Alternator Removal

This afternoon I removed the alternator from the engine, which is currently mounted on the engine stand. The alternator is mounted to the front of the engine block on the driver’s side. It’s pulley is driven by the fan belt.

Towards the top the alternator is mounted by a bolt through a slotted bracket. This allows you to mount the belt on the pulley and then swing the alternator outward until the belt is tight, and then tighten down the upper bolt to fix the alternator in position. I loosened this bolt using a 1/2″ socket.

The alternator is mounted at the bottom by a long bolt that threads through a knuckle and holds the alternator to the block. I loosened this bolt using a 9/16″ socket. With the bolt broken loose I was able to rotate the alternator upwards and towards the block, which provided enough slack to slip the belt of the alternator pulley.

Then I removed the lower bolt the rest of the way. I rotated the alternator downward on the mounting knuckle and then slid it off the block.

With the alternator removed I gathered it and the starter, which I removed when I pulled the transmission, and took them both outside to clean them up.

I wiped down the starter and alternator to remove as much grease as I could. I plan to take both out to a local place and have them rebuilt. They are both nearly 40 years old, after all. After that I will clean them up further.

Steering Parts Cleaning

I cleaned-up the steering tie-rods and some other miscellaneous pieces that will need to be painted with the frame.

First I removed the rubber boots off the ends and cleaned off most of the grease. I’ll take care not to move the bearings on the ends around prior to adding more grease to prevent wear.

Then I scrubbed the pieces down with degreaser and scouring pads.

I also cleaned up the center-link and wiped down the steering box and idler box using degreaser. I cleaned some of the larger parts that didn’t fit in my parts washer, including the stock front sway bar, the gravel shield that mounts to the frame, and all of the brackets that the exhaust and front and rear bumpers mount to on the frame. These are all pieces that will be painted along with the frame.

Leaf Spring Clean-Up

This morning I cleaned-up my rear leaf springs in order to assess their condition. I’m in the process of deciding whether to replace them or have them re-arched (or de-arched, as the case may be). The springs hold their arch well, so their is no need to add a leaf or anything like that.

Also, both springs are arched equally, so neither side is high or low, which would require correcting. Below, left is a shot of both springs lined-up; they are basically identical which makes it difficult to see the one in the rear. On the right I measured the distance from the floor up to the bottom of the spring where the mounting bolt is. The distance was 3 5/16″. I’m posting to the forums at 311s.org to see what height others are running. The competition springs lower the rear of the car a bit, so I may actually want to have these de-arched an inch or so. We’ll see.

After measuring I took the springs outside to wash them. Like everything else off the underside of the car, they were pretty filthy. I wet them down and wiped on some Simple Green.

I used a wire brush to loosen up some of the dirt and then scrubbed the springs with scouring pads and more Simple Green. I’ve found it important to continually wash away the dirt as it comes off the parts.

The bottoms of the springs (which are actually mounted upward on the car) were equally dirty.

But they actually came clean enough to read the part numbers on the springs. I cleaned up the edges the same way.

I was pleased at how nicely the leaf springs cleaned-up.

Second Frame Cleaning

I spent today giving the entire frame a thorough second cleaning and de-greasing. I had washed the top of the frame once before, but it was so greasy that another washing was in order. I also cleaned the bottom side of the frame. I used undiluted Simple Green with rags, scouring pads, and a wire brush where necessary. After applying the detergent I scrubbed down the frame, one section at a time, and then sprayed with the hose at high pressure in order to clean away the debris.

I hauled the frame out of the garage and set it up on a pair of sawhorses.

As I was cleaning around the transmission mount, I noticed that there was a lot of grease in the area behind it. From underneath it was clear that there were six bolts attaching the transmission mount to the frame.

I removed the bolts using a 1/2″ socket.

The transmission mount was actually two pieces. The lower piece mounted to the frame, and the upper piece is made of rubber and is the piece the transmission actually attached to. I removed the two bolts that held the two parts together using a 1/2″ socket.

With the two pieces apart, I scrubbed the transmission mount with some more Simple Green. Both pieces came fairly clean.

