Sunday, March 22, 2015

MOT Prep - Wrecked Rear Rubber Replaced

With the weather picking up recently, I'm thinking about getting the Mini back on the road so it can earn its keep once more. The only problem is though, both the tax and MOT have expired over winter while the car was declared SORN. So with the MOT in mind, I have been looking around the car to see if there are any obvious MOT failures. One thing that sticks out straight away, and it's down to the curse of crappy quality rubber yet again, are the rear knuckle joints I fitted back in January last year. Bearing in mind I took the car off the road in November last year, after 11 months of use, they look like this...

Utterly knackered after 11 months.

This is very frustrating as you expect stuff to last more that 11 months, but rather than rant about the woeful quality of rubber at the moment, I will just get on and fix it

Getting the knuckle joint out
After jacking the car up and taking off the roadwheel on the passenger side, I tried in vain to get the suspension components out without taking the shock absorber off, the reason being that to get the shock absorber off, the fuel tank needs to be removed and I wanted to avoid the extra work.

Even though I managed to wind the Hi-Lo down to its shortest setting and separate the suspension cone, there was just no way it was coming out with the shock absorber in place.

Grudgingly I accepted the fact that the fuel tank had to be moved, so undoing the lower bolt on the fuel tank strap and removing the fuel cap, I was able to slip the neck out of the rubber housing and move the tank over enough to get at the nut that secures the top of the shock absorber. There was just enough space to get in without undoing the fuel hose which was particularly helpful as I didn't have to drain the tank.

Undo the strap.

Once the fuel tank was shoved over, the cap was replaced to stop the fumes escaping.

Moved tank just enough.

With the fuel tank to the side, the top nut on the shock absorber could be undone allowing the radius arm to drop right down out of the way. The suspension components were now free to be removed from the car.

The ball part of the knuckle was simply pulled away leaving the nylon cup sat in the radius arm. As I didn't have any spares, I had to carefully pull the existing nylon cup out with a pair of pliers without it getting too chewed up.

Nylon cup...

Thankfully it decided to come out without a fight

Rebuilding the knuckle joint
Getting fed up with the dreadful quality of rubber recently, I decided it wasn't worth replacing them with the same old rubbish, so I was going to need an alternative. Shopping around though, alternatives are a bit thin on the ground as I suspect all the retailers use the same supplier.

Looking around my shed, I did have something that looked like a track rod end cover. It was the wrong shape, but it did feel like a better quality of rubber to the touch.

Turning it inside out it suddenly looks more like the correct shape and when stuffed with grease and mounted on the assembled knuckle joint, it turns out to be a very good fit indeed. This is what I call a result!

I have no idea if this will last longer than the standard dust covers, only time will tell, but I think it's worth a try.

As this may become a regular task, I really don't want any parts seizing up, so I like to use a generous coating of copper slip on all the parts prior to assembly. I think of it as a future investment in maintenance.

First thing is to push the nylon cup back into the radius arm. I also made sure that the new rubber was coated in grease for extra protection.

Next is the Hi-Lo and its strut.

And finally it's the turn of the rubber cone.

As the suspension was too low before I started, I opened out the screw that sets the height on the Hi-Lo a little further than before to raise it up a bit. In order to transfer that to the other side, I measured the gap with a ruler and wrote it down. It's not terribly accurate, but it's better than nothing.

Happy with my roughly guessed suspension height, I lifted the radius arm up and re-attached the shock absorber back in place with its top nut. I always use a strap wrench to hold the top of the shock absorber as I turn the nut, otherwise the shock absorber just rotates with the nut.

Once the petrol tank was back in place, which wasn't too much of a struggle, the last job was to reattach the road wheel and this side was done.

The other side was very much the same, but without the added task of having to faff about with the fuel tank. As a consequence it was a lot easier and took less time.

<Next Post> - 'Cleaning the Clutch Housing'
<This Post> - 'MOT Prep - Wrecked Rear Rubber Replaced'

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