Rebuilding the front and rear suspension on a

1983 Euro Ferrari 308 QV


(Identical to GT/4, GTB, GTS, GTSi, GTBi,

QV models and 328 series to chassis #76625.

Not for the Mondial)



Revision 1.6


27th February 2003


 by Yannis Tzavaras (

Athens, Greece


edited and checked by :


Carl Jones  [] (CJ’s notes are in italic as - CJ)


Shenberger, Christian [] (Chris’s notes are in italic as –SC)




I decided to get this work done as the car was getting on a bit ( ~ 20 years) and after a peek underneath it was obvious that bits of rust were everywhere and that the rubber in the bushings was in none too good a shape. I am an electronics engineer by training with just common sense when it comes to mechanical work. I was however assisted greatly by Carl Jones and Mike Elliot from superformance. Carl is an unofficial authority on the 308 and he was kind enough to edit this document so it should be reasonably free from errors. I found that common sense and having lots of time always solved some –quite tricky- problems that I came across.


Overall, I would say that this is a straight forward job, will improve the car’s feel greatly and is well worth doing. Plan on about ~ 2months of work. Good luck and I would appreciate your comments/suggestion or experiences that can be added to this document





1. Disassembly


1.1 Manuals

It should be noted that there is no workshop manual for the 308QV as such. Instead there exists a 308GT4 workshop manual, a Mondial workshop manual and a 308QV/328 workshop supplement manual. Practically this means that you have to scrounge around to get at the right information. The 308 parts manuals are also helpful as they show a blow-up of the dismantled suspension.


For the manuals also check Steve Jenkins’ site at



1.2 General

Suspend the rear of the car on two jack stands (make sure that you chock the front wheels!) and start removing everything in sight (J) (! well almost - CJ).  I chose to suspend the car on the chassis rails close to the suspension. Place the jacks so that they do not restrict access to the suspension bolts. I assume that an electric lifter that does not lift the wheels can also b e used.


Begin disassembly with 1) the wheels, 2) fiberglass covers, 3) brake lines,  4) handbrake cables, 5) anti-roll bar, 6) coil spring and shock (there is no need for a spring compressor, the coil and the shock come off as a single unit, but be prepared to suspend the hub assembly as it will sag), 6) the outer half – shaft boot and bearing assembly (see below for details) and 7)  the wishbones. Have something handy to plug the brake (SP Brake - CJ) lines as they will leak once disconnected.


Note that the lower A-arms (or wishbones) are removed by loosening the bolts from within the chassis rails and not from the two bolts that are visible from within the wheel well. I.e. you’ll have to crawl underneath the engine.

(Or you can slacken the wishbone “U” supports and move them out a cm or so then undo them from the wishbone side - CJ)



I chose to use new nuts and bolts everywhere from If you decide differently remember to label while removing!


(another source is, I got enough new locknuts for both the front and back suspension for about $30 -SC)


When removing the lower wishbones you’ll come across the camber and toe adjustment shims. They are right next to the chassis rails and are squeezed in by the “U” supports of the lower wishbone. You can disassemble them, as the suspension will need a total adjustment once you are finished, but I suggest that you measure their thickness so that you have a guideline for re-assembly.  (I have seen cars incorrectly set up out of the factory so make sure your alignment is done by a competent shop that can align all 4 wheels - CJ)


Note that if you plan on removing the hubs for either bearing or caliper maintenance you can remove them with the wishbones, otherwise you can leave the hubs and half shafts in place.  However, you must support the hubs on a stand.  Never let then hang, loading the CV joints and especially never support them by the brake lines.  Note that the hubs will tend to fall towards the caliper if you decide to leave the attached to the half shafts - CJ


These photos show the state of the suspension before I touched anything and yes the work was done in the open !


1.3. Half-shaft disassembly

Remove the 6+6 bolts and castle nuts from the half-shaft. This is a lot harder than it sounds. On my car the castle locking nuts would not budge, period... It seems that exhaust heat and rust freezes the nuts, anyway they were totally stuck solid …

In the end, hard, sharp hits with a hammer and chisel split the bolts. Alternatively, snap-on, make a bolt splitting tool that should fit. Other bolt splitting tools will NOT work as they need to wrap around the bolt and the flange of the hub prevents this.  In the photo you can see the Allen side of the bolts and the bearing before and after disassembly. Once the universal joint is split, have some old towels to wipe the grease with (Yes, but make sure you replace the grease with some molybdium dIsulphide grease, the QV manual states MOLYCOTE BR2 - CJ ) and then wrap the joint with a plastic bag and rubber bands so that any remaining grease will be contained. You should not need to remove the rubber boot clips.




