Slovak roads strike again!

Slovenské cesty. Slovak roads.

Slovak roads can be quite tough on cars.

I know all too well that Slovak roads can be pretty rough on cars. I’ve already replaced my ABS tone ring and replaced my radiator – both problems being caused by rough roads.

Another problem appeared recently which was getting worse each day: a clunking noise. The clunk sound happened when I stopped, and it seemed to be coming from the right hand (passenger) side.

After looking around the internet, the general consensus is that it’s typically caused by worn bushes (rubber blocks which absorb vibration) or worn out ball joints (a moveable joint, like a hip bone).

Delphi car parts - control arms TC1927 and TC 1928

Two high quality DELPHI brand control arms.

I checked my Suzuki Swift workshop manual and it recommended replacing the entire control arm if any of these things go awry. So, I bought two DELPHI brand control arms after reading good reviews about the quality of DELPHI parts, and got busy in the garage.

I’ve also included instructions, so you can do these repairs yourself.

Suzuki swift axle stands

To begin, jack up the car and remove the wheels.

With the wheels removed and the car sitting securely on axle stands, we can remove the offending control arms. We’ll start on the driver’s (left) side.

Tools needed for this job: a 14mm, 17mm, and 19mm socket (or wrench).

Tools needed for this job: a 14mm, 17mm, and 19mm socket (or wrench).

This isn’t a very technical job, so don’t worry. All that’s needed is a spare afternoon and a 14mm, 17mm, and 19mm socket (or wrench).

1 - How to remove the control arm on a Suzuki Swift - undo these bolts

Only three bolts? How hard could it be?

To remove the control arm, remove the three bolts shown above in order of green, yellow, and red. But before you do that, it’s a good idea to spray them with a healthy dose of penetrating oil. This will help in their removal.

2 - How to remove the control arm on a Suzuki Swift - spray penetrating lubricating oil

Spray the bolts with penetrating oil and leave them for 10 minutes.

Once they’ve been sprayed with oil and left for a few minutes, you can remove them. Start by removing the 14mm bolt (circled in green), then the 17mm bolt (circled in yellow) and finally the 19mm bolt (circled in red).

Funny car repairs!

You have permission to say “oh cock!” at this point.

I reckon your 19mm bolt (like mine) refuses to move, no matter how hard you pull on it. Don’t worry, this is normal.

This is the bolt that will cause you problems.

This (centre) is the bolt that will cause you problems.

Don’t panic! There’s an easy solution to this bolt being stuck: play with fire!

Come on baby, light my fire.

Come on baby, light my fire.

Grab a $15 blowtorch and aim the heat at the nut (not the threaded bolt) which is the cause of the problem. Blast it with heat for 30 seconds to a minute and this will make it swell slightly. Then, while it’s still hot, undo the bolt from underneath.

Removing the ball joint from the wheel assembly

Use a crowbar, piece or wood, or hammer to pop the ball joint out of the wheel assembly.

Then, with all bolts removed, pop the ball joint out from the wheel assembly with a crowbar or hammer (or a wooden stick, like the picture above!).

Once the bolts are out and the ball joint has popped out, the control arm will wiggle out and you can have a good look at it.

The rubber bush on the driver's side has perished and split.

The rubber bush on the driver’s side has perished and split.

No surprise here: the rubber bush has perished and split on the driver’s side. This means there’s excessive movement. This explains some of the rattle coming from the front.

To replace the control arm, just reverse the procedure. Start by connecting the big (19mm) bolt first, then go backwards. Seriously, get the big bolt secured first. If you don’t, you’ll be battling to line everything up.

Removing the other control arm is the exact same procedure, and once I’d got it out I had the chance to inspect it…

Passenger side: a broken ball joint.

Passenger side: a broken ball joint.

This is the source of my dreaded clunk. The old ball joint had not only leaked it’s greasy contents, but there was no resistance in its movement. It was completely weakened and – for lack of a better word – floppy!

New Suzuki Swift control arm - DELPHI

Shiny and new.

By comparison, the replacement part was stiffer and sealed & full of grease.

Once again, installing the new control arm is just the reverse of removing it.

Suzuki Swift control arm and ball joint replacement

Done and dusted.

Both sides of the car now have new control arms!

Better yet, I took the car for a test drive to see if the clunking problem has gone. Watch the video below to see for yourself:

Happy motoring everyone and drive safely! :)

2 thoughts on “Slovak roads strike again!

  1. Hello, As a recommendation, I would like to encourage for changing the sway bar bushings once you have disassembled both of your control arms, as that is half of the work to get the sway bar out. And that may prevent you to have to remove them once again in a couple of months, to change the sway bar bushings (These are not so expensive). I talk from own experience 😛

    You have a really nice, well maintained and upgraded Swift! Enjoy!

  2. If i am not wrong, the arms you replaced are from swift zc32, arm from swift zc 31 are staraight at ball joint end, and arms from zc32 are litle tilted downwards at ball joint, kindly reply me, because i want to do same thing, can they fit,

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