How To - Remove Your Front Subframe (TF) - MG-Rover.org Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 21:16 Thread Starter
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How To - Remove Your Front Subframe (TF)

Well I took my front subframe out tonight, and as far as I can tell there are no How-Tos on the matter... so I thought i'd write one for you all.

OK usual disclaimer... only attempt this if you have the appropriate skills, equipment etc etc. I take no responsibility if you mess it up.

To start off, chock your rear wheels with something suitable and apply the handbrake

loosen off your front wheel nuts and jack the car up from an appropriate jacking point. secure the car with axel stands and remove the front wheels.

Now that thats done our aim is to remove everything attached to both the 'Tub' of the car and the Subframe it'self, we also need to remove anything that will get in the way.

First job is to pop the steering arms off.

This is your steering arm end joint...



now the threads are all rusty and if we try and get that nut off it's never going to be easy.... so get a wire brush (i like to use one on the end of a battery powered drill, this will clean the threads up very quickly. if you cant get in with a drill then use a hand held wire brush)

once the threads are cleaned up our job will be much easier



ta-dah, clean threads.

Now whip that bad boy off...



now, as has happened to me... the nut is off but years of constant use and corrosion have ment that the arm is still stuck in the hub. This is a bit vexing.

No DO NOT simply get your hammer out and hit the top of the 'bolt' thats sticking through the hole... you'll nacker the threads and the nut wont go back on (doh!)

so what do i do?! i hear you ask... well you have a few options

if you have a ball join seperator then you can use one of them... here is mine



this is a handy tool normally used for... well... removing ball joints! (who would have thought?) but it comes in handy here too... simply pop it either side of the 'bolt' and sack it with a hammer... its shaped like a wedge and will separate the steering arm from the hub.

if you dont have a ball joint separator then simply smack the side of the hub where the steering arm goes through really hard... combined with some ducoil or other lubricating fluid and 99% of the time it will 'shock' out



Now, before we move on there is one other problem you may encounter with the steering arm... this is where you crack off the nut and it just spins... this is because the 'bolt' part of the steering arm isn't fixed... it spins inside the arm (so the hub can swivel when you turn the wheel)

if this happens then don't worry!

simply jack up the bottom of the steering arm to the point where the car starts to lift.... the pressue will push the arm up against the hub and stop the 'bolt' part turning - meaning you can whip the nut off



Do the same process on the other side of the car


Ok now they are off we can finish the steering rack off by un-doing the U clamps that hold it onto the subframe



they look like this and have a through nut and bolt (so you need a spanner on one side and your ratchet on the other... 13mm I believe.)

simple

now

back to the wheel area and we need to remove the ABS sensor wires... the easiest thing to do in this case is to remove these bungs (which are just to hold the wires in place so they doesn't foul on anything)



now these ones lower down



and then unplug the ABS sensor wires in the under bonnet area.

The passenger side one is under the fuse box... which you will need to move (2 bolts it's easy)



oo blurry

and the drivers side one is in plain view just under the horn



pull them both apart like so



now you need to pull them down through the chassis back to where they attach to the hub and curl them out the way like so



note you 'can' un bolt the sensors from the hubs which means removing 1 bolt... sounds simple? well i've never worked on a MG where this bolt isnt totally rounded... rather than try and get this stuck bolt out it's much easier to just follow the above steps

now we need to disconnect the brake pipes from the calipers

pop a brake pipe spanner on each line like so:



and crack them off

then if your a massive show off like me use a snap-on mini pry bar to remove the square retaining clip... if your not a show off, use a screw driver



once the clip is removed and the brake pipe is undone you can simply pull the brake hose down like so



lather, rinse and repeat on the other side of the car

thats the wheel arch areas done

lets move onto the coolant pipes



pop off the spring clips with a large pair of grips and then stick a screw driver between the metal pipe and the rubber hose... this will make the coolant begin to drip out like this



then you can work the pipes off with your hands... I'm sorry for not getting many pictures of this process.. it was getting late! lol

while your under the car there is a bolt right at the bottom of the spare wheel well



it's a total pig to undo and when it comes out so far it will start to spin freely due to the nature of the nut on the other side.... which looks like this



trust me its in there.... anyway, to combat this vexing issue simply push the bolt back into the hole with your ratchet.... the nut on the other side will gain purchase again and you can get it out... never seen anything like it!

