6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by RichM » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:15 pm

Hi all, am about to tackle the front suspension on my 6a and could do with some advice and helpful hints!

My car is a Rover V8 conversion and has been lowered quite a bit by the previous owner. Looks cool etc. but gives harsh ride, unpredictable steering and terrible ground clearance.
Current set-up is as follows:
14” Wolfies with 195x70 tyres.
Floor to underside of front arch 615mm [24.2”]
Floor to underside of chassis rail 110mm [4.3”]
Floor to underside of V8 sump 90mm [3.5”] (!)
It sits on Spax shocks with adjustable seat height and damping and quite short looking springs.
The front lower wishbones have also been turned upside down and swapped left to right it seems.
It looks as though the existing ( and worn) trunnions are for a non-PAS even though my car does have PAS. I found this out when my local garage replaced the PAS rack for me and attempted to fit some new trunnions I provided for them courtesy of Graham Walker.
(The ones I supplied were ‘angled’ and the existing ones ’straight’. Consequently they kept the ‘wrong’ ones on but re-furbed the worst one with the bush/seal kit from one of my new ‘correct’ ones hence clean nut & bolt etc. in the pics.)
There are also quite a lot of shims on the top wishbones presumably to correct camber as a result of the non-standard set-up.

I would like to return to something closer to standard ride and set-up albeit with the front lowered enough to compensate for the V8 being lighter than the original V6. The adjustable seats on the shocks should cope with this I hope.

Before I take everything apart and get in a mess I thought I’d check that i’m not missing anything else unusual in the pics and to check what the best procedure might be for stripping / replacing / setting up.

The Autobooks reliant manual says basically remove calliper & hub assembly and disconnect steering rod to gain access to vertical link & trunnions etc. at which point getting to the shocks/wishbones etc. should be straightforward.

Sound about right? Then once wishbones removed, re-bushed and swapped back to original positions can then fit the new trunnions (provided that vertical links and ball joints prove to be ok; they look reasonably good superficially).

My next questions are;

Do I leave all the top shims in then get camber etc. set-up by a garage when all back together or is there a more common/standard number of shims which would be a better starting point for setting it all up again once re-fitted?
Given that my existing shocks have the seats adjusted really high already and car is stil too low I probably need taller springs. ls this a question of “I want the car to sit x inches higher so I need my springs y inches longer”?
Presumably have to take into account once the wishbones are back the right way round I will get around an inch lift anyway?

Hopefully someone out there has been through this before and can give a few pointers!

Cheers Rich
Attachments
IMG_3287.jpeg
Lots 'o shims
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IMG_3286.jpeg
Shimtastic
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IMG_3284.jpeg
Lots 'o washers, Seats wound right up
IMG_3284.jpeg (308.73 KiB) Viewed 437 times
IMG_3283.jpeg
Upside down wishbones
IMG_3283.jpeg (334.02 KiB) Viewed 437 times
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O/S looking from rear
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O/S looking from front
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IMG_0010.jpeg
Low down (& dirty)
IMG_0010.jpeg (245.59 KiB) Viewed 437 times



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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by scimjim » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:49 pm

The camber shins are perfectly normal and nothing to do with your modifications - setup camber/caster/track after everything else is set.

Spring length isn’t directly equal to ride height but it’s proportional obviously - adjust the spring seats to change ride height, it doesn’t look like you need longer springs to me.

PAS with non-PAS trunnions (and presumably non-PAS wishbone setup) is horrible to drive - I don’t understand why you didn’t have the correct trunnions fitted and the wishbones and mounts swapped back when it was all apart?

If you strip it down to sort the trunnions you could swap the lower wishbones back - that is probably all you need to get it back to 5+” clearance at the chassis.

The harsh ride is strange, I have the same shocks and springs on 8 ball and never found it harsh - are the bushes okay?


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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by philhoward » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:00 pm

Ball park is to take wheelarch height with a pinch of salt but with it on the deck set the ride height (on the collars for the spring) so the bottom wishbones are parallel to the ground.

As Jim says, to get the correct new trunnions to fit, it should be a case of swapping wishbones and brackets around.


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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by RichM » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:19 pm

scimjim wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:49 pm
The camber shins are perfectly normal and nothing to do with your modifications - setup camber/caster/track after everything else is set.

Spring length isn’t directly equal to ride height but it’s proportional obviously - adjust the spring seats to change ride height, it doesn’t look like you need longer springs to me.

PAS with non-PAS trunnions (and presumably non-PAS wishbone setup) is horrible to drive - I don’t understand why you didn’t have the correct trunnions fitted and the wishbones and mounts swapped back when it was all apart?

If you strip it down to sort the trunnions you could swap the lower wishbones back - that is probably all you need to get it back to 5+” clearance at the chassis.

