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Front suspension  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 03-26-2005 02:30 am
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Ron Mau
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Hi all,

Rear suspension done. now on to the front. Any tips or advice to make the job easier?

It looks to be more complicated than the rear.

Thanks,

Ron Mau

JH 16367     JH 15814

 

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 Posted: 03-26-2005 02:20 pm
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SportsRodder
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I have had my front suspension apart several times.  It is more dificult than the rear but doable.

1. Put the car on jackstands so you can work underneath.

2. Remove front tire on one side .

3. Remove the caliper mounting bolts and the brake line support backet. Move the caliper out of the way and support it so there is no strain on the brake line.

4. Place a hydraulic jack under the lower balljoint.

5. Raise the jack enough to take pressure off the shock mount.

6. Remove the  the upper and lower shock bolts and the three nuts holding the shock mount. Leave the bolts locating the strut in place.

6. Remove the shock and mounts.

7. Remove upper control arm mounting bolt and swing the arm towards the front of the Jensen.

8. Lower the jack slowly. When all pressure is off the spring and it is loose remove the jack. The spring should easily come out towards the rear.

9. You can now easily remove the rest of the suspension components for replacement or repair.

10. Use care as the spring can cause damage and injury if it gets loose before pressure is removed.

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 Posted: 03-27-2005 05:44 am
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Dan Eiland
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Hi,

I'm in the process of finishing up my front suspension rebuild. I took lots of digital photos before any dissassmbly which has sure come in handy on the reassembly process.

I dropped the entire front assembly out of the car with the engine attached. This wasn't all that hard. Once I had all the hydraulics, wiring, hoses and everything else disconnected then it was just a matter of 4 bolts and it was ready to remove. I used my engine lift to raise the front of the body high enough to roll everything from out under the car. Once I had it all out, I lowered the body back down and used the engine lift to pick up the engine and mount it to my engine stand. Removed the tires and then I went to town on the front suspension. Taking the front suspension apart wasn't all that difficult. Removing all the bushings and installing all the new polyurethane bushings is a different story. Ended up purchasing a 12 ton press which came in very handy on the front bushings. BTW, the press paid for itself. To get someone locally to do the bushings was $5.00 per bushing. That is $5.00 to remove and another $5.00 to install. Since there are 10 bushings on the front suspension it would have cost me $100 to have someone else do them. I bought a 12 ton shop press at a local tool company for $88 that is sold at Harbor Freight for $125. The shop press has come in handy on several projects so it has paid for itself for all I am concerned. The only other tool I had to purchase was a spring compressor to install the front springs. Once the springs were installed I used my shop press to compress each side to install the shocks and control arms.

All I am doing now is cleaning up the steering rack and installing new boots and tie rod ends so I can mount it back onto the front member. Anyone know what lubricant is used in the steering rack? Guess I'll get off my $%% and go look it up. If you have any questions on your front suspension I'll try to answer them the best I can.

Dan Eiland

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 Posted: 03-29-2005 06:37 pm
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Glen
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Just my 2 cents worth:

I did the front suspension without a press.  I used a drill to drill a bunch of holes in the old rubber bushing and then tore the things out.  Some easier than others.  The new bushings popped in with a little grease.  Probably took a bit more time than if I had a press, but hey, I'm cheap.

 The spring compressor is a pain in the a$$.  I got a free rental from Autozone, but it just wasn't worth the hassle and I ended up not using it.  The best way to go is the method Sportsrodder described, which is put a jack under the lower ball joint, which will compress the spring.  Much easier.

One more thing (I think I'm up to about 4 cents by now), loosen the nuts for ALL the ball joints before you take the whole thing apart.  You can get more torque on them when it's still installed.  Keep in mind that the ball joint bolt is prevented from spinning only because the bolt is tapered and held in place by pressure.  Sometimes they're in there pretty tight, but once these things start to spin, they're a nightmare.  If you have to pound on one of the ball joint bolts to get it off  (do this AFTER you've gotten the nut ALL the way off), make sure you don't pound on the bolt itself or you'll screw up (no pun intended) the threads.  I put a nut back on at the top of the bolt and pounded on that.

#19667

Last edited on 03-29-2005 09:06 pm by Glen

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 Posted: 04-05-2005 06:24 pm
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Dan Eiland
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I found a small spring compressor at a local tool store that worked great. Slipped down the inside of the springs and when finished it just slips out the bottom of the suspension.