anywhoooo on we go!

time to take the subframe bolts out!

at this point you need the car back on it's wheels

lets start with the front bolts, very small for what they do and made entirely of rust!

so no matter how much of this you do



rather inevitably this will be the end result



all but 1 of mine snapped

thankfully there not captive nuts so you can simply buy a new nut and bolt! good stuff

now i would suggest you get some cheap scissor jacks and raise them up against the rear of the subframe like so



this may seem odd but there is method in the madness... by supporting the subframe and keeping it pressed up against the shell you make it much easier to get the bolts out... like so



our last job is to remove the main live cable.


first disconnect it from your battery and then you need to follow the brown wire into the fuse box



open the fuse box and undo the brown wire by unscrewing the X head screw... then you can feed the wire down the gap it appears through so the subframe does not foul on it

i didn't get many pictures of how to do this A: because i have no battery on my car and B: because it was dark and cold and i wanted some curry lol so i was rushing!

anyway

time to jack the car off the subfame!

best way is to get some wood and put it ontop of your jack and then jack from behind the front wheels (the front of the car needs to go VERY high!)

please be cautious doing this... mistakes are easy to make



here i have supported the subframe with a trolly... makes it much easier to pull out the front of the car



now support your car back on axel stands once the subframe has been wheeled out



and that is that!

I was very rushed doing this so i'm afraid it's not exactly upto my usual standard (or that of CJJ for example)

but it's better than nothing and covers every step

the only issues you may face is that odds are the under bonnet tidy panel (that big black pice of plastic) will need removing (I had already done this) and that you might have to put your rear wheels on ramps to gain enough hight when jacking up the front of the car. Otherwise the rear bumper may hit the ground.

as you can see from one of the last pictures though - my car has no rear bumper or rear wheels! lol so i had no such worries!

hope this helps someone - Adam-MGTF Out.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 21:34
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Nice job that mate, clear and easy to follow. I was told to keep an eye on my front sub frame so it may not be long before I need this. But a while yet I hope.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 21:36 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mgfnortheast View Post
Nice job that mate, clear and easy to follow. I was told to keep an eye on my front sub frame so it may not be long before I need this. But a while yet I hope.
advisory at MoT?

rimmer bors have brand new ones on offer at the minuet!

if not grab one from MGFnTF bits now and send it off for blasting and paint and rest easy for the future
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 21:41
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Originally Posted by Adam-MGTF View Post
advisory at MoT?

rimmer bors have brand new ones on offer at the minuet!

if not grab one from MGFnTF bits now and send it off for blasting and paint and rest easy for the future
No teh MOT was fine it was Jon Norris noted it when he did my HGF and was draining the system.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 00:22
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Good to have a howto on this available, would have found it helpful myself a few months ago (though I was only lowering it, not removing it completely).

Only thing I'd note is that depending on your reasons for dropping the subframe it might be much better to leave the steering rack attached and separate it from the column (inside driver's footwell, one bolt)

I was certainly glad others pointed that out to me anyway!
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 00:33
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Jeeeezzzz I still have so much to learn before I move into this things.... anyway why we would want to take the subframe out???
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 00:57
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On assuming apart from releasing the hydragas pipes the f will be much the same ,

Gonna need to do this when we herbal spate subframe powder coated
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 01:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam-MGTF View Post
now, as has happened to me... the nut is off but years of constant use and corrosion have ment that the arm is still stuck in the hub. This is a bit vexing.

