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.