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 Posted: 04-24-2005 05:11 am
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Jensenman
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Steering rack lubricant: I had the same question on the old board, was advised to use 80W90 gear lube, and it's given zero problems.

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 Posted: 07-27-2005 07:40 pm
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mdutch
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Well, I'm still gathering my parts, but I have a secondary problem: This was a Long Beach car, and as such, is very rusty under there.

So I figured while I had it all apart, I'd do beadblasting and powdercoating on everything.

Q: Should I pull the engine and do the entire crossmember at the same time?

Q: Should I bead & powder the new parts like front swaybar etc?

Q: Haven't bought shocks or springs yet. Should I "spring" for the Delta up-rated (car's just for weekend fun & light commuting) or get custom made.

Q: And last one for shocks -- Koni's or Billsteins?

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 Posted: 07-27-2005 10:49 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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My take, for what it's worth--

Pull engine & front crossmember?
Depends.  Ideally, yes, if you have the room to do so.  If you have lots of room and can let the car sit for awhile, leave the engine held in place by a couple of jacks and just pull the crossmember -- very quick that way.

Bead blast and powder coat?
I personally would do that for any original parts, but wouldn't bother for new ones that had a proper protective coating of some sort.  But if you want a distinctive appearance,  go for it.

Springs?
For a weekend driver, you can probably use the stock springs.  Even at list price, buying Delta's should be a lot less expensive than having custom ones made -- and IIRC they're on sale for a while longer, too.  (Usual disclaimers.)

Shocks?
No opinion.  Depends on many factors, such as springs used, ratio of sprung to unsprung weight, road conditions expected, etc.

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 Posted: 08-25-2005 09:20 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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Have been working on my car's front suspension recently and developed the attached drawing so I wouldn't forget things or mis-torque any of the bits.  It's very handy while working on the car.  Feel free to copy and print.

Attachment: Frt Susp Torques.gif (Downloaded 267 times)

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 Posted: 08-26-2005 08:25 am
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Harkes
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Hi Mark,

you are great! this is something really usefull. I had no torque specs of the suspension bits, only a few. I have put everything back together but still have to torque everything down to the right spec...and then this comes along.

Fantastic. Did you manage to put in all poly bushes?

cheers

erik

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 Posted: 08-30-2005 10:03 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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When I finally got around to doing something about my car's suspension, I first installed Superpro bushings in the lower rear arms, as mentioned elsewhere on this board. The new bushings firmed up the car's rear end tremendously, and the comparison between front and rear made it quite clear that the front was in desperate need of attention. Since most cars with solid rear axles handle best when the front suspension is more stiff than the rear, I elected to install Delta's urethane bushings, as the Superpro equivalents would seem considerably softer. I also acquired a pair of KYB front shocks to replace the (probably not original) Girlings, which were showing signs of being worn out.

A study of the shop manual, and SportsRodder's instructions as posted above, gave me a good idea of the extent of the work and how to perform it. I estimated that the job would take about twelve hours. That was absurdly optimistic. Due to several problems found during disassembly, and to a few mistakes on my part, the job ended up taking more than sixteen hours. Also, there were time limits on how long I could have the car up on stands in the driveway, and consequently I was not able to abrasive blast and paint the suspension parts.

My problem areas.
First, and most annoying, the 1/4" bolts holding the brake hose support brackets to the spindles were installed from the disk side, just as shown in the shop manual drawing, and therefore were inaccessible until the brake disks were separated from the spindles. This made it necessary to undo the brake lines before the calipers could safely be moved aside, and to clean up the brake fluid that flooded out before I could cap things off.

Second, I found that the lower arm fulcrum (pivot) bolts had been inserted from the front of the car, apparently when a PO serviced the front end at some time in the past. With the bolts installed in this manner, it is difficult or impossible to remove them until the steering rack is separated from the crossmember. Then, when I put the rack back in place, the steering wheel lock elected to activate for the first time since I've owned the car, leading me to waste more than an hour in trying to determine why the steering had suddenly frozen, before I remembered that the lock was present.

Third, the steel tubes for the front shocks' lower pivot points were rusted to the associated bolts, and I found it impossible to separate these bolts and tubes by any means not involving physical destruction of parts. These tubes are necessary, but new ones are not provided with the KYB shocks.

Finally, one of the shock absorber upper bolts was found to be worn partly through, presumably due to its being loose at some time in the past. I replaced this bolt, and its undamaged mate on the other side of the car, using quality fasteners from the local hardware store.

