Sunday, August 28, 2016

Front End, Part 1

I've decided to get started on the front suspension.  Mainly, because they're in the crates closest to my workbench, and because I think it will be pretty easy.

First, the easy part: clean the front springs.  They took a quick bath and are ready to go.


After that, my first stop was the rear dampers (shock absorbers to us Yanks).  Fortunately, they're still in fine working order after 12 years of storage.  I simply cleaned them up a bit.  I may paint them, but it's not really necessary.  Yes, I know they're not part of the front end, but they were in the same crate.

Now, on to the front suspension.  Not much to it--a lower A arm (because it's shaped like an A), a spring and spring carrier, a kingpin and stub axle assembly that holds the front hub and brake disc, and the damper which also does double duty as the upper suspension link.  Here's everything but the stub axle assemblies; I'll get to those later, because they're in the other crate.


Yuck.  It's hard to imagine they were once clean and shiny, even though I made them that way when I installed them.

I started with the front dampers... first, a good cleaning, and then an inspection.

One was fine, but the other had almost no resistance to movement.  Something inside was Not Good.  So I decided to open 'er up, and it turns out that the lack of resistance is due to a lack of fluid.  Somehow, most of it leaked out, but I don't see where as there's no trail of fluid.  Anyhow, here's the innards.

It's pretty simple.  There are two pistons with a fluid channel between them, which is restricted by a valve.  The action of the arm turns a shaft which pushes one of the pistons down and pulls the other up.  The whole thing is filled with fluid, and in my case most of that was missing.

So, to the rescue!

This is a lightweight, 20w oil, and it's blue.  I must have done this before, as the bottle was only half full.  I don't remember that, but heck, I don't remember eating breakfast some days.

Anyhow, the rest of the damper looks OK.  If there's a leak, it will be at the shaft seal, and worst case I'll have to send away for a rebuilt unit.  They're getting expensive though, so I'd like to not have to do that.

I filled the damper up and exercised it a few times to bleed the fluid channel, and it works fine.  I checked the other one too, and it was full of fluid and is as I mentioned working fine.

A coat of paint finished it off:

That's when I ran out of paint, so I had to settle for disassembling and cleaning the A arms.

I had bought some polyurethane bushings for the A arms and upper links, and they're still in good nick.  The A arms and spring carriers are also in fine shape, and a final scrub and coat of paint will finish everything off.

Next, I'll tackle the stub axles and get them ready to rumble.

I'll have emptied enough crates and bins that I need to bring something else down from the attic.  Yay!  I'm making progress... but it's going to cool off soon (down to the 90's) and I can think about finishing off the body work.  So I want to get as much stuff cleaned as I can before then.

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