Front Wheel Hub Assembly

Tonight I installed the new front inner wheel bearings into the wheel hubs. It is easier to get the bearing races into the hubs prior to installing the rotors onto the hubs, because the races need to be pounded into their places and the rotor, once installed, makes accessing the inside of the inner hub difficult.

I bought the new bearings from partsamerica.com. These are SKF bearings, part #BR30206 for the inner (larger) bearings and #BR30204 for the outer (smaller bearings). I paid $16.99 each for the inners and $14.99 each for the outers. These bearings are readily available from many sources. I also bought new front seals, which hold the inner bearings in the back of the hubs. I got these from Carl Yaeger, who stocks plenty of roadster parts for $13.00 for the pair.

I started by adding the race for the small bearing in the outer end of the hub.

I used the old race, which I had removed from the hubs with the old bearings, as a driver to drive the new race into the hub. This enabled me to avoid pounding directly on the edge of the new race. Pound on it I did, using my 3-pound sledge hammer.

Once the old race began to enter the hub I looked around for something longer to drive the new race down further. I settled on my 1 1/4″ impact socket, which was just wide enough to match the inner diameter of the race but narrow enough to fit into the hub.

Shortly the small outer race was bottomed-out against the inner ridge inside the hub.

I turned the hub over and went to work on the larger, inner race. I used my mallet and the old race in the same way.

I didn’t have a large enough socket, so I just continued to pound the old race in on top of the new one, until the new one bottomed-out in its position. Before pounding the old race down I flipped it in such a way that its widest inner edge was facing down into the center of the hub. This made it easier to remove the old race from the opposite side of the hub using a screwdriver to tap that wider edge, which acted like a shelf for the screwdriver to rest on.

Next I tapped the old race out from inside the hub.

I cleaned up both of the races using some brake-part cleaner and wiping with clean paper towels. I also took the opportunity to spray the bearings with brake cleaner to get any finger grease off and hung them up on a wire to thoroughly dry.

I obtained a device from OEM products that is used to pack bearings with grease. I got mine at Autozone for around $9 I think. It has a conical shaped base on which the bearing rests. (Note: if the hands placing that bearing appear more feminine than mine, it is because they are not my hands!)

Then I put the top on, which has a threaded pipe that attaches to the base and grease fitting to which I attached my grease gun.

I pumped in grease until it had packed the bearing and started to flow out of the bottom of the bearing. I then removed the top from the base.

Next we plucked the grease-packed bearing from the top and placed it into the inner hub, so that it rested on its installed race. I placed the new inner hub seal onto the hub.

I tapped the seal into place using my mallet and the old race again as a driver.

I installed the bearing in the other hub in the same way.

Front Suspension Installation

This morning I bolted the front suspension components, which I assembled yesterday, onto the frame. In the process I installed the new shocks and springs. I used all new bolts which I acquired from Pat Mahoney.

In the top of the shock housing, in the area where the spring seats at the top, originally was a rubber spring isolator that cushioned the spring against the metal frame. I obtained some new urethane spring isolators from Energy Suspension that are a close fit to the originals (pictured below left is the new one with the original one). I bought these from Suspension Restoration, part #9.6114G for $9.00 for the pair. The spring isolators went up into the housing with their raised lip facing down to ride along the inside edge of the top coil on the spring.

Before beginning I checked the upper A-arm bolts in the frame and noticed that they didn’t want to go in because some of the powdercoating must have covered the threading. I used a 7/16″-20 tap to chase the threads.

Then I put the suspension assembly on my dolly and wheeled it into its general position.

I lifted the upper A-arm up over the shock housing and slide it into place so the holes on the frame lined up with those in the upper spindle.

I started the bolts by hand, and then tightened them about halfway using a 5/8″ socket.

With the upper A-arm fastened to the frame, I removed the cart and allowed the suspension assembly to rest on the floor.

My new front coil springs were Datsunsports competition springs I bought from Mike Young for $150. These are a fairly popular spring to use in the front. Compared to the stock springs, they are more than 1 1/2″ shorter, which will lead to about an inch and a half drop in the front end and a more modern sporty stance for the car.

I also bought new KYB Gas Adjust front shocks, which were part #KG4528. I got mine from Summit Racing for $29.95 each.

What I did was to place the shock, with the inner plates and bushings installed, inside the spring with the isolator on top of the spring.

Then I fed the shock and spring up into the shock housing so that the shaft came through the hole atop the housing. I put on the upper rubber bushing, metal plate, and added the nut onto the shock shaft to hold it in place.

