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Old 30-11-2017, 18:45   #1
b4lamb
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Front Suspension Removal

If like me you have an 8 year old ish Seat Leon that has never had the suspension off the front then like me you are likely to run into seized or difficulty removing the front struts to service/replace the coil springs, dampers or top bearing.

In their wisdom VW/SEAT decided to fit drop links that are virtually impossible to remove without severe difficulty. I found it impossible to hold the ball joint threaded part from turning while trying to undo the 18 mm hex nuts on both the top and bottom fixing points. There appears to be a 6 point Torx socket in the ends of the ball joint thread but it seems to be an odd size between 30 and 40 that nobody seems to have a tool for.

I ended up TIG welding a 12 mm square section of steel on the M12 fine threaded bolts as something to hold with an adjustable then unscrewing the 18 mm AF nut with a ring spanner till it came into contact with the weld and then angle grinding off the welded attachment flush with the end of the nut. I could then manage to unscrew the nuts off the ends. What a performance and what bad design. Most ball joints fit in a taper so that provides enough friction to allow the nut to be removed.

Anyway next problem was the rusted in pinch bolts that closes the split hub casting that grips the end of the damper leg. Yes you can get the 18 mm nut off OK but all manner of hammering was required to extract the bolt, again lots of heat was required to get anything to turn or extract.

Then the problem of opening up the casting that requires a wedge or a special tool. I made a suitable tool from an M8 HTS Hex head bolt about 20 mm long. I ground flats both sides of the threaded part of the bolt so that it just fitted in the casting slot at the back (about 5.5 mm) I then inserted the ground bolt in the slot and turned it through 90 degrees with a spanner. Very successful it opened the casting sufficiently to release grip on the damper lower. A much cheaper solution than buying the special Halfords tool. I got the leg out on the NS without removing the Hub lower ball joint plate or removing the bolts from the drive shaft flange to the gearbox. I may have to do more on the OS though.

Note: I did use spring compressors to shorten the length of the leg a little to get the leg clear of the casting.

Last edited by b4lamb; 01-12-2017 at 09:03. Reason: added a few carriage returns. agreed that paragraph was too long
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Old 30-11-2017, 21:05   #2
t121anf
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Wow you need one or two of these



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Old 01-12-2017, 09:06   #3
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Yeah you are right. I got a bit carried away. Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:08   #4
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Front suspension on these cars is the worst I've dealt with and that includes having a smart ForTwo where you had to remove all the front plastics.

Maybe modern cars are like this, I stopped fiddling with cars in the early 2000s.
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Old 01-12-2017, 22:04   #5
b4lamb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t121anf View Post
Front suspension on these cars is the worst I've dealt with and that includes having a smart ForTwo where you had to remove all the front plastics.

Maybe modern cars are like this, I stopped fiddling with cars in the early 2000s.
Yes I agree. The use of Torx and 4 square spline bolts and nuts I'm sure are designed to deter DIY maintenance.

I have now received replacement drop links and these at least have flats machined on the spacer between the ball joint and the bracket and use Nylock nuts. Everything is zinc plated so has some rust prevention measures. These features make it much easier to fit and remove at a later date compared to the poor factory fit design.

Last edited by b4lamb; 01-12-2017 at 22:05. Reason: missed word
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