own opinion it's only worth if it's a very classic car, such as a concourse condition E-type or a classic shaped Porsche 911. Interestingly you can now get new replicas that look like the old thing ! Doing a lot of work and pouring money into a Ford Fiesta isn't worth it.

    Im with you, it has to be worth it, either a car that financially rewards you or maybe restoring the first car you ever drove ?
    I would love to do another build on an E30 BMW, I love them. the problem is that I know the time and effort it takes and I don't think I would have the time to complete it right now so won't start.
    Living MY dream.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 14,124
    2000 miles per year?

    May I suggest public transport/taxis for short journeys and hiring cars for long journeys.
    It may sound ridiculous, but do the sums on the entirety of owning and running a car. You may be surprised.

    Been there, done that, in my earlier (skint) years.
    I could have used taxis for 100% of my car journeys and broke even. I saved money by not doing so.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 40,138
    I do not agree with some of the options - especially on finance. I bought my Merc for £3200 5 years ago. P/x'd a SAAB (valued at £1700) with a FMBSH and 80k on the clock. It costs me £230 a year to insure with protected NCD, tyres are £40 a shot and on a recent trip down south, I averaged over 60 mpg. The car (touch wood) has never let me down and I have put 43k miles on it.
    For any make of car, the after market parts kick in at roughly 5 years so parts are not that expensive for an 'executive' car. That market is flat as a pancake. Have a look on Auto trader for sub 120k Merc's, BM's and VW Audi's - amazing what you can pick up for less than 2k. VW Audi's are about the only one that hold their price.

    I looked at a C Class 320 AMG Merc with FSH, full leather interior and FSH with 110k miles on it. It was pristine and went for £1200. Fuel consumption was the thing that put me off.
    If Gingaman is training to be a mechanic, this will be valuable experience for him and I am sure he has friends who can perhaps lend him tools. If he is serious about it for a career, then the investment in decent tools will be worth it.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • team47bteam47b Posts: 6,424
    Not everything is about money.
    my isetta is a 300cc bike
  • Not everything is about money.


    But you do understand the concepts of value and constantly fighting a lost cause ?
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • team47bteam47b Posts: 6,424
    Not everything is about money.


    But you do understand the concepts of value and constantly fighting a lost cause ?

    I understand that 'value' can be a concept broader than purely money and that most things are possible even if not economically viable.

    Aren't lost causes the only things worth fighting for?
    my isetta is a 300cc bike
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 14,124
    Not everything is about money.
    Not everything. But it becomes an issue if you have less then you need to spend.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    Not everything is about money.


    But you do understand the concepts of value and constantly fighting a lost cause ?

    I understand that 'value' can be a concept broader than purely money and that most things are possible even if not economically viable.

    Aren't lost causes the only things worth fighting for?

    I find it odd that you would post something like this considering your normally on the moral horse of the opposite side.
    If the guy came here and said I have a car, its not my daily driver and it doesnt matter if it is on the road or not, if I have the wrong tools and it holds me up a week or three it won't matter to me etc etc then I would say go for it, learn from it, gain experience and enjoy yourself but he didn't.
    I presume its his daily drive and on that note and as a father/someone who has made the same mistakes, I preferred to go along the route of trying to guide him along the sensible route.
    As a kid, I didn't get the opportunity for cheap finance on cars, those deals didn't exist but they do now, a brand new car for less than £100/month is an option to most 17-25 year olds and it is the cheapest option for them.
    Trouble free driving, you can't beat it.
    Living MY dream.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 14,124
    As a kid, I didn't get the opportunity for cheap finance on cars, those deals didn't exist but they do now, a brand new car for less than £100/month is an option to most 17-25 year olds and it is the cheapest option for them.
    Trouble free driving, you can't beat it.
    If that includes insurance then you are spot on.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • team47bteam47b Posts: 6,424
    Not everything is about money.
    Not everything. But it becomes an issue if you have less then you need to spend.

    That's true. But a lack of money can also enrich life with experiences that go beyond monetary value.

    (Skip this bit vtech) :wink:
    my isetta is a 300cc bike
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