Then I pivoted the lower A-arm upwards so that the spring plate caught the bottom of the spring, holding both pieces in place. I rolled my floor jack underneath the lower A-arm to hold it at that height.

Using both hands, I temporarily lifted the lower A-arm up so that the lower shaft of the shock protruded through its hole in the shock plate in the middle of the arm. Quickly, I popped on the bushing and plate and threaded on the lower shock nut to hold the lower A-arm in position.

Using the jack to raise and rotate the lower arm into position, I then inserted the first of the bolts that connect the lower spindle to the frame.

Then, with a little more positioning, I was able to add the remaining bolt on that side and the two on the other side. I tightened them using an 9/16″ socket.

With everything in place, I torqued down the two upper A-arm frame bolts to 80 pound/feet and the four lower A-arm frame bolts to 50 pound/feet.

I tightened down the upper shock nut and added the lock nut on to of it, using a 9/16″ socket for each.

Then I did the same on the bottom shaft of the shock.

Here are a couple of shots of the assembled front suspension.

Here is the opposite side and a shot of the front end.

Front Suspension Assembly

I spent today putting the front suspension assemblies together. The front suspension consists of a wheel spindle that has upper and lower ball joints bolted to it, which are each in-turn bolted to upper and lower A-arm assemblies. The ball joints act as pivots and the arms bolt to the front-end of the frame, with the springs and shocks, which go in between the arms, regulating the compression and rebound of the suspension.

I assembled each side basically in four steps. First, I put the spindle arm and stub axle together. Second I assembled the lower A-arm, and third I assembled the upper A-arm. Finally, I attached the arm assemblies to the spindle assembly, creating the completed front suspension assembly.

Below I document the assembly of the front left suspension. I began with the wheel spindle. On it will eventually be mounted the hubs, rotors, and wheels.

Over the spindle was mounted a caliper-adapter plate, which had two forward-facing holes onto which the brake calipers bolt. Then, over the adapter plate is a shield that acts as a backer plate for the brake rotors.

However, it was much easier to bolt the ball joints onto the backside of the spindle before bolting those components onto the front. Here is a shot of the back of the spindle, where the upper and lower ball joints mount.

I bought sets of used but excellent condition upper and lower ball joints on ebay. For the uppers I paid $140 and the lowers I paid $150. New ball joints are very expensive, and these used ones are in much better shape than my old ones. All of the new ball joints came with new rubber dust boots. Below left are the lowers and uppers.

I began by pushing the upper ball joint onto the top of the spindle. The downward-facing bolt-shaft was fastened to the spindle by the castle-nut, which I twisted on and then tightened using an 11/16″ socket.

After tightening the nut down I installed a 1/8″ x 1 1/2″ cotter pin and bent it back to prevent the nut from backing off the shaft.

The lower ball joint went on upside-down relative to the upper. I tightened down the castle nut and installed another cotter pin.

My “new” upper ball joints came with new grease zerks, but the lowers did not. I installed a new 45-degree zerk into the lower balls using a 5/16″ box wrench. I actually bought a complete set of new grease zerks for the car, also on ebay, for around $30.

As mentioned above, it is easier to install the ball joints as a first step because I could access the castle nuts for tightening much easier than I could with the other pieces mounted to the spindle.

So, with the ball joints mounted to the back of the spindle, I layered the caliper adapter and backer plate back onto the front of the spindle.

There were a total of four bolts that connected those parts to the spindle. However, the top and bottom bolts connected directly into the spindle, whereas the right and left bolts go through the spindle and bolt into another part. Consequently I installed the top and bottom-oriented bolts first, so that they would hold these three pieces together and oriented correctly. The powdercoating layer made the caliper plate a tight fit around the edge of the spindle, but the bolts pulled the two pieces together nicely.

On the back of the spindle assembly is a steering knuckle bracket, which bolted to the spindle and has a forward-facing hole through which the steering linkage rods connect. This enables the steering wheel to rotate the suspension assembly to turn the car. The knuckle brackets are not interchangeable from one side to the other. The shaft from the steering linkage rods will only fit through one end of the bracket because the hole through which is mounts on the bracket is tapered (wider at one end than the other). The knuckle bracket should be oriented in such a way that the wider end of the hole is facing downwards, because the steering linkage rods mount up through the brackets on the car. Two longer bolts fed through the right and left holes in the front of the spindle assembly and threaded directly into the knuckle.

