96 Civic Front Subframe and LCA Bushings - D-series.org

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Old 07-07-2014, 07:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 96 Civic Front Subframe and LCA Bushings

As the only owner of this 96 civic sedan, I've done most of the maintenance on the vehicle. It's been a project car and a daily driver. Recently there has been a clunking sound when going over bumps and even when taking off from a stop light as the clutch chatters. It's a stage 4 competition clutch and has chattered from day 1. It's been 2 years since the new turbo charged engine went in to the car and has been running reliable. Back then we noticed the front subframe was rotted on the passenger side. A patch was welded in place. See pic.

pic1

Note the upper right corner of the pic where the frame has rotted and is actually missing a section.

Here is the replacement all painted up and looking nice.

pic2 pic3

Not shown here is the rack that came with the new'r sub frame. At the time of sourcing the subframe, the steering rack was not required. However 2 days before the scheduled swap, the p/s rack sprung a major leak. All the fluid was pumped out on to the ground in about a minute. Plus, getting the old steering rack out of that rusted mess of a subframe was going to require a torch. We tried getting the bolts loose but they were so rusted that the heads were rounded to start with and the stiffener plate was so brittle it just twisted and snapped when trying to remove it.

Here's a pic of the car in the garage. Quite the job on a car that's not worth much more than a spare tire and a full tank of gas these days, less the engine build of course. That's my father at his tool box. Notice my tools are the ones all over the floor. haha!

pic4

My father was gracious enough to let me use his garage and a few tools. The floor jack came in handy, from Harbor Freight.

A video of the old subframe and the new used one painted. It's crazy to think I drove this car every day in this condition. Mind you it was only about 25km round trip but still, the 300 ponies under the hood can't be contained all the time and a solid suspension and frame are needed to put that power to use.

video link

I didn't take many pics along the journey while changing the subframe so I won't go into step by step detail in swapping it. I'll just say that you really have to love a car this old and in this condition to put this amount of time and effort into it to keep it on the road. Because I have the engine all done up is the main reason for doing this much work. My wife drives a 99 cr-v with the same subframe and it's well on its way to a rotten mess like my car. A new'r vehicle may be in order instead of swapping the subframe again. It's the a/c drain that caused this to happen. It was always wet in the rotted area. The drivers side still had original paint on it with very little to no rust.

While the subframe was out and this car has 422,000km on the body, it was time to replace the lca bushings.

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Last edited by wvince; 07-07-2014 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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More pics of the lca bushings and where they go.

Pic6

Pic7

All this work was spread over 2 days. The original lca bushings couldn't be pressed out without bending the arm. So my father lit the torch and with a steady hand, cut the old bushings out without damaging the arm at all. We then painted them up and installed the new red bushings by pressing them in by hand. So nice!

A step by step instruction on replacing the front subframe aka K-frame, will not be provided here. It's not that hard. It can be time consuming and a pain when bolts are ceased. Advice I give is put never cease on all bolts going back in. I did this on the ball joints and lower shock mount 2 years ago and they came out so nice.
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Rust growth through the summer months is practically at a stand still. But as soon as the salt hits the road, you can nearly see it grow each day. I've got one of them electronic anti rust modules. It does very little. Maybe I should have attached it to the subframe!

Car drives great with the newer p/s rack and tight suspension. Wheel hop is nearly non-existent.
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