Other comments.
Removing the upper arm bushings turned out to be quite easy, and I managed this using a threated rod, a receptacle, and a couple of nuts. Delta's bushings require re-using the metal shells from the original factory bushings, but since these shells generally are fixed rather firmly in place due to rust, this is a feature, not a fault. Using the provided sticky grease, these bushings and their steel tubes can be pressed into place by hand.

Removing the lower arm bushing was a bit more difficult. I found it easiest to drill through the rubber in multiple places until the hollow steel tube could be removed. Once that was done, I cut through the shell in a couple of places, and finally drove it out with hammer and chisel. As with the upper bushings, Delta's lower bushing, farside ring, and steel tube all went in with just hand pressure. I'll note here that Delta provides an instruction sheet stating that it's important to insert the bushing from the face having the 'bulge' or welded joint, and that the taper on the farside ring must face away from the arm.

(For Superpro bushings, the upper arm bushings come with their own metal shells, necessitating removal of the original shells. For the lower arm, the bushing is a three-piece unit -- two plastic parts and a steel tube -- whose parts are inserted from either side of the arm. I'm told that the upper bushes require a vise or press for installation, but that the lower ones go in by hand just like Delta's.)

If you want your suspension adjustable for camber, the holes for the hardware retaining the upper ball joints can be enlarged with a round file, cutting toward the centerline of the car. An elongation of 0.040" or so should provide about half a degree of adjustment range.

The securing nuts for the upper and lower ball joints need to be torqued at the time the suspension arms are reattached to the spindle. This is especially important for the lower ball joint, as its securing nut is not readily accessible once the steering arm is in place.

The steering arm uses two special bolts of different lengths, with the longer bolt going to the forward (tie rod) end of the arm. The bolt heads are on the disk side of the spindle, and hold the circular grease shield and backing plate in place.

The factory used a 1/4" bolt inserted from the disk side to clamp the upper part of the grease shield and backing plate to the spindle, as well as securing the brake hose support bracket. However, with the bolt installed this way, it is not possible to undo the support bracket, and it becomes necessary to open the brake line if the caliper must be moved. I elected to relocate the bolt to the exterior side of the backing plate, where it now serves only to retain the brake hose support bracket. I could have used a 1" long 1/4" bolt installed from the disk side, and held the brake hose bracket in place with a nut, but this did not seem necessary as the shield and backing plate don't move enough to interfere with anything.

I'll note here that the grease shield, Jensen part number 93241, is shown in my parts book as being used only on pre-1974 cars. I have no idea why it was present on my car, which has a door date in May 1974.

According to the parts book drawing, the stock road spring installs with its flattened side facing down. Things look a bit odd when the spring is fully extended, but as there's nothing in the shop manual to contradict the drawing, I must assume it's the correct way to do things. Perversely, my car had one spring flat side down, the other flat side up, thanks either to the factory or a PO.

Getting the shock brackets to line up with their mounting points in the lower arm while simultaneously forcing the castor rod into position is quite difficult. I found that using a threaded rod and a couple of nuts to pull things together helped considerably. If the tape holding a KYB shock in the compressed position should break, one needs a second jack to compress the shock enough to get everything aligned. This gets awkward, but it can be done. Eventually.

When reinstalling the caliper, double-check the presence of a thick lock washer on each bolt. Without these, the caliper will 'float' on its mounting hardware, which can result in unexpected pulling to one side or the other whenever the brakes are first applied.

Once everything is together, one should remove the jack from beneath the suspension arm. For KYB shocks, this should cause the securing tape to self-remove; if not, the tape should be cut away. Next, work the brake disk throughout the full range of its steering motion, and verify that there is no chance whatsoever of any interference between the road spring and the brake plumbing. Often it will be necessary to bend the bracket and brake pipe to ensure this.

On the road.
After a couple of test drives, I have two words to describe the car's suspension: taut, and quiet. The front end seems to be completely free of undesired slack and flex without being excessively harsh, while the rear is pretty close to what I consider ideal compliance. The only non-driveline noises I've noticed so far seem caused by body flex effects. The steering is subtly different, too, but I'm not yet sure if this is related to the new bushings, or to a need for an alignment.

 

Last edited on 09-03-2005 02:31 pm by Mark Rosenbaum

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 Posted: 09-02-2005 03:40 am
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kneff
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For all of you who have gone through your front/rear suspensions, do you have any advice on:

1) If you had it to do over, would you choose the SuperPro bushings or the Prothane? I'm trying to decide, based both on ride/handling and on ease of installation. The Prothane bushings are obviously much less expensive, but are they more difficult to install?

