Since my car isn't quite taken apart enough, I'm redoing the lower control arms as well. They were updated in '98 to use a two piece split bushing for the front mount that better resists braking forces. If you've experienced the nervous back-n-forth of an Esprit when you get into ABS, that's the bushings letting the front wheels toe out alternately. I was sorely tempted to just replace the bushing with a generic poly equivalent but in the end caved to the good reviews from Dave Hsu and Ralph Stechow. Hell, it's only money, right?

Not much to this job. Remove antirollbar, balljoint, lower shock mount bolt, two control arm bolts.

Right then. First we need to get these things off. It's about as simple as it gets in Espritland. I had a bit of a snag while I puzzled over dealing with the threaded balljoint. The basic pickle fork seemed too primitive. Well too bad. Sometimes you just need to use the BFH on it. One side was easy and popped right out but I damaged the other. Be sure to have the nut off or nearly off or you will be sad.

Antirollbar is already out. No need to remove the bracket that covers the mount, just remove the bolts and slide it out of the way, then spin the nuts and bolts back together so you don't lose everything (dumbass).

Look at this cute little thing. It's the antiroll bar. All 15 mm of it. I guess when you get the spring and damper package right, you don't need a big assed bar. My old RX7 racecar used a 29 mm front bar to help compensate for the Bind o'Matic rear suspension.

Anyway, a slightly larger bar might help get a little more traction at the expense of a bit more understeer.

A view of the whole operation. I've removed the tie rod arms from the hub assembly to get access to the balljoint. Slather those things with locktite when you put them back on. You can see that I've carefully butchered the balljoint boot so I could grip the shaft with something and get the nut off the rest of the way.


Cool bike, eh? It leers at me while I squander all my spare time on the stupid car. OK, maybe it doesn't actually leer, but I do feel guilty. Yes, I know its 60F in January. I'm going riding tomorrow, dammit!


You'll have to move the left fan slightly to get the front bolt out of the control arm. No problems on the right side.


So you undo all these things and give a few whacks with the rubber mallet and you have a lower control arm in your hands.

Here's the problem. The bushing is torn and allowing far too much play. In fact, on the right side (left pictured), it was bad enough to create a 'clunk'.

You could press these bushings out and put them in the new control arm but do you really want to? Lots of cracks in the rubber that don't show up that well in the picture. Besides, Keen will buy the whole thing from me anyway.

Good thing we don't need to drive the 318 anywhere. "What's that honey? Your mom needs to borrow the BMW? ARRRRGGGH!"

Next I have to put all this junk back together. Will the RS Strauss-sourced engine lift prove up to the task? How many more Snap-On orders will I need to make? Will I ever find a damn exhaust flange that matches the turbo's bolt pattern?

Stay tuned for our next installment of Don't Break It.

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