Friday, April 26, 2013

Tracking and bulkhead welded

Booked the car in with the Hue at Inspect A Car to have to the tracking checked and also to fix the problem with the top engine steady. The top engine steady attaches to a bracket on the bulkhead. I had noticed that the bracket had sheared, which was the reason it felt like the engine was moving when I stepped on and off the accelerator at about 40 mph.

Unfortunately, the bracket also hosts the clutch pipe, so that needed to be removed before welding. Also as a precaution, the carburettor was removed just in case!

Anyway, it was all money well spent as it feels a lot better now when driving along, firstly because the steering is more positive, but mostly because the horrible engine movement is much, much better. I has not totally been removed as I suspect that there is some play in the rubber bushes on the steady bar itself. I guess if I changed them to polyurethane, it would be stiffer, but I will stick with the rubber for now. I might invest in an extra engine steady if it annoys me too much.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Drivers side suspension done

Took me most of the morning, but I got the drivers side suspension installed. Getting the upper arm pin in was the trickiest part as there was very little space behind the clutch, but it was doable without removing any clutch parts. Quite straight forward install really with no problems. The last thing to do is to pack the upper arm with grease when my grease gun arrives. Once the car was back on all wheels, I checked the ride height which was very similar to when I started as I set the HiLo's to the minimum setting.

I will tinker with the HiLo settings over the next week to get the ride height I am happy with. Then to the garage to have the tracking sorted. I did have a quick drive up and down the street to check all was well and the handling was so much better. Hit a few bumps in the road to see how much better it was. Before, it was horrible if you hit a bump, there was a spine shattering bang as the car went over, but now it feels perfect. I am very pleased with the whole job.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Passenger side suspension done

Well it took forever and there were many obstacles to overcome, but the passenger side suspension is now back in. After a huge amount of cleaning, I painted the upper and lower arms with Hammerite smooth. I started with black, but decided it was too boring, tried blue, but hated it and eventually went for red. I did struggle to get a decent finish with the Hammerite as it was like treacle and after a several failed attempts decided to pay someone to do them in 2pac. While they were away, I placed an order with Mini Spares for all the parts I needed to replace. All the bushes were knackered and needed replacing. I also decided to upgrade the front tie bars as one was bent and the other looked a bit iffy. I cleaned 25 years of crud off the car subframe using Gunk and stared the assemble. I remembered to put the cone in before the top arm thankfully. The top arm was straight forward, as was the cone.

The compression tool worked very well. Put in the HiLo and the knuckle joint all quite easy if a little fiddly. The bottom arm presented a slight problem as the new pin needed little filing so it would fit in the hole in the subframe, apart from that, no problem. The new tie bar was adjustable, so I made sure it was exactly the same size as the old ones and installed them also. Ball joints on and torqued everything up to the correct torque given in the Haynes manual and job done. Very pleased to have this side complete. I did obviously put the radiator back in and gave it a quick polish. Just the other side to do now. I have read that the clutch cylinder is in the way on the drivers side, but I am hoping to install the top arm without removing it. we will see tomorrow.

Actually, in the pictures shown, you will see that I forgot to put the knuckle joint dust covers in place before putting the arms on. This was a pain to sort out as I had to crack the joints again, compress the cone, lift off the arms and put the dust cover in place. Lesson learned!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Even more suspension

Well as work commenced, I decided to remove the lower suspension arm also as it didn't feel like it was moving properly. Again, this was a mammoth task as the bush sleeves had corroded onto the bolt. Anyway, I tried to use a G clamp to push the bolt out, but no luck, so then I used a small drill to weaken the rubber and eventually it gave way.

However the sleeves were so corroded to the bolt, I decided to replace the bolt. I also had to split the lower ball joint which was also way harder than it should have been as the splitter would not fit onto the ball joint. I ended up using a file to alter the shape of the splitter to make it fit.

The front of the tie bar was pretty easy to undo. There was a problem also with the tie bar bolt as the threads had gone and the bolt needed to be split. So a new nut and bolt ordered there. Now just a job of cleaning everything.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

More Suspension

Todays job was to remove the upper arm. I knew I needed to break the taper on the ball joint so I went a bought a cheap ball joint breaker that worked a treat. Then it became obvious what the problem was as the upper arm would hardly move up and down. There was no way that the shaft was going to come out so I spent the next hour hacksawing through the back of the bolt, but still it would not come out. So I started work on sawing through the front part of the bolt, which was much harder as I had about one inch of movement on the saw. Anyway, 2 hours later and one blistered thumb, I was able to remove the upper arm. Clamping it in a vice, I hammered the shaft out and could see that it was packed with rust. The needle bearings were completely knackered and just rusted into place. Spent the next hour or so cleaning the gunk off the arm and clearing away the rust. Managed to remove the old bearings with a small grinder. I also removed the grease nipple as it to was rusted up. I ordered a replacement shaft, bearings and grease nipple from Mini Spares, but they will not arrive until Monday. Today is Thursday so will just have to wait until they arrive before work can commence. Just goes to show what happens if you don't keep the bearings packed with grease. Dread to think what the other side of the car is going to be like. Anyway, At least I got the old rubber cone out, which looked a little squished.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I started work on replacing the passenger side suspension. I collected 2 standard rubber cones, a set of Hi Lo's and 2 new knuckle joints from Mini Spares in Harrogate. I started work yesterday and having removed the wheel and shock absorber, started to compress the cone using the cone compression tool. Managed that OK, but the trumpet needed a little hammering to come free. Once the trumpet was free it was immediately obvious that the top arm would need to come out to remove the cone. To do this I needed to undo the bolt on the upper arm support shaft and after removing the 2 bolts at the other end, just push the shaft out. That was the theory. It was obvious that I needed to remove the radiator again to get at the 2 bolts that hold the front of the shaft to the sub frame. Then the problems started as the shaft was seized onto the upper arm with no chance of just sliding out. That is where I left it for the day. Curiously the trumpet was filled with a white powder which I think must be aluminium oxide.