After tightening down all four bolts that held the spindle assembly together, I torqued each of them down to 35 pound/feet.

Here are a couple of pictures of the inner and outer sides of the spindle assembly.

 

The second step, after putting the spindle assemblies together, was to assemble the lower A-arms. Below is a picture of the pieces that constitute one of the lower A-arms. It is important to note that not all arms are created equal. Each A assembly contains one straight arm and one angled arm. I went back to the pictures of when I took the front end apart, and realized that the straighter arm is oriented towards the front of the car with the A-arm assembly upside-down, as it is connected to the car. The straight arms also have a tab (faces downwards) and a slot (faces upwards) onto which the front anti-sway bar mounts. Keeping the arms in the appropriate positions and even matching the same spindles back to their corresponding arms made everything go together more smoothly.

The first thing I did after laying out the pieces was to install the spindle into the arm pieces. First I slipped on the new dust boots, which I bought for $1.55 apiece from Nissan (part #54539-04200).

The spindles threaded onto the arms and I tightened them down by hand.

Then I turned my attention to the spring plate, which is the triangular piece that mounts into the center of the lower A-arm. The plate has a center disk bolted into it (the shock plate) through which the shaft of the shock absorber bolts. Also, the triangular plate itself supports the bottom of the spring.

The powdercoating must have worked its way into the bolt holes, because I found it necessary to chase the threads with a 1/4″-28 tap to get the bolts to thread.

I added the new bolts through the shock plate and tightened them down very firmly using a 7/16″ socket.

The spring plate mounted to the arm pieces with four bolts; two on either side. In order to get the holes to line up and force the spring plate up into the arm, I used a large screwdriver as a lever through the upper right pair of holes. After prying downward on the screwdriver to align the holes on the opposite side, I slipped one of the bolts through to lock the plate into position. I then tightened down the nut on that bolt and worked the other bolts into place. I used a 9/16″ socket on the bolt and a 9/16″ wrench on the nut.

Finally I torqued all of the bolts down to 30 pound/feet.

I added a pair of 45-degree grease zerks at either end of the spindle, using a 5/16″ wrench to tighten them down. That completed assembly of the lower A-arms.

The third step was to assemble the upper A-arms. The upper A-arms bolt onto the upper ball joints and also connect to the frame just above and behind where the shocks and springs mount to the frame. I began by installing new dust boots (part #54541-04100 from Nissan, priced at $.59 each) on the ends of the upper A-arm spindles.

Then I put the spindle onto the stamped A-arm piece in order to thread the metal bushing pieces onto the spindle.

I started the bushings onto both ends of the spindle and hand-tightened them roughly equal amounts. When installing the bushings I was sure to replace the lock-plates that have tabs that bend down onto the bushings to prevent them from backing off the spindle. I used my impact wrench with a 1 1/8″ impact socket to alternate tightening the two end bushings down until they were tight.

The uppers were fairly simple to assemble.

I completed the assemblies by adding new grease zerks to the bushings.

The fourth step was to bolt the upper and lower A-arms onto the spindle assemblies, through the ball joints. This would complete the front suspension assembly.

I began with the lower A-arm assembly. It mounted on the lower ball joint and was held in place by four bolts. The little arms on the base of the ball joint fed into the triangle-point of the A-arm. I used a mallet to persuade the ball joint to go into place.

Once I got the first of the holes to align, I tapped a new bolt through to hold that position. Then I worked the rest of the holes into alignment by further tapping the ball joint back. I inserted the remaining three bolts from below.

Before installing the nuts on those bolts, I had to drop on the bumpstop. Because I will be installing competition front springs that will lower the front-end by an inch or so, the stock rubber bumpstops would be too large. They would come into play much more frequently at the lower ride height, each time causing a temporary but disconcerting loss of traction. The Bob Sharp Competition Manual suggests cutting down and shaping the stock bumps to about half their original height. I elected to replace the stops with new urethane bumps from Energy Suspension. I bought these, which were around 1 1/2″ tall, from Summit Racing (part #ENS-9-9103) for $8.50 for the pair. They are also available in red : ).

The new bumpstops had a threaded shaft that was a bit larger in diameter than stock bumpstops. In order to mount them on the bumpstop bracket I had to tap the hole using a 7/16″-20 tap. That enabled me to screw the new bumpstops onto the brackets.

Underneath the bracket I added the bolt onto the shaft and tightened it down using a 14 mm socket on a long extension.

The new bumpstops mounted very firmly to the old brackets.

