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Front wheel bearing and lower ball-joint replacement. Pre 2002.5 S-type

Lazlo Woodbine

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Here I press out the hub and ball-joint from my spare o/s front suspension upright ready to fit new parts. It's not a complicated job as such but you do need the right kit and the ability to hit things really hard without breaking them.

This is a basic diagram of the front suspension



The home made press frame which utilises a porta power hydraulic chassis repair ram.



Here's the upright in the press. I loosened the four bolts but left them in an equal amount so I could push on them all at once to start with rather than the centre of the hub. This lessens the chance of the hub going out of alignment and damaging the upright:

A clearer view of the back of the hub:IMG_2737.thumb.JPG.ce7ad0096fb7ef6919faaa13dbaca587.JPG


This hub came out with barely any pressure, unlike the ball-joint which was stuck so very tight:

Setting fire to it didn't help.. I cut the pin off as it makes it easier to push, hammer and generally abuse the joint.IMG_2741.thumb.JPG.5dff5b2c7593ebf03fa58a8bf10eeab0.JPG

Eventually the ball-joint let go. It took two of us, a lot of heat in the upright and lots of hammering to get it to move. Once it moved a little getting it out the rest of the way was easy.

I did the other side last year and in contrast the ball-joint was dead easy whilst the hub put up a real fight and took over 12 tons to push out. I actually prefer that it that way around because getting the upright correctly set up in a press for the ball-joint is very tricky. The upper end of the upright is right in the way and as you can see there's very little meat on the upright around the ball-joint to get a purchase on. Having anything even a little of centre is not an option, you have to be spot on with these sorts of forces involved and the consequences of distorting the alloy parts are pretty big, especially if it's your cars original one.

All in I would say that this is a doable but awkward job with many variables relating to the corrosion holding onto the hub and ball-joint. It could be easy, it could take you all afternoon. Personally I wouldn't tackle it with the original upright from my car, only with a spare one as I did here because if it goes wrong then you aren't stranded with no car and no spare upright. I have heard of them being scrap because the hub is stuck so tight..

Fitting the new hub is easy as it's not a true interference fit, just snug. The ball-joint is different. It's purely interference and the same things that make it awkward to remove in a press make it a pain to fit. I will be exploring different options and will update as and when I do it.


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  • 1 month later...

Well I fitted the new ball-joint and hub in the upright today. I didn't use the press at all, as said before the upright is a really awkward shape to get in it. Yes I could have made up some bracketry to mount it but it would have been a lot of faff.

Instead the ball-joint took a chilly little holiday to the bottom drawer of the freezer. The upright was going to go in the oven but for some reason Mrs Woodbine was not cool with that.. Instead I heated it with a blow lamp until it was too warm to touch then put the the two together. I actually ended up with the ball-joint balanced on the nose of an anvil and then inverted the upright over it ready to go together. I reused the piece of steam pipe from the lower rear arm bush job to go over its pin and onto the upright. It was just the right size and sat happily on it surrounding the ball-joint register. 

Steam pipe


With another pair of hands and eyes to make sure it was going in straight I boshed the steam pipe gently with a heavy hammer and got them together halfway with no trouble. Within five minutes though the upright had cooled and the ball-joint had warmed so any temperature expansion/contraction advantage was gone. At this point though that didn't matter so much as the ball-joint was well started and definitely in line. From here on we pushed it home gently in a vice.

I know it may sound like an horrific way to do such a job but with some sympathy towards the materials involved and carefully ensuring that the pieces go together in line with each other it's a perfectly good way to do it. It is true that easing it in with a press would be more controlled and harder to get wrong but plenty of care needs to be taken either way. I have the greatest interest in the long term safety of my suspension and wouldn't do a job if I didn't know it was going to be done adequately.

The hub pretty much just dropped in. I cleaned the hole it sits in and coated it and the hubs mating surfaces with CV grease, I used this for its stickiness and temperature stability. Although the old hub came out easily the other spare upright had needed about 12 tons, I'd rather avoid having that fun again in the future.



The hub, £48.95 from eBay with 2 years warranty and an ABS sensor. Cheap but I'm willing to take the risk. Ideally I'd not do the job again soon but even if lasts only 60k miles it's good value



The ball-joint. Under £20 from the local factors with a three year warranty which at least implies they're confident in it..


I would have liked to put top quality parts on for sure but I'm not in a position to do that and have other jobs to budget for. Such as the new Powerflex Black lower front arm bushes which are next weeks job, watch this space (actually it will be new thread but you know what I mean).



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Thank you!

I actually like doing all this stuff. Obviously it would be nice if the car didn't need work but then I wouldn't have paid so little for it. On the plus side doing it this way means it's got new components, not just serviceable ones.

I'm looking at buying some new upper front arms (genuine Jaguar ones no less) to fit at the same time as the re-bushed lowers even though I don't actually know how worn they are. I can get a bit of movement in the bushes with a pry bar but the ball-joints will only tell their tale once it's all apart. They're integral to the arm, joy..

If I do replace them then it would then have all new joints and bushes at the front bar the track rod ends, an outer one of which is to be replaced next week anyway.

The rear upper arms were replaced by the previous owner about 25k ago. I replaced the lower arm bushes a few weeks ago so all that's old there is the ARB bushes and drop links. Oh and a track rod which I will buy a standby for.

I'm not counting damper bushes in all that. I replaced one front lower one while chasing the knocking that turned out to be the ARB bushes. But really they don't affect things as much as the arm bushes as they don't allow geometry changes. I am still toying with the idea of some Bilstein B6 dampers, but they are huge money so unless a long, low interest credit arrangement is possible then it won't happen.

I've spent over twice what I paid for the car in replacement parts and general service stuff but it still stands me in at well under a grand so I'm very happy with the return. Just don't bring the hours of work I've put in into the equation!

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Well done Sir! Good work being done there!

If our plan for a trip down to Cornwall comes to fruition, I'll definitely have you cast your now expert eye over my suspension if you'd be so kind. It's working great but I still have a slight clonk from NSR. Like you, I see no reason why our cars can't be as good as possible, so happy to repair, replace and upgrade so as to be in as good as is possible :yes:

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Well thank you.

I'm not sure about expert but yes I know where to look now. This Jaguar definitely has the most amount of joints and bushes I've ever had in one car and the majority of them needed replacing. But the car was bought primarily for comfort so as you say there's no reason not to make it as good as possible and just going by how it rides now that will be very good indeed. Being rear-wheel-drive and having 240bhp going through a manual box is just a bonus and didn't sway me at all of course..

The new-old-stock genuine Jaguar upper front arms are ordered as are the Powerflex lower arm bushes and an outer track rod end. I have to go hunt through my pile of bits for a couple of usable brake dust shields and then see if I have any of the monster pop rivets to suit them. I'll probably put a little bit in this thread to cover just the fitting of the upright but there'll be new thread for the front end rebuild. 

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