Author Topic: Upper arms and rubber cones = nearly impossible and frustrating as heck...  (Read 1574 times)

Offline John Gervais

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Maybe it's me or my mini, but this is being the 3rd time I've had this aspect front suspension completely apart - once to replace the rubber cones, knuckle joints and shorten the aluminium trumpets, once to install HiLos and change knuckle joints, and now again to change rubber cones.

Every single time I attempt to remove a trumpet or rubber cone, regardless of whether I'm working around a stock aluminium trumpet or the Ripspeed HiLo, the upper arms need to come out.  And it's still a fight, even when leaving the rubber cone compressed.

I've spent 2 straight days on this so far, adjusting ball joints and removing the LH side upper arm & rubber cone.  And it's the same every time.  Fishing under the radiator, trying not to break the brake line, jockeying for position to try to work the rubber cone out of its hole, crawling about on the floor and wondering how the heck I'll get those small 1/4" screws holding the thrust washer retaining plate back into position.

I wonder, in the history of mini repair and improvement - has anyone ever removed a rubber cone or trumpet without having removed the upper arm?

Also, I can't remember how to torque the rearmost pivot pin nut, as there's no room for a socket between the subby and toeboard.
- Pave the Bay -

Offline 94touring

I feel your pain, I end up taking the upper arm off.  I've only done it with the subframe on a bench though too. 

Offline John Gervais

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I know it sounds like I'm just whining, but man, this torture is simply in the interest of preventative maintenance. 

The cones I'm replacing have been on the car for 7 years, so still had a couple of years left, the knuckle joints look like brand new, and the upper arms that I intend to rebuild aren't that bad, now that I've looked at the shaft, but they do have slight 'indentations' where the bearing faces rest on the shaft, so they'll be replaced.  The bearings themselves look fantastic - the rollers feel just like the replacements, no excessive slop or play, no pitting or visible defects, so I may just replace the shafts and save the bearings for another decade (should I be unfortunate enough to labor through this task yet again).

Every time I've done this in the past, I've used a generous slather of copper grease on the knuckle joint shafts, the rubber cone seats, the rubber cone threads and anything that could have potentially stuck or rusted together.  Fortunately, everything is easy enough to dismantle, just impossible to remove or gain access to. 

The interesting wear pattern is that from the genuine HiLos on the semi-compressed standard Dunlop rubber cones - the seating 'ring' impression is massive - I should bring the camera to the garage and take a picture.  The Dunlop cones are to be replaced with the slightly taller C-STR687 road/rally progressive cones, so I anticipate a struggle in getting the knuckle joint seated.

I'll likely paint the arms while they're off, but I'm not sure I've any black POR15 left - so they may end up silver.
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Offline 94touring

What are you doing with the old cones?

Offline John Gervais

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Hadn't really thought much about it - I'll take a picture of them, they might be ok for the rear of someone's mini.
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Offline MtyMous

I only fought this battle one time with the old cones. I've never had to remove them again with the coil springs and hi-lo's.

Offline John Gervais

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I'm only doing this as 'preventative maintenance - I could have screwed the HiLo's up to get a bit more height.

Hmmm, this comes as quite a shock to me - I just checked my 'monster-sized' spreadsheet where I record all my parts, tools and garage 'sundries' and it turns out that I changed the cones way back in 2003 - 13 years ago.  It was then that I shortened the original aluminium struts, and replaced these with HiLo's in July 2006.

I guess that it's such a pain in the butt that it only feels like I did it only yesterday... 

I haven't been in the garage for a couple of days, been really busy - so I'll hopefully get back in there and start working on the other side, either tomorrow or Friday. 


Besides looking for a job, I've recently stopped as 'formand' of our apartment building, but I'm still active on the board and training the new formand.  I had the building's laundromat repair guy show up on Monday, followed by the plumber to change the hot water circulation pump.

Tuesday was the locksmith, followed by the electrician, followed by a phone call to our accountant to follow up on a bill that needed paying.  While I was on the phone - keep in mind that the electrician had just left about 15 minutes earlier - I looked out the window to see a police car, an EMT and a coroner's van parked outside.  Sure as heck, they wheeled out a bodybag from the next stairwell.  So, an action-packed Tuesday was complete with death in our building, and now I'm assisting the family and interfacing between the family and our legal representative/administrator.

This is a link to our building, the red brick one:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/helgesvej+7+frederiksberg/@55.6838909,12.5353612,3a,75y,221.91h,90.6t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sDnyOru-XdTEWpI7ki8ekqA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xdeb3d416ddfb955f!6m1!1e1
- Pave the Bay -

Offline Spitz

Wow....that's a lot of apartments !

Looks like a Nissan Figaro on the street....just barely legal there now

Offline John Gervais

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Yes, it's a Figaro, but I haven't seen it in quite a while.  Its a shame that the retro-style cars never really took off.

'My' apartment building is only 30 apartments, but it's quite enough.  We're a volunteer management staff, and as you can imagine, it's quite challenging, as very few residents want to get involved.  It usually ends with the 'Formand', as head honcho and primary point of contact, handles everything - the primary reason I stopped after 7+ years.  The building is now fully modernized, with 1 GB fiber internet, electronically controlled/computer monitored hot water system, class-A energy circulation pumps for mains water, hot water, 'heating', and ventilation (all bathrooms and kitchens have continuous 'suction'), a 'chip-card' operated laundret, and a function/banquet facility for up to 50 people.  While the electrician was here, we discussed transitioning to LED bulbs in the common areas.


My garage is a couple of miles away, and I hope to get there more often - at least to put the upper arms and cones back on.  I noticed that the 2 upper arm rebuild kits I'd ordered years ago came with 2 different type bearings - one with caged bearings, one with original-style full compliment bearings.  So I've a box o'bits arriving from MSC tomorrow with additional full-compliment bearings in order to maintain balance in the rebuild.

I managed to clean the grease and crap build-up from the arms on Friday afternoon; rubbed them with a petroleum product (http://borupkemi.dk/farve-kemi/husholdningskemi-flydende/borup-lugtfri-petroleum) so I'll just need to do a quick de-grease cleaning and give them a coat of POR15 paint before I tap the new bearings in and try to get them back in.  I'm concerned by the lack of space at the pivot nuts, and don't realistically know how I'll torque them.  I might have had the brake-pipe removed last time I had them out, but I don't remember.  Slow progress, but I might just be able to finish before Spring.

Dan, I'll need to think about the old cones - there's a local who's in a bit of a bind with a mammoth project who might need them.  If he doesn't take them, I'll snap a couple of pictures and offer them to you.
- Pave the Bay -

Offline MiniDave

Re: Upper arms and rubber cones = nearly impossible and frustrating as heck...
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2017, 07:48:05 PM »
John, I feel your pain......

R&R'ing those upper arms is a PITA, no question and I've never been able to get a cone out without taking the upper arms out.  About the only saving grace is that it forces you to inspect those shafts and bearings.......but I still don't like doing it.

I put coil springs on Buzz and they worked terrifically, but I had issues with the high-los and bending the adjustment bolt. I put coil overs on my Racing Green car and for the most part they're fine but there are certain types of bumps that really are felt hard in the cabin and all the reading I've done says the body really isn't designed for the stresses that coil overs impart, so I'm going back to cones on the green car.

I put a set of Smooth a Rides on a friend's car and I was really impressed with the ride quality, the car does lean a bit in the corners, but he's a boulevardier, so it won't bother him.

So this will be the third time I've had upper arms out of a car in 6 months......
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
1969 Jaguar XK-E FHC
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT