Monday, February 6, 2012

Suspension Removal - Part 2

Superbowl XLVI is behind us. (Congrats Giants)    Indianapolis has been a crazy place to get around, especially this past week and weekend.  The weather was perfect for it too...and to get the suspension taken off the fastback.   Saturday afternoon would be a nice chunk of time to get the rest of suspension off.   But the best laid plans of mice and men didn't quite work out.  Saturday early morning was when a mild case of the stomach flu decided to play its game with me.   I was pretty much down for the count until about 3 PM.   I felt better, but not great.  I also didn't want to lay around if I could get something done on the car, even if it was a little progress.

Since I've been soaking all the nuts and bolts in PB Blaster whenever I walked into the garage, things moved along nicely, especially with the help of my air gun and breaker bar.  The cotter pins were rusted in place on all the castle nuts and not coming out.  I used my nippers and cut off the offending end so I could get my socket over the nut and then with a little persuasion from the breaker bar, I got the nuts off.    My new 1" deep well socket didn't quite work as planned on the end of the strut rod inner nut.  The angle of the strut rod versus the bracket that holds it caused an interference.  So back to Lowes for a big boxed end 1" wrench.  I also picked up a 1" steel spacer for the spring compressor.  (Lowes is only 5 minutes away if I haven't mentioned it earlier.  Way too convenient!)    With a little help from an 18" cheater pipe slipped over the end, I got the nut to break loose.  I had to be careful where and how I applied leverage as I was able to move the car and jack stands.  Not a good thing.   It took awhile to get the nut off with only being able to make a quarter turn of the wrench at a time on those fine threads.   The strut rod came off easily after that, along with the rest of the left front suspension.  The pile of parts on that side is shown here...

And the empty hole where all of this once resided is shown here...

That was about all I could handle on Saturday.  I needed to make sure I didn't overdue it and leave myself in a lurch on Sunday morning since it's  hard to find a last minute replacement in my line of work.

On Sunday I was feeling much better though a little tired.  After dinner, I hit the garage again.  I had a couple of hours before the Superbowl.   So, it was on to the right side front suspension.   The spacer in the spring compressor worked great.  What took 45 minutes of sorting out how to remove the left coil was reduced to a 5 minute job on the right coil.  Nice.  I love it when a plan comes together.   The rest of the suspension came apart fairly easily.  I did the same treatment of the cotter pins as on the left side.   Soon, I had a pile of suspension parts on that side of the car...

...and another vacant place on the front end of the car...

One interesting note about the right coil was that the remnant of the original paint daubs on the coil were still visible.

It looked like two colors were used--a reddish orange and a blue.  I don't know what spring rate that identified, but I'll sort that out later.  There was no sign of any paint on the left front coil.   Interesting.   I haven't removed any of the steering components as I want to find out the best way to separate them without doing any damage, especially to the steering ram.   So it was on to the back of the car.

I started by removing the driver's door glass and a storage container that held the "guts" of the door.   The gas tank was the next item to remove.  It was fairly simple.   Kind of weird that two of the bolts that held the gas tank in also held the bumper guard brackets in place.  A snip of the rubber fuel line and a slice of the rubber neck and out it came...

Then it was on to the rear suspension.  I decided to separate the rear differential from the leaf springs to make it easier to move all those components around in my limited space, not to mention the weight of it all together.  I started with removing the rear shocks.   Talk about vestiges of the 70's.   Air shocks!  What a hoot...

Moving on to the U bolts that hold the rear end to the springs revealed I needed a 7/8" deep well socket for my air gun.  So back to Lowes to snag one.   The bolts broke loose and with a little more persuasion, came off the U bolts.   The rear end was loose.  With the help of my floor jack, I nursed it out from underneath the car.    

I thought I would try and give the bolts on the leaf springs a shot with the air gun.  The nuts on the rear came off, but only the driver's side bolt came out, and that with a lot of persuasion from my sledge hammer.  The rest of the leaf spring bolts will be removed with the "wheel of death" on my next installment of work.

With all the hardware out of the way, I got to take a good look at the underside of the car.  I need to remove what's left of the stock original exhaust.   I guess the Texas weather helped prolong its life, but duals are in the plan.  So this will be cut up and pitched.

The pile of parts in the garage was growing by leaps and bounds.  I decided to take what I had off the car to my storage unit.  Here's the pile of parts ready to be loaded into the truck.  I did notice when I came out to take the picture that some "thick yuk" had come out of the gas tank since I placed it in the driveway upside down.   Speedy dry to the rescue.

I'll be dropping these off on Monday afternoon at the storage unit.   I took some "after" pictures of the car with the suspension mostly removed.

Once the leaf springs are out of there along with the exhaust system, I'll pull the passenger side door.  Oh, and I need to get the steering box and links out of the way too.   Then the car will finally be ready for the rotisserie.   That will be a watershed event in the resurrection of my fastback, and one that has been literally years in the waiting.


  1. Awesome work on tackling the suspension!

  2. Thanks James. After almost 7 years, the fastback is almost ready for the rotisserie.

  3. Well Rev, I spent the first 2 years going full out on mine, got cut from a great job, divorced and 7 years later I started back on the Stang. My friends give me a hard time about how long it is taking, and I just tell them, It gets done when it gets done. Any progress is good progress. Just keep doing something and learn along the way or teach others the skills you've learned.

  4. Amen to that! re-doing the Mustang is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby, not a job. I already have one job. I sure don't need another. Thanks for the encouragement.