1.4. Bushings removal

I had a hell of a time with this. Both inner and outer bushes had excessive rust on mine and were really jammed solid.  The car had been kept in the UK for about 9 years and even though well cared for, this is what wet weather, salt spray etc can do. Most of the rubber was crumbling away as well. The chrome bearings inside the outer bushings were again worn away with the chrome having flaked mostly off.


Note that the inner bushings have two spot welds that have to be ground off. I used a Dremel mini drill, which worked fine. Be careful to totally remove the welds even so far as to grind down the bushing because as the bushing will be pushed out of the wishbone, any remaining weld material will tend to scrape away at the bushing seating area, which is not good…


After a lot of experiments, the best approach for removing the bushings (inner and outer) seemed to be:


1.      Make a jig from a steel tube to support the A-arms. Apparently a (Well that’s nice, I bashed mine out with a hammer! - CJ) socket from a wrench set will also do nicely but I had one made especially at a machine shop. An easy job on a lathe apparently from any machine shop. Check the photo, it is simply a hollowed cylinder that will support the wishbone while allowing the bushing to slide out inside the cylinder.

2.      Spray the bushings with WD-40 or similar and let soak through.

3.      Press the bushings out using a nut and a bolt as a specialized vice. Check photo. Use at least 10mm bolt thickness as the pressure is such that it will either break or the threads will strip. Be prepared to use a lot of force. The squeaks and groans were horrendous….





(I also did the bash them out with a hammer method.  Buy a 1.5” electrical conduit coupler from a hardware store.  Place this on the outside of the busing and pound it out with a ball peen hammer (after grinding away the spot wield and applying  a lot of lubrication).  I originally bought a 12 ton hydraulic press, but I could not get a good angle to press them out. - SC




2. Replacement bushings

Get a totally new set of inner and outer bushings. Do not neglect the outer ones. I got mine from Mike Elliott at  , and I can thoroughly recommend them for their expertise and pricing. Apparently they also supply Ferrari with parts.  Superformance recommend that you use the same type for front and rear even though the workshop manuals say otherwise. Superformance will also sell you different bushing hardness if you are so inclined.


Also you may want to consider other than rubber bushings, especially if you want to do a lot of track time.


(I got mine from Trutland’s – SC )




3. Shocks and springs

Apparently the KONI shock absorbers can be rebuilt and even modified to have adjustable ride height. I personally chose simply to buy new ones.


The springs were sand blasted and powder coated professionally. The reason was that I found it impossible to do the job manually. I also got new bushes for the shocks from superformance as the old ones were really messed up. I neglected however to get a set of rubber pads for the springs, this is where the springs attach to the shocks.


I had the disassembly and assembly done professionally as apparently you can easily kill yourself if one of those springs comes loose.


Another niggle is that as you can see if you watch the photo carefully enough is that the spring is not 100% straight. Apparently and according to CJ this is no big deal and most 308 springs are like this and won’t get worse. Anyway replacements are not expensive. Also remember to measure the spring length before assembly so that you can verify that the springs are in a good state.


Enjoy photos of the coils and shocks before and after. (!)




4. A-arm (wishbone) cleaning

After the bushings were removed I had the A-arms sand blasted while covering the seating area (SP Area) of the bushes with plastic putty (children’s version of). The bushing seating areas were cleaned superficially with sand paper and painted with a simple anti-rust primer as were the bushings in the spots where they would be seated on the wishbones. 


In the photos are the wishbones before and after sandblasting. After sandblasting, go to the next stages quickly as the wishbones are made of mild steel and will pick up rust immediately.


