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Razor61 LS400 front suspension work


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Carrying on from the posts from me on the ‘what did you do to your Lexus today’, I thought it best to create a new topic for the work I’m doing.

So far I’ve identified the work that needs doing by myself and also with Lexus Bolton, front discs/pads, front strut bushes, front/rear drop links, front/rear anti roll bar bushes, front osf disc back plate, rear pads, brake fluid change, timing belt, water pump, thermostat and a full alignment. I may have forgotten something but that’s the main bits.
Thursday I jacked the car up and put it on axle stands etc. Removed wheels, calipers and discs ready for removing the front strut bars this weekend and replace the bushes, discs and pads (I thought it was all going to be pretty straightforward but I was wrong)

Today’s work and it was a tough day’s work!!

Cleaned all the brake parts, pins, anti squeal plates etc. So onto removing the front strut bars to replace the bushes. Removed the undertray. Took photos and create a diagram of the camber settings, all done and happy that I’ll be able to set it to more or less as it was. Crack of the nuts which wasn’t a problem with a breaker bar. Now for removing the hub end of the strut bars which are secured by 2 built in bolts going through the lower suspension arm from the top. Cracked off the nuts no problem but there is no room for the arm to be pulled upwards and out as the shock/drop link bracket is in the way. The bracket is secured with a nut and bolt at the front and a bolt into the lower arm at the rear. Front nut and bolt was not a problem but getting to the rear bolt properly was a problem. So I decided to removed the front drop links and suspension struts which gives good access to the rear bolt. Tried to remove the drop links first, no chance (won’t bore you with the details why I couldn’t remove them). I tried to remove the struts but the drop links were in the way but with a bit of ‘persuasion’ and a pry bar I managed it. So far so good and unbolted the shock/drop link bracket but the drop links were still attached. Removed the near side strut bar pretty easily. Off side though was a different story, hub end wasn’t a problem but the bush end bolt was seized solid so I removed the inner wheel arch liner so I could get a swing at the camber bolt with a big hammer. No joy with that, so it’s been soaked with Plus Gas and will try again tomorrow. It was some hard graft today coupled with learning along the way.

I’m replacing the front drop links anyway so, as I couldn’t remove them properly, the grinder came out and I cut through the bolts. Shock/drop link brackets now off and they were very rusty. Not anymore though, rust has been removed by filing, scaping and wire brushing. Washed clean, dried and rust treated. Tomorrow they will be painted. Same thing for the strut bar I managed to remove.

Tomorrow will be trying to remove the camber bolt, scraping off the rust on the lower arms (and anything else that I can see), rust treating ready to paint. Suspension struts and springs will get the same treatment. I thought I would get the front strut bushes done and the new discs and pads fitted over the weekend but it will be next weekend before it’s all done now. I’m quite glad I needed to take so much stuff off today as it gives me the chance to remove the rust etc and paint plus I now know how it’s all put together for any future work that may be needed.

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Today’s work (Sunday) was cleaning and rust treating. Removed the ns wheel arch liner so they are both off now. Cleaned, washed, degreased the inside of both wing arches and then rust treated, when cured they will be painted. Scraped off as much rust as I could on the suspension struts and rust treated, when cured they will be painted as well. Lower arms got the same treatment. Scraped and treated any other rusty bits I could find. Broke a few plastic clips/fasteners along the way even though I have a trim removal tool. New stuff needed but its to be expected.

The problem camber bolt is still seized solid, I’ve tried everything I could think off but but no joy. I’ll need to cut through the bolt with a grinder when I get one with a large enough blade to do the job. During the week I’ll do the painting if possible so next weekend will hopefully be putting it all back together again. If the problem camber bolt was out it wouldn’t be an issue but that may delay things a bit.  I have taken some photos now, I didn’t before because it turned into a bigger job than expected and photos were the last thing on my mind. I’ll post them tomorrow. It’s ‘beer o’clock’ now and time to catch up on the rugby, football and watch the grand prix!!

