Front Subframe Removal
So... Anyone here have experience replacing their oil pan? Hit a dip in
highway and bottomed front suspension... cracked oil pan. Looks as though the
front suspension comes off and things become accessible.
In the same breath... anyone got a good pan (sump) they wish to sell?
Also any opinions on what else I should go ahead and do while suspension is
This process was carried out on a 1985 Series 3 Jaguar Vanden Plas with
a 4.2 liter Federal Spec engine. The procedure is rather straightforward with no special tools required, only patience and some
good music. A few cold ones don't hurt either.
- Disconnect the battery. More on this later.
- Start by raising the car up at least 16 inches, more room can only
help (measure this from road wheel center to the floor). This is to
facilitate the lowering of the subframe and rolling it out from under
the car. Depending on the size of your floor jack you may need more or
less height. Go high to be sure.
- Remove the wheels.
- Remove the tie-rod ends from the steering arm. `Plews' makes a nice
Pitman-arm puller that will remove the tie-rod ends without damage.
Good time to replace the tie-rod ends!
- Unbolt the steering rack from the sub frame. There are two bolts,
1/2" heads, holding the rack on the driver's side and one bolt holding
the rack on the passenger side. Make note of the shims that are found
between the bushings and the subframe. I placed the rack on a jack
stand to keep it from pulling on the steering column and from hanging
down on the passenger side.
- Remove the front shocks. This is pretty straightforward. On the top
mounts there is a thin spring retaining nut and then another regular
9/16" nut holding the shock to the top of the inner fender. The
passenger side (US) is easy. The driver's side requires that you move
the radiator reservoir tank out of the way to gain access to the upper
nuts of the shock. For this there is a small bracket on the front of
the tank retained by two Phillips head screws. The rear of the tank is
held by a slotted head screw. Kept the hoses connected and tilt the
tank to one side to gain access to the nuts.
- Remove the front calipers. The four-pot calipers on the `85 are
bolted on with three 19MM bolts - 3/4" is close but not the best. If
your car was previously serviced by a non-Jag service shop, it is likely
the mechanics wire threaded through each bolt head will be missing.
Mine had lock-washers and thread lock holding them in place. Also, be
cognizant of the very thin shims found between the steering arm and the
front spindle. Replace them in the same spot upon re-assembly. Note: I
placed jack-stands in the wheel wells to rest the calipers on. You
might want to wire the calipers to the stands as they can fall off
rather easily. This will stretch the flex brake-line and the solid
brake-line out nicely, not a good thing.
- Spray a good dose of WD-40 or Liquid Wrench on the upper sway bar
link nut and threads. Use a wire brush to clean up the threads before
spinning the 9/16" nut off. The threads tend to flatten down on the
swaybar link if there is too much rust. If this happens and you can't
use a die to clean up the threads you should replace this link. They
are hard to come by and cost about $20 a piece for a new one. So spend
a few minutes prepping the joint.
- There is a small clip that holds the power steering lines to the
sub-frame on the driver's side (US) of the car. It is just visible
between the sub frame and inner fender, directly behind the suspension
assembly. The clip resembles a trash bag pull tie and in my case had
deteriorated to the point it just snapped when an attempt was made to
- There are also four small Phillips head screws holding the power
steering lines to the front of the sub-frame rail. Unscrew these screws
to remove the line brackets from the subframe. Either bag the screws
with a label or screw them back in after the hoses are removed - They
are small enough to get lost in the crud that will fall down as the sub
frame is dropped.
- Remove the 9/16" nut on the passenger side (US) engine mount. This
one is difficult to get to. First remove the air cleaner; easy. Next,
remove the ignition amplifier which is mounted on the front end of the
intake manifold. It is held with two 1/2" head bolts. To gain enough
movement you might need to disconnect the two wires that lead to the
coil. Make note of which wire goes where - white with black strip to
Neg. side and all white to Pos. side. (This is the reason I
disconnected the battery) Once the air cleaner and amplifier are out of
the way you should be able to reach down to the nut holding the engine
to the mount. A 9/16" spanner works best - I couldn't fit a socket down
there. There will be a small lockwasher and a larger flat washer under
- Remove the driver's side (US) engine mount nut. Same as step 11
only much easier to get to.
- Connect an engine hoist to the front hook on the cylinder head and
hoist just enough to create a little tension in the chain. I placed the
crane to the side of the car at and angle, main crane assembly by the
front door., then extended the boom. I wanted to keep the legs of the
crane from interfering with the jack which will ultimately hold the
subframe and rolled out. To further supplement the support I also used
a jack stand with a block of wood to support the rear sump. Some people
might just want to do this and disregard the crane. I don't recommend
it because the weight of the engine will cause it to tip forward when
the subframe is removed. If you have a device to support the engine
from above, as described in the service manual, all the better.
- Using a floor jack and a wide board, raise the jack so it is firmly
pressing upward under the subframe. Try to get it in the center so it
will remain balanced during lowering.
- Remove the 9/16" nyloc nuts from both of the rear subframe mounts
located just behind the wheel assembly and directly below the brake line
union.. There will be a large flat washer under the nuts.
- Remove the front subframe mounting bolts. These have 1 1/8" heads
so check the toolbox before you begin. The head of the bolt faces
outward. Place your socket on the head and an open end wrench on the
nut. I did it this was because the radiator hoses are in the way if you
try to place the socket on the nut. Once removed, drift the bolt out.
There will be two flat washers on either side of the rubber bushings so
pay attention to which one go where.
- Carefully lower the floor jack and subframe. It tends to hang up on
the steering rack and sway bar so watch out for these contact points.
Roll it out toward the front of the car. Two people can lift it up onto
some strong sawhorses for disassembly.
- Installation is the reverse of above.
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