The harsh ride is strange, I have the same shocks and springs on 8 ball and never found it harsh - are the bushes okay?
Many thanks for the reply Jim, I know from the cars history that extra shims were added to set camber etc. after the mods were done, so presumably some will come out again once back to normal. I'll leave that to the experts.

Re spring seats, they're wound pretty much all the way up at the mo, so on the existing springs there isn't much scope to go any higher (they look long enough in pics but of course the car is off the ground so not compressed at the mo). One thing I haven't altered yet is the adjustable damping - I've a feeling it was set firm for more 'sporty' handling! I've got new bushes from GW for the wishbones which might help.

Lastly, I would have loved to have got everything returned to standard at the time but was not possible given budget & timeframe and my local Garage's patience with old cars. Priority at that point was getting rack sorted and back on the road, and that required more than one visit and cost a fair few ££ in labour!

Rich



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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by RichM » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:27 pm

philhoward wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:00 pm
Ball park is to take wheelarch height with a pinch of salt but with it on the deck set the ride height (on the collars for the spring) so the bottom wishbones are parallel to the ground.

As Jim says, to get the correct new trunnions to fit, it should be a case of swapping wishbones and brackets around.
philhoward wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:00 pm
Ball park is to take wheelarch height with a pinch of salt but with it on the deck set the ride height (on the collars for the spring) so the bottom wishbones are parallel to the ground.

As Jim says, to get the correct new trunnions to fit, it should be a case of swapping wishbones and brackets around.
Thanks Phil,

I'll keep that in mind when putting it back together. One thing though - "swapping wishbones and brackets" . Do you mean the bracket that holds the bottom wishbones to the chassis? I was hoping that stayed bolted to the chassis and just the wishbones swapped over - am I being thick?!

Rich
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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by scimjim » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:44 pm

On a 6 the lower wishbone brackets are offset - they go one way for PAS and the other for non-PAS to account for the extra angle made by the trunnions.


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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by RichM » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:57 pm

scimjim wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:44 pm
On a 6 the lower wishbone brackets are offset - they go one way for PAS and the other for non-PAS to account for the extra angle made by the trunnions.
Thanks Jim, now beginning to make sense - I'll add to the list.....



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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by gtcse8 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:06 pm

The lower "Helper" springs are coil bound so a waste of space.
Remove those first and THEN look at sorting the ride quality with correct length springs.


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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by RichM » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:37 pm

gtcse8 wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:06 pm
The lower "Helper" springs are coil bound so a waste of space.
Remove those first and THEN look at sorting the ride quality with correct length springs.
I did wonder about those....



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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by Dennis Nicholas » Wed May 15, 2019 9:29 pm

Unfortunately yet another example of why not to trust your local garage unless you are certain they understand your car or have been given precise instructions on "how and what to do". They should have consulted you on seeing the different trunnions not just ploughed on.
I once had a "discussion" with a mechanic who insisted the trunnion bolt should rotate in the trunnion and be fixed in the wishbones..!! (wanted to slacken nut till bolt rotated when wishbones moved up and down)

As it happens I am just doing a front end refurb of my GTC with power steering. NEARSIDE.

Front top wishbone more curved than rear one.
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Note grease nipples fitted to trunion end of wishbones
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this angled trunion also has a lockstop
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angled trunnion
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lockstop clearance upright and lockstop
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nearside lower wishbone brackets - make wishbone further forward.
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nearside lower rear bracket
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nearside lower front bracket
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Note that by changing around the lower wishbone brackets they mean you put the nearside brackets over to the offside (and this puts the wishbones further back for NON POWER STEERING_. Obviously just changing front and back makes no difference!

Some power trunnions may not have a lock-stop - the power rack has an internal stop.

I should explain that I thought I was just going to be changing the wishbone rubber bushes so attempted to take minimal to bits......wrong!
You need to take the calliper off (2 bolts with a bend over long lock-washer) and hang it up out the way.
Remove the hub so you can get at the disk securing bolts - so you can remove disk and take the guard plate off for painting....the plate will not come off for painting otherwise on the GTC because in-spite of the cutouts the securing brackets prevent it sliding past the upright.
It really is quicker and easier to take hub off first and disks than find out you have to later and have to wrestle with all that weight just removing top ball joint and freeing the bottom wishbones from the shock absorber mounting plate.
NOTE THAT THERE SHOULD BE SPACERS BETWEEN THE WISHBONE AND THE DAMPER MOUNTING BRACKET PLATE ON THE POWER STEERING CAR .....measured at 0.13 inches thick on mine. You may well find these missing in view of the miss handling your car appears to have had.
Are the spacers still there BETWEEN bottom shocker BUSH AND BRACKET (as opposed to being on the outside of the brackets because the wrong - 5 - width bushes have been used....the 6 bushes are 1/8 inches narrower.

