Shims – one important thing to note when taking apart the front suspension – and putting it back together – is that there are a number of places where little metal shims are used to for alignment and for tension on one of the ball joints. You have to be careful to keep this in order so you can place them back in the right place and maintain your alignment. Below are some pictures of the various shims for the upper wishbone mounting point and the ball joint in the upper wishbone. Hold on to them – you’ll need when you put things back together.
Another interesting thing is that some of the newer ball joints and the tie rod end are now sealed units and lack grease nipples. However, the replacement ball joint for the lower wishbone is slightly different than the old original units in terms of fit. There is a small metal ring pressed into the lower mounting hole in the swing hub that holds the ball joint that you will have to drive out in order to fit a newer replacement ball joint. This is not too difficult – a few taps with a hammer and driver (even a large socket) will do. Once it is out you can fit the new ball joint.
I also took out the anti-roll bar and fit all new bushings all around for that. While itwas out I repainted the bar and all the mountings for it. While all that was out of the way I could also clean up the front picture frame and replace the overflow hose on the power steering unit.
Of course, I wire brushed and cleaned all the shiny metal parts such as the wishbones, hubs etc. so the whole package would look good when on the car. Amazingly – none of these pieces were painted before or had any damage etc. to cope with. So the end product looked very nice. Putting the pieces back together is pretty straightforward. Make sure to use anti-seize of some sort on the ball joints so that next time you have to take things apart it is not too hard to get them to separate. Also, don’t tighten up any of the bushings until you have the tires on and the car on the ground so that you tighten them in normal position – if you tighten them up while they are in the air you will cause premature wear and even failure since they are in an unloaded state.
I thought the end product looked pretty good! See below –