Front End Rebuild

After much inspection the decision has been made to do a totally rebuild of the front end of the car. The standard of work on the front end seemed very hit and miss. Some parts seemed to have been replaced and some parts had been left. The wrong size bolts had been used to bolt the sub frame to the chassis and most had been damaged. Some bolts had castle nuts and some lock nuts. Bushes had been cut to fit rather than disassembling the running gear. So nothing could be trusted. After stripping down the near side and finding the shock totally degassed the decision seem extremely valid. So the orders were sent out for a massive parts list and the work begins.

Parts:-

Disc,Pads and callipers.

Poly bushes entire front end set.

Spax shocks and road springs (lowered by 1 inch).

Top & Bottom ball joints

Track Rod ends and CV boots.

Wheel bearings and spacers.

The broken and knackered bits pile up as the strip down begins. Add the fact that the chassis design does not allow much to be stripped down with the sub frame being lowered. Spring compression is limited and scary with the limited space available. So a second set has been ordered as  

the best option is to use 3 because there is no way to get two on opposite sides of the spring. Having taken one side down using two the offside can wait for the new set to arrive. Meanwhile the full rebuild option proves even more spot on as the discovery of incorrect bolts in both length and diameter plus half were not even tightened correctly. Not a single castle nut had a split pin fitted.

So on with the de-rust and clean up and then the fitting of the poly bushes and spacers. Some spacers had to be manufactured as the damage to roll bars and sway bar threads at bush mounting points meant poor fitting of the new bushes.

New poly bush fitting begins

Old parts littered around the new

As new coil springs had already been ordered the next, original build attempt fault is irrelevant, idiotic but irrelevant. The original coil springs free length for this sub frame were aprrox 11” for a 1.6 - 2.0 Litre 4 door saloon to approx 12” for a 2.3 Litre 5 door estate. So the first question is where did 14” springs come from? And further more, 14” front coil springs had been fitted to a sports car! Slight madness from one of the original builders here!

Thankfully the 1” lowered springs (10”) ordered (front & back) should help not only the handling but all so the looks of the GT.

The hubs are being fully refurbished along with bearings there is a full de-rust and paint to smarten up the overall look.

Steering rack bushes have been replaced along with the gaiters’

Fresh grease packed into the steering rack before the gaiter is fitted.

Along with all the other bushes and ball joints the track rod ends have also been replaced. These will be fitted but not clamped until the tracking and toe have been set up.

Whilst busy fitting ball joints something seemed a little off with the bump stops. On the near side the bump stop had been broken so a replacement had been ordered but on the offside things just looked wrong. Once stripped down the bodge became apparent. Someone had used a small socket as a spacer! Weird people in this world ain’t there? So some new spacers were quickly turned up on the lathe and fitted to make of proper job of the bump stops.

Fitting new front springs and shocks was like dealing with unexploded ordinance. Spring compressors, jacks, clamps and rope and lots of nervous grunting and groaning. Typical for this type of suspension. But finally it all came together and things started to look very good indeed.

New Ball Joints.

New Callipers & Disc

After the excitement of fitting springs and shocks the fitting of the new ball joints, callipers and discs was simple. The M16 twin pot callipers should provide this light weight with some good stopping power. But for good measure some nice Mintex fast road pads have been added to the mix.

Linkage bushes fitted, finally

Fitting the new linkage bushes meant getting inventive. The old rubber bushes allowed plenty of room for the pivot rod but the new poly bushes left absolutely no room to even start the nut. So time to get the spring compressors our again. Using the roll bar and the bottom wish bone with the bolt head wedged with a spanner the poly bushes could be compressed enough to get the lock nut started. Removing all the clamps and blocks the unit could then be fastened correctly. Horrible job not recommend for those with a short fuse!

Front End Completed

Apart from the wheel spacers the front end is now complete. Calculating the bump stop swing to the wider wheel width it seems a 25mm wheel spacer will be required to sort out the front end. This will match the rear end keeping things stable for the road but a little less than perfect for the track. Wider rear end would be more desirable but as this car is being designed primarily as a GT this should not be a issue.

Old Parts for the Skip

Time for a run to the local tip to get shot of all the old bits. Notice the springs one older than the other and one 13” then other 14”. This would have been one sad mad car if it had been completed by past owners.