'91 Accord Upper Control Arms

Discussion in 'Accord' started by JRE, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. JRE

    JRE Guest

    I dropped off my car today for front tires. The shop called to say I
    had a bad upper ball joint on the driver's side. I was a bit doubtful,
    as I'd checked them not too long ago, but nonetheless I picked up new
    ones on the way home, and checked the old ones once I arrived. Sure
    enough, they now had significant play in them. I'm planning to drive
    the car several hundred miles over the weekend, so...out with the old,
    in with the new.

    I must say this is one of the easiest suspension jobs I've ever done.
    If I had known what tools to grab on the way out to the car, and hadn't
    had to look up the torques for the fasteners, I could have changed the
    upper control arms in about the same amount of time it took to jack up
    the front of the car and get the wheels off.

    Nice job, Honda! Both on the longevity of the original parts (238K
    miles and counting...) and on the ease of repair.

    (Now, if only the darn rotors were that easy to change!)
     
    JRE, Aug 27, 2010
    #1
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  2. Isn't that the truth JRE
     
    Airport Shuttle, Sep 2, 2010
    #2
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  3. JRE

    jim beam Guest

    c'mon guys, it's not that hard. yes, it's a bit more time consuming
    because you have to remove the drive shaft and an extra set of bolts
    that hold in the wheel bearing unit, but that's not technically
    difficult or needing special tools.

    the advantage of the accord system is that it's not as susceptible to
    the brake problems people often misinterpret as "disk warpage". it's
    really a disk seating problem on the hub. once set up, the disk never
    gets unbolted so it doesn't allow the people that rotate your tires to
    mess up the tightening torques or sequence and cause the brake problem
    it's a good system.

    besides, how often do you need to change disks anyway? if you're using
    honda pads, you'll find very little problem with scoring or excessive wear.
     
    jim beam, Sep 2, 2010
    #3
  4. JRE

    JRE Guest

    While I understand that the design perhaps solves certain problems, it's
    a completely unnecessary pain in the neck. And elsewhere. "How often"
    isn't really pertinent when it needs to be done "today."

    I would sooner replace conventionally-installed disks twice or even
    three times rather than do these once. Disks are relatively cheap and
    my time is not. Further, disk warping has not been a problem on any
    other vehicle I have ever owned so long as I stayed away from puddles
    with red hot brakes, so in my opinion--which might well differ from
    yours--the incidence of the problem simply does not justify the poor
    serviceability of the design.

    Even the disks on our motorhome (based on a Chevy P3 chassis) are easier
    to change than the ones on my Accord. That includes all the things I
    need to to do get to them, which for the rear disks in the MH is not
    incredibly trivial, given the two large and heavy wheels that are in the
    way, the air fill hoses, and the need to use a bottle jack unless one
    wants to clutter a garage with an expensive truck jack that will see use
    only every few years.

    Moreover, other than about the axle when the car moves, the tires do not
    get rotated on any of our vehicles. With FWD I put on two sets of front
    tires for each set of rear tires. With RWD they wear at about the same
    rate without rotation. On the MH they generally start to dry rot well
    before they are worn out. In neither case do I see a significant
    advantage to rotation (and the ones on our RWD cars can't be rotated
    anyway as they have directional tread and are larger in the rear).

    While I truly do appreciate the many things Honda did really, really
    well on this car, I do not appreciate serviceability problems, and this
    is one of them. Would it stop me from buying another car with the same
    design were others that had conventionally-installed disks were
    available that were similar in overall reliability and serviceability?

    You betcha.

    I'd never own a Fiat 128, either, though they were a blast to drive.
    And no matter how seldom you have to change the starter on a Jaguar XKE,
    once is one time too many. (I'd sooner adjust the valves and resync the
    carbs. Three or four times. In the summer, without any shade from the
    hot sun.)

    In this, I recognize that I am not a typical car buyer. Vanishingly
    few people turn their own wrenches these days. There are still things I
    pay for when the tools will never pay me back, but there aren't many.
    And I keep cars much longer than average. I still want cars that aren't
    hard to service when the time comes.
     
    JRE, Sep 3, 2010
    #4
  5. JRE

    jim beam Guest

    it's more involved for disk changes, true, but the brake shuddering
    problem it solves is real and persistent if the brakes of the "modern"
    design are not properly maintained. seriously, i've had problems with
    it on my civic and crx every single time anyone else has taken the
    wheels off.

    but it adds only a few minutes. undo the axle nut, undo the bottom ball
    joint, flip the knuckle so you can access the bearing bolts, and off she
    comes. then you unbolt the old disk from the now removed hub/bearing
    assembly, and replace. reverse the process for reassembly. if you've
    done it before and know what you're doing, that is literally a 20 minute
    job.

    but the time necessary to prep the "modern" kind to prevent the problem
    i outlined above takes some time. i'd hesitate to say the total for
    both procedures done properly is the same, but they're not incomparable.

    as above, it's a consistent and persistent problem with hondas. ask any
    civic or integra owner. and later model accord owner after they changed
    the brake disk mounting. it's territory that goes with a lightweight hub.

