Repairs, Uncategorized
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Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: The Rear Suspension and Brakes 2: Jacking Up and Removing the Radius Arms

Once the exhaust was out of the way I could drop the rear suspension in order to work on it and the brakes. The manual explains exactly how to do this – starting with the pieces of wood you need between your jack and jack stand and the various body and suspension parts. You need a very large floor jack and a couple of good jack stands in addition to the wood pieces. Make sure to put blocks on the front wheels to keep the car from rolling once you lift the rear. You jack up the bottom plate on the suspension – making sure that you have a solid piece of wood between the jack and the plate. The jack stands are placed underneath pieces of wood that run along the bottom of the floor plate just ahead of the radius arms.

Jacking point and jack stand points for raising rear of Jaguar XKE E-type and dropping the rear suspension unit.

Before you start you want to try to unbolt the radius arms from their mounting points on the body. Good luck here! This is one of the most frustrating pieces of E-type engineering. The radius arms are held to projections on the body by metal cups riding in large rubber bushings. Cut the safety wires (if still present) and undo the bolts. Generally this is easy. Now in theory you should be able to pull the arms free of the body mounts. In practice they are often totally sized and immovable. Bashing on the top of the radius arm does no good as the rubber bushings absorb the blows. Heating is not practical as the rubber will melt and you are close to the gas line on one side.  Mine were seized tight – so I decided to jack up the car and then tackle removal of the  arms using other means.

I ended up having to cut the rubber bushings so I could get the radius arms free. I still had the metal cups stuck onto the body. Sometimes you can soak them with WD40 or PB Blaster and then hammer them or twist with a pipe wrench. None of that worked for me. I had too much rubber on them to use heat. Finally my son (hot rod mechanic) suggested scoring a twisting pattern up the cups (careful not to cut through them to mounts), opening a grove in the base and then using a chisel to open the grove and create a crack on the scored section to open the metal cup up. Sounds complicated – and something you have to do with care – but it worked great.

Bolt holding radius arm bushing and cup to body.

Cut rubber bushing to release arm.

Seized radius arm bushing cup scored, cracked open and removed from body mount - amazingly no damage to mount!

9 Comments

  1. Pingback: Radius Arms @#$% - Jaguar Forums - Jaguar Enthusiasts Forum

    • gmmacdonald says

      Thanks for the comment! In the case of the radius arm mounts on the E-type the bolts were not rusty and came out no problem – just could not budge the arms. Well over a week of soaking with PB Blaster did nothing to loosen them up. We used the approach of a fine cutting blade on a small air grinder to avoid cutting or distorting the mountings – I am not sure I would trust myself with the air chisel on this one except to open up the seam one has cut at the very bottom of the mount which sits below the pivot metal. We just found a couple of whacks with a hammer and chisel opened them up fine. These mounts are a widespread problem and the various fixes people have used to get the arms off make for interesting reading!

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  2. Alan Jackman says

    I have just encountered the radius arm problem (1962 E-type not driven since 1973) and found a somewhat simpler solution. I still had to cut the rubber doughnut and then remove some of the remaining rubber from the cup. But then I screwed a 7/16″ fine threaded bolt into the head of which I had drilled a small centering hole and I attached a good 2-arm pulley puller to the top of the cup and screwed the puller’s screw into the centering hole. The cups popped right off. Not nearly as risky as cutting through the cup.

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  3. Ard Slingeland says

    Sounds more than familiar! (1964 E-type not driven since 1974) The manual described to be very simple. So we took out the bolts and didn´t bother to lower the radius arms before the whole unit was disconnected from the floor. Then the trouble started. Left side gave up after 2 hours finally using a crowbar, not particully a tool for car restauration I thought. The right one needed a good night sleep, a stanley knife, a 2 arm pulley puller and that did the trick in 10 minutes. My estimate is that one can prevent a lot of trouble by doing the trick with the pulley puller when the unit still is hanging on its other mounting points in perfect horizontal position.

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    • gmmacdonald says

      Thanks Ard! It seems like more folks have trouble with these radius arm forward mounting points that can be believed. We had tried a two arm puller against a bolt and just could not get any joy – even after putting lots if WD40 on the thing and letting it soak.

      I definitely would have advised you to get the arms free before dropping the rest of the rear unless you unbolt the arms from the rest. The angle changes when the unit comes down and the arms are in place – perhaps increasing friction. It is funny, because in some ways the rear suspension on the E-type is sophisticated engineering and in other ways it really is a mess.

      I am glad you got yours off! I have to admit our approach was extreme – and requires caution. But…as you found out – what works, works! Good luck!

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  4. I found a very useful tip on the e-type forum. (http://www.etypeuk.com/forum/)
    Place a small piece of steel bar between the inside of the Radius arm and the cup (about 2cm long by 1cm – 3mm thick). Then use the main bolt from the reverse direction – to push down on the steel bar and pop off the radius arm. The radius arm comes off very easily. The captive bolt is accessible inside the body under the rear seat in a S1 2+2 (but not SWB cars).

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    • gmmacdonald says

      Interesting! When my car is back from the paint shop I will have a look – Thanks!

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  5. Have the same problem. Both sides frozen on and to make matters worse the cup bolt sheared off. Hence will have to cut them off and score and chisel the mounting cup. Just a note Rockauto has these at a reasonable price.

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