Friday, February 15, 2008

Putting It (Back) Together

It was about three weeks later when we got together again. Gary was back from his trip and the sleeves had arrived.

When we had been taking things apart we noticed scoring on the link pins and Gary had put them in his polisher. Strange device. It is a container with a vibrator built into it. It is filled with crushed walnut shells, which are apparently very hard. When you put a piece of metal in it, turn on the vibrator and leave it for a while, the metal comes out squeaky clean and polished to a fair thee well. The link pins looked great.

The next task was to remove the old Micarta bushings in preparation for replacing them with the new sleeves. Like most old parts, they had other ideas.

The Micarta had grown old and was very set in its ways. It did not want to come out at all. After being in there soaking up grease for years, they had expanded and were wedged in solidly.

We tried using a long metal rod (which had to come all the way through he length of the tube to get to the back side of the bushing) to try to push it out. Instead of pushing the Micarta just began to notch the material and not move it at all. Finally Gray came through again and came up with the solution.

He took a hack saw blade and cut a slice through the bushing. This released enough of the pressure and we were able to knock the bushing out. We went through the same procedure on the other side.

Instead of trying to push out the inner bushings we just knocked them further into the tube where they would be out of the way and not interfere with the sleeves.

Let me say, at this point, that over the years a lot of people must have tried to lube those trialing arms. The tubes we packed almost solid with heavy grease. I mean buckets of it. It was amazing how much we gouged out of there. The car would be several pounds lighter because of it.

The new sleeves went in slick as a whistle and the reinserted trailing arms now moved just like they were supposed to.

We reassembled the front end and took a look at what we had.


The angle on the trailing arms was wrong and gave us too much ride height again. We maxed out the adjusting screw and still had too much.

Finally in desperation we took a cutting wheel and elongated the adjustment slot and spun the thing around to where we wanted it. Then we welded the damned thing in place. The hell with adjustments. The only problem now was that it still did not want to rise and fall like it should. It was free enough but something was still binding.

We were about to throw up our hands when it dawned on me. We had just taken the car down off the jack stands and had not relieved the pressure on the wheels. We rolled the car forward and back and tried again. It worked beautifully.

I had remembered that when you are setting the toe in adjustments you always had to move the car between adjustments or it would bind from the pressure of the tires on the ground surface. Moving the car stabilizes that.

The “one man loading” system worked again and with the car loaded stern first I headed home. The rear end sway was gone, and the car towed perfectly.

I was feeling pretty cocky.

* * *

I had been carefully taking pictures of this whole process and had full documentation of everything we had done. I was feeling very smug about that. It was a knotty problem and I had wanted to be able to show how we solved it.

A couple of weeks later, Hugh borrowed my camera to take pictures at the Ferrari club outing. When I got it back he had deleted all the shots I had taken. I guess he thought I had already downloaded that. I hadn’t.

Hugh, not realizing that the camera was set on the resident memory and not the two gig memory chip which would hold hundreds of shots, had dumped the shots so he could take pictures of the Ferrari event.

We had words.


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