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Lotus Elan Central
Anti Roll Bar Ball Joints

The front suspension contains an Anti-Roll bar which keeps the front end from having too much body roll. The ends of this torsion bar are connected to the front of each Front Suspension.

The picture at below shows a schematic of the front suspension.

Click for a bigger picture of the front suspension

These ball joints are stressed by everyday driving and, like all ball joints, are prone to failure from old-age and fatigue.

While installing my new exhaust system, I noticed one of my front anti-roll bar ball joints starting to come apart. Well it popped out while driving in the hills at the Elan Gathering and was banging on the front suspension occasionally. Luckily I had seen this problem starting to develop so I was not too surprised. I stopped the car, turned the wheel out to get a better view, and confirmed the joint had separated.

I called my local dealer, Platinum Motors, and was happy to hear they would send me a new ball joint right away. It came the next day: $105 !!

Replacement

Difficulty level = 1 out of 5

What's needed

Essential Parts:

  • 1 hour
  • a new ball joint (they are NOT sided)
  • a socket wrench
  • a 17mm socket and 3/4 inch socket
  • a torque wrench
  • your Elan jack and tire iron

    ball joint image 1

Possible Additional things:

  • Loctite for replacing the bolts (optional)
  • a wire brush to clean the dirty parts
  • a second floor jack

ball joint image 2

ball joint image 3

Replacing The Ball Joint

  1. Jack the front side in question up and remove the front wheel.
    ball joint image 4
  2. Do not scrape the front surface of the wheel while setting it aside.
  3. Locate the bad Ball Joint.
    ball joint image 5
  4. Use a 17mm socket to remove the connection nut from the anti-roll bar to the ball joint.
  5. Use a 3/4 inch socket to remove the connection nut from the end of the ball joint stud.
  6. Gently tap the old ball joint stud out with a screwdriver and allow the screwdriver to remain temporarily in the place of the ball joint stud!! This will assure the suspension stays all in place and allows for easy insertion of the new ball joint.
  7. Insert the new ball joint from the front and it will push the screwdriver out the back as it goes into place. You may need to jiggle the suspension to allow the stud to pass into place more easily.
  8. Now you will likely need to use a floor jack--place it directly under the lower wishbone and use the jack to lift the suspension vertically. This will raise the ball joint up to the level of the anti-roll bar to allow placement of the washer and nut back into place.
  9. Replace the 17mm nut and washer and torque to 20 ft.-lbs. Hold the front of the ball joint with a pliers if needed to keep the joint facing forward while you torque it.
  10. Replace the 3/4 inch nut and washer on the rear end of the ball joint stud and torque to 80 ft.-lbs.
  11. You can now lower the suspension and replace the wheel !
    ball joint image 6
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