So I dropped the bumpstop assembly over the lower ball joint/lower A-arm bolts and then put on the new nylock nuts. I torqued the bolts to 17 pound/feet using a 1/2″ socket in the torque wrench.

Here is a shot of the assembly after attaching the lower A-arm and prior to installing the upper A-arm.

The upper A-arm simply mounted over the upper ball joint, and was attached using four bolts that threaded down into the ball joint’s arms. The hole in the top of the upper A-arm enabled the ball of the upper ball joint to protrude through and allowed for access to the grease zerk in the ball joint. I torqued these bolts down using a 1/2″ socket to 17 pound/feet.

That completed the front end suspension assembly. The next step will be to bolt each side onto the frame.

Misc Parts Cleaning

This afternoon I cleaned up some miscellaneous parts that were laying around the garage. Some of these will be rebuilt, some painted, and some eventually sent off for powdercoating or plating. I used Simple Green and scouring pads.
Here are some body-frame clips and the bracket from the differential onto which the emergency brake mounts.

Here is the driveshaft and the two steering columns.

And here are the front hubs, wheel spindles, and calipers.

Front Wheel Bearings, Removal from Hubs

This morning I removed the seals and inner bearings from the front wheel hubs. It took some effort, but I want to replace those seals and the bearings with new ones “while I’m at it.” The first step was to remove the bearing grease seal from the inner surface of the hub. It is a rubber gasket with a metal ring that helps it maintain its circular shape. The seals fit tightly into the inner circumference of the hub. I began by prying the seal outward using a flat head screwdriver, working may way around and around.

After going around a number of times, the edge of the seal began to come proud of the inner face of the hub. I was eventually able to grab its edge with a pair of pliers and pull it out. Easier said than done.

With the seal removed, the inner wheel bearing fell out.

The bearings were accompanied inside by a metal ring, known as a race, inside of which they rotated. The races are held tightly in place on the inner hub surface by friction. I had to pound them out of the hub. The outer race was the smaller of the two. I used a screwdriver and a mallet to pound it out, alternating from the right to the left side with my blows. Eventually it worked its way out.

The larger outer race was not as easy. Luckily the inner circumference of the hub is larger than the outer, so I was able to fit my pickle fork into the wide inner edge of the hub. The fork applied pressure to both opposing edges of the race simultaneously, so I could move the whole race with one strike. I used my 3 pound sledge hammer (and safety glasses) on the fork and the race came out willingly.

Separating Hubs from Rotors

This weekend I didn’t have much time to work on the car, but I did spend some time separating those stubborn front wheel hubs from the rotors. The pieces bolt together, but I had already removed the four bolts on each hub when I disassembled the calipers last week. The whole thing was an exercise in using controlled force. I needed to use a hammer to break the two parts free, but didn’t want to mar the edge of the hub. I needed to use tools to pry and force the halves apart, but didn’t want to scrape either mating surface.
The first thing I did was to soak the assembly with PB Blaster. I sprayed some on the bottom of the rotor.

Here is a close-up of where the hub and rotor mate. I sprayed this area thoroughly with the PB Blaster.

I allowed the hubs to soak overnight to give the spray time to work its magic. This morning I gave the hubs another spraying and a few careful taps with the small sledge hammer to jar the pieces hopefully apart.

The hammer seemed to help and I started to work my putty knife down into the joint between hub and rotor. By tapping the knife with my rubber mallet I eventually got it down between the two parts.

After working my way all the way around the hub and working the putty knife into each of the four joints between hub and rotor, I had enough daylight to start my small Flathead screwdriver in between. Again, I tapped the screwdriver with the mallet, carefully working it down and towards the center of the hub, its increasing width forcing the two parts apart. I worked around the hub several times until the screwdriver easily bottomed out on the center of the hub.

Next I used my pickle-fork, which is a tool typically used for removing ball joints. Its tapered ends were just right for tapping down into the widening gap between hub and rotor.

Victory! The hub came off the rotor after I turned the fork sideways and gave it a final tap with the mallet.

Here are some shots of the top and bottom of the hub.

Next I repeated the same process on the other hub and rotor. After working the fork down to the center of the hub, I once again turned it sideways and pounded it through, forcing the hub off the rotor.

Currently I’m working on obtaining a new pair of rotors from Down Under. I am also planning to replace the inner and outer wheel bearings in the hub, and get new seals as well.