5. Bushings Insertion

Again as for removal I had a special cylinder made to press the bushings in with the bolt and nut vice (see photo). Note that you’ll need two drilled aluminum plates to serve as guides and platforms for the nut and bolt vice. Also note that you’ll need to drill a small hole in the case of the inner side of the outer bushings (Not really, the dowel pin is removable with a pair of pliers.  Note it’s really important to make sure the bearing surface is not damaged during insertion so use the old Teflon washer as a sacrificial surface- CJ) so as not to crush the small dowel pin that will hold the Teflon coated washer in place. It’ll be obvious when you try and do it. Make sure that the aluminum (or other material) plates remain parallel during the whole insertion process as the forces are quite high and the bushing may go in crooked.


The inner bushings were then argon welded. (It is absolutely necessary to have the bushes sit absolutely flush with the wishbone.  Any gap will allow axial movement of the bush within the wishbone and eventually the locating welds will crack and the bush may damage the wishbone to the point where the wishbone fails.  I have seen this happen - CJ) I took special care to make sure that the bushings did not move and that the welding was done quickly so as to minimize any damage to the rubber. I placed 3 welds per bushing compare to the original two. (see photo) Apparently that is not too important as the welds are only there to prevent rotation of the inner bushing in relation to the wishbone. 


Note that the insertion force was in my case –much- smaller than the force used in the extraction.


In addition, when inserting the outer Teflon bushes I suggest that you remove the inner Teflon coated bearing and then wrap the bolt used as a vice  in paper tape as to prevent damage to the Teflon coating. Once the main body of the bushing is in then you can insert the inner one.  The pressures were such that the inner Teflon coated bearing  (I installed the Teflon lined bushes in the larger bush before installation - CJ) was harder to insert after the outer bushing was pressed in the wishbone as apparently the whole outer bushing was being squeezed – slightly- radially, but enough to change the tolerances. Impressive !


(I again used the 1.5” conduit coupler as a backing plate and used a 5” bench vice (the flat surfaces keep everything straight) to push the bushings in (applying a lot of lubrication).  I did this for the front, I do not know if the back is the same or not. – SC)



6. Painting


6.1 Hammerite

As I mentioned I had primed with anti rust paint the seating areas of the bushings and the bushings before insertion. The inserted bushings were then wrapped carefully in paper tape to prevent paint from reaching the Teflon bearings. 4 coats of satin finish Hammerite, painted in 6-8 hour intervals and finally given a coat of hammerite spray paint. The results as per the photos including assistant... In addition and as a final touch up the visible seating areas of the wishbones and the bushings were given a spray of elasticized paint to totally prevent water ingress.


6.1 Powder coating

Alternatively you may want to powder coat the wishbones. I had heard a number of opinions on this and no clear winner. According to CJ at least, the wishbones will flex during driving and he has seen powder coating flake off, so it’s really up to you to choose



7. Uprights


7.1 Cleaning

Since these were totally free to work on I decide to have a go at cleaning them. This again proved hard due to all the grime and grease that had accumulated. On the QV the uprights are alloy but I heard that on GT4’s at least they are cast iron so the cleaning method may be different. I first removed the short brake line, and plugged the brake fluid inlet with putty. I also taped up with paper tape the brake pad slot and the CV joint attachment. I then sprayed the whole upright (not the disc) with a mild oven cleaner and let it stand for ~ 20 minutes and then wiped with a damp cloth and repeated several times. Then I used a mild wire brush on a drill and a mini wire brush on a Dremel mini drill to totally clean all areas.

The results were not perfect but luckily the bit that is visible, i.e the outer part of the brake caliper came out shiny. In any case as CJ says why bother as the whole thing will be looking like sh.. in two months time (?!).


7.2 Brake Pads


7.2.1 Screw plug removal problems

Once the uprights were cleaned up the logical thing was to replace the pads. Again more trouble here than anticipated. The reason is that to get the new pads on, and this apparently is only true for the rear pads, the pistons have to be retracted via two embedded Allen screws. The outer one was no problem, I just removed the plastic cup. The inner one was a bummer. The problem was that the Allen cover screw would not budge. My efforts led to a destroyed allen recess, and no amount of simple pliers work would free it (this would have been impossible with the calipers in place though…..). I decided not to drill it out. The method I used and hope that no-one has to repeat this was –very- carefully to mark and cut the sides of the allen screw plug and basically turn it from a circle into a hexagon. Once that was done it was simple to use a socket wrench to turn the screw. However now I had a plug that maybe would not seal 100%. In the end, I decided to take it to a machine shop and have a replacement made that hopefully will do the job.


