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ALEX P

Alex's overdue front suspension refresh

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Right, I know this has all been covered here before but instead of clogging up someone else's thread the next project for me is a front suspension refresh.

Bit by bit I managed to cobble together a spare front setup because mine is getting a bit tired and ended up sending it off to Fenn Lane for good refresh rebush revalve etc etc. The idea was to minimise downtime for the car being off the road......

I've got it all back now so the plan is to whip all the old stuff off and replace it with the shiny new gear, while I'm in there I'll put new front wheel bearings on but will be retaining my brakes and I'm still sitting on the fence for ARB's but tempted with a Fenn Lane through body kit if they can make it happen in time.....

I will probably be asking a lot of silly questions, because I'm a bit of a front suspension f-wit!! Any gotchas, or good advice welcome. When I've nailed it all into place I will take it somewhere proper to set up final settings.

Thanks in advance

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Silly question #1: When I had a quick look at the pins in the struts and the struts onto the ball joints nothing seemed to fit in nicely, presumably I'm going to have to persuade everything with a BFH because it's all got a nice thick coat of paint on it??

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Make sure the a arm brackets are angled correctly.

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19 minutes ago, Dr Rock said:

Make sure the a arm brackets are angled correctly.

Do continue Doctor.

Which part specifically? Which angle? What can go wrong?

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When you put the a arms on the car they have to hang down at an angle. I am assuming if you sent your arms to Fenn Lane they put their bushes on and set the bracket angles. Just make sure the angles are correct.

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My lower joints went in OK, but pins were tight.  Yours may be the paint, in which case I'd probably try sanding to get enough clearance, rather than forcing it.  Have you got the proper socket for the castellated nut?  If not, I can try to dig mine out and pop it in the post to you.

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27 minutes ago, Fuchs915 said:

Have you got the proper socket for the castellated nut? 

The balljoints are already installed. Part of the Fenn Lane service when they do the A arm refurb.

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Alex, if I can do it, you can 1000% do it.  There is probably loads on Pelican about what to set the angles to. I think I just measured mine before removal and put them back on at the same.  I found my car was jacked up about 1 inch with new shocks on, so ended up re-indexing it all anyway. 

Might want to look at adding some 993 air deflectors to those A-Arms too - I've run them for years and even when very low at the front not had too many clearance issues.  Just make sure you weld them on the right place - my drivers side one is slightly too far forward and just catches when on full lock. 

If memory serves, I think it's easier to fit the ARB off the car and lift the whole lot up as one rather than trying to wrestle it in afterwards - that is difficult and involves ratchet straps and risk to fingers!  I seem to remember @Nige had some photos of it when he put all his suspension back in?

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14 hours ago, Dr Rock said:

When you put the a arms on the car they have to hang down at an angle. I am assuming if you sent your arms to Fenn Lane they put their bushes on and set the bracket angles. Just make sure the angles are correct.

Right, bit like the springplates at the back you mean. Yes, Fenn Lane should have angled them correctly but maybe I'll do one side at a time and compare what comes off the car to what goes back on. If there is a difference what are they like to re-index?

3 hours ago, Fuchs915 said:

My lower joints went in OK, but pins were tight.  Yours may be the paint, in which case I'd probably try sanding to get enough clearance, rather than forcing it.  Have you got the proper socket for the castellated nut?  If not, I can try to dig mine out and pop it in the post to you.

Think you're right. I have removing fresh paint but it has to be done. Thanks for offer of the tool loan, I think I actually bought one ages ago (Peugeot thing isn't it?) and haven't got to use it yet - Looks like I won't either!

2 hours ago, Northy said:

Alex, if I can do it, you can 1000% do it.  There is probably loads on Pelican about what to set the angles to. I think I just measured mine before removal and put them back on at the same.  I found my car was jacked up about 1 inch with new shocks on, so ended up re-indexing it all anyway. 

Might want to look at adding some 993 air deflectors to those A-Arms too - I've run them for years and even when very low at the front not had too many clearance issues.  Just make sure you weld them on the right place - my drivers side one is slightly too far forward and just catches when on full lock. 

If memory serves, I think it's easier to fit the ARB off the car and lift the whole lot up as one rather than trying to wrestle it in afterwards - that is difficult and involves ratchet straps and risk to fingers!  I seem to remember @Nige had some photos of it when he put all his suspension back in?

That sounds a sensible approach to setting the angle & I'm sure it's going to be all over the place regardless. I can't be bothered to set it up too much, just the very basics then get it done properly.

For the ARB, I agree about the pre-fit and I will do that if I have to stick the old one back on but I'm hoping that the through body Fenn Lane ARB kit will be ready in the next couple of weeks so I really want to fit that for no other reason than I haven't cut any sizeable holes in my car for ages and this seems like the perfect opportunity.

I didn't end up going for any fancy monoballs or adjustable top mounts in the end, just raised the spindles, added some strengthening webs to the A-arms and re-valved the Bilsteins. We'll see what that gives. If I really feel the need then shiny bits can come later. Part of me still regrets not going for coilovers but to be honest they would only have been for a carpark weeing contest - Well, the front ones anyway. The rear opens up different gearbox option I guess....

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One of my A arm brackets wasn’t right when they did mine, so the wheel didn’t go back down when jacked up and I had to take the offender back to Fenn Lane....

Thoroughly clean inside the torsion bar tunes and get all the grit out and waxoil everything. You do have new foam washers for the ends don’t you?

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3 hours ago, Dr Rock said:

The balljoints are already installed. Part of the Fenn Lane service when they do the A arm refurb.

Thanks Doc, I can see them in the pic now I take a closer look.