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7 minutes ago, cruisermark said:

And you are doing all this with the car on jack stands? My hats off to you - I would not be brave enough

Cheers, I’ve no choice really and I wish I had a 2 post ramp but I have a drive off the road to do it. Doing the work on axle stands makes it more difficult and takes more time but not impossible and the grey matter comes in handy......and the tools to do it. I’ve built up a good set of the needed tools over the years, Snap On mostly and I’m not a tool snob, but they do make difference.

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Wow I can wield spanners but not like that...

Axle stands don’t give you the clearance and on front suspension can be a challenge.

On my front caliper bolts my friendly tyre place that know me from years of MOTs helped me out...one side would not play ball...couldn’t believe it.

The only heat source I have to shift bolts is my wife’s cooking torch for glazing but that does not cut it...🤪.

If you have cutting stuff and can use it...great...just buy new bolts etc.

 

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12 hours ago, Tinonline said:

Wow I can wield spanners but not like that...

Axle stands don’t give you the clearance and on front suspension can be a challenge.

On my front caliper bolts my friendly tyre place that know me from years of MOTs helped me out...one side would not play ball...couldn’t believe it.

The only heat source I have to shift bolts is my wife’s cooking torch for glazing but that does not cut it...🤪.

If you have cutting stuff and can use it...great...just buy new bolts etc.

 

It wasn't that bad at all to be honest but still a challenge, it's a big car so there is more space around the bolts and carrier brackets to get a breaker bar or a buzz gun in. I have a pretty cheap corded buzz gun which I'm sure I bought from Netto or Aldi years ago for £20 iirc. Once cracked off, ratchet was fine. The worst bit was constantly up/down, under the car then out from under the car, getting spanners, sockets and wrenches. I am still aching from it all, I woke yesterday and my body was complaining but once I got cracking it was fine (plus I had to crack on and get it done) The caliper bolts were tight which I expected but it took some force to crack them off. Being on axle stands I had to apply gradual pressure but soaking them in Plus Gas for a couple of weeks helped a lot. The problem camber bolt will need to cut off and replaced, I can't spend a lot of time on it now all for the sake of 1 x bolt (not cheap but worth it for the time alone) But, you never know and I might have a flash of inspiration...............doubtful though. 

I've made a couple of mistakes, I drilled the heads off the brake disc retaining screws to get the discs off (rushed at it really) and should have bought an impact screwdriver so need to drill them out and re tap.

Snapped 3 out of 4 bolts holding the disc back plate - securing bracket on, pretty annoyed with myself but the first one came out ok with Plus Gas and gradually moving it in and out more and more. The rest I thought I had 'moving' but they weren't and stupidly I carried on!!! I should have stopped and got some heat on them. Not the end of the world though, I will probably remove the steering knuckle (only bit not not scraped and treated now....) because it's easy to remove it now while everything else if off and drill them out from the back then use some nuts and bolts.

I have a 2001 Audi A4 2.5 Tdi quattro sport which needed all the front lower suspension arms replacing for the MOT earlier this month, that was more difficult than this as there wasn't as much room to get in. Removing some of the bushing bolts wasn't easy for the same reason, the bolts were hitting the body and it took some persuasion.

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32 minutes ago, Razor61 said:

 I am still aching from it all.

Had the same problem 18 months ago doing work on rear arches.  Felt like I had done some really 'odd' yoga moves for two whole days.

In my youth pulling cars apart was part of the joy of saving money, but these days prefer to have someone else do the work, though if I had lots of spare time I am sure I would be doing same kind of work your doing, as doing it really helps understand what makes a car 'tick'.

I had full re-alignent the other day, one of the rear camber bolts rusted to heck, but the chaps at Chris Mullins said not a problem as it was only just out, and not worth the faff of sorting, though I guess at some point it will need a proper sort out.

