Front suspension work

88 xjs V12

So I’ve been replacing front suspension parts over the last few months. Upper and lower ball joints (Lemforder), upper control arm bushings (Uro), sway bar bushings and end links (OEM rubber), outer tie rods (beck arnley), and shocks (Bilstein B6).

Car drives and handles real nice! But at low speeds while turning, like a left turn thru an intersection over holes in the road, there’s a definite clunk. Only thing I haven’t replaced are lower control arm bushings. Could those make that sound? They aren’t loose, but they are a bit cracked.

Is there anywhere else to look? I’m a bit apprehensive to do lower bushings right now because of having to compress springs and the work involved. I may bring that one to a professional.

Any help appreciated.

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You haven’t mentioned the subframe mounts. They most definitely will clunk.

Ahhh, didn’t think about those. Will check, thanks.

I’m also getting a metallic clink when backing out. Saw an archive post that your (Kirby’s) 83 did that and it was subframe bushing mounts!

Gonna tackle this in 2020. Do a full subframe drop and kill about 5 birds with one stone.

Not a bad plan, but you could replace the mounts now. They’re easy, a couple of hours’ work.

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Had the same and it was the upper shock bushings.
The lower one has a little lip that has to fit in the big hole of the tower. Mine was not and the rod was touching the chassis.

Could be the hub - swingarm outer pivot bearings.
Also your stub axle splines could have some play.
Both easily checked without dropping the subframe.


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Reading through old posts, it sounds like subframe, steering rack, and lower control arms/coils need to come off?

I replaced the subframe mounts without removing any of that. IIRC, just needed a floor jack under it to support it, remove old, install new.

Cool, thanks. Any way to verify they are bad? Just visual inspection, or can i get a crowbar and try to move subframe?

The forward ones are different than the rearward. The forward ones are circular, outer metal collar and inner metal sleeve connected by rubber with holes in it. My clicking was caused by a visible crack in the rubber between a couple of holes.

The rearward front subframe mounts are V-shaped, have a metal stud that prevents separation if the rubber fails. Gotta be careful because they’re a bit offset, only go in one way.

If they’ve never been replaced, you probably should go ahead and change them out. They’re not expensive and they’re easy to swap out.

The front ones are easy? Are the back ones easy too?

I’m finding out all suspension parts are original on my 88. But only about 50K miles.

IIRC, the front ones were dead simple, the rearward ones a tad more involved but still not too hard.

I think the problem with rubber parts is age, not mileage.

As long as I don’t have to remove steering rack, springs, or lower control arms, and can support engine from underneath, it will be easy for me.

I’ve investigated this topic for years since these are the last original rubber pieces left on my car, but have not manned up to do yet. Looking at the diagram and having read many posts on the subject, I beg to differ with the use of “easy” and “crossmember” in one sentence:

Probably on a lift with A LOT of professional tools and A LOT of experience. I just look at the size of the bolt (#16 on the diagram" and shiver. And the front bushing Kirby mentioned above – CBC5736 --that is the largest bushing I have ever seen:

Changing out the two large front suspension bushings is a “walk in the park”. Follow the XJ-S Repair Operations Manual (ROM), do one at a time, I believe that large bolt and it’s nut are 1 1/8". There is nothing to be concerned about. I have done this work on a 1984 XJ6, a 1987 XJ6, a 1990 XJ12, and a 1990 XJ-S convertible. They all have the same bushings and you use the same technique. In all cases the rubber inside the bushings were badly cracked but I can’t say I felt any difference in how the cars handled with the new replacement bushings.
If you are hesitant to do this work you shouldn’t be.


Thanks Paul.

I’ve noticed most places sell the Uro bushings for $10 each, Eurospare for about $15-20 each, and a few sell the OEM for $45 each. There are also polyeurethane available.

Any advice?

Again, I don’t disagree and thank you for the encouragement. After all, Jaguar provided only one page instructions in the manual on the subject.

But, again, the manual is for the Jag techs and for people like you who maintain multiple Jags, or like the OP who has alluded that he has extensive experience working on Volvo’s in the past.

I’ve been member here long enough to know the difference… :-))

What are the wheel arch dust shields? In the ROM, they’re called vertical diaphragms.

For me, this looks easy, similar to other suspension work…a 3 out of 5. (Lower control arm bushings look like a 5 out of 5.) Just sound like a bit of finding the right tool and approach, a bit of trial and error, and some sore forearms. I just did sway bar bushings/endlinks this way, took me two hours, if I had to do it again I could in one hour.

I’ve slowly accumulated more hand tools this way. Like I may need a special size open end wrench for this that I can get a pipe on for leverage. And I’ll have to ‘guess’ ft lbs since I can’t use a socket to tighten.

I said it before in my post from last night – experience working on cars is indispensable here. The bolt is perhaps 7 inches long. Either 3/4 or 1" in diameter.
BFH will certainly be needed to drift it out. But, what about on the way back? Plus, the bolt is NLA item. What will happen if I damage the thread?

My point is that “EASY” is subjective, particularly for folks like me with lots of textbook, but little real-world wrenching experience… :-))

EDIT: I own a 6.0L and from multiple dealings with part suppliers, I know that the best way for me is to remove the part before I order a new one. This is likely not the case for the 1988 coupe, but the last batch of the V12 convertibles look like assembled from whatever was left in the parts bin. An example – some parts numbers – engine and subframe mounts and bushes Kirby and I discussed 5 years ago, when I was getting ready to pull the trigger:

Yes, you’re right, experience is key here. I’m no mechanic, but I’ve been working on my own cars since age 17. A TON of trial and error. I’ve learned a lot from past mistakes. I’m confident I’ll figure this one out without destroying any parts. But yes, it won’t be straightforward, so for you it could be quite a different experience. In these cases, a lot of times, a roadblock gets thrown in which is not in the manual. That’s where trial and error experience plays a big part.

With four Jaguars to remove and replace these bushings on and two bushings on each car I opted for the URO parts instead of the OEM parts because the price difference was substantial. These bushings are easy to inspect and relatively quick and easy to remove and replace. I figured that I would give the URO parts a try and if they failed I would try a set of the more expensive OEM bushings to see if they lasted longer.

I take a peak at the replacement URO bushings that I installed from time to time when the cars are up on my lift and they still look OK with no cracks in the rubber.