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!