Chassis stripped

Having got the engine out in October and sent off for rebuild, the front suspension was next. I started on the offside trying to dismantle the various bits in-situ but came up against a few recalcitrant bolts and joints. The shocks and springs came off easily as did the lower trunnion nut but the bolt shaft wouldn’t knock through the trunnion and the track-rod end taper joint just wouldn’t split. I decided therefore to take the front suspension bits off as an assembly and attack the difficult bits later on the bench. We’ll see if this proves to be the right choice!
This meant disconnecting the flexible brake pipe from the caliper and unscrewing the track-rod from the track-rod end as well as removing the anti-roll bar drop link from the lower wishbone. This was all fairly straightforward as was the removal of the wishbone chassis bolts so that the assembly came away reasonably easily.

The offside lower front wishbone half came off the lower trunnion bolt, but the bolt was siezed in the trunnion so that the rear half of the lower wishbone could not be removed. The steering arm retaining nuts undid easily but the arm did not want to move off the studs. Further work on the bench required!

All the various bits (wishbones, uprights, steering arms, disc shields etc) are in a rough and rusty condition so will need to be stripped completely for blasting and coating.

At this stage I noticed that the offside shock absorber upper mounting point on the chassis was slightly splayed.

Not sure how or when this happened and would assume that the bolt will pull this together onto the shock absorber top bush. Otherwise it might need adjusting with a lump hammer or similar!
Next off was the anti-roll bar and steering rack. Both are held by U-clamps and access was restricted to a short open-ended spanner which made for a tedious removal since there was a lot of thread on the clamps and the nuts tightened up as they hit the rusty bits at the ends.
One of the steering arm gaiters was split but the inside looks clean and very well greased so I don’t expect too much of an issue to re-furbish the rack.

With the front end now completely dismantled, the rear suspension was the final stage for the full chassis strip. I was hoping to be able to pull the hub assembly and drive shafts out of the hub carrier but, although the nuts came undone easily, the hub assembly did not want to budge. so, like the front, I decided to remove the whole assembly. First off were the springs and shocks which came off without problems. Then the flexible brake hoses needed to be disconnected from the chassis bracket and the brake cylinder. No problems on the nearside but the offside did not want to come off the chassis bracket with the securing nut beginning to round off. I decided to remove the brake cylinder so that the hose could be removed at that end by rotating the cylinder. This involved dismantling the cylinder assembly completely so that it could be withdrawn from the backing plate and rotated until the hose came clear.
There were no particular problems with the bolts through the bushes and, with the cable ties removed from the drive shaft gaiters, the wishbone and hub assembly came away from the chassis easily.

Finally, the differential was the only part left to remove. This needed a bit of thinking about since it was clear that the top mounting bracket would not come up vertically since the bush eyes were below the upper chassis member. Also, the inner drive shafts were still attached and, whilst some flange bolts came undone, others were proving more difficult so I would need to be able to lift the differential out with the inner drive shafts still attached. By removing the 4 inner bolts holding the differential to the mounting bracket and the 4 bush bolts holding the bracket to the frame, it was possible to move the mounting bracket sideways and tilt it at the same time so that it would clear the chassis and come away vertically. The lower stabilising brackets were then removed so that the differential rested free on the chassis. With a bit of manoeuvering, it was possible to turn the differential through 90 degrees so that it could be lifted up and out of the chassis.

This left the chassis fully stripped and ready for grit blasting and powder coating with the aim being to get this done before the new year.

In the meantime, the suspension assemblies need to be stripped down so that the various bits can be inspected to see which can be re-used and which need to be replaced. Very pleased with the progress in November, let’s see if I can keep this up during December without Christmas getting in the way too much!

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