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Peter Hoskin 09-07-22 01:52 AM

409 and later front suspension and steering
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I am about to overhaul the steering box and worn parts in the front suspension and steer links of my 603 and think design is common to the later models so looking from advice etc from anyone who has undertaken this work in these models. I have 2 areas of concern:
1. front lower swivel joint. Was advised by Flying Spares and SLJ that a special tool is needed and SLJ sent a photo of theirs which is a 2inch AF socket machined down to a minimum wall thickness. It seem very large for any part of this bearing, any ideas?
2. Lower wishbone front inner bushes. The shaft that takes these bushes also supports a vertical flat plate supporting 2 tubes which support the front structure including the radiator. To replace the bushes this front structure has to be dismantled unless:
a) the shaft is a stud that can be unscrewed from the main chassis, or
b) the shaft passes straight through the chassis and supports the aft inner bush and can be drawn out to the rear of the car and so release both bushes.
The photo shows the front bush securing nut from the front showing the front vertical plate mentioned above. Can anyone advise?

AndrewA 14-07-22 09:45 PM

1. Don't remember it being a specialist tool but it was a pig of a job.
2. To do the job properly the framework should be removed which is what I had done but I understand it was and is common practice for people to cut the tubular framework out, replace the bushes and weld the frame back in. Mine had been done like this before and i wasn't going to risk cutting it again.
Hope this is some help.

DODD 15-07-22 04:01 PM


The following is based on my 410 and not later models but is probably similar if not the same, other than the position of the anti roll bar.

If the nut shown in your photo is the one I think it is, you will need to dismantle the front framework and take out the grille, radiator etc to make life easy. Presumably you will be replacing the bushes in the upper and lower wishbones. If that is your intention you will need to remove the coil springs first. The lower wishbone has a bolt holding the two halves together where they meet. Once that bolt is removed (and the framework etc noted above). The lower wishbone can be removed by withdrawing each half of the wishbone over the studs in the chassis, after removal of the locking nuts. Obviously you have to dismantle quite a bit of other kit to reach this point beforehand.

The lower ball joint will require a special socket for easy removal; they can be bought or hired from Flying Spares. When the new joint is installed it is necessary that it is torqued up with the necessary shims inserted.

I agree with Andrew 100% about removing the tubular framework; in my opinion to leave it in position, cutting the framework back beyond the bracket, then re-welding it in position later, will result in a botched job! That is exactly what was done to my car prior to my ownership which resulted in me having to correct their poor workmanship.


Peter Hoskin 18-07-22 01:12 AM

409 and later front suspension
Thank you both for your answers. I had a very helpful telephone conversation with Nick of SLJ who stated their method is to cut the tube and re-weld on completion, I suspect time is a factor here. He also advised on re-assembly to raise the wheel to its normal position before doing the final tighten of all the bushes. Use trolley jack to remove spring but replace using 2 x 10 inch 3/8inch threaded bolts/studs to tension spring. Not sure why trolley jack cant be used again but will see. Replacement of lower ball joints can be a but the modified 2inch AF socket is necessary. I am COVID positive at present so proceedings on hold.

DODD 21-07-22 06:55 AM

I had a similar conversation with Nick who guided me through the method they use at SLJ regarding the removal of the springs, with the obvious caveat, which worked a treat. There is a tremendous pressure on the springs when they are in position and great care must be taken removing them. When reassembling, using a trolley jack, the risk of the springs popping or shooting out to one side is great and very dangerous.

I think you may have made a typo in your posting as the springs should be compressed using 4No. Studs.

My car had the framework cut and re-welded prior to my ownership. Unfortunately it wasnít welded back in position in a nice straight line. The framework does the job intended but aesthetically its not pleasing. I didnít make new frames but just cleaned up all the steel and repainted everything.

I gave up trying to remove the lower ball joints without the correct socket and took them to SLJ, they removed the old ones and installed the new. It was well worth the 8 hour drive (round trip) as I knew they were correctly shimmed and torqued up. I canít speak highly enough of SLJ; I realise you are somewhat further away from SLJ than I am! but there must be a Rolls/Bentley dealer near you.


Peter Hoskin 22-07-22 11:29 PM

Thanks Brian, I have not worked on coil suspension before and am facing it with trepidation Nick suggested a trolley jack was ok for removal but not replacement hence the 4 studs; they are massive coils! I am not sure how the studs are used , I thought they are fitted inside the coils? presumably with strong backs fitted across the coils with holes drilled to accommodate the studs? Can you describe how you achieved the removal and replacement?

Kevin H 23-07-22 12:02 AM

I recommend using proper coil spring compressors, like one of these

Great care and caution should be taken when compressing auto suspension springs!

PS/Edit: The coil spring compressor manufacturer should state the maximum gauge of spring that they can safely be used on.

DODD 05-08-22 11:02 AM

I have just sent you a private message, itís a little too long to post here. Sorry itís a bit late and hope you find it helpful.

Peter Hoskin 09-08-22 12:16 AM

409 and later suspension
To Brian Dodd, many thanks for your message, I have yet to receive the description you refer to, my email is:
looking forward to hearing your advice.

DODD 09-08-22 05:54 AM

Information sent via email. Please confirm receipt.

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