Sunday, 21 March 2010

DHC report nr. 78; Steering rack and rear suspension

With spring in the air, the temperatures outside rising, and the deadline for completion of the DHC nearing, I spent some time in the shed over the past few days. First I wanted to fit a new steering rack. But before I wanted to fit it to the car I thought it a good idea to refit the gaiters, as they weren’t fitted properly. And while I was wrestling with the gaiters, Robbie came in to have a look at what I was doing. When he spotted the gaiters, he invited me to use one of his tools to tie them down with stainless bands. Looks much nicer than cable ties!

With the gaiters tied down nicely, fitting the rack to the sub frame was only a matter of minutes.

Wanted to fit the track rod ends next, only to find I forgot to prepare a pair of lock nuts. As the track rod ends are the only items left to do on the front suspension, I could only switch to the rear. Which meant fitting the back axle.
The axle itself was prepared over the past few weeks. The other parts of the rear suspension were (powder) coated and fitted with poly bushes a few years ago. So these only needed cleaning, easy but time consuming. Usually I reuse the old bolts while refitting suspension parts, but this time I managed to lay my hands on a box of high tensile (10.8) bolts with the correct diameter (7/16”) and length (3”), with matching nyloc nuts and sturdy 3mm thick washers. These can be difficult to find over here in our Metric part of the world.

When refitting the back axle I always start with fitting the upper links to the body, torque them down only so much that they remain in position.

After that I cleaned and (re)fitted the poly-bush spring seats and bump stops that came of the car when I dismantled her.

And fitted the lower links to the back axle and put the complete axle assembly on a simple wooden trolley, which I use to store spare axles. This makes it easier to manoeuvre the axle in place underneath the car. Usually I use a trolley jack for this, but the floor in the shed is a bit uneven, making it difficult to align the axle under the car single handed.

With the axle aligned properly under the car I encountered the only real problem so far. The lower links wouldn’t move into the chassis mounting points. But with perseverance, a little bit of swearing and some brute force (tricky with the car on axle stands) I eventually got the left hand lower link more or less in place. A collection of drifts got the alignment of the holes sorted, enabling the bolt to be fitted.

As could be expected the other side also put up a bit of a fight but had to surrender in the end. So with the lower links mounted to the car it was time to remove the trolley, to replace it with the trusty old trolley jack. Actually not that easy when you are working alone, but with some wooden blocks I got the trolley from underneath the axle and the jack in place. This then allowed me to move the axle about a bit, enabling me to align the upper links and slipping the bolts in place. With all axle mounting bolts in place it was time to fit the springs, connect the rear dampers and torque down all bolts.

Next stage will be fitting the half shafts and rear drums.

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