Back in crotch of the frame’s “X” where the transmission mount had been there was a lot of grease and dirt built-up. Also, the four outside corners of the “X” where pretty bad as well.

After scrubbing and using more de-greaser those areas came fairly clean.

On the areas of the frame where the horsehair frame pads had been located there was some adhesive residue. I used a paint scraper to remove it.

The adhesive came off in clumps and the paint scraper was pretty effective removing it.

There were some remaining bits I had not removed from the frame. The first was a bracket that the exhaust had mounted to, located midway up the frame on the driver’s side. I removed it using a 9/16″ socket.

From right to left on the rear of the frame there were four brackets to remove. The first was on the right edge of the frame. The second was in the center of the frame. The rear bumper was mounted on these brackets, and I removed each using a 14 mm socket.

On the left end of the frame there were two more brackets. The first was oriented towards the inside of the frame; it held the exhaust. The second was another bumper-mounting bracket. I used the 14 mm socket to remove the bolts for each of these.

After a final rinsing I was satisfied that the top of the frame was clean. Here are a couple of pictures of the front of the frame.

And below, left is a shot of the inner corner of the “X” crosspiece of the frame, nice and clean. To the right is a shot of the top of the crosspiece, clean enough to almost see my reflection.

I used my hoist to turn the frame over so I could then clean the bottom. I hoisted the front (heavy) end up, rotated and lowered it onto its edge, and then put it down on the ground upside down. Next I was able to lift one end at a time back up onto the sawhorses, the same way I had originally done (only upside down).

The front and middle of the frame were pretty greasy.

The rear of the frame was dirty. I began by spraying the whole thing down with the hose. From the bottom I could access some of the areas that were difficult to reach from the top.

The front suspension housings required a lot of attention. I removed the upper spring gaskets. There was a lot of road grime and small pebbles up inside the frame, which had no-doubt been kicked up from the road by the wheels.

So I scrubbed inside with a scouring pad and more Simple Green. Then I used the wire brush to remove more grime.

After spraying at high pressure with the hose, the area ultimately came fairly clean. I moved on to the rear portion of the frame. Much of it was caked with dirt and grime.

With more elbow grease these areas came clean.

On the underside of the brackets where the steering and idler boxes mount where a couple of bolts that I removed using a 13 mm socket.

That completed my cleaning of the frame. Although there is some orange surface rust, the grease and dirt is largely gone.

The middle and rear look good as well.

Remember this???

After the frame dried, I flipped it back over and lowered it onto a mover’s dolly I’ve been using to cart it around, and pushed it back into the garage.

I think the frame is finally ready for sandblasting and then painting.

Suspension Parts Washing

Today I spent some time cleaning up the suspension parts I’ve removed from the frame. They were, without exception, thoroughly covered in dirt and grease. These parts work pretty hard, so I wasn’t surprised by that.

I decided to invest in a 20-gallon capacity parts washer (on sale for $70 from Harborfreight). In the long run this will save my back and make washing parts much easier. Today it was rainy so having the new washer up and running was convenient because I could work in the garage whereas previously I did most of my clean-up out back where the hoses are.

I filled the parts washer with about ten gallons of water and a gallon of Simple Green. The re-circulating pump provides a steady stream of cleaner to continuously wash away dirt. I used scouring pads and a wire brush and a lot of elbow grease.

Below left is a picture of the rear suspension pieces dirty, just as they were when I removed them from the car. On the right is a shot of the same pieces after I washed them thoroughly using the parts washer. Pretty big difference.

Basically I just allowed the parts to soak for several minutes in the bottom of the washer, so the de-greasing detergent could go to work. Then I pulled each piece up, one at a time, and scrubbed them using scouring pads and my small wire brush.

The difference in the torque strut was significant. Underneath all of that grime the original finish was still in fairly good condition. Next I washed the front suspension components the same way.

