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Old 09-02-2011, 12:57 AM   #1
TR4G-
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KW V1 Installation and Review! Outer Tie Rod Assembly, CV boot i/o, End Link TUTORIAL

This is my super post regarding not only a KW V1 installation and review, but also replacing your sway bar end links and outer tie rod assemblies, as well as replacing and repacking your inner and outer front CV boots!

Part I: KW installation + Review

First of all, I want to give a GIANT thanks to Jason @ Modbargains.com. He gave me a carazy deal on these Variant 1's. My struts and coils were all original from 2001, and were starting to sound pretty sketchy, so instead of paying 750 for just the rear struts I told my mechanic "" and instead picked up these KW's. Here's what they looked like upon arrival:



A: Removal of original struts and springs

-->So first things first, make sure you have all the tools. I didn't have them all, and since I worked all summer, this project (including CV boots, tie rods, and end links) took around 2 weeks. The rear is way more easier than the front, so I decided to begin with the front to get it out of the way. This way the rears are ridiculously easy

Tools:
floor jack
jack stands
OEM jack
wheel blocks
breaker bar
tie rod puller [get this, or you will have to replace your tie rod assembly after you break the bushing with a pickle fork ]
torque wrench
spring compressor [recommended but not needed]
rags
string, wire, or a bucket to rest your wheel hub/control arms on
latex gloves
T-45 torx socket
1/2" drive socket wrench
13mm,18mm,22mm sockets

FRONT STRUT/SPRING REPLACE

-->Begin by breaking the lug nuts on both front wheels while the car is on the ground. Engage the e-brake and put wheel blocks behind the rear wheels. Look under the front of your car, and if you are lucky, you will see this guy:

-->Put your floor on that jack pad and jack it up! Put your jack stands under the side skirt jack pads and lower your car onto them. I kept my floor jack engaged in addition to the jack stands just to be safe and I recommend you do as well. Now remove your wheels and put them flat on the ground under your side skirts between the rear wheels and jack stands. Again, just in case.
-->Remove the outer tie rod nut with an 18mm socket. Use your tie rod puller to remove the tie rod end from the wheel hub. Please use a tie rod puller. I used a pickle fork and ended up breaking my tie rod bushing. As a result, I ended up buying two new outer tie rod assemblies. If your outer tie rod adjustment nut is seized, but new assemblies as you will need to in order to get your alignment done. Plumbers torches DO NOT work. It cannot get it hot enough. It has to be literally red hot to budge. Here's how I got mine off lol:


-->If you bought new tie rod assemblies, scroll down as I cover it later in this post
-->Now it is time to remove your sway bar end links. Do this after you remove the tie rod because that allows you to freely turn the strut to gain access to the top nut. Grab your 13mm socket and break the upper end link nut that is connected to the strut. You will notice that the center will spin inside of the joint, so after breaking it, put the T-45 torx into the center to hold it while you unscrew the 13mm nut.
-->Next look to the bottom of the strut and find the 18mm bolt holding the brake line and sensors as well as the wheel hub to the strut. Break this guy and take it out. Be careful, ass the wheel hub may fall down. Mine did not. I had to hit it with a rubber mallet to get it off. Support this with a bucket or wire.
-->Open the hood and locate the top of struts. There are 3 13mm nuts holding the strut and strut mount to the car. Remove these while holding the strut with your other hand as it will fall out! You should now have this:

-->I bought new front shock mounts, but regardless you need to disassemble the old spring from the shock to get the factory washer in between the top spring perch and the shock mount. Now when I told my mechanic that I was going to be removing my springs, he lectured me about losing my head and or denting my car if I used the spring compressor incorrectly. Well I ended up compressing the first one, but on the second one, I simply went into my back yard next to my garage wall made of bricks. I put the strut on its side and stepped on the base of the strut. After unscrewing the top with a LONG socket wrench, it just popped off and shot out about 4 inches in the grass.....no big deal. I did loose the original nut though. This ended up being a problem, because the nut supplied with the KW's was one size bigger and it wouldn't fit into the center of the shock mount. So i bought a slimmer 22mm socket. Now take the washer and put in on the new coil and then put on the shock mount. It should look like this:

-->Now its time to reinstall everything! Start by sliding it into place and securing the 3 13mm nuts from the top. Now attach the wheel hub and its 18mm bolt. Then reattach the end link and the tie rod. You may need a torx to keep the tie rod from spinning. Now torque them to spec. (top three are 13ftlbs, 18mm is 74, and end links are around 18-20 i believe).
-->Time to admire your work!

