The Honda Civic spent another week in Jim’s Garage to get some miles subtracted.
The owner had found that the front brakes were vibrating after some hard stops. We had replaced the rear brakes, but the fronts were stock. The front pads had a lot of miles left on them, but after taking the car for a test drive we had to agree that there was too much vibration in the front when braking.
One of the tests we tried was to try stopping the car with just the emergency brake. This would use the rear drum brakes exclusively and tell us if the rears were the source of vibration. They were not.
As we looked over the car we had to face the reality of 145,000 miles and what that meant in terms of wear on the front ball joints and the axle assemblies with their CV (constant velocity) joints. The upper ball joints came with a new upper control arm for both sides. The lower ball joints would need to be removed from the front hub. That meant that the whole front hub would need to be disassembled from the suspension.
It was a good time to replace the axles as well. While we knew we could obtain the ball joints and axles from a local parts house we also knew that the best axle assemblies would come from Raxles out of Florida. I had dealt with Raxles several times prior to this and always found them to be top quality. They cost more, but did not use rebuilt CV joints, were lubricated with Amsoil, and came with all the seals and nuts required.
As we tore into the suspension we found that the upper ball joints were indeed well worn. Not to the point of failing, but they had a lot more slop than they should have for a secure ride. The lower ball joints were not as bad, but they deserved being replaced as well.
The replacement axle assemblies from Raxles looked great and came with harmonic balancers on the axle shafts.
We purchased a set of Brembo slotted rotors and Brembo brake pads to go with them. The quality of Brembo is always top notch.
With the suspension back together and the new pads an rotors on we had an alignment done to make certain that everything was correct. The new components made for an alignment that didn’t move all over the place as toe on one wheel was adjusted over another.
We also had nitrogen filled tires which meant that the tire pressures were correct prior to alignment work commencing.
The result was a much tighter feeling front end. I wish the suspension allowed for caster adjustment. It would have been nice to dial in two degrees or more.
The brake pads were bedded in and the Brembo cadmium plated rotors looked fantastic.
This is a fun car that the owner can now enjoy even more.