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The problem camber bolt is out, hallelujah😀

 I asked one of the maintenance guys at work about it and he suggested I try a 2 legged hydraulic puller they have which is rated at 10 ton. I wasn’t hopeful because I didn’t think I could get it in position to work, but turns out I could - just. The puller was used with some  steam pipe fittings and various bolts and sockets, after 2 1/2 hours tonight the bolt was out. It fought to the bitter end and mm before it gave up...........the bushing bracket has a slight bulge in it now but will straighten ok. The hydraulic puller is a nice piece of kit, I dread to think how much it cost, and I think it might remove the problem pinch bolts on my Audi A4.

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On 10/28/2019 at 10:59 AM, Cotswold Pete said:

Had the same problem 18 months ago doing work on rear arches.  Felt like I had done some really 'odd' yoga moves for two whole days.

That is so true, I’ve been doing bits underneath the car after work and really felt the effects yesterday😫

I gave myself an evening off to recover a bit, back on it at the weekend though putting it all back together.

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Today’s work

Strut arm bushes were pressed out last week, arms de rusted, treated and painted. New bushes pressed in this morning, not the poly bushes I bought but bushes from a Toyota Century - part number 48674-40051. Outer shell was wider than the original bush by a few mm either side so had to make sure it was centred but apart from that they are fine. Once the bushes were in it was full steam ahead. Strut arms are in, shock/arb brackets in, suspension struts back in, drop links are in ready to attach to arb tomorrow. Everything torqued up apart from the strut arm bushes, tomorrow camber will be set as close to were they were before and torqued up as much as I can. I don’t think my torque wrench will go up to 186 lb per ‘whatever’ but the car will be in at Lexus in a few weeks for alignment so they will be torqued up by them once done.

Tomorrow will be:

new arb bushes to be fitted, drop links attached to arb, camber set and all torqued up. Then it will be fit new discs, refit callipers etc, fit new pads. If it all goes to plan, paint inner wing arches, refit arch liners and undertray. All weather permitting of course.

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Last weekend (Sunday) didn’t do all I wanted but I did do the arb bushes, drop links, set camber, torqued up and painted the wheel arch lips etc. That was it for the day.

Booked a day off for today as I needed to crack on, weather was nice and dry which was perfect. So, refitted wing arch liners which took a couple of hours. I know from experience that putting them back on is a lot harder than taking them off so I was prepared for it! This took a while for the first one but not long for the second one. I had put all the screws/bolts and all associated bits in separate boxes for os and ns so it made working out where things went easier. As said, the first one took a while because I’ve dismantled that much over the last couple of weeks I’d forgot where everything went but starting with the obvious screws and worked back using the process of elimination worked fine.

Next was to bond/glue on the small metal pad guides that had fallen off, maybe I broke them getting the old pads out but I don’t think so. Cleaned everything, used panel wipe on the areas to be glued/bonded, mixed the Gorilla epoxy, set the pieces in place and clamped using a home made ‘gizmo’ to apply pressure for one and used an old brake pad and screwdriver for the other until it all set. Takes some time to work out the best way to do this type of thing but worth spending the time to make sure it’s done right.

Drilled out what was left of the disc retaining bolt/screws (not a good bit of engineering but all cars are like this) and tapped. After all that I came up with a better solution for the disc retaining screws involving a stainless bolt, 10mm 1/4 inch socket and a grinder, getting these out in the future will never ever be an issue. I’ll do a separate post about it when I’ve finished all the work if anyone is interested. I had already ordered new disc retaining screws so will keep them for the rear discs when they need doing.

Spent quite a bit of time freeing off what was left of the os disc back plate ready for a new one.

Cleaned the hubs properly, fitted the new discs, fitted the calipers and torqued the bolts to 118 nm. It started raining then so covered the new discs/calipers with the plastic bag the new discs came in and secured with good old fashioned insulation tape to stop them rusting. I know any rust on the discs will go once the car is driven again but I’d rather not have any rust at all to start with when the new pads are fitted tomorrow.
 

