Since first getting a look at the tired state of the rear suspension (Live Axle), I’ve really wanted to get in there and overhaul the lot including;
New Trailing arms and bushes
New coil springs (front ones too) – The dampers were replaced about 18 months ago.
Clean and paint the chassis and Panhard rod.
So with a bit of free time over the winter, I got to work.
I got the car lifted onto axle stands;
Removed rear wheels, Seats and Seatbelts, Boot Box and interior side panels.
I then had a go at removing all of the rear suspension bolts to release the components;
Removed Panhard rod and Rear Dampers (and the rear end of the top trailing arms).
Here I hit a problem ALL of remaining bolts were seized/rusted into their respective Metalastic bushes!
This called for drastic action – Getting in there with an angle grinder – armed with many cutting discs.
After tracking down and borrowing a nice powerful generator from a friend, I got to work, taking a whole day to remove the trailing arms. They ended up unserviceable.
It’s a good job that I already had a new set of arms ‘in stock’ fitted with poly bushes.
After removing these stubborn little critters – I could see the state of the chassis in its full glory – Urk!
The next 2 days spent in the garage were dedicated to cleaning/wire brushing everything I could get to, removing as much loose dirt/powder coat/rust as I could. It’s surprising how much can be scraped off – I had to sweep up the bits and muck plenty of times. At this time I also removed the original (150lb I’m told) rear springs and fitted (as is the trend) shorter 175lb rear springs – they at the very least look a lot better, and should cure the ‘bottoming out’ problem that happened sometimes.
Now that I could see where and what to paint, I gave all of the ‘dodgy’ areas their 1st coat of POR15 and went back to admire it the next day – it really feels like we are getting somewhere.
Over the Christmas break, I got some time to give the rear end another coat of POR15 and fit up the new poly-bushed rear trailing arms and re-painted (by my Mrs) Panhard rod – things were really starting to come together. The trickiest part of the operation was aligning the holes in the bushes with the openings in the brackets – this was solved using a tapered punch – as it was pushed into the bush through the brackets it (sort of) self-aligned.