Friday, April 27, 2012

New suspension

The first order of business after getting the car back east was rebuilding the suspension.  And boy what a mess it was.  The front ball joints were about to let go, several of the rubber bushings were completely gone and down to metal on metal, the tie rod ends were about to let go, and there was a ton of slop in the steering gear and idler arm.  The car was completely un-fit to be on any public road, and in any state where I've lived, it would have failed inspection in about 5 seconds.  But not in California.  Amazingly, the land of regulations and laws has no car inspections.  None whatsoever.  You need to get your emissions tested, but your car can be a complete shit box, which this one was, and a complete hazard to yourself and everyone else on the road and California has no problem with that.  Go figure.

Rip, tear, rip, tear.  Out it all came and new everything went in.

Replaced were:
  • Ball joints, top and bottom
  • Upper and lower control arm bushings
  • Outer tie rods
  • Center tie rod
  • Idler arm
  • Sway bar bushings
  • Sway bar links and bushings
  • Trailing arm bushings (both ends)
  • Panhard rod busings
  • Track rod bushings
  • Shocks, front and rear
None of the parts are particularly tricky to replace, but you definitely need some combination of a press and a big vice, along with a large selection of sockets to use as supports and/or press points.

Another trick that is often overlooked is that all the bolts and nuts that lock down the bushings need to be tightened with the car down on the ground, not up in the air on a lift or jacks.  The reason is to ensure that the bushings are in their relaxed position when the car is level on the ground, and that they twist and deflect when the car bounces up or down.  That way the car wants to return to it's natural position.  If you tighten them down with the car in the air then the bushings will all be twisted and stressed when the car is flat on the ground.

Well, once on the ground and tightened up, wow, what a difference.  Suspension is a wonderful thing, and working suspension is a more wonderful thing.  On to the next probem.....


Suspension all removed

Control arms back in with new bushing


Spring and shock back in
 
And finally the wheel hub


Both sides, all done except for the steering links




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