Tomorrow will be fitting the new pads, drilling out and tapping some snapped bolts on the os (underbody fixings), checking everything is all tickety boo, fit the undertray, put the wheels back on and take it for a drive to make sure there are no weird noises.

I did remove the ECU to replace the capacitors but after inspection there were no signs at all that they were leaking or any ‘bulging’ on the capacitors so didn’t replace them. If it ain’t broke...................leave it, I don’t have any symptoms and was just going to it as a preventative measure if there were any signs. I have 5 x sets of the recommended capacitors so will check periodically and if I detect any signs of bulging or leaking capacitors they will be replaced.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Razor61 said:

I don’t have any symptoms and was just going to it as a preventative measure if there were any signs.

amazing after 24 years  😉

Malc

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26 minutes ago, Malc said:

amazing after 24 years  😉

Malc

I was surprised to be honest given everything I’ve read but everything was absolutely pristine, the car has only done 69,000 though. As capacitors are ‘used’ they deteriorate over time as they contain chemicals and padding. Issues with power supply’s in computers,tv’s etc and other electronic devices are more often than not caused by the capacitors, it’s the first thing that engineers look at and replace. Capacitors are a bit like batteries but not quite and we all know that batteries deteriorate over time and use so it’s no surprise really. Solid state capacitors are a different matter though so I presume that’s why more modern ECU’s don’t suffer the same.

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The car is all back together and drivable.........yippee. It’s only been a few weeks but I’d forgotten how smooth and quiet the car is.

Today was fitting the brake pads, drilling out a broken bolt and tapping for the undertray fixing, fitting the undertray and checking things over. it took a while to work out how the pads went in with the anti squeal shims/plates. I remember when I took them out that it wasn’t difficult to put them back but I should have made notes about it. Anyway, I think I’ve got it right as the brakes are quiet with no squeal.......

Went for a drive and there are no knocks or bangs so it’s been put back together ok I think and seems to have cured the knock when braking sharp. Pads need to bed in but it’s looking good so far. Feels tighter at the front end but the rear still feels ‘loose’, new rear arb bushes and drop links should cure it though. I have the new bits to fit so that will be next weekend’s job, If the weather is ok I’ll be doing the paintwork tomorrow, clay bar and 3 stage buffing, one panel at a time to bring the paint to what it should be.

 

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2 hours ago, Razor61 said:

The car is all back together and drivable.........yippee. It’s only been a few weeks but I’d forgotten how smooth and quiet the car is.

Today was fitting the brake pads, drilling out a broken bolt and tapping for the undertray fixing, fitting the undertray and checking things over. it took a while to work out how the pads went in with the anti squeal shims/plates. I remember when I took them out that it wasn’t difficult to put them back but I should have made notes about it. Anyway, I think I’ve got it right as the brakes are quiet with no squeal.......

Went for a drive and there are no knocks or bangs so it’s been put back together ok I think and seems to have cured the knock when braking sharp. Pads need to bed in but it’s looking good so far. Feels tighter at the front end but the rear still feels ‘loose’, new rear arb bushes and drop links should cure it though. I have the new bits to fit so that will be next weekend’s job, If the weather is ok I’ll be doing the paintwork tomorrow, clay bar and 3 stage buffing, one panel at a time to bring the paint to what it should be.

 

Good news!  The LS400 is without a doubt the best limo ever made.  Look at the old Top Gear video where Quentin Wilson describes is as being more refined than a Rolls Royce!

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2 minutes ago, The-Acre said:

The LS400 is without a doubt the best limo ever made.  Look at the old Top Gear video where Quentin Wilson describes is as being more refined than a Rolls Royce!