Now the pistons can be retracted by turning the outer and inner allen screws respectively. I heard that this must be done very slowly and carefully.  Detailed descriptions on how to do this for the specific ATE rear calipers are also found in the Mondial (!) workshop manual, (God or Enzo only knows why.) Once the pistons are retracted it is simple to remove the pads, pins and paraphernalia.  



7.2.2 Pad replacement and pad area cleaning

Once the pads and paraphernalia were removed I had a go at cleaning the pad area. That has to be done carefully with alcohol solvent and compressed air only as the rubber seals are sensitive. Also remember to wear a mask as asbestos is sometimes used in pads and may be present in the dust.


Replace the pads, noting the mark that has to be aligned with the direction of rotation and expand the pistons until there is 0.1mm of clearance between the pad and the disk. Apparently this clearance has to be reset after the car has been driven a while.


7.3 Brake lines

To get the old rubber lines out you need to remove the two clips that hold the ends in place

I replaced the old rubber lines with stainless steel Teflon lined ones again from Apparently these will improve the feel and definitely the look of the suspension. I got rid of the clips used to hold the old rubber lines in place.




8. Anti-roll bar

Cleaning and painting of the anti-roll bar was pretty straightforward. It was a bit of a pain getting the steel/rubber bushings out though. The old trusted method of using a bolt vice and a set of hex sockets of the right size did the trick. In the photos you can see the condition of the roll-bar links before and after and of the vice used to insert the new steel/rubber bushings in place. Pretty straightforward if you’ve already done the A-arms.




9. Preparation for assembly


9.1 The calipers and hubs were cleaned thoroughly in preparation for assembly. I used a simple oven cleaner to get rid of accumulated grease, etc followed by a high temperature lacquer paint on the brake calipers (after taping off sensitive areas) in the hope that they would look better and that they would be less prone to attracting brake dust.


9.2 The arms were then connected to the hub with the Teflon coated inner bushings. This is pretty straightforward but be careful to put everything in its place and – very important- note that the Teflon coated washers with the hole for the dowel pin have to go in with the Teflon coated side (the blackish side) looking towards the hub and not the A-Arm. This is where all the rubbing will take place. The bolt needed a bit of persuasion with a rubber hammer before it would go in. Finally tighten both upper and lower bushings to their final torque values (7kgm as per the manuals).


9.3. Also connect the new brake line as it will be easier to do this on the bench rather than in situ and then tape up with paper tape the A-arms and the brake line ready for transport (if needed) to the car.


9.4 In my case I needed to prepare the lock nuts that would hold the CV joint in place. Mine were wider than normal and one side had to be ground off and checked with the flange to make sure that it would sit properly. This may not be necessary in your case.



9.5 Divide the suspension adjustment shims in 4 equal width parts and place on lower forks. This is just so that you’ll be able to drive the car to the wheel alignment shop, do not leave in permanently !!


The blow-up of the suspension in the 308 parts manual is useful in this process.



10. Re-assembly


I assume that the hubs are connected to the A-arms (wishbones). Have someone on hand to assist by taking the weight off of the suspension while you do the insertion, placement of bolts, etc .


See photo (the right suspension has been inserted, the left is ready to be put in)




It is important to get the order right for re-assembly. The recommended order is :