2) What do you think of the KYB shocks? They're far less expensive than the Bilsteins.

So far, I've split my purchases between Delta and JHPS. On suspension parts, there's a vast price difference between Superpro/Bilstein and Prothane/KYB. I don't mind paying more, but I don't have any comparison data.

Thanks,
Ken

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 Posted: 09-02-2005 10:18 pm
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Greg Fletcher
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I have a gang of Delta bushings sitting here I'd be happy to sell, but I must tell you, you get what you pay for. The regular urethane bushings are hard, they give the JH a hard ride and may be more work to install (Jim at Delta says they drop in, but hey, these are hand-made cars and not every car will fit exactly the same). I think that the SuperPros are an improvement in ride- much more like the original Metalastik, but firmer and not mushy. SuperPro bushings are designed for your application, and ease of installtion.

The KYB shocks are simply a budget shock adapted to the JH (the rears make the ride height a little higher), designed to wear out in a couple years, offering adequate handling for people that don't expect much. What's the difference between a budget shock and a Bilstein? Pretty much everything. Their performance is unmatched. The Bilsteins are practically hand made and are warrantied for life. Neither Koni or Spax ever offered that.

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 Posted: 11-04-2005 01:42 pm
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John Kimbrough
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I think I asked this question before, but did not get any answers.  Can you replace the crossmember outrigger bushings, those that connect to the body, without completly removing the crossmember?  If so, any suggestions on how to do it?

Many thanks, John.

 

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 Posted: 11-04-2005 03:08 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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John,
From the lack of response to your question, I think it's fairly safe to presume that nobody has an answer to it as yet.

Judging from pictures of the parts involved, and from my own understanding of how things go together, it appears that one must drop the crossmember enough that the outrigger ends are unmasked.  I would expect that the engine could remain in place in the car if the engine mounts were undone and the sump supported by a jack.  One could then lower the crossmember as necessary and install the bushings.  If this worked, the job should take no more than 5 or 6 hours.  However this is all hypothetical as I have not tried it myself.

If you discover a method that works, do post something -- my car, too, should have these bushings replaced, and I'm sure that many others do, as well.

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 Posted: 11-04-2005 04:31 pm
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Mitch Ware
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I believe that it could be done. IIRC when I dropped the car down on top of my front suspension with the engine/trans already on the crossmember there was enough play in the two top mounts that I was able to rotate the outriggers into place. I'd be sure to take the nuts off the top of the two mounts to avoid bending/breaking them.

However, if you have trouble getting the old bushings out, or need to press the new bushings in, it would a tough task to do so with the crossmember under the car.

Mitch Ware
1974 JH-5 #111119670
1971 TR-6 #CC66950LO

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 Posted: 11-04-2005 10:55 pm
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John Kimbrough
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Thanks for the input, guys.  20 or so years ago I did drop the front end out of the body to remove/repair the exhaust header, so I must have somehow disconnected the crossmember outriggers, but damned if I can remember how difficult it was.  To replace the bushings, I would probably have to disconnect enough to allow me to at least lift the body away from the crossmember outrigger.  Probably more than I want to do now.  Appreciate your thoughts, but will pass this time unless someone else can come up with some magic.

  John.

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 Posted: 01-16-2010 05:33 pm
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rossjfox
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Regarding the lower front suspension arm Superpro bushings: am I correct to conclude that the original outer shell  MUST be REMOVED?   I originally thought it was the opposite.  But looking at it makes me believe the original outter shell should be removed.

Thanks,

Ross

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 Posted: 01-16-2010 08:28 pm
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subwoofer
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Affirmative. The SuperPro bushings are molded into new shells (if at all needed, the inner lower bush goes straight into the arm without a shell), so the old shells have to go. They don't go without persuasion, so arm yourself with some good music on the garage stereo and a case of your favourite brew...

--
Joachim

Last edited on 01-16-2010 08:31 pm by subwoofer

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 Posted: 01-17-2010 02:29 pm
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Brett Gibson JH5 20497
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Ross, a tip to get the shell out if it is rusted in solid is to, take a hack saw blade and start cutting by hand thru one side of the shell without going into the suspension arm, all along the shell, once you have done that it release's tension and allows you to start curling it into itself and should come out pretty easily.

Brett

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