-->Put on your wheel and lower it. Careful as my car was too low to pull the jack out. I had to use my OEM jack on one side first to pull the floor jack out. Then lower it all the way. The hardest part is over.

REAR STRUT AND COIL REPLACE

-->Break your lugnuts, choke the front wheels, and jack it up using the U-Brace near the rear differential:

-->Use your jack stands.
-->Locate the strut and remove that bottom bolt. I think it is 18 or 22mm. The rear trailing arm will pop down significantly. Now go into your trunk and remove the lining and such until you see the top of the rear shock mounts. I replaced them as well. Unscrew them (16mm?) and the strut will fall out. Dont throw out as you need the RSM and the gasket. Do this for both sides, because for some reason when both struts are out, it is easier to remove the springs. Now push the rear trailing arm down hard and pull/twist out the coil. It helps to have a friend.


-->Take the old top perch and use it as the bottom perch for the new coil:

-->Its easier to put them back in as they are slightly shorter than the stock coils. Put them in.
-->Disassemble the old strut and you will be left with this:

-->Initially i set it up like this, but that IS NOT CORRECT:

-->What you need to do is use the washer on the top, but not the silver cup washer on the bottom, nor do you need the smallest washer. So all in all, you need the RSM, the gasket, top washer. Hold the strut up and screw it in to the trunk. Next I used my jack to jack up the RTA so i could screw in the bottom bolt of the strut to the hub. Make sure you use the included washer.

-->Put the wheels on, lower your car and you are done! [minus all the adjusting to you tastes and an alignment ]

B: REVIEW + PICS!

Well......because I am a dummy, I neglected to take 'before' pictures. I did however get a shot of the rear wheel before, so that is here:

Here is the best pic i have of the stock suspension:

and


AND THE AFTER!


And here's what it looks like, after an alignment and a couple days of driving




-->Now after the install, at first I thought, "Wow, this ride is extremely smooth, I feel more connected to the road [i had replaced practically my entire front suspension though] and it doesn't even feel worse than stock!" After driving it for a while, in a ton of conditions, yes, the ride is much more stiff. It is however not a big deal, I don't mind it a bit. The steering is super legit although this is just my DD so I don't push her.
-->Things of note: You have to jack up the car and remove the front wheels to adjust the height. The rear, you have to actually take out the spring. SO that is kind of a pain. My front camber is at -2*.

-->So far i absolutely LOVE these coilovers, and have zero buyers remorse whatsoever! Call up Jason at modbargains for a great deal. He can work with you to find a price that will work!
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Old 09-02-2011, 12:58 AM   #2
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Part II: Inner and Outer Constant Velocity Boot Replacement

-->I researched a lot in order to pull this off. Since I was on a budget, I decided to replace my boots instead of replacing both of my outer half-shafts, because the inner + outer boot kits from pelican parts only ran around 15-17 each [I got 2 of each....because I did both sides of the car].

Spoiler Alert. You will have to completely disassemble your ball joint to do this 100%.

OK, so list of tools!
same as above to remove the tie rod, strut, and end links.
6mm allen wrench
T-50 torx
impact wrench or a friendly mechanic
chisel and hammer
prybar
CV boot pliers [both the band type as well as the ear type]
2 CV boot band clamps [used on inners only]
TONS AND TONS OF RAGS
LATEX GLOVES

-->after you have the strut out of the hub and the tie rod off, you need to chisel out the axel nuts.....this can be difficult as some nuts have been seriously staked. I found that using a flat head chisel is the way to go. That will get you here:

-->If you decide to use a pointed chisel......be prepared to not accomplish anything except some serious fudging up:

-->Ended up taking it to my mechanic and he kindly removed it with an air powered impact wrench in seconds [free of charge]. Next remove the rotor and caliper. Suspend the caliper with wire so you don't break the brake lines []. Use a 6mm allen wrench for the rotor. Next use a fat pin head chisel to knock the axle out of the hub. It came out very easily.

