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Old 27th March 2016, 16:34   #1
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Default Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced

Hi everybody,

Itís been a while since Iíve actually written about my car, and all the additions / upgrades / service / replacements Iíve made to it. TBH itís just been weekends Iíve got to get down in the dirt and have fun, I just didnít get the time to do what Iíve been meaning to for so longÖ

Iím going to cover all the little things Iíve done since my last share (my DIY brake disc & pads replacement), chronologically Ė one by one!

Suspension mounting bushes (Septemberí15) Ė Difficulty level: 7.5/10

So it all started with the steering starting to feel a little harder to operate and got worse when while turning, whether standstill or moving there was a swoosh and ticking like noise every time. It didnít have an impact on driving but the noises made me worried about steering rack.

I put the car on jack stands and got under, to visually inspect the steering components from under the car, but couldnít really figure out much. There were no leaks, no damage at least externally. I then started to read a little more about what could cause noises like this.

A lot of people had written about similar experiences with their steering and recommended to check the suspension mounts and bearings, now this was something I never planned to do on my own but something always gives and I found the motivation to give it a shot!

I started watching videos on how to safely remove suspensions and change mounts and it really looked quite a handful without the right tools.

So off I went to Opera House to source what I needed:

1. Spring compressors (sourced from Opera House)
2. Splitter tool (as per VAGís list) Ė didnít find
3. Strut nut socket Ė didnít find
4. Hex bits (various sizes) Ė T15 & T30 (already had them)
5. Allen Key Ė No 7 ľ
6. Socket Set Ė Ĺ inch Ė already had this
7. New mounts Ė from Opera House (brand FEBI)
8. Bearings Ė from Opera House
9. Socket wrench Ė had this
10. Jack & jack stands Ė had these
11. Rubber mallet or hammer Ė had the hammer
12. WD40 Ė 400 ml can already had this
13. Lots of patience Ė running out

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Now the tricky part in removing the suspension is actually getting them off the top where they connect to the chassis in the engine bay.
It requires a special tool which has holds the nut and has a hole to drive down a hex bit and unscrew the suspension. This tool was nowhere to be found, so I had to make do with a spanner and spark plug socket Ė more about this soon.

It was quite easy to get most of the tools, but I wasnít able to find the Splitter tool for VAG and the Strut Nut Socket, they look like this:
I was certain there was another way to get around the splitter tool and strut nut, so I decided to just go with it!

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Went ahead and purchased what I needed and on a Saturday morning started my operation!

So hereís what needs to be done, the simple stuff:

1. Raise the car, and put it on jack stands (once again never get under a car without stands)
2. Remove the front wheels and put them under the car for more protection (in case of a slip off the jack stands)

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3. Unhook the brake lines from the strut (it only needs to be removed from its holder)

4. Place the wheels under the car as backup for the stands (just in case)
Once this is done, we need to start disconnecting the tie rods from the suspension using a T30 hex bit, once the screw is off, it just comes off easy!
Next, there is nut and bolt which connects the suspension to the rest of the wheel hub (as shown here) this needs to come off too. Socket wrench helped a lot here and so did WD40.

Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced-img_20150905_183008.jpg

Tie rod off the strut:

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Before we do this, always remember to support the wheel hub using a jack to prevent it from falling to the ground (not entirely) but it can cause damage to the hub or the brake lines.

Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced-img_20150906_110248.jpg

Now comes the part where we need the splitter tool to be able to free the suspension entirely from the wheel hub, but since I didnít have this I used a hex bit instead and slowly screwed it in.

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The way the splitter works is by increasing the diameter of the joint to allow the suspension to come out easily. So in order to completely remove it:
1. Raise the jack a little
2. Insert the splitter (now hex bit)
3. Spray a lot of WD40
4. Lower the jack
and with some hammering (with an iron hammer clad with a cloth cover to make it less damaging) off came the joint.

Now itísí only connected at the top mount and once again I needed to improvise to remove this, it wouldíve been a lot easier if I had the strut socket, just couldnít place it!
So I used a spark plug socket instead and held the big nut in place with the spanner, used T30 hex bit and held that with my much shorter socket wrench (the ľ inch drive set version) and gave it a twist.