All the extra struggle I inflicted on myself is not helping with my recovery from just having had my 2 top balljoints (hips) replace...one inOctober 2018 and the second one 8 weeks ago.....day off computering today to recover. PS the surgeon flatly refused to add grease nipples in-spite of my insistent request.

Dennis


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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by RichM » Sat May 25, 2019 8:50 am

Dennis, many thanks for the post and pics.

I decided from the start given the mods that the best course was to take it all out and start again!

One thing that is obvious from looking at your pics and comparing it to what I had is that my top wishbones were also the wrong way round front to back, presumably to cope with different trunnion angle...
IMG_0080.jpg
N/S Upper Wishbones as found..
IMG_0080.jpg (365.87 KiB) Viewed 137 times

Though my bottom brackets appear to be fitted correctly, i.e. bolts to the rear pushing lower wishbones forward - at least I think that's correct for a PAS car...

IMG_0085.jpg
N/S front Lower Wishbone Bracket
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So now I have finally stripped and painted everything, its time to fit new bushes and return it all to the car the right way : )

This is my first time working on suspension and the forum has been brilliant though it's sometimes tricky finding and remembering which threads have which pics and info. Also whilst I have medium term use of a friends garage for storage of the car, I can't really do any of the messy work there, so for anyone else new to this like me who has limited tools in the garden shed and can only do an hour or so here and there I've put together some pics of my progress so far....

Part 1 - Strip down..

26th April
Up on axle stands for the work to begin. The whole car is up as I also have some bits to do elsewhere. For me it is by far the worst bit - I hate the process of jacking the car up and getting it on stands, especially when working alone. Probably the reason more jobs don't get done sooner. Also the upside down wishbones that are soon to be righted...
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The work begins,
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IMG_3283.jpg
Upside Down Wishbones
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29th April
Removing hubs, calliper, disks & Backplate - like a lot of things this reads like a complicated and arduous process in the manual but took just a short time to do, all came off easy and will be cleaned and regreased etc. when re-fitted.
IMG_3313.jpg
Hub, Caliper, Disk, & Backplate off
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This is the suspected seized trunnion, and is of the non-pas type despite being a pas car..
IMG_3314.jpg
Suspected seized trunnion
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Disconnected the tracked ends, this side popped off easily but the other side not so. Without the right tool it took several attempts, some head-scratching and lots of swearing to get it off. I tried making my own ball-joint separator type thing which didn't work, crow-bars, WD40, well-placed hits with the hammer. In the end I decided as they were to be replaced anyway I needed worry about the threads being damaged etc. and was able to use the old 'two hammers' trick - hammering down on the arm while hammering up on the threaded bolt. Not elegant but it worked.....
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Steering disconnected..
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Ball joint removed...then onto top wishbones...
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Ball joint removed
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Top wishbones - Despite looking crusty the bolts came undone easy enough and off they came. The fulcrums were not so good though. You can see they are very rusty overall but more importantly the spigots that hold the bushes are heavily rusted and deformed and not smooth and shiny. Same on the other side too. More for the parts list!
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Top wishbones
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IMG_3336.jpg
N/S Fulcrum
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O/S Fulcrum
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With all the upper parts removed I expected the vertical link/trunnion to swing down and be able to move. Nope. Absolutely solid. No amount of force could persuade it to move in the slightest.
Removed nut on trunnion bolt but clear that the bolt wasn't going to be moved. Decided on next visit to take off lower wishbones/plate/link/trunnion etc off as one unit so I could re-locate to the shed and try and get it all apart.
IMG_3340.jpg
Vert link assembly
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All in all a productive 3 hours, (most of which spent looking for the spanner/socket I literally just had in my hand :D ) Having done it once, I could now probably do the same again in a fraction of the time.



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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by RichM » Sat May 25, 2019 9:48 am

