This week for our ‘Home Servicing’ series, we’re talking you through servicing your Mini’s Suspension! On the following blog, we’ll tell you what you need and how to do it!
Tools required :-
- Wheel brace
- Wheel alignment tool
- Torque wrench
- Suspension compression tool
- Assorted AF spanners and sockets
- Ball joint splitter
- Grease gun
Suspension check :-
Drive your Mini, listening for bumps, bangs and squeaks – observe the harshness of the suspension operation and smooth operation of the steering including the returning to straight forward position after cornering.
Walk round your Mini and observe the ride height – it should be 9.5″ from floor to sill (seam edge) on the front and 10″ floor to sill (seam edge) on the rear.
If the suspension is lower than the settings above then you may need to replace the suspension rubber cones or adjust the Adjusta Ride units if fitted (dry suspension) or pump up the hydrolastic system (wet suspension).
We’ve attached a diagram that shows you the various parts mentioned in our servicing guide below:
- Chock the front wheels and put the car in reverse gear. Jack up the rear of the car under the subframe (not by the bodywork!) and stabilise with axle stands – remove the road wheels and release the handbrake.
- Check the wheel bearings for excessive play – adjust or replace as necessary
- Check the radius arm and spindle for excessive movement – replace the spindle & bushes or exchange the arms for reconditioned ones, if play is excessive.
- Check the shock absorbers for leaks or corrosion – replace if necessary (replace in pairs per axle)
- Lift the wheel up to test the shock absorber, there should be some resistance when lifting, if there is very little or no resistance , then the shock absorber will need replacing (replace in pairs per axle)
- Check the knuckle joint rubbers and plastic cups – replace as necessary
- Visually inspect the suspension cones for compression – replace if compressed or corroded.
- Re-grease the radius arm spindles
- Refit the road wheels and tighten the wheel nuts.
- Drop the car back onto the ground and torque the wheel nuts
Procedure for replacing the rear shock absorbers :-
- With the rear of the Mini jacked up and stabilised with axle stands and rear wheels removed, put the jack under the radius arm behind the brake assembly.
- Jack up the radius arm to compress the shock absorber.
- Unscrew the top and bottom securing nuts and remove associated washers and bushes.
- Slowly lower the radius arm to release the shock absorber and then remove the shock absorber from the radius arm.
- Procedure for replacing the shock absorber is the exact reversal of the removal procedure.
Procedure for replacing the suspension cones and knuckle joints :-
- Follow the instructions for the shock absorber removal
- When the shock absorber has been removed you can then remove the rear strut, knuckle joint and suspension cone disassemble the knuckle joint and suspension cone from the strut, replace with new parts.
- Re assemble in reverse order of removal.
- Jack up the front of the Mini under the subframe (not bodywork) stabilise with axle stands.
- Remove the road wheels.
- Check the wheel bearings for play, if play is excessive adjust the bearing preload or replace
- Check the shock absorbers for oil leaks or corrosion, replace if necessary.
- Check the upper and lower ball joints for excessive play and for tightness when turning the steering, re shim or replace as necessary.
- Check for excessive movement in the track rod ends and steering rack, replace as necessary.
- Turn the steering by twisting the swivel hub, observe any notchy feeling or free play.
- Check the condition of the lower arm bushes and tie rod bushes – replace as necessary.
- Check the tie rods for bends or corrosion, replace as necessary Check for excessive play in the upper arm bearings, replace as necessary Visually inspect the knuckle joint rubber cover and cup for damage or deterioration.
- Visually check the suspension cone for excessive compression or corrosion, replace as necessary.
- Visually check the bump stock and rebound buffer for condition, replace as necessary Re-grease the upper and lower ball joints.
- Refit the road wheels and tighten the wheel nuts.
- Drop the mini back onto the ground and torque the wheel nuts.
Procedure for replacing the front shock absorber :-
- With the mini jacked up at the front and stabilised on axle stands, and the road wheel removed.
- Undo the upper and lower securing nuts and remove the washers, remove the shock absorber and replace with a new unit in reverse order (always replace shock absorbers in pairs – Axle set)
Procedure for replacing suspension cone and knuckle joint :-
- Follow instructions for replacing the shock absorber.
- Remove the front subframe tower bolt (post 76).
- Use the suspension compression tool through the tower bolt holes to compress the suspension cone.
- Remove the upper suspension arm to give access to the suspension cone and strut.
- Disassemble the strut from the suspension cone and remove it together with the knuckle joint.
- Undo the compression tool from the suspension cone and then remove the cone from the subframe.
- Replace the suspension cone and re assemble with the strut and knuckle joint in reverse order. Lubricate the top arm with grease using the grease nipple.
Procedure for adjusting or replacing the ball joints :-
- With the front of the Mini jacked up and stabilised with axle stands under the subframe
- Remove the road wheel
- Loosen the ball joint nut (do not completely remove)
- Loosen the ball joint from the suspension arm with the ball joint splitter.
- Remove the ball joint nut and washer and separate the ball joint from the suspension arm
- Carefully release the lock tab and undue the ball joint- check the condition of the ball and the socket.
- If the ball and socket is serviceable remove one or more shims and re assemble the ball joint, the correct preload setting is for the joint to move freely with some light resistance. This procedure may take more than one attempt to get the correct preload.
- If the ball joint needs replacing, fit a new ball joint and follow the preload settings as above.
- Once the preload is set, torque up the ball joint and secure the lock-tab.
- Refit the joint to the suspension arm and apply grease via the grease nipple.
- Refit the road wheel
- Drop the car back onto the ground and torque the wheel nuts.
Don’t forget, our team is available 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 12pm on Saturdays to assist you with any questions you may have – or assistance you may need, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
You can also shop our entire Suspension range here.