-->At this point, many people say to take the entire inner joint out of the differential. This is pretty difficult and the majority of people have serious issues trying to put it back in. Also, some people cannot even get it out and give up right there on the spot. Instead, I found a very easy short cut. Locate the inner CV boot and cut off the inner most [also is the largest] circlip. Then simply [and carefully] pull the entire axle straight out. What happens is that the cup end of the inner tripod joint stays in the differential, and you are left with this:


-->This is perfectly all right. All this means, is that you need to clamp the boot back on with extreme care, while holding the whole axle in place. But that isn't until much later. Take one final look at taht broken boot and wipe it from your memory!

-->Remove both circlips from the outer joint and cut off the boot. You can also cut off the inner boot as well, but BE CAREFUL, there is a 'gasket' that you need to reuse. It's not a gasket, but I don't know what to call it...here is a pic:

-->Now wipe off all the grease you can! Grab a vice and clamp the middle of the axle as best as you can. Orient it so the joint looks like this:

-->Now you need a rubber mallet. Firmly strike the joint until it separates. This is difficult, and I tried a couple different methods. For the first one, it was easier to hold it upsidedown and strike it. For the second, I used the vice. Now comes the cool part disassembly! Force [pushing is all it takes] the joint into a fashion that makes on the ball bearings pop out of the top. Remove this. Keep doing this until you have all the balls out! It gets easier and easier and you remove more and more. Its kind of like a puzzle, but with the ball out, you can rotate the inner and outer spindles such a way, that you can remove them WITHOUT FORCING THEM AT ALL. if you have to force it, you are doing it wrong. Once everything is out, time to clean it all up! Now some people say that each ball has worn a unique track into the cup and that you much retain that order to make it work well, but this is not true. My joints are over 10 years old and I didnt keep track and everything is fine. Use rags to get them to be SHINEY

-->At this point, you need to give all the pieces a look over to make sure there is not any damage to the parts. If you see any chips, flaking, or warping, they are shot. If you see uniform slight discoloration on all the pieces in the same manner, then you are fine. Clean the entire shaft so you are left with this:

-->Reassemble the joint:

-->Now, make sure to slide on the inner boot first, then the outer boot, and then you can worry about inserting the outer joint onto the shaft.
Although there is an included new c-clip in the boot kit, don't bother using it, it just makes it more difficult to put together. There are also other washers that you do not need that are included in the kit.
-->This part is very important DO NOT SKIP THIS NEXT STEP. In order to get the joint back on the half shaft with the C-clip, you need to push it on until it is stopped before the C-Clip. Now while applying pressure, force the c-clip up under the lip of the joint (the inner spindle to be precise) with a screw driver. This is difficult and will take some time as you need to work your way around until it is all just under the lip. Then use your RUBBER mallet to strike on the top of the joint to force it down. If you skip the c-clip insertion, not only will it be extremely difficult to hammer down the joint, removing it in the future will be nightmare. Now take the ear fashioned small clamp and use the pliers you bought to clamp it onto the small side of the outer joint. Then take the supplied grease and squeeze it into the boot. Finally push it over the outer half of the joint and clamp that shut. Now your outer boot is replaced!!! Take a couple minutes to move the joint around in every direction to get the grease to actually enter the joint.

-->The inner is a completely different story. First clamp on the smaller clamp to secure the boot. Then go out to your car and clean out all the grease from the inner cup.

-->Put 2 of the 3 bags of grease into this cup. Then Take that gasket piece:

-->and put it onto the cup. Now with the help of a friend, put the grease (the remaining one packet into the boot and shove it onto the cup! At this point you must use the band style clamps to create a 100% seal. I used the supplied ear type clamps and ended up leaking grease immediately after driving around the block. But with the band clamp, is it 2X times a strong and way easier to do.
-->Repeat for the other side and you're all set! The second time you do this, it is drastically easier and take half the time.

Part III: Outer Tie Rod Assembly Replacement

For this job, you will need:

1-5/6 open ended wrench
zip ties
anti-seize
18 or 22mm socket for the tie rod end bolt....

-->Ok this one is a piece of cake compared to what we have gone over above! The only thing to note, is that you need to reuse the old boots [one of mine was actually ripped but instead of paying 52 bucks for a new one, i used household items to make a badass makeshift repair ]. Also dont bother trying to remove just the outer tie rod end. Its extremely difficult. I actually had to CUT it off....and after all that, it requires extra tools like a plumbers wrench. The plumbers wrench actually only made it worse, because it dug into the tie rod shaft to a point that i was not willing to reuse it. Got them for 125 a piece from my mechanic free of shipping. Got them THREE HOURS LATER! I love my mechanic. You get good karma for bringing in doughnuts when they let you borrow their breaker bar
-->Anyway, to begin, you need to remove the tie rod end bolt from the wheel hub. Next, remove the inner circlip securing the boot to the rack and pinion system. Now you want to turn the steering wheel to give you enough room to access the 1-5/6ths area where the tie rod assembly is connected to the rack and pinoin system, BUT if you turn it too much, you risk damaging the rack and pinion by warping it under too much pressure. After finding the right distance, simply hook up that giant wrench and then use your foot to loosen it. Dont kick it......just push smoothly and gradually increase force until it breaks free. One it does, simply unscrew it and it comes right out! Measure the length of the whole tie rod assembly and wrire that down. Now you will have to cut/saw/dremel(i dremeled) the old tie rod inhalf to remove and reuse the 52 dollar boot. slide it onto the new tie rod (by unscrewing the outer tie rod end and slipping it on. Then apply antiseize to the threads and screw on the outer tie rod end until it is approximately the same length. Tighten it down and you are good to go. No need to worry too much about torque or accuracy of length, because the guys that handle your alignment will do this. Screw it back into the rack (hard to do because you have to bend the ball joint so the tie rod doesnt smack the wheel hub. Also one thing to note, is that you want to wait until you have the tie rod screwed into the hub to do any ziptieing so you dont have a twisted boot! When screwing on the outer tie rod end to the wheel hub, you may need a torx to hold the center of the bolt as it sometimes moves. Repeat for the other side and you are done!

Part IV: Sway bar end link Replacement

Well, i've pretty much covered this already, the only tricky part is finding an angle to get at the lower joint. But onces again, 16 mm i think? poss 13mm....

Ok well thats all I've got to say for now. Hopefully this will help out some people who are looking to upgrade their suspension or simply refresh some of the parts.

Glad to give back
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:39 AM   #3
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I'm going to be putting in my kw v2's soon and replacing CA's, FCAB's, tie rods, end links. I'll deffinatly be pm'ing you for advice. Was it that hard to replace outer tie rods?
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Old 09-02-2011, 10:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drez1985 View Post
I'm going to be putting in my kw v2's soon and replacing CA's, FCAB's, tie rods, end links. I'll deffinatly be pm'ing you for advice. Was it that hard to replace outer tie rods?
Honestly no not really. But, initially I only ordered the passenger side outer tie rod end, because that was the only piece I needed to replaced (or so i thought). The problem with doing just the outer end, is that the nut is usually seized and as many other people have stated, you need to basically cut it off. Once I finally got it off, the new piece from FLENNOR i ordered turned out to be the wrong piece. Then I decided to replace the entire outer tie rod assembly due to the pipe wrench fudging up my actual tie rod (seemed to dig in so much that I didnt trust it). Went to napa.....gave me the wrong part.

LOL but once I actually received the correct part, and I ended up going with Lemfoerder, the install was a breeze. Basically just unbolt the old piece, pay attention to the lenght, bolt it back up, button up the boot. All in all, it should take you around 2 hours if its your first try. If you have any questions, hit me up
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:46 AM   #5
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Great DIY Andrew, and thanks for the shout out!
Glad I could help you out with a great deal on the coils

The E46 looks worlds better with the drop, let me know when you're ready for some wheels

Best Regards,
Jason
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:40 AM   #6
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Did you have to reuse the dust sealing gasket?
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:39 PM   #7
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Hey Andrew,
I also wanted to let you know that we've added your great DIY and review to our webpage!
http://www.modbargains.com/product.a...=KW_E46_reg_PR

Click on the "Install Guide & Review" tab

Once agian, thanks for the shout out!

Best Regards,
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Old 10-20-2011, 07:31 AM   #8
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Nice job Andrew...

U didn't pilfer any of those Alfa parts from your dad's garage, now did you ?
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:21 PM   #9
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Quick Update: (since I can't edit my post because it has been to long (?)

After a ton of driving (not sure how many miles sry guys) the outer CV joints are spectacular and have held up 100%. The inner joints not so much: here's why.

apparently I missed this when doing my research but you have to coat this piece with silicone to ensure that no grease leaks out. I am not 100% sure on this, but this is what several members have told me and since I haven't, it is leaking. I am going to address this issue once it warms up outside as winter is setting in here and I dont have a garage (thats empty at least)



not sure what part number this is, but next time I am going to grab a new one instead of re using !
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