Front Wheel Hub Disassembly

This afternoon I disassembled the front wheel hubs, which included the axle and wheel bearing assemblies, the brake rotor and wheel hub assemblies, and the brake caliper assemblies. The hydraulics in the brake cylinders will certainly need attention. I actually tried to do this work last weekend, but didn’t get anywhere as I was unable to get enough leverage to break loose the large bolts that mount the calipers to the wheel hubs.

Here is a picture of the wheel hub as I left it after I removed it from the car, during the front end disassembly. Note the odd shape of the assembly; neither side is flat and the piece is designed to rotate, which made gaining leverage to loosen bolts very difficult, even with a breaker-bar.

In order to lay the hub flat, I stacked up some 2x4s so the disk (on one side) and caliper (on the other side) could rest at different heights. This enabled the axle to sit up off the floor and the inside of the hub to rest relatively level. In order to get the leverage I needed, I used my new impact wrench, bought on sale for half price at $40 from Harborfreight this week.

I used a 3/4″ impact socket to loosen and removed the caliper mounting bolts. The caliper was still tight on the rotor, so I used a 3/8″ socket in my socket wrench to loosen the four cylinder bolts.

The caliper assembly was still firmly in place, so I flipped the hub over to loosen the four bolts on the other cylinder.

That allowed the caliper assembly to come loose, but I noticed that I’d missed a bolt that attached the hub plat to the small junction block where the rubber brake line feeds the hard line at the caliper. I removed this bolt using a 1/2″ socket and 1/2″ wrench to hold the nut while I loosened the bolt.

This enabled me to slide the caliper assembly free from the hub.

Brake fluid reaches the caliper via a rubber brake line, that attaches to the hard (steel) brake lines further upstream toward the brake pedal. Stomping on the brake pedal forces a plunger into the master cylinder, mounted on the firewall, to push brake fluid into the brake lines and down towards the calipers. This fluid flows through the rubber line and back into hard lines that directly feed the wheel cylinders mounted on either side of the caliper. The fluid forces the wheel cylinders (and brake pads) to clamp down on the rotor, which slows the vehicle.

There were two separate hard lines on the caliper assembly, one feeding fluid to each of the cylinders. I began by removing the line that fed the external cylinder from the internal one. I used a 7/16″ wrench to removed the fittings.

After loosening the fitting on the external cylinder, the short section of brake line came free.

Then I flipped the caliper over and removed the fitting from the inner cylinder. This enabled me to remove the hard line, soft line, and junction block assembly from the caliper.

This left the caliper-cylinder assembly. I plan to remove the cylinder, perhaps have them re-sleeved, rebuild the hydraulics, and clean up the calipers, but not today.

Next I returned to the wheel hub. The rotor and hub are pressed together. On the inside of the hub is an arm assembly that connects to the upper and lower ball joints, which bolt into the suspension arms. This arm assembly has the short front axle length that feeds through the rotor/hub piece and wheel bearing. The wheel hub and rotor spin on this axle and the car’s wheels bolt to the hub. There are four inner hub bolts that I removed using a 5/8″ box wrench. I had to tap the wrench with a mallet to break some of these bolts free.

I then pried off the outer axle cap using a flat-head screwdriver. It came off without much trouble after prying in different spots around the edge.

Through the “castle bolt” on the end of the axle was a cotter pin, which I straightened and removed using needle nose pliers.

I was able to remove the castle bolt without using my 1 1/8″ socket, because it was loose enough to turn by hand. Hence the reason for the cotter pin, which prevents the hub and wheels from flying off the car!

With the axle bolt off I was able to separate the hub assembly from the axle arm assembly. I slide the wheel bearings out of the hub.

There is a retaining plate on the inside of the rotor which bolts into the axel arm. The plate is connected by two sets of two bolts, with locking plates that have tabs to prevent the bolts from backing out. I pried back these tabs using a flat head screwdriver and then loosened the bolts using a 9/16″ socket.

I removed those bolts, one of the short and one of them longer, and then removed the other pair of bolts above those.

Then I removed the plate from the axle assembly, freeing up the arm onto which the steering linkage mounted. Below right is a close-up of the axle assembly with the upper and lower ball joints attached.

On the face of the axle was a mounting plate for the caliper. With all of the bolts out I could tap this plate off using a screwdriver to wedge between the two pieces.

I spent a bit of time doing a first cleaning of all the parts, which were some of the most greasy I’ve pulled off the car. They will need another cleaning prior to giving them a new finish, replacing the wheel bearings and seals, mounting new rotors, and rebuilding the cylinder hydraulics.

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.

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!