After removing a lot of dirt from the rear pieces and a lot of grease from the front suspension components, I took the opportunity to inspect the cleaned pieces for wear. Everything seemed to be in good condition. I was worried about the shallow threads on the front upper control arm spindle bolts, but after posting my question to the forums at 311s.org for opinions, I was assured that that is how those threads look even on new spindle bolts and is not evidence of wear. The inner threads on the arms (front and rear) are in very good condition, so luckily these pieces don’t need any work or replacement.

The lower ball joints I’m not so sure about. We’ll see when I clean them up and have a closer look at them.

Front Suspension Components Disassembly

Today I finished taking apart and inspecting the front suspension pieces. This is necessary to see what parts need to be replaced before I clean-up and paint the remaining parts.

Yesterday I stripped down the front of the frame. Here are a couple of pictures of it totally bare.

I used a pulley puller to remove the left steering rod from the idler box yoke. Tapping with the mallet wasn’t getting it done, but this did the trick.

First I pulled the rubber bumpstops off the metal brackets they were mounted on. I used a 1/2″ socket on the mounting nut located inside the bracket.

Then I took the lower A-arms apart. I began by removing the plate that the springs rest on. I used a 9/16″ socket and wrench to remove the bolts and nuts mounted to the inside of the bottom of the plates.

I didn’t have a socket the correct size to remove the lower spindles, so I left them attached to the arms. I next disassembled the spring plates, which have a central disk bolted onto them. I used a 7/16″ box-end wrench to loosen the bolts.

Then there was enough clearance to use a 7/16″ socket to remove the bolts entirely. The disks came off the plates with no problem.

Then I went to work on the upper A-arms. The upper spindles have a metal tab that helps prevent them from loosening. I bent this tab free using a screwdriver.

Then I removed the bolts that hold the spindles to the arms. I used a 1 1/8″ socket, first on a breaker bar and then on a socket wrench.

The spindle mounting bolts had grease zirks which allow for lubrication of the spindles.

The upper A-arms also have small rubber bumpstops that I removed by pushing them back through the mounting holes with a screwdriver.

Front End Disassembly

Today I disassembled the front end of the frame. This entailed removing the wheel assemblies, steering, and suspension components. It left the frame pretty much stripped. I want to give it one more good cleaning before painting.

Before I began I took plenty of pictures of the assembled front suspension for reference. Here are a couple from the left side:

And a couple of pictures of the right side:

And here is one picture from below:

First I broke loose the lug nuts on the front wheels using a 19 mm socket with the wheels resting on the ground and I then jacked-up the front end of the frame. I supported the frame using jackstands.

Then I removed the wheels. Here are a couple of shots of the suspension on the passenger’s side with the wheels out of the way.

My first move was to remove the gravel shield mounted at the front of the frame. It was mounted by two Philips-head bolts. One came out easily with a #2 screwdriver and the other one was rusted into place and broke off. Good start!

Then I removed the front anti-sway bar. The front tips of the bar attached to the frame via clips that were bolted into the frame by two flat-head bolts (one each side). I removed these and popped off the clips.

Then I unbolted the brackets that held the front of the bar to the frame. I used a 7/16″ socket on each of the two bolts on each bracket. With those bolts removed the brackets came free and the anti-sway bar sprung loose. The bar was wrapped in rubber bushings at its mounting points.

I haven’t decided whether I am going to use the stock anti-sway bar or acquire a thicker competition bar.

Next I went to work on the steering linkage. The steering system consists of the steering box on the driver’s side which is connected to the steering idler box on the passenger side by a cross rod. The steering and idler boxes each have mounted at their bottom a steering yoke bracket which snakes through the frame and connects to a rod (one on the right and one on the left) which connects into the wheel hub assemblies. Turning motion into the steering box move the cross rod left to right and that directs the front wheels, via the yoke and rods to either the left or right. I began by disconnecting the cross rod, which runs across the front of the frame, from the steering and idler box yokes. The pictures below illustrate that process on the steering box (driver’s) side.

This is the cross rod from the rear (picture taken prior to removing the gravel shield and sway bar).

The cross rod has a threaded, vertically-oriented bolt that mounts through a hole in the steering yoke. On the end of this bolt is a “castle” nut that is held in place by a cotter pin. I straightened the cotter pin with a screwdriver.