At first it just wasnít budging and I ended up moving both, the idea is to turn both in an opposite direction and thatís what will do the trick, easier said than done Ė but managed it after a couple (ok may be a little more) tries!
PhewÖ at long last the suspension strut was off!

It works like this:

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This is the strut now out and about!

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To replace the mount, itís important to remove the top nut on the strut and if thatís to be done the springs must be compressed to allow you to open the top nut otherwise BOINNGG and a lot of damage, hurt and pain!
If you ever do this, please remember to never open the top nut without compressing the springs with a spring compressor, it can hurt you really bad!

Compressed Springs:

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I took pictures of exactly how the suspension parts fit so I know exactly what comes where when I need to assemble it back together, let them talk for a bit:

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Now the bearings I sourced were not original spec and they felt downright cheap, so I decided to use the older ones for now, with a little service:
Iím sorry I didnít take these pictures but the bearing looks like this:
So I opened them and the entire unit inside (bearings) was super dry and almost rusted. So I removed the wheel bearings and sprayed them with WD40 let it soak and then gave it a nice rub with clean cotton rag Ė VOILA! Almost as good as new. Filled the assembly with grease (white) and put it back together.
From the pictures and guides I sourced, I never saw the 2 rings before.

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So after a little research, they were actually spacers to increase the ride height. Skoda had added these about 2 years back to the car as part of a circular. Hated the height of the car as it made it feel like it was perpetually raised from the front with wheel well gaps as big as Skodaís ego in helping customers out!

Decided to get rid of them! I still have the spacers, but removed them from the unit.

Now the process is simply reverse Ė put everything back in the same order and put back together with the new mounts (notice the difference, the older one is like a mushroom, actually they both are but a lot more prominent)

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Once the entire strut was back and car back on the ground, the steering noise was gone, the feel was back to normal and a job well done, and car looked a lot like it did when I bought it, without the extra height making it look like a cross-over. Lemon iced tea anyone!

What I learnt from this:
1. It really took long for me to finish this, actually more than 1 day Ė had to leave the car overnight on jack stands and continue in the morning the next day to finish at 3:00pm (considering I started at 8:00 am the previous day and worked right until 06:00pm Ė a tiring 16hrs, it took a real long time putting the strut back on totally needed another hand!
2. Always have another person handy, I think I wouldíve done this much faster if I asked one of my friends to help!
3. The right tools will definitely help; Iím going to order my set of tools (the ones I didnít find here) to help me do this better. Sometimes improvising doesnít help Ė just takes a lot longer!
4. DIY is Uber fun! (Skoda alone knows how much they wouldíve charged me for this!)

Next upÖ Cruise Control

Cheers,
Aayush
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Old 27th March 2016, 19:47   #2
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Default re: Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced

Awesome ! You really need guts to do this kind of job yourself. I remember I had got the mountings changed right after getting new tires as was suggested to me by the tire shop guys as the car was not getting aligned properly. I had to spend almost the entire day at an FNG. This is one tough job and doing it yourself must have given you immense satisfaction.
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Old 27th March 2016, 23:47   #3
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Yes, absolutely satisfying! Have to say though, it was super tiring, wish I had a car lift, would've been much easier (if they were horses..), cheers
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Old 28th March 2016, 13:42   #4
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Default Re: Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced

Ayush

You are one brave soul.
First and foremost, a first time DIY on a critical component.
And more importantly, on a SKODA!!!!

Happy that you are satisfied with the end result.
What was your total cost incurred?
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Old 28th March 2016, 14:03   #5
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Default Re: Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced

Nice thread and thanks for posting the details.

My Spark front tyres are wearing faster (internal treads) and checked front wheels play yesterday. I observed significant play (more than 10 mm) at both front suspension top mountings. Looks like both mountings are gone for a toss. Once again thanks for the explanation, now I know what to ask Chevy service guy.
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Old 28th March 2016, 14:40   #6
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Thanks Arnab and Latheesh.

