Picked up my front struts from a scrap yard. They were in pretty poor condition with loads of surface rust and dirt. Structurally, they were fine though. The calipers and the disks are definately suitable only for the bin. Took ages to find some and ironically, these came off a Dutton kit car.
|This picture shows one of the struts as picked up from the breakers yard. They are structurally sound but in need of a good clean up.|
Cleaned the struts up as best I could with a wire brush, then soaked the nuts and bolts with Plusgas to help undo them. Left them overnight before attempting to remove the calipers.
Took off the grease caps over the hub nuts, removed split pin and locking cage, along with nuts and the hub just lifted off. Put hubs away for later. Could now get access to the allen key bolts holding on the remains of the splash guards. These came off easily enough and went in the bin.
The remaining struts look in good condition and weigh a whole lot less without the calipers and hubs. Had a go at the lower suspension arms but although the ball joint nuts came undone they would not shift. These apparently are what is called, 'interference fit', which means they are tapered and wedged in. Time to stop and go get myself a ball-joint splitter.
My brother e-mailed me a few scanned pages from the Escort MkII Haynes manual to help me understand what is going on within the calipers. Managed to borrow some spring compressors and ball-joint splitters from a colleague at work.
|This picture shows one of the struts with the hubs, splash guards and calipers removed.|
I'm hoping the extra bodywork is going to improve the experience though. You feel quite exposed looking at the front tyres when they are kicking up stones at you at 120mph. The taller aeroscreen should also provide a touch more wind protection.
Managed to find some time to progress things this afternoon. First I unbolted the disks (15mm socket). They seemed welded to the hubs but a vicious attack with a large rubber hammer on the disks did the job. Then cleaned up the hubs. Left the disk mating surface alone (some oil to stop corrosion) but, painted the remaining hub surfaces with black caliper paint. Left the rear grease seal (press fitted) in place too as I'm going to reuse the existing bearings and hubs to start with. I'm planning to use new new alloy front hubs and new bearings but I'm keeping these as a fall-back option. I also removed the wheel studs to simplify cleaning and painting. Not sure if I can reuse these.
Using the spring compressors, I compressed the springs. Ordinarily you would unbolt the damper at the top to take the spring off. I took a quicker route to achieving my desired goal and simply cut a length off the uncompressed section of the spring. I could then remove the compressors and cut the upright as required without it flying apart. I drilled a couple of holes in the top of the strut first, to drain out the shock oil out though. I also removed the ball joints with a ball joint splitter.
The two front struts ready for cutting down further, prior to the threaded insert being welded into the top tube. They look a little rusty but they are structurally sound and will be shot blasted and powder coated by Fisher Sportscars .|
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