No DO NOT simply get your hammer out and hit the top of the 'bolt' thats sticking through the hole... you'll nacker the threads and the nut wont go back on (doh!)

so what do i do?! i hear you ask... well you have a few options

if you have a ball join seperator then you can use one of them... here is mine



this is a handy tool normally used for... well... removing ball joints! (who would have thought?) but it comes in handy here too... simply pop it either side of the 'bolt' and sack it with a hammer... its shaped like a wedge and will separate the steering arm from the hub.

if you dont have a ball joint separator then simply smack the side of the hub where the steering arm goes through really hard... combined with some ducoil or other lubricating fluid and 99% of the time it will 'shock' out



Now, before we move on there is one other problem you may encounter with the steering arm... this is where you crack off the nut and it just spins... this is because the 'bolt' part of the steering arm isn't fixed... it spins inside the arm (so the hub can swivel when you turn the wheel)

if this happens then don't worry!

simply jack up the bottom of the steering arm to the point where the car starts to lift.... the pressue will push the arm up against the hub and stop the 'bolt' part turning - meaning you can whip the nut off.
You've been busy.

Just to let you know mate.

The TREs are ball joints and the reason that they stick isn't because of rust, they are actually designed to do that so that the TRE doesn't rotate around the bolt, but around the ball joint. They do this by having a tapered shaft which gets pulled tightly into the hole when you tighten the nut. That is why they don't seperate easily and what the ball joint seperators are designed for.

Most TREs come with a hex head or torx cutout so that you can hold the shaft of the TRE when you loosen the nut. It isn't normally a problem when removing as the tapered shaft holds tight, so you should remove the nut before splitting the joint.

The new TREs that I fitted don't have the cutout, so I will probably just use a nut splitter if it proves difficult to remove.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 01:59 Thread Starter
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You've been busy.

Just to let you know mate.

The TREs are ball joints and the reason that they stick isn't because of rust, they are actually designed to do that so that the TRE doesn't rotate around the bolt, but around the ball joint. They do this by having a tapered shaft which gets pulled tightly into the hole when you tighten the nut. That is why they don't seperate easily and what the ball joint seperators are designed for.

Most TREs come with a hex head or torx cutout so that you can hold the shaft of the TRE when you loosen the nut. It isn't normally a problem when removing as the tapered shaft holds tight, so you should remove the nut before splitting the joint.

The new TREs that I fitted don't have the cutout, so I will probably just use a nut splitter if it proves difficult to remove.
ahhh Track Rod End! thats the name of them... you know when you have a mental blank? lol i couldn't remember what their proper name was

thanks for that info clive! i always wondered why sometimes they stick and sometimes they dont... on ZRs they tend to be absolute sods!

more knowledge field away!... 3 years on and your still teaching me new stuff at every turn!
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 06:54
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Originally Posted by mgfnortheast View Post
Nice job that mate, clear and easy to follow. I was told to keep an eye on my front sub frame so it may not be long before I need this. But a while yet I hope.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergi Bmw View Post
Jeeeezzzz I still have so much to learn before I move into this things.... anyway why we would want to take the subframe out???
Another slight difference on the F is the bolts holding the front of the frame differ. the outer ones on both side have a separate nut and bolt. The inner ones have a captive nut. So you will more than likely snap the bolt. This will need to be drilled out. Don't worry there is just about room to get a spanner in there to replace with a separate nut.

regards
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 09:10
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A very useful how-to... and an oddly missing one....

I did mine recently (the huge, everything broke saga), a few suggestions...

I'd recomend getting the wheels centred, and THEN pulling keys out the ignition, and then turning to the first locking position to the left, prior to undoing anything. That way you have a 'essentially' centre point and there is no risk someone randomly spinning the wheel and wrecking the wiring in the shaft. (I left my keys in a bit until I thought better of it)

Change the TREs while you've got them off anyway, cheap and they always look like they need it.

Don't forget to detach the windscreen washer bottle; mine had to be replaced as pulling the plug out ripped the motor out (I don't know my own strength).