The whole project cost is split as follows:
1. Mounts: brand Febi Bilstein - RS. 900
2. Spring compressors: RS. 700
3. Bearings (which were not used): RS. 300
4. Grease: brand SKC (I'm not sure of this now): RS. 300
5. Tools: already owned (more like capital expenditure)

So the total cost was around 2500 with miscellaneous expenses.

...and I'm glad I could help!

Cheers,
Aayush
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Old 28th March 2016, 18:08   #7
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Default Re: Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced

Wow, that is one really tough job there. I can only imagine how much of happiness you would have got for pulling this out since it requires immense patience and confidence and I'm sure you have saved quite a bit of money by doing this yourself. Wonderful write up and pictures. Thanks!
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Old 29th March 2016, 12:05   #8
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Default Re: Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced

Nice job Aayush..
You have documented the entire stuff nicely.
Being a DIYer, I know the difficulty in doing things alone. A third hand is always helpful when dealing with this kind of job.

Being a Skoda owner, I would say this work will cost you a 5 digit figure if done with Skoda service. And the satisfaction is just priceless

I have done drive shaft CV Joint replacement of my Laura myself. (sorry, I don't have the pictures since I was alone doing the work myself)
The CV joint costed me 2.6K from Amazon.in along with the boot(got Mapco Germany part).
Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced-amazon.png

Later on browsing through team-bhp, happened to see this service invoice with the price of the same item and labor charges
See the highlighted items: Total cost = 20.6K
Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced-skoda-inv.jpg

If done through Skoda service, the job would have costed me 7.7 times of what I spent

I was planning for replacing the suspension hydraulic strut. Now your post will be definitely helpful for me.
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Old 29th March 2016, 13:21   #9
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Hey that was awesome, actually I too was through the info on the web going to change the CV joint if this didn't work. But it didn't need it so...
But yeah that's what scares me about Skoda, I mean I don't mind the cost of parts as most of them are imported and are bound to be a little expensive compared to other spares, but the labor charges along with lack of expertise and we don't care attitude adds to spoiling an otherwise good experience.
I will definitely need your support in case I ever need to do my CV joints or wheel hub and bearing replacements.
Cheers.
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Old 30th March 2016, 19:18   #10
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Default Re: Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced

Great work indeed! You must have done the alignment and calibration after this?

How you guys get the courage to do it just boggles me. I wouldn't be able to change the side mirror if I had to
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Old 30th March 2016, 19:26   #11
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Default Re: Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced

Apart from all this: Just before any DIY, i would suggest taking the car for a thorough body wash. This helps to examine the chassis clearly too.
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Old 30th March 2016, 20:58   #12
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Yeah that's, for sure..just forgot, and when I was all ready, I was like, aaah! Knew I missed something! But cheers!
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Old 31st March 2016, 00:37   #13
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Default Re: Skoda Fabia DIY: Suspension mount & bearings replaced

I'm still surprised as to how easy you made the entire process look !
A big thumbs up for your effort !

I have been delaying the mount replacement for the front struts in my chevy spark for close to a year now. When Chevy A.S.S. gave me a quote for about 10k for practically replacing majority components for the dying suspension, i was convinced i'm going to get aftermarket struts and mounts for the spark (If at all i am able to find them!). The temporary job of keeping the suspension alive is being done by the coil spring adjusters on all 4 wheels, which is preventing the car from being low slung, although i know that this isn't the ideal solution. Your post has now got me motivated to get my hands dirty and try this out. However, i still yearn for stiffer dampers/struts that can make the car ride like a Suzuki Swift
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Old 31st March 2016, 07:32   #14
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Lol, I'm sure you'll do this now! Just a few things you may want to do before:
Please check how to unmount struts on a Chevy, the process will not be different just maybe the tools you may need to unmount them.
Definitely get another hand to help you and have the car pressure washed especially the Wells to ensure you can inspect all components as ramzys pointed out!
Best of luck bro!
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Old 31st March 2016, 07:35   #15
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Here's something to go by:

Last edited by aayushnair : 31st March 2016 at 07:37.
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