steering/suspension tips for a newbie

Messages
3
Location
canada
Hi guys, I’ve been coming here for a bit, picking up some tips from a lot of you (thanks for taking the time btw.. the site has come in handy quite a few times – the banter is entertaining as well.. so much passion about oil and tire pressure!) and after plugging away on various repairs over the last year or so, I’ve got the confidence to tackle some steering/suspension maintenance now. Nothing in particular is an immediate fix, but I’ve got the summer off coming up and was planning on using my beater chevy Malibu as an educational tool for myself. * - The tie-rod ends are already on the list (bit too much play), but are there any other regular parts I should be thinking about replacing after 10 years, about 260000 km and some noticeable increase in roughness (as well as a few bushings coming off down there). Buying new parts and the time it takes isn’t really a factor as I’m approaching this as a ‘learning how to’ couple of weeks. Thanks for any advice you can give.
 
Messages
1
Location
NC
I don't know the suspension specifics of the malibu. So I can't tell you what to change or not to change. After so much time and miles on it you may want to consider the following (if it has it). Inner tie rods Lower and/or upper ball joints Wheel bearings (more than likely will need a press) Sway bar bushings (may need to replace bolts too) Any other bushings that appear worn and you are able to replace yourself. If there are no apparent signs of degradation it's your call if you want to replace that item. Ps. You will need a service manual if you don't already have one. (Hayne's and chilton's manuals are quite popular ones.)
 
Messages
35,963
Location
ME
TREs are good newbie front end work to do. Once you get how they go together stuff like lower ball joints in tighter locations can also be done... just with more cussin'. To check your alignment before you start, use a laser level at 4 and 8 oclock on the tire sidewall bulges, and aim the laser at the rear tires. Should just barely miss them for zero toe. At least get a reference that you can compare the "after" with.
 

digrdan22

Thread starter
Messages
3
Location
canada
Thanks guys, I appreciate the quick feedback. Alignment is a good call... I figured I'd just get it done after I'm done messing around, but the before/after might give me a good ball park for myself as well. Anything else that's a good starter DIY job for suspension/steering - feel free to add in... Thanks again - you'll probably see another post in about week titled 'immediate help needed in suspension/steering job' or ' '99 malibu for sale for parts only'.
 
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
Might as well do struts while you're in there. If you're planning to keep the car, that is. Which is likely yes based on what you're doing. Don't you have to remove the struts anyhow to get at the ball joints in that car?
 

digrdan22

Thread starter
Messages
3
Location
canada
I don't have the manual handy, but I'm pretty sure you don't have to remove the struts to get access. Though I'm thinking you're right, that as I approach 300000 km should I be thinking about replacing some components as a preventative measure while I'm working in there anyway. Though struts are the one thing I'm a little hesitant working on for the first time... heard some horror stories about that... I'll have to get out the hockey equipment with full face mask.
 
Top