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Front Spindle Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Spindle Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

5 hours5 hrs

Tab:

$1100

Talent:

***

Tools:

Jack, jack stands, 19mm, 17mm, 13mm, 10mm sockets, wheel chocks, lug wrench, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

Porsche 944 Turbo (1986-89)

Parts Required:

New spindle

Hot Tip:

Check your bushings

Performance Gain:

Better handling

The front spindles on the Porsche 944 and 951 really are designed to last the life of the vehicle. Unless you have been in an accident or have failed to preform proper maintenance on the front wheel bearings, these hardy pieces should give you no trouble. 

One of the major causes for having to replace worn spindles is bearing failure and/or grease seal failure on the front wheel. Something as simple as a three-dollar grease seal can lead to replacing an $1100 dollar spindle, so do your due diligence and check your front wheel bearings at least once a year. Once the seals fail the bearings will be quick to follow. As the grease leaves the bearing dirt and debris can get in and this can cause damage to the spindle that the bearings are mounted to until they are unusable.

You will need to jack up the car and remove the front wheels and brake rotors to perform this job, please see our articles on these procedures for additional assistance.

You will need to remove the brake rotor to replace the spindle so please see our article on brake rotor replacement for further information.
Figure 1

You will need to remove the brake rotor to replace the spindle so please see our article on brake rotor replacement for further information. You will effectively have the brakes off at this point, so it is a really good time to double check them for any maintenance needs.

With the rotor off use a 10mm socket and remove the three bolts holding the dust shield in place and remove the dust shield from the spindle (red arrow).
Figure 2

With the rotor off use a 10mm socket and remove the three bolts holding the dust shield in place and remove the dust shield from the spindle (red arrow).

The spindle is connected to the tie rod (red arrow) and the control arm ball joint (yellow arrow).
Figure 3

The spindle is connected to the tie rod (red arrow) and the control arm ball joint (yellow arrow). Both of these ball joints are completely ruined and should never have been allowed to get to this condition.

Begin removal by using a set of pliers to straighten out the cotter pin and pull it from the top of the ball joint shaft (red arrow).
Figure 4

Begin removal by using a set of pliers to straighten out the cotter pin and pull it from the top of the ball joint shaft (red arrow).

Use a 19mm socket and remove the nut (red arrow).
Figure 5

Use a 19mm socket and remove the nut (red arrow).

Depending on the age and condition of the tie rod end, you may need to use a pickle fork or ball joint remover (red arrow) to separate the ball joint from the bearing housing.
Figure 6

Depending on the age and condition of the tie rod end, you may need to use a pickle fork or ball joint remover (red arrow) to separate the ball joint from the bearing housing. If you are planning on reinstalling the same ball joint, use a ball joint remover, as the pickle fork usually destroys the rubber boot.

The nut and bolt on the top (yellow arrow) have concentric washers on them and are used to set the alignment.
Figure 7

The nut and bolt on the top (yellow arrow) have concentric washers on them and are used to set the alignment. Make sure to mark them before removing. Use a 19mm and 17mm sockets and remove the lower nut and bolt (red arrow).

The bolts are located behind an air diverter for the brakes (red arrows).
Figure 8

The bolts are located behind an air diverter for the brakes (red arrows). You can get a lot more room to work if you remove the two 10mm bolts on the air diverter and remove it.

With the diverter off you can mark both sides of the concentric washer on the top bolt and then remove both nuts and bolts (red arrows).
Figure 9

With the diverter off you can mark both sides of the concentric washer on the top bolt and then remove both nuts and bolts (red arrows).

With the bolts removed you can slip the strut (red arrow) out from the spindle (yellow arrow).
Figure 10

With the bolts removed you can slip the strut (red arrow) out from the spindle (yellow arrow).

The spindle is held to the control arm ball joint by a 17mm nut and bolt that sits in a groove in the joint.
Figure 11

The spindle is held to the control arm ball joint by a 17mm nut and bolt that sits in a groove in the joint. Use two 17mm sockets and remove the nut and bolt (red arrow). Note: this ball joint is shot. The dust boot has been destroyed, and all of the grease has leaked out. Do not let your ball joints get to this stage of disrepair.

With the nut and bolt removed you can slide the spindle off the joint.
Figure 12

With the nut and bolt removed you can slide the spindle off the joint. You may need to spread the joint apart and use a little lubricant to get it to let go of the ball joint. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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