It’s the smoothest, quietest and best quality luxury car I’ve ever owned. I had a BMW E23 728i for a while many years ago and that was really really good. A lot older car but it was comparable to the LS400 I think in many ways, smooth, handled pretty well for a big car but the 728i was underpowered a bit, a 735i would have been better!

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I know I keep replying to my own post, not sure if this is the correct way to do things but................

First 25 mile drive to work in the car today and the car felt a hell of a lot better, front end and stability is lots better, feels 'new' now and I don't have to concentrate keeping it straight (like I had to with the DHP alloys and tyres on), if that makes sense. There was a slight pull to the left which seems to have gone, I didn't set the camber exactly as it was before because it moved slightly when torquing the bolts but they ended up with the same setting on both sides. I do notice bumps and uneven roads more now but it feels right that I should, I didn't really feel them before and it felt too soft and spongy. Maybe it's because the strut bushes and arb drop links/bushes were knackered before and not doing much, I think the bushes etc need a bit of time to bed in and it will soften up a bit.

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4 minutes ago, Malc said:

are you going to get her laser re-aligned to make sure everything really is just spot-on ?

Malc

I sure am Malc, the car is in at Lexus Bolton on Monday next week for alignment, cambelt, waterpump, thermostat, brake fluid change, front brake disc back plate and rear pads (I could do these but I thought I'd get them done while everything else was being done) Rear arb bushes and drop links will be done by me at the weekend, all being well. I fancied doing the cambelt/waterpump/thermostat myself but it needs doing immediately so I'd rather Lexus get them done and out the way then I can concentrate on other things that need attention.

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Hi,

Thanks for this post!

Would you mind posting the part numbers for the all the bits replaced?

I have some creaking and cracking in the front suspension and want to replace all the perishable items.

I've got genuine drop links ready to fit. The front strut cushions 48674-40051 you mentioned and the lower arm bushes 48654-50010 in my basket on Amayama. I'm also going to replace the upper control arms with Blue Print parts as it doesn't look like Amayama can supply these anymore.

I've got the mounting insulator on order also as I've heard replacing it makes a difference but not suspension related I know 12371-50010.

What I'm missing is the ARB bushes. Anything else to give the suspension an overhaul?

Thanks.

Alexander.

Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk

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2 hours ago, ajchetcuti said:

to replace the upper control arms with Blue Print parts

that's a shame coz for me the Blueprint UCA I used the once only lasted 43k miles before needing to be replaced itself

Try Rockauto maybe ?

Malc

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that's a shame coz for me the Blueprint UCA I used the once only lasted 43k miles before needing to be replaced itself
Try Rockauto maybe ?
Malc
Rockauto only have aftermarket for the 1993 also but they are much cheaper I just haven't heard of the brands!

Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk

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1 minute ago, ajchetcuti said:

I just haven't heard of the brands!

try asking the guys on here, quote the brands for them

all I do know is that my experience with BluePrint left a lot to be desired AND that UCA was £250 , the same price as the Amayama Toyota parts delivered to the UK, being about 50% of the UK supplied same Toyota parts

Pity Amayama don't have any of yours left 😑

Malc

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4 hours ago, ajchetcuti said:

Hi,

Thanks for this post!

Would you mind posting the part numbers for the all the bits replaced?

I have some creaking and cracking in the front suspension and want to replace all the perishable items.

I've got genuine drop links ready to fit. The front strut cushions 48674-40051 you mentioned and the lower arm bushes 48654-50010 in my basket on Amayama. I'm also going to replace the upper control arms with Blue Print parts as it doesn't look like Amayama can supply these anymore.

I've got the mounting insulator on order also as I've heard replacing it makes a difference but not suspension related I know 12371-50010.

What I'm missing is the ARB bushes. Anything else to give the suspension an overhaul?

Thanks.

Alexander.

Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk
 

My recent experience with Rockauto was very good, I would contact them to ask what they have and ask about quality. If you order from them I wouldn't choose post shipping as Parcelforce like to add charges, best to choose FedEx global economy.

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