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Old 08-18-2022, 10:07 PM   #1
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Suspension replacement

This is my 3rd Boxster. When I started with Porsches, I told myself that if I was going to own one, I must learn to work on it myself. Recently bought a 1997 with almost 80,000 miles - original suspension. Decided to replace the whole shebang. First timer at suspension. So, I want to share a few key points Iíve learned.
1. Ordering individual parts from Pelican is less expensive than ďkit.Ē Why? mostly because of cost of Porsche lower control arms vs. Meyle or TRM.
2. The shock mounting plates, connecting the Bilstein shock to the body, provided by the manufacturer were still in great shape after 25 years, and far superior in quality to after market product (Ledford). Sent those back.
3. I watched countless videos on DYI suspension guidance. Despite all these, I learned that the first thing to dismantle on either front or rear suspension, was to separate the ball joint connecting lower control arm to the wheel hub. Why? If itís frozen (and 3 out of 4 of mine were), you want the hub as stable as possible (provided by the other control arms being still tight) in providing rigidity while you work on separating the ball joint.
4. My car has no rust. However, after 25 years - and even with relatively low mileage, the lower control arm ball joined to the wheel hub, proved to be exasperating. After watching countless videos on separating ball joints, I tried: conventional socket, tapping bolt from above with a nail set and hammer, tapping on the hub connection itself, using a pickle fork, using a propane torch, light profanity, prayer, and finally a 3/4Ē ball joint separator from Harbor Freight, $20. This last tool was the one that saved me from thinking I would somehow have to trailer my car to a professional. With enough pressure applied through that tool and a socket wrench, the 3 joints finally popped, sounding like firecrackers going off. I could not believe how ďfusedĒ these joints were.
5. To remove the rear wheel hubs, youíll need an impact wrench. I bought an electric one advertised with a breakaway capacity of 1100 pounds - which worked great. However, in retrospect, I would check the dimensions of the pneumatic wrenches first, because they may get into tighter spaces; there were many places I wanted to use the new tool, but with socket, the unit was too long to fit.
6. Why remove the rear hubs? The aforementioned lower control arm bolt is inserted into the hub from the bottom up, with the associated nut being on top of the mounting hole, and the nut rests just under the axle. In loosening the nut, it jams against the axle boot, thereby restricting you be able to remove it without damaging the rubber boot. Additionally, as you tighten or loosen the nut, the bolt will turn with it, as ther is no bolt head on the opposite end. Instead, there is a Torx fitting on top of the male end of the bolt, which requires you to insert a Torx for restricting the bolt from turning, while simultaneously using a box end wrench to remove the nut. HOWEVER, the axle boot makes it impossible to fit the Torx into the top of the bolt - due to the axle being in the way. Accordingly, you have to loosen the strut mounts at the top of the strut - 3 small bolts into the body, swing the hub away from the axle (once the axle nut is removed, along with associated control arms and sway bar drop link), so that you can get at the top of the lower control arm bolt. By doing so, (removing the hub from the axle), you will also have the ability to lower the hub enough to provide clearance for the strut to come out of the wheel well, without hitting the body of the car. I did this by myself, but a helper would be suggested.
7. If your torque wrench has both pounds and nm, double check that you are positive which you are using. In one case I carelessly read the newton meters (nm) and applied it to the pounds side of the torque wrench. Result, a snapped bolt, delay, and cost of buying a new mounting bracket.
8. All-in-all, Iím glad Iím doing the work so that I understand my suspension components, and have the satisfaction of having completed a large project on my car. All told, this will have taken me a week, with about 5 hours/day involved. Like everything else, the second wheel goes faster than the first, but some of the components on the back are trickier, and alignment bolts are involved, along with the above mentioned axle removal. The pros certainly earn their money, have the benefit of having all the right tools, a lift, and repetition. But this is certainly not beyond the skill levels of DYIers who are patient and enjoy working on their own car.

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Old 08-19-2022, 06:56 AM   #2
1998 Boxster Silver/Red
 
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Bookmarked.

Thank you.

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Old 08-19-2022, 07:12 AM   #3
2003 S, Arctic Silver, M6
 
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Great write up. Succinct and to the point. Well done.
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Old 07-12-2023, 10:57 PM   #4
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Thank you for sharing! Iím getting ready to replace the struts/springs on my car in a couple weeks. Afraid of what I might find down there.

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rebuild , refresh , suspension


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