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I just assembled it as unit and then offered it to bolt in place.

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Think Nige`s  pre assembled way is best option, its a serious faff trying to install on car.

Would suggest when suspension back on,check that both A arms are spaced equally from the cross member.

If you are using stanard anti roll bushes, give them a lick of grease,3m sells a rubber lube perfect for this. .Also, when you come to fit roll bar brackets and bell pan ,you may well need a ratchet strap or small jack to make holes line up.

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I can't remember any of it being a problem or needing straps.  Think I just set the adjuster screws about half way and bolted it up.  It hasn't fallen off yet.

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Alex - if you need a huge socket for the hub nut then I have one on the end of a 1 inch breaker bar you're welcome to borrow.

also have a press here if you need it for the bushes :)

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Well, the whole lot came off after a bit of a fight. As usual there is some mission creep.

I wasn't going to touch the ali crossmember but now it's all off it seems silly not to clean it up and maybe powdercoat or splash a bit of paint on it.

Torsion bars are perfect apart from the rearmost 3" where moisture has obviously got in. They will probably clean up fine but have started thinking about replacing with hollow to match the rears. Out of interest, if my rear TB's are the equivalent of 27mm, what is the recommended size for the fronts? 21mm?

Fenn Lane have let me down on their new through body anti roll bar kits and these are now very late (why is this always the case!!). I don't think I can bring myself to put the old one back on and don't really want to put the new struts on if I am going to drill big holes in the car for the through body ARB's so have probably ground to a halt for a week or two. Good to have an unusable car on axle stands again, for a few months there I almost forgot what that was like :D

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Alex, my rear hollow T/Bs are 26mm to match 20mm hollow fronts. I could have used 27s but 26 was a better match IMHO. As you have a big fat lump in the back but have lightened lots, would 20 up front be better? 

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I may have been a little bit optimistic at first. I keep forgetting that pretty much everything on this car that hasn't been replaced is just rusted to buggery.

Separating the A-Arms from the crossmember is not a lot of fun. One side eventually gave up but the other is hanging on in there. There is a fair amount of corrosion and it has completely fused the two parts together. I've been soaking it with penetrating oil so will keep dousing it for the next week to see if it works its way through. 

 Upon closer inspection the holes that mount the crossmember to the car are also pretty manky. Physically it will fit back on but I'm not sure about whether I should fit it or replace it (assuming I can separate the A-arm and crossmember without killing the crossmember). What do you think?

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41 minutes ago, Chris T said:

Alex, my rear hollow T/Bs are 26mm to match 20mm hollow fronts. I could have used 27s but 26 was a better match IMHO. As you have a big fat lump in the back but have lightened lots, would 20 up front be better? 

It might well be. Taking a closer look at the ones I took out they will clean up ok it's just whether they are best suited to the rest of the car.

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Alex, who was the previous owner? Captain Nemo? I've never seen such a manky crossmember/A arms! It should clean up but replacement may be cheaper/easier.

Chris, no help whatsoever.....

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7 minutes ago, Chris T said:

Alex, who was the previous owner? Captain Nemo? I've never seen such a manky crossmember/A arms! It should clean up but replacement may be cheaper/easier......

😂. I was just thinking the same Chris. Pretty crusty Alex.😮

VT

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14 hours ago, Chris T said:

Alex, who was the previous owner? Captain Nemo? I've never seen such a manky crossmember/A arms! It should clean up but replacement may be cheaper/easier.

Chris, no help whatsoever.....

 

14 hours ago, Von Twinzig said:

😂. I was just thinking the same Chris. Pretty crusty Alex.😮

VT

Haha, the thing is - I bought the car from somewhere near the coast in Scotland and then I end up surprised when everything is/was rusty.

I'm going to get a bit brutal trying to separate them while also looking for a replacement. If I can't find one in good condition and do manage to separate the A-arm then I can always get it machined and bush it as a last resort.

What a stupid fecking design. No idea of there was ever any protective surface finishing applied but if there was it held up about as well as the galvanised panels.

 I knew the writing was on the wall when I removed the bolts and there was just piles of white aluminium corrosion dust following them out :blink:

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8 hours ago, ALEX P said:

Haha, the thing is - I bought the car from somewhere near the coast in Scotland and then I end up surprised when everything is/was rusty.

Back in the day my dad moved to NE Scotland right by the coast and within a few years his car literally dissolved. Mind you it was an Alfa Sud! 🤣

VT

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Hi Alex

Just going through this myself.I also bought my car from sunny Scotland !

Heat ,heat and more heat.Once stripped wet blasted then powder coated. Couple of pics to keep you going.

Good Luck

Ian

 

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On ‎7‎/‎31‎/‎2018 at 5:51 AM, Ian Comerford said:

Alex the A arms are known to rust internally as well so do your best to treat the insides

Good advice Ian, I'll give them a good squirt of Dinitrol when refitting the new arms.

14 hours ago, Dangermouse said:

Hi Alex

Just going through this myself.I also bought my car from sunny Scotland !

Heat ,heat and more heat.Once stripped wet blasted then powder coated. Couple of pics to keep you going.

Good Luck

Ian

Ha, must be a Scottish thing. Out of interest, assuming you bought your car from a Scotsman in Scotland - When you paid for the car, did he give you a note back for 'good luck'? The chap I bought my car from gave me a £5 note and I think he said it was a tradition or something. I've always wondered about this & personally I think it was just guilt! In fairness I ended up laminating the note and stuffing it in the cars headlining and to date it has worked perfectly & I have never stuck the car on its roof.

You officially win the crustiest suspension competition although your chassis mounting points look to be in much better shape than mine. Nice before and after shots - there is hope yet!

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