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djdawson2 djdawson2 is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Evergreen, CO
Posts: 231
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Front end rebuild finished!

Sunday after dinner I headed out to the garage and completed the front suspension stuff. I got the new upper bushings installed, and then worked on the struts. I bought RSR housings and Von shocks from ER, along with all of the bushings. I bought them with the spindles raised 30mm. I had to make a couple of tabs for the brake lines (RSR housings don't have them), and then welded them to the housings.

The rest of the install went smoothly, and by raw luck, the shock boots I ordered from Summit Racing couldn't have fit better. Everything in the front end is now completely new... strut cartridges, housings, ball joints, outer tie rod ends, upper mount bushings, and control arm bushings.

Once installed, the car sat probably 2 inches lower than it sat before... certainly due to the fact that the spindles are mounted 30mm higher on the strut housing. I raised it back up by using the front adjustment bolts... turning equally on each side until I got it back up to the old height. Interesting point is that the torsion bars now have significant "preload" on them when the car is in the air... as opposed to being virtually completely unloaded before.

Once that was done, I lowered the car so the full weight of the front end was placed on jack stands, so that I could adjust the angle of the tie rod assemblies. Since the new housings are adjustable, I made it so that the tie rod would be parallel with the ground (and a straight line from the steering rack) after one inch of compression... my theory being that through a total of 2 inches of front travel, there would be minimal toe change. I didn't really have any guidelines to work from, but simply figured this would be decent common sense.

Finally, I made a tape measure and string attempt at realigning the front end. This seemed to work out well. While I really have no idea if the toe is super accurate, I can say that when I did get around to driving it, the steering wheel was precisely straight when driving in a straight line. I was sort of stunned.

Having not yet driven it, about 9pm tonight I decided to take it out for a try. There really isn't anything but great news on this deal. The clunking is gone at last. I drove it about 70 miles on varied roads. The ride is really great, and it seems the car has really benefited from adding 30mm to the suspension travel. I have to believe it used to be bottoming out... as low as it was, and with the stock height spindles. It now feels great to drive, and there is certainly a huge difference between the old Bilsteins and the new Vons. With the additional suspension travel, it almost makes me wonder if I should have moved up to the next stiffer cartridge. I'll leave final judgment on that issue until after I've taken a longer drive. Either way, the results were well worth the effort, and the parts from Elephant very pleasing.

Now on to the rear suspension.....
Old 03-30-2010, 10:01 PM
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