Sunday, August 14, 2016

"Driving Ms. Swan", the Continuing Story....

Well, I've been banging away on my 1985 Supra in preparation for the "Supras in Vegas" show in September.

Got the gearbox oil changed, and my "Short Throw Shifter" installed.

No, it's not the "snick-snick" you'd get from a Hurst Competition PLUS shifter, but it's light years ahead of the one that was in the car. Part of the installation was the removal of a totally worn out metal/rubber/metal bushing in the shift rod inside the transmission, and replacing it with a bronze "Oilite" bushing kit made by one of the Celica Supra forum members. This change, along with replacing the plastic bushing on the bottom of the ball that engages it with a superior grade Delrin plastic, and the new shifter, made a tremendous improvement.

Today I pulled the driver's side strut/spring assembly out so I can replace the top strut mount plate, shock absorber insert, and install the new front spring that drops the car about 3/4".

I was planning on replacing a lot of other parts, and now after evaluating the general state of the suspension, it looks like I'll be replacing a few other things. I already have the parts, so rather than pulling it all apart later, I'll just do it now, as I have all the PROPER tools to do the job.

The top strut mount plate was full of cracks and splits, and looked pretty scary from the top. After removing it, I spent some time checking it, and some of the cracks go all the way through the rubber. The bearing was also very gritty and rough feeling, and all the grease was dried up. It's lasted 30 years and 167,000 miles, so I think it's due for retirement!

The lower control arm bushings have some nasty cracks in them, and the rubber boot over the ball joint is split allowing all the grease to come oozing out. Since I have these parts on hand, they'll be changed.

The flexible hose to the brake caliper was in worse condition than I expected. The outer jacket was peeled away in several places, revealing the fabric reinforcement inside the hose, so that definitely has to go! I have a full set, front and rear, of stainless steel braided lines that I'll be using as replacements. I've used these before on other cars, and besides being very sturdy, they also give a better pedal feel due to the fact that they don't expand when you hit the brakes.

The pads in the caliper looked almost new, as well as the rotor, but they're being replaced as well. The rotors are StopTech "Sport Rotors", drilled for cooling, and the pads are high-performance ceramic "street" pads. And the brake system will get a flush and fluid replacement with DOT4 fluid.

And one surprise was the rubber boot for the tie rod arm that comes out of the steering rack. It's split, also, like the one I already knew about on the passenger side!

Again, I ordered two boots, so those will be swapped out.

And I'll be scrubbing off all the accumulated grease/gunk/road grime, and hitting any bare metal with a shot of paint.


  1. Sounds like you're doing it the RIGHT way, it may cost you more in $$ and sweat now, but it will pay off in the end.

  2. I've got the strut completely rebuilt, and I'll be pulling the lower control arm off today to get started on that part.

    The passenger side should go smoother since I learned a bunch of tips from the guys on the celica supra forum, and I have a couple of special tools I bought.

    They also tell me that swapping out the springs and shocks on the rear is a piece of cake, and I should be able to do that in a couple of days (BOTH sides) even considering I work at a snail's pace compared to what I used to be able to do!

    I'll post some pix tonight.....


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