Don't forget to remove the steering column AND surround from inside the car; 1) Undo the clamp around the very bottom of the column (from inside the car)
2) Tug it upwards pretty hard and it pops off; the column is telescopic
3) Undo the 3 bolts on the plastic surround and pull into the cabin

You don't need the car up high as all.... (I'm not sure if the F would work for this because of the additional mounts)
1) Put jack stands under the front lift points on the sills, set to medium/high
2) take the front wheels off
3) lower the subframe to the ground
4) tie up the lower wishbones so you don't catch them on the ground
5) pull and rotate the subframe out; assuming you are on the right side trying to get the subframe out to the right... rotate the subframe anti-clockwise making the left suspension tower go down the gap where the steering rack would be if everything was assembled (i.e. make it go behind the bottom of the spare wheel well)

"But doesn't it scratch the f*** out of it" I hear you cry... no, it scratchs the back a little and the bottom of the tie-down points.... an while it's off you'll be giving it a can of primer/rust/paint spray anyway... Masking take when you put it back on.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 10:56
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I wish you had done this about a week ago as I've just removed my F's subframe ready for a Tf subframe to go in. Stumbled my way through & this how to would of been sweeeeet! Well it still is sweet if not a little to late for me. Lol
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 12:33
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I wish you had done this about a week ago.....
yeah Adam, pull your frickin finger out man
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 13:06
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This looks superb.

Just out of interest, what extra is required to swap an F subframe to a TF?

Obviously the coil over shocks would be needed (is that right or do they have separate ones?) but is there anything else?

Got rust on mine and got a man with a torch coming to weld bits, but if it is easy to replace it then I might just get that done instead.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 21:40 Thread Starter
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Good to have a howto on this available, would have found it helpful myself a few months ago (though I was only lowering it, not removing it completely).

Only thing I'd note is that depending on your reasons for dropping the subframe it might be much better to leave the steering rack attached and separate it from the column (inside driver's footwell, one bolt)

I was certainly glad others pointed that out to me anyway!
thats actually how i did it in the end (hence why the picture of the u clamps is in the dark lol)

but i have all my interior out and i wasn't sure how hard the bolt would be to get to in the light so i covered it the other way

means no messing on to get your wheel straight if you leave the column attached to the car as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergi Bmw View Post
Jeeeezzzz I still have so much to learn before I move into this things.... anyway why we would want to take the subframe out???
thats what how-tos are for great thing about F/TFs is they are hand built so anyone with a cheap tool kit can take one apart and put it back together again - especially as there are how-tos for nearly everything now

one advantage over newer cars that need special dealer tools and computers... i tried doing a set of brakes on my mates 1 series BM last week and it needs taking to a dealer (at stupid cost) to have the light turned off on the dash saying that the pads need replacing! mental!



derek, when you say remove the steering coloum... have i missed something? i didn't do anything with mine lol
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 09:08
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derek, when you say remove the steering coloum... have i missed something? i didn't do anything with mine lol
Ahhh, just gone back and re-read..... you did it differently, you removed the rack from the sub-frame in-situe.... I un-did the rack from the steering column and removed with it still in place on the sub-frame.
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 13:39
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Just out of interest, what extra is required to swap an F subframe to a TF?
You would have to do both front & back at the same time as they are connected by the hyrdagas, which you would be removing if you replaced the front with a TF.

Alan...
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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 13:58
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You would have to do both front & back at the same time as they are connected by the hyrdagas, which you would be removing if you replaced the front with a TF.

Alan...
Would you? I thought you could get 'individualising' valves? I guess it might be a punt for the first person to try, but it could be done?
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 14:20
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LOL too true, I already have them individualised on the back of the buggy but sort of assumed you guys would not want to run different suspension front to rear.

Alan...
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 16:26
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Can't imagine that anyone was suggesting TF suspension on the front and F on the back. They would probably work against each other and cause an awful ride.
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