11th May
Undid a couple of bolts and the shocks came out easily. A bit grotty but seem ok.
Unscrewed vertical link from the trunnion.
Undid lower wishbone bolts and removed lower wishbones/plate/trunnion etc. as one unit. The O/S trunnion, thought wrong type, was re-bushed by the local garage last year so should come apart easily.
IMG_3385.jpg
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IMG_3388.jpg
Lower assembly N/S
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IMG_3389.jpg
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Empty arches, no going back now. The blowtorch was there in case I'd finally had enough and fancied claiming on the insurance :mrgreen:
IMG_3395.jpg
Empty arches
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18th May
In shed, time to tackle the trunnion. the hacksaw approach took about 15 minutes of patient sawing to cut through the bolt between the trunnion and wishbones on both sides. Junior hacksaw for pic only - actually used a full sized one with a drop of oil to help.
IMG_3401.jpg
Sawing N/S trunnion bolt
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IMG_3404.jpg
Free at last!
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IMG_3406.jpg
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Used a hammer and 'drift' to drive out the remains of old bolt/bushes
IMG_3407.jpg
Old bushes out
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IMG_3408.jpg
Bits
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Removing bushes from the upper wishbones presented a problem. I started by sawing off the outer edge' of the bush flush with the wishbone to help it come out easier.
Without a vice, the only thing I could find to apply pressure was some woodworking clamps. Then I needed a spacer of some kind between the clamp and the wishbone stock allow space for the bush to pop out. Top tip - turns out standard 40mm plastic waste pipe is a perfect fit around the wishbone casting and allows the bushes to pop out.
IMG_3419.jpg
Pipe 1
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IMG_3420.jpg
Pipe 2
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IMG_3418.jpg
Edge Flush
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IMG_3413.jpg
Clamp 1
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IMG_3416.jpg
Clamp 2
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IMG_3417.jpg
Clamp 3
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Now to undo all the bolts and separate all the bits. I used some brush on Gunk de-greaser from Halfords, gave it all a good wash, then used an abrasive wheel in my hand drill to get some of the crust & rust off. Gave it a light sanding here and there, a wipe over with white spirit, then brushed on some Hammerite Kurust in preparation for painting.
IMG_3426.jpg
ARB link
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Wishbone
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N/S parts
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IMG_3437.jpg
Kurust
IMG_3437.jpg (385.49 KiB) Viewed 122 times



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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by RichM » Sat May 25, 2019 10:13 am

19th May
N/S bits ready for Primer! I considered powder coating, my local firm were busy, 2 week minimum wait and approx £100. Decided to prime and paint instead, after all it'll probably need new trunnions again in 2 years!
3 coats of Etch Primer, leave for 24 hours, ready for 4 coats of satin black.
IMG_3445.jpg
N/S Primer
IMG_3445.jpg (400.28 KiB) Viewed 117 times
O/S bits waiting to be cleaned....
IMG_3446.jpg
O/S bits
IMG_3446.jpg (274.55 KiB) Viewed 117 times
20th May
4 Coats of Satin Black - starting to feel like progress, can't believe it's been nearly a month since I started....
IMG_3452.jpg
Satin Black
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22nd May
The O/S chassis had a little surface rust in places so took the opportunity to clean, de-rust and prep for a touch up. Also started cleaning and preparing the backplates for paint.
IMG_3456.jpg
O/S chassis rust
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IMG_3460.jpg
backplates
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New fulcrums and bolt kits had arrived from QRG. Missing a few unlock nuts and washers but a quick call and they were soon in the post. Laid out both sides to make sure everything there. Looking forward to putting it back together.
IMG_3464.jpg
Bolts
IMG_3464.jpg (429.62 KiB) Viewed 117 times
Decided to fit upper wishbone bushes from GW. Was pretty much reverse of removal using my improvised vice thingy plus a little dab of washing up liquid to lubricate. Found lots of conflicting advice online about Lubricating Bushes (thats a risky google..).
In short I surmise that the bush shouldn't move in the wishbone, so you shouldn't grease the outer edge of the bushes when fitting otherwise they will move and act more like a bearing and promote wear faster. Instead, washing up liquid/soapy water etc. to ease the fitting which will then dry off leaving the bush to be in solid contact with the metal.
When fitting I used one of the old trunnion bushes to help push the new wishbone bush into place.
IMG_3468.jpg
Re-fit bush 1
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IMG_3469.jpg
Re-fit bush 2
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Re-fit bush 3
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Re-fit bush 4
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Re-fit bush 5
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IMG_3473.jpg
Re-fit bush 6
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Re-fit bush 7
IMG_3465.jpg (383.15 KiB) Viewed 117 times
24th May
O/S suspension bits and back plates now primed and painted. Turns out that fitting Lower wishbone bushes won't work with my clamp method as it all slides around too much. Will have to get a vice or use someone else's to pop those in. Next stage is to check that all the parts are on the correct side and orientation, then start re-fitting it. Wish me luck!
IMG_3475.jpg
Painted
IMG_3475.jpg (437.81 KiB) Viewed 117 times



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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by gtcse8 » Sat May 25, 2019 5:51 pm

Sorry to crib you, but the threads and bearing faces on the vertical link shown in pictures 3429 & 3437 are beyond repair.
It will very quickly ruin the trunnion judging by the rough state it`s in.
Mark


Mark Wilson. See the Beast on youtube under" RELIANT SCIMITAR CONVERSION LOL.,Se5,Se5a, Se6a, Two Se6b`s, GTC, SST 1800Ti & not a lot of sense

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6a Front Suspension - back to standard height?!

Post by AJL Electronics » Sat May 25, 2019 6:14 pm

Well spotted! I hadn't spotted that until you mentioned it. Looks to me like they have been running ungreased, judging by those threads.


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