Winter Project – Rear Suspension Rebuild

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.

This was all followed up with a good dose of Dinitrol to try to prevent the new nuts/bolts/bushes becoming one solid lump of rust. A few areas were also treated to additional silicone sealant – mainly around the gaps where the suspension brackets and seat belt mounts meet the inner aluminium panels.
So although I have spotted a small teething problem (the wiring connections to rear lights are temperamental) everything seems to work successfully.
The car has now moved again under its own power and is looking good for it.
Update: I replaced the rear light wiring plugs with some waterproof ones – had to run an extra earth wire to ensure a good connection, but all is well.

Start a Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *