This is the first time I have fitted uprights without the “special nuts” which need a special 3/4” thin-walled long-reach socket to fit. Its replacement is the “Top Hat” spacer and a standard 1/2” UNF 1/2 nut. I found fitting this top hat spacer difficult, tight is not the word! 

I tried reversing the spherical bearing as per Caterham 662A Workshop Notice, but it still wouldn’t fit. I eventually realised that the cause of my problem was the temperature difference between the car (stored in the cold garage) and the top hat spacer which was at relatively warm room temperature. The solution: putting the top hat in the freezer for a few hours so it expands, if only by the smallest of margins. This made all the difference, and getting the spacer nearly into place was now a lot simpler. 

The uprights and ball joints are a mixture of metric and imperial fittings. If you are unsure what tool to use, just look at the lock nuts: if the nylon is blue its a metric fixing, white is imperial. 

Mix of metric and imperial fixings

I removed the nuts from the track rod and upper wishbone ball joint and also took off the plastic cover from the track rod ball joint, before the top hat came out of the freezer. The final bit of preparation was to slide the thin spacer onto the upright. It only wants to go one way, so don’t force it.

Once I retrieved the top hat from the freezer, I inserted it into the lower wishbone spherical bearing, before the upright was lowered into the lower wishbone spherical bearing. Be careful not to push the top hat out of the bearing. Next, I fitted and tightened the 1/2” UNF nut to the lower wishbone / upright, while the top hat was still cold, to pull it into its final position. Hold the upright at all times so it doesn’t fall. 

I suggest adding the track rod ball joint at this stage – even if it’s just finger tight – to stabilise the upright so it doesn’t swing into the side skin. 

Now fit the top ball joint from the upper wishbone into the upright. Lifting the upper wishbone to get the thread of the ball joint into the hole is simple enough, but not enough thread was visible to attach the tightening nut. I solved this by lifting the lower wishbone with a jack. The tightening nut is a non-nyloc nut to make pulling the ball joint into the taper easier. With the use of a 6mm Allen key and a 22mm ring spanner the upper ball joint taper is pulled tight with the tightening nut, then the tightening nut is removed.  

Next remove the axle nut (3/4” ring spanner) and discard the washer. 

Fitting the wing-stay wasn’t as simple as expected. Locate it on the upper ball joint first, then slide it onto the axle. However, as you can see from the photos, my LHS wing-stay didn’t look like it was going to fit. Derek from Caterham Cars confirmed that this can sometimes be a problem, and the solution is to lift the wing-stay using the wing-stay arms. This seems brutal, but it did permit the wing-stay fitting. 

Now it’s just a case of tightening all the fixings. The upper ball join is difficult to access, so a wobbly extension bar is or similar needed. The track rod end ball joint may need pressure from the top to lock the taper, but hand pressure is sufficient. 

I torqued the track rod ball joint to 34Nm. I found this information in the old manual, as no torque setting is listed in the new manual. The axle nut is torqued to 81Nm, the top ball joint to 61Nm and the lower upright nut to 54Nm. 

Tools used to fit uprights

Tools Used

  • 3/4″ 3/8 Socket
  • 22mm 3/8 Socket
  • 17mm 3/8 Socket
  • 3/8 Extensions (wobbly)
  • 3/8 Ratchet
  • 22mm Combination Spanner
  • 3/4″ Combination Spanner
  • 3/8 Torque wrench
  • Jack and lifting block