Anti-roll bar mounting bush replacement

Words and Pictures: Colin McIlwaine


A Simple Job Goes Terribly Wrong – Part 1


After getting the Hydragas re-pumped back to factory settings, I began to notice a rather worrying grinding or creaking noise coming from the front-end.  It was particularly noticeable when turning left at speed or hard left at a crawl (multi-storey car parks were quite embarrassing), when I could feel vibration through the pedals and steering wheel in addition to the racket from under the car.


A quick investigation (offside wheels on a high curb) revealed that the offside anti roll bar bush had totally disintegrated.  Brown & Gammons to the rescue (and why not replace the rears too?):





Removing Rounded Out Wheel Nuts

Above: rounded lock nut

19mm socket being used to remove old lock nut


Unfortunately, several weeks previous (in another spate of MGF DIYing), I managed to strip the little bars inside the locknut adapter (and inconveniently round out the ‘keyholes’ in the wheel nut too).


A new set of four standard wheel nuts promptly arrived and I began the arduous task of removing the lock nuts without the aid of an adapter.


The standard nuts are removed using a 19mm socket or tyre wrench, so the most obvious solution is to get an 18mm (or ¾”) socket, a lump hammer and understanding neighbours.  Hammer the slightly-too-small socket onto the locknut as far as it can go and simply undo it.


Getting the locknut back out of the socket is another matter altogether!



Replacing the Front Anti Roll Bar Bushes


Replacing the front ARB bushes is quite straightforward (famous last words Colin? - Ed).


1. Raise the front of the car in the usual manner, following the usual safety precautions.

The ARB runs from side to side connected to links on the lower suspension arms; in addition, it is secured, buffered by bushes, to the underside of the car with two clamps and brackets.

Above: ARB bush components: old black rubber bush to the left, new red PU bush to the right.

Using a 10mm socket, remove the four nuts from the two clamps; the ARB will drop slightly (it’s still connected to the ARB suspension links).


At this point, the old bushes can be removed; clean down the anti roll bar and refit the new bushes, aligning them with the brackets.  Refit the clamps and tighten the bolts to 22Nm.



Those of a fair disposition may want to skip straight to step (4) at the bottom of the page...



How It All Went Askew


Earlier I said that the anti roll bar will drop slightly since it’s still connected to the ARB suspension links.  If, for instance, it’s not connected on one side, then the ARB will completely drop and give you a hefty whack on the forehead.


In my case, the nearside link had completely sheared.


Pictured left, the removed drop link: note how 2/3 of the 'eye' is now missing: this would certainly give rise to some nasty suspension noises!!!

More pictures to the right.



Now the grinding and creaking made sense: it was the half of the link still connected to the lower suspension arm rubbing against its other half (which was swinging around on the end of the ARB).


Brown & Gammons to the rescue (again):





Since I would have several days before these assemblies arrived, I thought it was prudent to completely remove the two halves.


In the case of the ARB end, a 13mm socket is sufficient to remove the link half.  Awkwardly, the suspension arm end required that the road wheel be removed to allow room for a 15mm spanner to stop the bolt turning as the 15mm socket undid the nut.  More awkwardly, the bolt cannot be fully removed from the suspension arm; as an interim solution, I cable tied the bolt in place so that it would not interfere with the hub at an inopportune moment.




To be continued….


A Brief Interlude – Removing Sheared Locknuts


Earlier, I gave some details on removing locknuts (or rounded-out standard nuts incidentally) without the use of the adapter.  But what happens if the ‘slightly too small’ socket simply spins around the nut?  Using a progressively smaller socket would seem to be the most obvious solution.  What happens, then, if you’re down to a 16mm socket and it’s still spinning?  Indeed, what happens if the fore end of the locknut shears off, leaving a still intact aft end holding the wheel on?  Well, it looks something like this (see picture, right):


Thanks to advice from Mike Satur (, the solution is to use a cobolt drill bit to drill along the outside length of the stud, through the locknut.  (I found a 5mm or 6mm to be the most useful size to clear the inside edge of the alloy.)  This can take some time, particularly if you need to drill several holes around the circumference of the stud (as I did).  Also, take care to not allow the drill bit to ‘wander’.

The only downside to this approach is that you will undoubtedly need to replace the stud; the threads will not have survived the contact with the cobalt drill bit!



The offending locking wheel-nut is pictured here, with the wheel stud to the right, in all their cobalt-drilled glory! ( Enough to put a shiver down your spine, eh? - Ed)


Part 2 - Back To The Drop Links



Drop links installation is simply the reverse of removal. It may be necessary to loosen the ARB bush clamps to allow a little ‘play’ in the ends of the ARB.



Tighten the two nuts (ARB end and lower suspension arm end) to 35 Nm (with suspension at nominal trim height).  If necessary, retighten the ARB bush clamps to 22Nm.


Job done.