Friday, June 18, 2010

Front Suspension Installed

June 18, 2010 - After most of last weekend 6/12-6/13 and this evening, I was able to wrap up re-installing the front suspension. Whew! What a job that was.

About a year ago, I spent about 2 weekends wirebrushing and sanding the control arms, auxillary support carrier, and shock aborber struts. I sprayed them with Eastwood's Rust Encapsulator and then spray painted them with black enamel paint.

Of course, the really hard part was getting the old rubber bushings off of the control arms. With the aid of my neighbor Gene aka the Gas Doctor, we heated the control arms with a propane torch just enough to get the rubber soft and was then able to pry the control arm bushing sleeves off of the control arms.

I ordered new polygraphite front control arm bushings from Pelican Parts (a set of 4 for $20) and then proceeded to install them. That was no easy task in itself but my neighbor Tony helped me to brute force them on and into position. Did I say that it's really good to have helping neighbors? I couldn't do all of these things without my neighbors' help. Here's the bushings:

And here's how they fit on:

I purchased a brand new pair of Bilstein front struts from PartsGeek for about $230 over a year ago. I also purchased a set of turbo tie rods from PartsGeek for about $150 a little later. I really don't have a lot of money but if you purchase these items on a monthly basis over a year's period or more, it really is a lot less of a strain on your budget. Oh yeah, I almost forgot the 23mm SwayAway torsion bars from Don's Sport Vehicle for about $230 but it took them 3-4 months to get them to me.

Here's the left turbo tie rod installed:

And the right turbo tie rod:

The ball joints were about $70/piece for a total of $140 from PartsGeek; again, another monthly expense from over a year ago. I had to lower the control arm/carrier assembly after bolting it in place in order to install the ball joints. Once I got the ball joints in place at the bottom of the struts, I also had to lower the struts and slowly raised the control arm/carrier assembly to fit the ball joints into the control arm and then tighten the grooved nuts over the bottom of the ball joints afixing them and the struts to the control arms. Here's the left ball joint:

And right ball joint:

After I got the ball joints installed, I had to slowly raise the control arm/carrier/strut assembly until the top strut bolts fit thru the front shock tower holes. I added the tab washers and locking nuts to the top of the struts and tightened them down.

Both turbo tie rod and ball joint attached to the right strut:

And the left strut:

Here's the right control arm front bushing and torsion bar:

And the left control arm front bushing and torsion bar:

I just need to glue the torsion bar caps back into place and bolt the bushing sleeves to the bottom of the frame.

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