Archive for February, 2012

Goodbye, rear suspension (and good riddance!)

Posted February 23, 2012 By jack

I returned to TLG last weekend to finish the job I had started: rear-end removal.Once the drum brakes were pulled (a process I detailed in my last post), the only parts between me and the differential were the leaf springs.

A view of the differential, with the left spring already lowered

Before these are removed, jack up the rear axle so that it is barely supported; otherwise, you’ll have quite a load on your hands as you drop the springs. The leaf springs are held in place at the rear with a shackle bolt, which consists of two bolts connected with a metal strip/bracket. I unscrewed the two nuts holding this in, and then used a mallet to free the spring of the shackle bolt. Be careful not to leave anything beneath the spring, because it will fall as soon as the bushing is off the bolt. When both springs were detached in the back, the differential was free the come out. I placed this out of the way, undid the bolts at the front of the leaf springs, and started on the shocks.

The bottoms of the rear shocks were disconnected earlier, but the tops were a little trickier. To access these, I pulled out two rubber plugs in the rear floorpan. However, with the entire body resting on 4 jack stands, I didn’t want to risk getting into the car to unscrew the nuts. In order to do this, I ended up crawling into the trunk from beneath (the gas tank was removed earlier) and leaning into the cabin from the rear. This wasn’t as safe, but lowered the risk of rocking the car off its jack stands. If you have any better method, by all means use it.

Access to rear shock mounts

While working on the springs and rear-end,  I found a spot of rust on the rear frame rail that I had never seen when working on the car or inspecting it when we bought it. It’s the largest spot of corrosion there is, and it’s still smaller than my fist.


At this point, I had pulled everything off of the frame except for a few steering components left in the engine compartment. I didn’t have much time, so I cut the hoses leading to the power steering pump, drained the fluid and called it a day. This is the weekend my car leaves the ground. This is the weekend we mount the rotisserie.

Time Lapse

Posted February 17, 2012 By jack

It appears two months have passed since my last post, a period during which I’ve been to the garage only twice. I meant to post an update after the first visit, but it slipped my mind and I have absolutely no idea what I meant to write on. Something about disc brakes, wheel spindles, ball joints, and completing front-end suspension removal, but let’s not dwell on the past. After a ski vacation, an SAT, the start of lacrosse season, and Model UN preparation, I finally returned to TLG last Sunday to begin rear suspension work. In an attempt to accomplish as much progress as possible, I completely disregarded the heap of parts that need to be inventoried and neglected to use the camera at all. Please excuse the lack of pictures, I’ll include some in the following post.

I began by removing the rear wheels, and then started on the left drum brake (raise the car onto jacks for this). There are a number of springs and cables that work to connect the wheel cylinder and the brake shoes. These must be removed before the shoes can come off. My sources tell me there is a tool for this, but vice grips will do fine if you can manage not to bend the springs. The shoes can then be pulled right off, and the wheel cylinder is removed by undoing four bolts. The most difficult part of dissembling the brakes is removing the parking brake cable from the backplate. There is a metal casing with three tabs that stick out and keep the cable in place like a wall anchor bolt. These tabs must be pushed in and wiggled through the slot to get it out, but there isn’t much clearance. A pair of pliers and some help from Dad did the job. I’ll take pictures to demonstrate this when I work on the right side this weekend.

As I had already detached the brake lines in the rear, the only parts still attached to the differential were the leaf springs. These are connected with U-bolts and a mounting plate on each side, and are easily detached from the rear-end.

Sometime this weekend I’ll go back to remove the differential, and hopefully start on the steering components.