Success At Last

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Working on an old car can often be a very frustrating experience, jobs that you assume will be easy turn out to be a nightmare but the flip side of that is jobs you thought would be horrible are done in minutes. I did think the front suspension would be a relatively easy job!

Swapping over the rear suspension and fitting the uprated rear anti roll back took just over a day and was a relatively painless experience, sadly the front (more accurately 50% of the front) would make up for that.

The first problem I had was our friend Mr Critical Path. If you’ve ever planned anything that requires bringing together parts or resources (people to you and me) you’ve experienced the phenomenon of something or someone being on the critical path which blocks your progress. My blocker (it was a big one) was the lack of adjustable top mounts for the front suspension, apparently these aren’t common parts to use and so aren’t generally held in stock. After 3 weeks of waiting Eibach UK finally came up with the goods and the parts arrived, I though that would be the end of it….

Front Suspension Ball Joint
Front Suspension Ball Joint

This innocuous looking bit of metal was the cause of all of my problems, the mangled mess you can see is what is left of the pin from the lower outside suspension ball joint. Thanks to a minuscule amount of rust it was seized solid in the suspension arm and no amount of whacking with a lump hammer and a pickle fork would remove it. I finally resorted to cutting the pin away from the main joint and then pressing the pin out with a home made press (2 bits of steel U-Channel, a couple of 16mm bolts and a 2 metre breaker bar, it took some force to remove). Once I’d got the old joint out I thought it would be easy to put the new one in with the new strut and put the car back on it’s wheels, or that was the idea. It seems that a very small amount of filings from the hacksaw found their way into the thread used to hold the ball joint into the steering knuckle, this caused the bolt to destroy both itself and the thread. I didn’t want to replace the entire knuckle so had to resort to a helicoil, it did take awhile including a couple of evenings lying half in and half out of the garage in the rain to fit but finally the job is done!

I took the car out for a short drive, the first time since arriving back from Brands Hatch on the 30th May! The car does feel more sure footed and the turn in seems more positive, I won’t really be able to tell until the geo is done, the next job is to ring TDI at Lakeside and get the car booked in.