Then I pulled the cotter pin out using needle-nose pliers. I loosened the nut using an 11/16″ socket.

I finished removing the nut and the cross rod lifted off the yoke with a couple of taps from the mallet. On the opposite side those two pieces did not come apart nearly as easily.

The left-side rod, which connected into the rear of the yoke similarly to the way the cross rod connected to the front, terminated on the other end at the wheel hub. At the hub the connection was oriented upside-down relative to the yoke, with the threaded bolt pointing upward and the castle-nut on top. I removed the cotter pin and nut to free up the left rod from the hub.

Then I went to work removing the steering box. Here are a couple of shots of where it mounted to the frame.

The steering box was mounted to the frame by three bolts. I started with the one on the top, using a 9/16″ socket and a box wrench to hold the nut while I removed the bolt.

Then I removed the other two mounting bolts, also using a 9/16″ socket. Both bolts can be seen below on the left. Once I had the bolts undone I worked the box free from the frame and removed the left rod from its connection point on the rear of the yoke.

Next I proceeded to the idler-box side of the steering linkage, located on the passenger side of the car. I began by disconnecting the center rod from the front of the idler-box yoke.

Once the nut was off the center rod didn’t want to come free, so I moved on to removing the idler box with it still resting in place. The idler box was mounted opposite the steering box. It had a black cap covering the inner workings, which were full of grease.

I removed the mounting bolts from the top and side of the idler box using a 9/16″ socket on an extension.

With the steering linkage disassembled I then moved on to taking apart the front suspension on the passenger side. I began at the top, with the shocks and springs. The shock hardware consisted of two nuts on the end of the shock’s threaded shaft. The outside nut is meant to prevent the inside one from backing off the shock. If you remove the outer nut alone, when you go to remove the inner one it will just spin the shock and not want to come off. To get around this, the first thing I did was to align the two nuts by holding the inner one with a 9/16″ box wrench and turning the outer one with a deep 9/16″ socket.

Then, with the nuts aligned, I was able to drop the socket over both nuts and turn both simultaneously to loosen them. The two nuts provided enough friction against one another to prevent the shaft itself from turning.

Down at the bottom I removed the lower nuts from the shocks using the same technique.

Next I removed the right rod that connected the idler yoke to the wheel hub. Once again, I removed the cotter pin from the castle nut and loosened the castle nut using an 11/16″ socket.

With some taps from the mallet, the rod came free.

Next I removed the four bolts that connect the front of the lower A-arm to the lower ball joint. Those bolts, which also hold the bumpstops in place, I removed using a 1/2″ socket.

Then I was able to remove the bumpstop. The lower A-arm and ball joint stayed together because it was a tight fit.

I removed the bolts that connect the upper A-arm to the frame, through the upper spindle, using a 5/8″ socket.

After the upper bolts were removed I tapped the protruding top the shock absorber (the shaft) downwards into the A-arm. Then I pulled the upper A-arm up and outward and off the frame entirely. The result was that the suspension came “unhinged,” allowing the hub to rest on the ground, with the only remaining connection at the lower A-arm.

So next I removed the bolts that held the lower A-arms to the frame. For this I used a 9/16″ socket.

With those bolts removed I was able to pull the entire suspension/hub assembly free from the frame. I was also able to pull the shocks and springs off the assembly.

Here is the frame after I removed the passenger-side suspension and wheel hub. Note that the right steering rod is still in place because I couldn’t get it separated from the yoke right away.

Because I had already removed the bolts connecting the lower A-arm to the lower ball joint at the time I removed the bumpstop, removing the lower A-arm from the hub was simple a matter of sliding it back off the ball joint arms. I used a mallet for a bit of persuasion, but it came off without too much trouble.

Likewise the upper A-arm was mounted on the upper ball joint assembly. After bending the metal clip back, I loosened all four bolts that held it in place using an 11/16″ socket.

With those four bolts removed I pulled the upper A-arm off the upper ball joint piece.

I left the ball joint assemblies mounted on the hubs for the time being.

Enough for one day!