    you and i are on the same page here. tire rotation reduces the contact
    patch area and thus available traction. kinda important in emergency
    braking.

    well, technically, you should move the rears to the front on each
    replacement. the "best" tires should always be on the rear - the rears
    have higher cornering forces since they cut a tighter arc on the turning
    circle, and thus are more likely to start sliding.

    from my experience, honda need the fewest special tools to do routine
    maintenance. even though there are 8 more bolts involved in the accord
    disk change, none requires special tools, with the possible exception of
    the ball joint, but you should have a joint separator in your toolbox
    anyway. viewed from a different perspective, if ever you need to do a
    bearing change, the accord trumps most other cars for ease because you
    don't need a bearing press.

    you'd really sacrifice the superior handling of wishbones on the accord
    just because you'd have to deal with a few extra bolts if the disk
    needed changing? every 200k+ miles? i think you exaggerate.

    but the accord brake disks are not hard, there's literally 8 extra
    bolts, none of which require special effort or expensive equipment.
    you'll need the 36mm wrench anyway because you'll need to do the
    driveshaft boots at some point. and you should have a ball joint
    separator for practically any front end honda work. the rest is just a
    14mm socket. couldn't get much easier. a good deal easier than trying
    to undo the #3 phillips screws that are on the civic/integra/"modern"
    accord disks most of the time in my experience.
     
    jim beam, Sep 3, 2010
    #5
  6. JRE

    JRE Guest

    jim beam wrote:
    <chop>

    Well, Jim, it seems we will just have to agree to disagree about the
    matter of '91 Accord front disk serviceability. You think it's a
    non-problem. I think it's a pain in the neck, and elsewhere.

    We also disagree about where to put the new set of tires. I want them on
    the front to reduce the probability of hydroplaning and to improve
    traction in the snow for FWD. Most cars have so much built-in
    understeer that I could probably put bald tires on the back and new ones
    up front and *still* not have a car that gets loose. Certainly, the
    problem you describe has not existed on any of our FWD cars (which also
    got autocrossed) when the fronts were new and the rears were half-worn
    (the present state of my Accord, in fact).

    Of course, you know what they say about opinions...
     
    JRE, Sep 3, 2010
    #6
  7. JRE

    Clete Guest

    Good tires on the back. Fer sure. Sorry, I had to jump in.
     
    Clete, Sep 3, 2010
    #7
  8. JRE

    Clams Guest


    Do you not rotate tires? Or do you do that on a seasonal vs. mileage basis?
     
    Clams, Sep 3, 2010
    #8
  9. JRE

    jim beam Guest

    if you'd have ever experienced serious hydroplaning in a fwd car, you'd
    never say that. back in the day when i was young and inexperienced, i
    would have said the same because i didn't know any better and i hadn't
    experimented sufficiently to prove whether what the old farts were
    telling me was correct. but i can tell you now that there's nothing
    spills the morning mochafrappalattachino quite like doing a 270 on the
    freeway because your rear end got loose on a fwd and you couldn't gun
    your way out of it.

    understeer has absolutely nothing to do with it - in fact, to believe
    that understeer means the rear can't break loose is actually a dangerous
    misconception. physics is physics - the greatest cornering force is on
    the rear for the reasons stated. particularly on fwd where the rear is
    unpowered, you cannot gun your way out of a rear slide - it is essential
    the rear tires are going to stick.

    there is a point when a lightly worn tire has a bit more traction than
    an unworn new tire on dry pavement. but that's all within the first 10%
    of tire life, and those traction numbers are reversed in the wet - so it
    is possible that you happened to benefit from that effect for a short
    period one summer, but you didn't experience that at 50% wear or long
    term or in other weather. and it is positively dangerous to believe or
    tell others otherwise.

    what do "they" say about lack of experience or not knowing the facts?
     
    jim beam, Sep 3, 2010
    #9
  10. JRE

    jim beam Guest

    tire rotation is a hangover from the days of bias-ply tires. to have a
    tire wear to the load distribution on one wheel station, then move it to
    another means that you're getting less rubber on the road - prove it to
    yourself and spread some powder on a smooth flat surface and look at the
    individual rubber blocks for the contact that they're missing. this is
    why performance car manufacturers specifically say not to rotate - to
    ensure maximum tire adhesion.

    besides, if you're getting uneven wear, you need to fix the cause, not
    try to ignore it by just moving the tires about.
     
    jim beam, Sep 3, 2010
    #10
  11. JRE

    Clams Guest


    Are you trying to suggest tires wear equally on the front vs. back?

    So just how does one fix uneven front to back wear?
     
    Clams, Sep 3, 2010
    #11
  12. JRE

    jim beam Guest

    uh? what is there to "fix"? do you actually /want/ to have all 4 tires
    bald at the same time???
     
    jim beam, Sep 3, 2010
    #12
  13. JRE

    Clams Guest

    You're the one who stated "if you're getting uneven wear, you need to
    fix the cause".

    I'm getting more wear on the front. How do I fix the cause?
     
    Clams, Sep 3, 2010
    #13
  14. JRE

    jim beam Guest

    ok, i get it, you're just having a laugh. my mistake.
     
    jim beam, Sep 3, 2010
    #14
  15. JRE

    Tegger Guest


    Drive the car both forwards and backwards at the same time. And make sure
    both sets of wheels steer, and that both sets of wheels have an engine on
    top of them. Wear will be exactly equal; problem solved.
     
    Tegger, Sep 4, 2010
    #15
  16. JRE

    JRE Guest

    jim beam wrote:
    Dear me. "Lack of experience"? Excuse me, but I don't think we know
    each other. I've driven a couple million miles or so over the past 35+
    years, in all kinds of weather, in vehicles large and small, RWD and FWD
    split about evenly. I've personally driven this Accord for 200K+ miles.
    All the hydroplaning I've ever experienced--and some was quite
    serious, thanks--has affected either the entire car all at once or just
    the front end.

    This is true, actually, of every car I have driven. In fact, the only
    oversteer I've ever had in a Honda was on a bone-dry road, and I have
    seen others spin Hondas and Acuras that got into similar attitudes
    during autocrosses. (I recovered that day without a spin. It was
    startling but not particularly scary.) RWD cars with compliant
    semi-trailing arm rear suspensions, on the other hand, with
    characteristic trailing throttle oversteer, can be "interesting" wet or
    dry. But I digress.

    In the snow there is a marked advantage to having better traction on the
    front with a FWD car, where it affects both starting and stopping.
    Maybe you don't have snow where you live, but here in the Northeast we
    have plenty.

    I replace tires a couple 32nds before they get to the wear bars. The
    back tires have plenty of tread on them, and the new fronts will catch
    up to them from a wear standpoint--and if the car is still on the road
    by then (it will last that long mechanically, I'm sure, but it's rusting
    away to nothing), it will be time to replace all four. In other words,
    it's not like I'm putting fully treaded tires up front with next to no
    tread in the back. That *would* be stupid. I want good tread on all
    four corners, thanks.

    And what I was reacting to was this text from your earlier post:

    "well, technically, you should move the rears to the front on each
    replacement. the "best" tires should always be on the rear - the rears
    have higher cornering forces since they cut a tighter arc on the turning
    circle, and thus are more likely to start sliding."

    So far as I can see, this statement was only orthogonally related to
    hydroplaning. Building healthy understeer into the suspension (and
    Honda certainly does) counteracts this effect even with nearly bald
    tires in the back and new ones up front. A combination of spring
    (actually, wheel) and sway bar rates, the degree of anti-Ackerman
    steering built in, recommended tire pressures F/R, camber control, and
    weight distribution pretty much assures this.

    Further, some of us actually do slow down in the rain. There's that
    difference in the coefficient of friction, and then there's this
    formula, you see, involving a factor and the square root of the tire
    pressure...but maybe you've never heard of that. Anyway, you can learn
    to slow down in the rain from experience, too.

    As near as I can tell from cursory online searches, this recommendation
    to place the new rubber at the back is fairly new (a decade or so old,
    it appears). Given the average level of driver skill out there, it's
    probably even appropriate for most.

    In any event, you manage the risks you want to manage, and I'll manage
    the ones I want to manage. Put your new tires where you want them.
    I'll put mine where I want them.
     
    JRE, Sep 4, 2010
    #16
  17. JRE

    Jim Yanik Guest



    get an alignment.
    then change your driving style;no more burnouts,no scrubbing in turns,no
    locking up the wheels in braking.
    Those are the reasons the front tires wear more than the rears.
    Keep tires properly inflated. even 5% under(a few pounds) can cause
    problems.



    --
    Jim Yanik
    jyanik
    at
    localnet
    dot com
     
    Jim Yanik, Sep 4, 2010
    #17
  18. JRE

    jim beam Guest

    2,000,000 / 35 = 57,000 miles per year. do you truthfully drive 57,000
    miles per year? or are you just bullshitting for effect? [rhetorical]

    sure it has. and you only ever drive in straight lines too.

    phew, what a long-winded way to say absolutely nothing.

    i didn't say it was - don't put false words in my mouth.

    nope, wrong. potentially /dead/ wrong too. not that you would be a
    loss, but if you took out someone else because of your misconceived
    ignorance, that would be a shame.

    why not throw in some other "internet engineer" bullshit like "bump
    steer" or "damping rates"? idiot bullshitter.

    don't put false words in my mouth, bullshitter.

    is it possible to get a bullshitter to learn from experience?

    but not for an "internet engineer" who thinks they know much better -
    even when they don't!

    i think i met you once - sliding sideways on the wrong side of a blind
    bend. fortunately, i was able to avoid your dumb ass [because i have
    good tire positioning - and therefore excellent handling response]
    otherwise i'd have had to drag you out of the wreckage and beat some
    brains into you with a tire iron.
     
    jim beam, Sep 4, 2010
    #18
  19. JRE

    Tony Harding Guest

    Remove foot from the loud pedal. :)
     
    Tony Harding, Sep 6, 2010
    #19
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