  1. Insert lower A-arm and U forks through suspension. The rear U fork will have a hard time getting through; you will need to twist the whole assembly a bit when you are doing this. Have someone help you by taking the weight off of the assembly.
  2. Place the 21mm bolts and washers on the forks from the inside of the suspension loosely
  3. Clean both parts of the CV joint of any remaining grease with an old towel.
  4. Fill up the CV joint with graphite grease. The manual states 140gr, which means fill both sides of the CV joint to the brim with grease with a spatula or similar.
  5. Put the 6 10mm (8mm socket) Allen bolts and lock nuts loosely in the CV joint. The grease is thick enough not to fall out. Don’t forget to run the bolts through the special long washers (3 per CV joint)
  6. Insert the upper rubber bushings in the upper forks of the chassis and put the nuts and bolts in loosely.
  7. Tighten the 21mm nuts on the bolts going through the chassis (8kgm).
  8. Level the lower A-arm to horizontal by suspending it with a wire or rope from the chassis. Check with a level meter placed on the lower A-arm.  THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT OTHERWISE YOU WILL PLACE UNDUE STRESS ON THE RUBBER BUSHINGS WHEN THE SUSPENSION IS LOADED. Alternatively, I heard that these nuts maybe tightened last with the cars sitting on its wheels. I haven’t tried this and cannot recommend it therefore.
  9. Tighten the upper and lower bushings to the final value (7kgm) with a torque wrench. Note that you may need a special adaptor for most torque wrenches to get at the upper rear nut, which is very close to the chassis.
  10. Move the rubber boot from the CV joint towards the inner half of the half-shaft so that it will not get damaged during the bolt tightening process.
  11. Tighten the CV joint nuts. Do this in steps moving cross-wise and tighten the bolts with an 8mm Allen socket extension to their final torque value of 8kgm
  12. Bring back the rubber boot and clamp it with the two special fasteners (dimples on the inner side). Be careful not to damage the rubber boots !!! It seems that as an alternative a stron plastic cable tie will do even though I heard that heat from the exhaust may affect it. Up to you to choose.
  13. Remove the wire or rope holding the suspension horizontally (step 8) allowing it to fall as far as possible. Check the rubber bushings. They should not rotate but should have a nice “springy” motion.
  14. Insert the shock absorber and spring combination. If the shock absorber will not fit you will need to use spring compressors. I found that the best approach was to place the lower part of the shock on the hub and compress the spring while in place. The reason is that the working space is pretty restricted and you will need judgment as to where to place the spring compressors. Be careful to compress the spring evenly and be careful so as not to lose the securing pins (half-circles) that hold the spring to the shock absorber plates. These will loosen up as you compress. Once the shock is in, insert bolts and nuts (easier said than done – check the parts manual for the blow-up picture), and tighten to the final torque value (5,6 or 7kgm – check the manuals). Be very careful with the spring compressors !!
  15. Connect brake line, tighten and check for free play and that it is not close to the exhaust.
  16. Repeat steps 1-15 for the other side
  17. Insert anti-roll bar. Keep the two rubber supports (D-type) loose and tighten last. Note the low (2.1kgm) value for the bolts connecting the roll bar and the wishbone to the aluminum link.
  18. Connect handbrake cables and adjust the dual long nut. Tighten the two small securing nuts.


Done ! Now you are ready for brake bleeding, putting on the fiberglass covers, the wheels, and heading for the alignment shop.


P.S. The alignment values are available in the 308GT4 manual and in the 308/328 owners manuals.






11. Disassembly

The disassembly of the front suspension is in many respects similar to the rear, but easier in many respects. The manuals suggested in section 1.1 are still relevant. Differences consist of the need to remove the steering arms from the hub and the different shims and universal joints. On the other hand, not having to remove drive shafts is great !!


Recommended order


  1. Remove and plug brake lines  (they leak!). Also remove the small ‘S” shaped brake tube. The brake lines on factory QV’s are held by a spring clip that can be tapped out with a hammer and screwdriver, then the brake line can be wiggled out of its hole.
  2. Unscrew and tap out the steering arm joints. Suspend with a piece of wire as they will sag
  3. Unscrew the two large bolts on each brake (not strictly necessary to remove brakes if all you want to do is the suspension). Be careful not to lose the round alignment shims that might fall out.
  4. Unscrew the anti-torsion bar assembly and wiggle the bar out of the front bay carefully.
  5. Unscrew the bottom screw of the spring and shock. If the wheels are hanging then the spring is not loaded and you do not need a spring compressor. Verify this by noting how easy it is to tap out the bolt just in case.
  6. Remove the hub by removing the remaining 3 bolts. Be vary careful not to lose the long shims.
  7. Remove the top small bolt (towards the front of the car) from the A-arm U-support and then remove partially the long (rear) bolt. This has to be done in this order otherwise the long bolt will not come out. Do not remove the lower bolts (you can’t even if you try !.......). Crawl underneath the car and remove the square aluminum cover. You should then see the two large bolts that hold the lower suspension in place. Remove them totally.
  8. Being careful not to lose the shims from the lower U supports, remove the whole hub and A-arm unit in one piece. You may need a friend to help you as the assembly is a bit heavy.


Below are some photos from what I found underneath my car…….