2/12/2010 Starting to get dirty.

For the last few days, I've been planning out my next move. I want to get the front suspension sorted. I can tell just by looking at it that the A-arm bushings are SHOT. When I rock the front end of the car, there is NO resistance from the shocks. The bushings between the subframe and the unibody disintegrated, leaving about 1/4 inch of play which allows for play and noise that actually scares you when you hit a speed bump. Naturally I was expecting more problems at disassembly. While the car did not disappoint, it was not as bad as it looked.

Step one was to remove the wheel, brakes, and back plate for the hub. Everything came right off without incident.

The next step was to support the A-arm with a jack and remove the fulcrum pin holding the king pin assembly to the shock arm which serves as the upper A-arm.

The presence of so much grease and dirt accumulated on the assembly was encouraging to me. So far everything that has looked like this was protected from the elements and has come apart fairly easily. That lucky streak ended today. After the bolt was removed from the pin, I gave it a little tap. Then a bigger tap. Then I dimpled the end and tried to tap it out with a punch and a B.F.H. No luck. Finally I got a gear puller and torch and really put some pressure on it. Nothing.

Well there's always more than one way to skin a cat, so I decided that since the upper arm is two pieces, I would separate the part. Once the part was separated, I figured I would be able to twist it and force that pin loose. There is one bolt holding the two pieces together. The bolt broke with little effort and the remainder was frozen in place.

This time there were three ways to skin a cat, lucky for me. I decided that instead of releasing the spring pressure by removing the fulcrum pin, I would focus my attention towards removing the bottom pivot. Then I figured once the bottom part of the suspension was out of the way, I could remove the shock assembly with the king pin assembly together and separate them on the work bench. Thats exactly how it worked out.

Once the bottom was apart, I was able to separate the lower A-arm assembly and remove it exposing just how bad the damage is. Luckily, while the rubber is completely gone, there was very little metal on metal contact and the lower A-arm was not destroyed.

Now that all of the parts are removed I can begin the process of cleaning, removing the old bushings, installing the new ones, painting the parts and preparing for reassembly.

While everything is apart I will replace the missing subframe isolators. Those I have already.

One positive thing was that the shock, which had absolutely no resistance even by hand, seemed to pump up when turned on it's side, indicating that there is very little oil left in it. While it's out, I'll add shock oil, check for leaks and see if there is anything serviceable about these shocks. After a lot of web searching it seems that no one has been able to fix these. It looks like everyone exchanges for rebuilt units or buys new ones. So, we'll see. I'll clean it up, top it off, and see what happens.

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