Suspension Basics: Repairing a Bent Front Suspension Spindle
A broken or bent spindle changes a vehicle's suspension system alignment angles. Any damage due to impact or part failure makes driving unsafe, and the spindle needs to be repaired immediately. Repairing a spindle is a physically-demanding project because of the weight of the parts involved.
We prepared the list of steps, reminders, and tools that you need to help you with this project.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Tools that You'll Need:
- Pry bar
- Wire cutters
- Stiff wires
- Wrench set
- Socket set
- Lug wrench
- Jack stands
- Floor jack
- Wheel chocks
- Tie rod separator
- Ball joint separator
- Make sure that you're working on a solid, level surface.
- Always keep a first aid kit handy when working on your automobile projects.
- Check your replacement parts and make sure that they are compatible to your vehicle's make and model.
- Always wear recommended safety equipment like closed-toe shoes, an industrial-grade dusk mask, safety goggles and gloves.
Step 1: Park your vehicle and set the parking brakes. Place wheel chocks at the vehicle's rear wheels.
Step 2: Loosen the front wheel's lug nuts with a lug wrench. Position the floor jack underneath the vehicle to lift the vehicle off the ground.
Step 3: Place jack stands at the vehicle's jacking points to ensure stability. Remove the front wheel to expose the brake caliper.
Step 4: Use a socket wrench to unfasten the brake caliper's bolts. Then, lift the brake caliper off the front brake rotor. Use a piece of stiff wire to hang the caliper from the front, upper control arm.
Step 5-A: If your vehicle's brake rotor doesn't have an integral hub, slide the brake rotor off the hub assembly and set it aside.
Step 5-B: If your vehicle's brake rotor has an integral hub; remove the spindle nut, cotter pin, and dust cap from the rotor's center. Slide the rotor off the spindle and set it aside.
Step 6: Use a pair of wire cutters to straighten the cotter pins and pull it from the castellated retaining nuts, tire rod, upper and lower ball joints. Slightly compress the coil spring by putting a floor jack underneath it.
Step 7: Use a socket and ratchet to unfasten the castellated nut from the tie rod end. Place the tire rod separator between the steering arm and tire rod. Shake the separator a bit to make sure it's secure.
Step 8: Strike the tire rod separator's head with a hammer to separate the tie rod from the steering arm. Be careful when applying force on the tie rod separator to avoid accidents.
Step 9: Unfasten all the castellated nuts from the upper and lower ball joints with a wrench. Put the ball joint separator between the upper ball joint and steering knuckle. Make sure that the separator is secure by shaking it.
Step 10: Strike the ball joint separator's head with a hammer to separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle. Exercise caution when separating the ball joint from the steering knuckle to avoid injuries.
Step 11: Repeat the last step on the lower ball joint to separate it from the steering knuckle. Remove the steering knuckle from the lower ball joint.
Step 12: Place the new steering knuckle onto the lower ball joint. Secure them both with a new cotter pin and nuts. Align the steering knuckle to the upper ball joint by rotating it upwards.
Step 13: Use a pry bar to pry the upper control arm and let the ball joint fit through the steering knuckle. Secure them both with a ball joint nut and a new cotter pin. Apply proper torque when securing a ball joint nut.
Step 14: Install a new cotter pin and secure the tire rod end when reinstalling it into the steering arm. Reinstall the brake rotor and caliper. Make sure that all the bolts are secure before mounting the wheel back onto the car.
Step 15: Secure the wheel's lug nuts, and raise the vehicle off the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground, and tighten all the lug nuts before taking it for a test drive.
Repairing a bent front suspension spindle will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes for an expert DIYer, and around 3 hours and 15 minutes for a beginner. Take your time when working on your vehicle's suspension system. Have fun!
Spindle Buyer's Guide
- The spindle is an important component in the suspension and steering system of a car since it holds the wheel in place while making it possible for it to steer.
- The spindle connects and holds the wheel to the steering knuckle of the vehicle’s steering mechanism.
- The spindle makes it possible for the wheel to achieve what we call the caster or castor angle, which is the negative and positive tilt essential for the upper and lower steering pivot points.
- You can find the spindle mounted on the steering knuckle, which means to access it, you must unscrew the retaining nut and remove the wheel.
- If you examine a drop spindle and place it side by side with a stock spindle, you’ll notice the spindle sits higher on the steering knuckle plate.
