Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The hard parts done

Well I have completed some of the things on my list. here was the original list I had:

1. Change the Transmission Fluid
2. Adjust the brakes
3. Replace the ball joints
4. Install lowered spindles
5. Grease the front beam
6. get an alignment
7. Adjust the valves
8. Change the oil
9. Check the timing and adjust the carburetor.
10. Wash and vacuum

I Replaced the ball joints, installed the lowered spindles, adjusted the brakes, and dumped the trans fluid but as of yet I haven't filled it. So here is the new list I have before the cruise down south.

1. Fill the Transmission with fluid
2. Grease the front beam
3. Get an alignment (which is set up for Monday)
4. Straighten out the fender
5. Adjust the valves
6. Change the oil
7. Check the timing and adjust the carburetor.
8. Wash and vacuum

Here are some of the pictures of what I have been doing.

So I figured crappy parts were to blame for my ball joints failing prematurely. I was sorta wrong on that part. I lowered my bug a little over 4 inches by just using adjusters and it messed up the engineering of the front end so it put the ball joints at a very tight angle.

 Here is what happens when you do that. I installed ball joints that were made for lowered bugs but I still was running them into the end and that it why the ball joints were really loose. Here you can see on this one it even cracked the housing. I was pretty lucky I didn't pop it out of there and crash. Not a good thing.
 Here is how I got the ball joints out of the arms. It worked great on these. They were easier then the last ones I changed because they were only in there a couple years.
 If they don't come easily have someone back up the other side with a bucking bar and that will help it come out.
 Here it is coming out. A big vice works great to keep it steady.
 You need to remove this from the upper ball joints and put it on the new ones. This is what adjusts your caster for your front tire alignment. When you install it on a new joint point the notch forward. That will get it set up so you can get it to the alignment shop and there they will adjust it if needed.
 Here are all 4 of the torsion arms with the ball joints removed. At this point the hard part is over. Now you just need to press the new joints on.
 If you are lucky enough to have a press available this part will be a breeze. Just get it set up right and make sure you have aligned your notches on the ball joints. If you need more info look at the post I did on ball joints last year. It goes into more detail.
 I got the joints installed and filled them with lots of good grease. I then put the boots back on ( you must remove them to press in the ball joints or you will tear them) and installed the torsion arms onto the beam.
 You want to install the grub screw first then tighten down the lock nut. Both torques are 36 foot pounds.
 I painted the dropped spindles. The lowered one is on the left and the stock one is on the right. I am installing these in hopes of getting my geometry for my front end closer to what it was when stock. I still am going to lower it some with the adjusters but it should be a lot better on the ball joints then it was. The spindles are 2.5 inches lower then stock and I made my beam able to drop 4 inches so that puts it at 6.5 inches if I leave the adjusters cranked all the way down. That's too low and my tires will rub. I have decided to lower the car 5 inches total. That puts me 1 inch lower then I was before but I am actually going to raise the torsion bars by 1.5 inches. I hope that will get me riding safely and at the same time it should look cool.
Got the arms in, spindle on and the dust shield and brakes installed. I then regreased the wheel bearings and put on the drums. 
 Here is my adjuster. This is the lower one and it's full of asphalt. I tried to dig it out but it's pretty mangled so I just used a pair of vice grips to adjust it up a little.
This shows my adjusters I installed a couple years ago. Looks like the welds are holding up good and I cranked them up a tad. Just need to grease the front end before I get it off the jack stands now.
 Here's one side done and ready for the tire to be installed. I still may have to adjust the front end after I get it on the ground. I just guesstimated where I thought it should be and I will fine tune it if I need to after.
I roughly beat out my front fender where it was caved in and I am going to hopefully get it looking a little better before I go. It was hitting on my tire and tearing it up a little bit.

 I think with a little more caressing with a body hammer and dolly and it should at least be presentable.
Hopefully I can get the sway bar clamps I need to install that before Monday so I can have the whole front end buttoned up before I take it to the alignment shop. Looks like I still have a pretty long list and not much time to get it done. I work best under pressure though!

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