Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ms. Swan's Front End Rebuild....

OK, here's what I've been doing.....

Here's the car up on jacks with the left front strut removed. She should be in the garage, BUT, my wife has started "staging" things to get rid of before we move to Colorado, and the garage has become loaded with "junque" again.

 And here's the rest of the left front, with a bunch of worn out parts in evidence.

 And to remove the BIG nuts on the struts, I bought a BIG wrench at Harbor Freight. My wife calls this my "Clown Wrench" because it's so big (to her) that it "doesn't look real".

When I removed the nut, I clamped the strut in the vise, got ready to give a mighty grunt, and the nut came loose with hardy any pull at all!

The wrench came in handy to tighten the new nut, though....

 The top strut mount was toast, as seen by this "bottom view" of the bearing...

br />  Don't know if you can see the cracks in the rubber on the top, but when the car was sitting with the weight on the suspension, they were scary big....

 Here's the junky old Monroe "Sensatrac" insert. When the spring was off, I grabbed the rod and gave it a pull. It had about a HALF INCH of free play both ways before you could feel anything, and it gurgled when you cycled it.

TOTALLY shot.....

 Here's the OEM front spring on the right, along with the new Dobinsons #C59-070 that I bought from George at Raptor Racing. The wire diameter on the OEM spring is .550" / 14mm, and the free overall length is about 13.8" / 350mm.

 Here's another view of the springs. The wire diameter on the new Dobinsons C59-070 spring is .603" / 15.3mm, and the free overall length is about 11" / 280mm.

 And for those that might care (the American Iron guys go nuts for this type of information!), there was a violet paint stripe / color code on the OEM spring.

And here's the end result. A nice new shiny spring, new protective boot for the shock rod, and a new top strut mount.

Don't freak out about it being clamped in the vise jaws. It's barely tightened down to hold it for the photo, and when I did have it clamped down tight so I could torque the nut at the top of the new strut to 40 ft-lbs, I had two pieces of hardwood in there to cushion it so the jaws wouldn't bite into the new spring, possibly inducing stress fractures and weakening it.

As they used to say in the old Heathkit manuals..."This completes the assembly of this unit"!

I'll get this one back in the car after I R&R the lower control arm and strut rod bushings and replace the rubber boot/bellows on the power steering rack. It's completely dry on this side, so that means the seals are OK, but a torn boot like that just bugs me, and since I have a new one, REPLACE IT, JIM!!!

Then all I have to do is wash, rinse, and repeat this on the passenger side, and the front end is finished for now.

I blew off going down to the Iowa today as I'm on a roll here, and if I keep going I can have both sides of the front finished by Monday or Tuesday.

I learned a couple of tips and tricks from the guys on the Celica Supra forum, and I now have a couple of tools that make the job  much easier, along with a huge assortment of Cotter Pins that Ill need to bolt everything back together.

I have a pair of brand new lower control arms with OEM bushings and new ball joints, so I might just swap out the new bushings for the Energy Suspension PolyGraphite ones I have, rather than spend the extra time to change out the ball joints in the lower control arms that are on the car.

At the pace I work at, that would probably save a whole day.......

So stay tuned for another exciting episode of "The Continuing Adventures of Dr. Jim and Ms. Swan"!

Not quite as much fun as Doctor Who and his companions, but a whole lot more real.....


  1. Once had a Rigid 36" 90 degree plumbers wrench. Came in handy for many different jobs. Youngest son "borrowed" it.

  2. I've lost track of how many tools my son has "borrowed".

    I make him sign them out now in a "Tool Loan Out Book" I keep *IN* the tool box!

  3. Looks like you're going to drop the ride height on that pretty good. You are putting a lot of work into that but they will so be worth it when you're done.

    1. The "Free Length" of the springs generally isn't a good indicator of the ride height of the car once they're installed.

      Shorter springs will have a higher spring rate, as will a spring wound with thicker wire, so since these are both shorter and wound with thicker wire, they'll have a higher rate that the OEM springs.

      That means the car won't settle as much once it's on it's wheels with these installed.

      The vendor I bought them from is highly reputable, and he says they drop the car about 3/4", along with other people I talk to who use these springs and claim they drop the car "about an inch".

      I DON'T want to drop the car more than that, as since it has a semi trailing arm rear suspension, dropping it more than about 1-1/2" or 2" cause the rear camber to get excessively negative.

      There's a kit you can buy that allows the rear camber to be adjusted, but it involves welding on some parts to each trailing arm, and I don't feel like doing that.

      A drop of 3/4"~1" is just exactly what I'm looking for.


Keep it civil, please....