- Spindle designs vary based on the drivetrain that will use them.
- A faulty spindle can cause steering and driving problems with your car that may lead to a serious catastrophe.
- The prices for aftermarket spindles on our website range from $36 for a single piece to $420 for a set two.
There’s more to the ability of your car to move forward and backward than the engine and the wheels. There are multiple systems involved in transferring power from the engine to the wheels of a vehicle. Among these components is the spindle, which is important for the turning of the wheels.
If one of your vehicle’s spindles is showing signs of failing, this guide will help you through the diagnosis process all the way to purchase if you ever need one. Read on to know more about the spindle, its importance, and the symptoms you may encounter if it fails.
What is a spindle?
You may hear some people refer to the spindle as steering knuckle. However, the spindle is not the same as the steering knuckle. The steering knuckle is the component where you can find the spindle. Some steering knuckles don’t feature a spindle but directly connect with the wheel hub instead. The spindle is an important component in the suspension and steering system of a car since it holds the wheel in place while making it possible for it to steer.
What does the spindle do?
The spindle connects and holds the wheel to the steering knuckle of the vehicle’s steering mechanism. Some vehicles even have the front brake calipers mounted on the spindle, as well as the inner and outer wheel bearings. The wheel stays connected to the spindle by the retaining nut at the end of the spindle.
The spindle also makes it possible for the wheel to achieve what we call the caster or castor angle, which is the negative and positive tilt essential for the upper and lower steering pivot points.
Where is the spindle located on a car
You can find the spindle mounted on the steering knuckle, which means to access it, you must unscrew the retaining nut and remove the wheel. Keep in mind that not all steering knuckles come with or use spindles, as there are variants that directly hook to the wheel hub. Spindles commonly show up on the front wheels, although some front-wheel vehicles equipped rear spindles.
Spindle designs vary based on the drivetrain that will use them. There are also a number of factors that affect the design, such as load and horizontal and vertical forces. Here’s why:
Spindles fitted on non-driven wheels need to deal with forces like braking and turning.
Driven wheel spindles must be able to handle forward and reverse propulsion in addition to braking and turning forces.
Stock vs drop spindles
Drop spindles are one way of lowering the ride height of the vehicle. If you examine a drop spindle and place it side by side with a stock spindle, you’ll notice the spindle sits higher on the steering knuckle plate. Vehicle manufacturers designed the spindle this way to mount the wheel higher on the steering knuckle, thus giving the lowered stance after installation.
The benefit of drop spindles compared to other lowering methods, such as using a drop spring, is that drop spindles maintain the factory specification’s control arm geometry. They also feature the same alignment as stock spindles and don’t limit the suspension’s upward movement by having the control arms closer to the suspension’s bump stops.
Symptoms of a bad spindle
A faulty spindle can cause steering and driving problems with your car that may lead to a serious catastrophe. Loss of steering is the number-one consequence of driving with a broken spindle, and knowing the symptoms of a bad spindle is one huge step away from it. Here are some of the most common signs of a faulty spindle:
The spindle is important in maintaining the ideal handling of your vehicle. A bad spindle can make steering the vehicle more tedious and difficult. Severe damage can even result in a complete loss of sterling capability.
Noise when steering
If you decided to drive with a bad spindle, you can expect to hear weird noises whenever you’re steering or driving your car. Among the sounds you may hear are grinding, knocking, pinging, or popping, which you’ll hear coming from the wheel area.
Uneven or rapid tire wear
A bad spindle may cause uneven wearing of the tires, while some cases may result in rapid wearing. However, other factors may also cause this symptom to arise. The only way to be sure is to let a certified mechanic check and diagnose your vehicle. Uneven tire wear can be a hazard, as the tires won’t have the same grip on the road.
How much is an aftermarket spindle replacement?
The prices for aftermarket spindles on our website range from $36 for a single piece to $420 for two. You can buy it individually if you only need to replace one, but you can also buy it in sets of 2 or as part of a kit. The prices also depend on the brand which you can select from the filter tool we have on the site.
To find the perfect fit for your vehicle, input the year, make, and model in the filter tab under the search menu. This action will narrow down the result to all spindle replacements compatible with your vehicle. The car spindles for sale on our website only come from reputable parts manufacturers for guaranteed quality despite their discounted price.