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Captive subframe bolts no longer captive

322 Views 15 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  dojj
Hi guys,

back with yet another issue on my mondeo 馃槀

I鈥檝e just fitted 2 new front wishbones, track rod ends, struts, ect..

I dropped the subframe on the rear to get the wishbones in but found it too tight so dropped the front a few threads and got them all in.

Well my luck would have it that soon as I began doing up the front the captive nut on the inside broke free and has stopped me doing the subframe up.

I鈥檝e searched them forums with some most non conclusive answers cut a hole under the fuse box to weld back up after sorting the subframe. Well to my understanding a deep 20mm socket should have broke the bolt free but it seems recessed in a hole and quite difficult to access with 2 different deep 20mm sockets and a long extension.

can anyone point me in the right direction for what I need? The cars due an MOT in a few days time so I鈥檓 quite hasty to get this sorted.

its a 2.2 st tdci however I鈥檓 not sure it makes much difference because the suspensions essentially the same across the mk3s from what I can tell.
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Are you talking front subframe bolts? You shld never use the bolts to jack up a subframe! You shld use a jack to lift the weight of the sframe to the underside of the body and then tighten the bolts. *(Called workshop best practise)
*Same goes for lowering sframe - you should fully support the sframe right up to the underside of the body, and only then undo the bolts, THEN lower the sframe on the jack.
You're not the 1st to make the mistake!
If it's front, then you have to cut open the floor to reveal the not-so-captive nut and ideally get it welded back. There's a guy on youtube who did it and I'll try to find his video.
Are you talking front subframe bolts? You shld never use the bolts to jack up a subframe! You shld use a jack to lift the weight of the sframe to the underside of the body and then tighten the bolts. *(Called workshop best practise)
*Same goes for lowering sframe - you should fully support the sframe right up to the underside of the body, and only then undo the bolts, THEN lower the sframe on the jack.
You're not the 1st to make the mistake!
If it's front, then you have to cut open the floor to reveal the not-so-captive nut and ideally get it welded back. There's a guy on youtube who did it and I'll try to find his video.
that would be great if you can find a link?

I supported the subframe on the way down with the jack just got caught up in things after a few rusty bolts and wanted to get it back together. I鈥檝e got a mate whos going to weld it back up when I鈥檝e sorted it. I鈥檓 just struggling to get to this bolt.
I don鈥檛 see how to access the bolt from the floor pan as it鈥檚 at the front of the car it鈥檚 inside the chassis rail. I could be wrong I鈥檓 not the brightest and still learning after all 馃槀

thanks for the help I鈥檒l have a look on YouTube for the video but when I search there鈥檚 almost no results normally.
the front subframe front bolts need to be accessed by taking out the wheel arch liner and moving anything thats in the way so you can access the chassis leg to cut a square or at least a flap out of so you can tighten the bolt or reweld the captive nut. Theres no info on this anywhere I could ever find, its a wing it job but can be done.

the front subframe rear bolts are accessed under the carpet in the front wheel wells as Nicam says.
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This guy, retro restore did it wrong too!
the front subframe front bolts need to be accessed by taking out the wheel arch liner and moving anything thats in the way so you can access the chassis leg to cut a square or at least a flap out of so you can tighten the bolt or reweld the captive nut. Theres no info on this anywhere I could ever find, its a wing it job but can be done.

the front subframe rear bolts are accessed under the carpet in the front wheel wells as Nicam says.
View attachment 260869
thank you, do you know what size the the bolt was ?
This guy, retro restore did it wrong too!
that鈥檚 great thanks, I鈥檝e gave it a watch and I鈥檝e got a bit more of an idea what to do now
If you watch the parts either side of that one, he goes into some detail about going to Ford's in Lincoln to get the right bolt and has a rant about being given the wrong part....
I'm confused with this thread now lol what bolt is it your struggling to get to? and what captive nut is it thats broken free, youve said its at the front of the car which is why I made the picture to show you how to access it, but then your saying that Nicams video has helped but thats not the front one, thats the front subframe rear bolt thats under the carpet in the footwell, you also said you need to sort it before your mate welds it, but its needs welded for you to be able to sort it lol
I'm confused with this thread now lol what bolt is it your struggling to get to? and what captive nut is it thats broken free, youve said its at the front of the car which is why I made the picture to show you how to access it, but then your saying that Nicams video has helped but thats not the front one, thats the front subframe rear bolt thats under the carpet in the footwell, you also said you need to sort it before your mate welds it, but its needs welded for you to be able to sort it lol
it is the front of the car, nicams video just gave me a better idea at how he got the bolt out, I was hoping I could get spanner on the nut and remove it before the welder gets here tomorrow but I guess I鈥檒l have to wait.
Im very appreciative for the image too, as that is the side where I鈥檓 having the issue also.
ahh right I get you now, yeah theres no way to get a spanner on it without cutting a square or a flap in the chassis to access the nut, happened on all 4 of my bolts on the st.
Right pig of a job to sort but almost on the other end of it now. Thanks for the help guys, cut it open welded the captive back in place with a nice big blob of weld just lost daylight for patching it up.
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Follow up, got the car all back together and now the gearbox seems to lift when the wheel does a full rotation forwards or back. Causes a judder at each full rotation of the wheel.

I haven鈥檛 left the driveway yet to prevent more damage. I鈥檓 guessing the driveshaft isn鈥檛 seated properly but if anyone has any ideas I鈥檓 willing to listen.. mots this afternoon not really what I wanted to happen at this point.
yup sounds like the driveshaft isnt seated or maybe one of the bearings have came off the tripod on the inner cv joint, its quite common for this to happen and is an easy fix, just take inner cv boot off, replace bearing and redo the cv boot, really messy job though.
Alright, I鈥檝e reseated the driveshaft and pulled the cv boot off and reconnected it there.

Before refitting the control arm to the strut it turned freely as it should as soon as I fitted the control arm it gets stuck as if it hits a wall towards the end of a full rotation and locks up causing the gearbox to lift.
I鈥檝e got no idea what鈥檚 causing it at this point.. moving freely before the brand new control arm is fitted leads me to think an issue with the arm
now i've seen that the issue is, i feel i might have the same problems with mine, hate to cut a hole in the car to weld it up though :(
i would probably find a more robust solution such as doing al the welding on the outside of the car by welding that nut to a big plate and then slotting it back inside again after it was coated and galvanized etc
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