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Kirk_Fisher
02-06-2010, 11:08 PM
I need to rebuild the front suspension and steering on my 1962 TR4. It creaks and pops and isn't so great of a ride, but it steers pretty well and is tight. I found it 3 years ago in a dirt floor garage. It had not been driven or started in 6 years. In 1997 it had a frame off resto and it is in fantastic condition body and interior wise. I had to rebuild hydraulics, fuel system etc.

It drove well, but is now apparent that I need to put some time in underneath. Any pointers or advice on the front end?

The rear shocks are also shot and I have been toying with the idea of doing the conversion to tube shocks. Any bad experiences doing this?

Lastly, I want to swap out the whire wheels for Panasports. What say ye?

Thanks in advance.

tdskip
02-06-2010, 11:19 PM
The bushings are probably ready to be replaced, going with new poly ones will probably make a very nice difference. Healthy dampers will work well, so if the rear end isn't well controlled you might want to get new ones in there. Peter at World Wide / NOS Import is <span style="font-weight: bold">the</span> man to go to for that.

KVH
02-07-2010, 12:31 AM
Some things are just preference, but here are my suggestions and biases:

a) I'd put new shocklinks and lever shocks on the rear. Don't convert to tube shocks at this time. Save the rear 'till you first take care of the front;

b) For the front, buy the complete bushing kit for the upper and lower, inner and outer wishbones, and buy new tie rods and ball joints, and then buy polyurethane wishbone bushings to replace the standard rubber ones that will be in your "Kit." Do not use the rubber ones in the Kit. I wouldn't worry about your steering rack other than to see that it is properly lubed and that the fastenings are in good shape, or unless the tie rod arms are showing wear in the inner ball socket. Having stated that, a new rack from Moss, VB, BPN and TRF is really cheap;

c) Be ready to be creative in pressing the new bushings into your wishbone arms, and be sure to mark the arms so you know which came from where. They don't swap around easily. On the TR4 I'm not sure whether you'll need a shop to assist with the bushings. On my 4A I used some grease, a small "puller" and some other tricks to get the lower inner bushings in. I also had to sand and buff the bushings a bit.

d) Buy a spring compressor, and carefully read all the instructions in the manual (the long bolt trick on the spring pan, etc.)--maybe you're already a mechanic, so whatever the need may be. New coil springs and spacers are cheap, so I'd think about that, and I'd also consider buying just the standard recommended front shock to avoid going overboard;

e) Panasports would be good, but if you already have wires and knockoffs, at least consider the knock off minilite style, especially if your lug bolts are too short for Panasports.

f) I'd strongly recommend also buying the two ball joint and tie rod separaters that Moss sells in the front section of the Catalogue. For me, indispensable. Whether to also buy the alignment rod to set the 1/16 toe in is also a thought of course.

Good Luck

pjsmetana
02-07-2010, 09:05 AM
First off, suspension work can be deadly. Don't leave anything to chance. Use the proper tools and take your time.

Easy way to test your dampers (aka struts) is to push down on your car, let go, and count how many times it bounces up and down. Any more than about 2 and a half and your dampers need to be replaced.

Unlike coil or leaf springs, these dampers are not under tension. The easiest way to remove/replace them is to remove the nuts that keep the struts on, compress the coil/leaf a little, then use a large prybar/flat screwdriver/ or sometimes a BFHammer and tap them off. Struts are easy!

Now the scary part... SPRINGS. These little things have enough power move the weight of your car, so do not underestimate their power. Use a good, solid, spring compressor. Take your time. Install the compressor around the springs, tighten it just a little, and then make sure its on their tight. When your sure its good, tighten it a little more, then check it again. Just keep doing that till the spring is loose or is no longer fully seated against the perch on one of the sides (top or bottom). While its compressed, and in the compressor, treat it like a loaded gun. Never point it at anyone, do not drop it, so on. If its going to be a while before you reinstall, or if you are not reusing them, you can slowly remove the spring compressor. Be prepared for the spring to become larger than it was while on the car. Sometimes the compressor wont release far enough after the spring is off the car. If this happens; METHOD 1: take it out to an open area (at least 50 ft from anything breakable), put it flat on the ground, put your foot down on the spring, and with leather gloves on, try to rock the compressor off slowly. This usually works because the tension on the spring is pretty low at this time. METHOD 2: Use a boat strap or ratchet strap and tighten it through the spring just barely enough to remove the compressor. After the compressor is off, put the spring on the ground, put one foot on it, and slowly remove the strap.

Leaf Springs are not quite as scary... unless your trying to separate each leaf. To get them off safely, remove the struts/dampers as described, then make sure there is nothing under each side of the leaf, and that it is fully unsprung and down as far as it can go. The longest leaf has the attachment points at the end. Remove the bolts from each end. Usually requires some forceful persuasion. When both ends are separated, you can now remove it from the differential. Make sure these bolts are not the only ones going through the center of the leaf. The bolt in the center is the dangerous one. If you remove that, all the spring tension comes apart violently. Once the leaf is out, you can leave it that way safely. If you want to separate the leafs, you need to now take it to a heavy bench mounted vice, and clamp it down in the middle so that the center bolt can be safely removed. Once the bolt is out, you can slowly loosen the vise. Be sure not to bump any of the leafs during this. At the point the leafs fall out, is when the leafs no longer have tension.

The reverse of these for installation.

Wires wheels are classy, but Panasports are reliable and safe :smile:

TR4nut
02-07-2010, 09:35 AM
Kirk-

If you are going to swap out wires for bolt on wheels, be aware that you'll have some work to swap out the short wheel studs for longer ones. The rear studs are the difficult ones as they are threaded and peened in place. It is a matter of personal preference, but I do like alloys especially on long trips. If you don't want to swap out studs, consider the alloy knock off wheels which probably aren't much different in price than Panasports.

I'd just stick with a good set of lever shocks for the back. Main reason is that I haven't heard anyone say the conversion really improved the ride, especially for the live axle cars.

Given the work you mentioned on your car, I'd be inclined to just get a good spring compressor setup, pull the springs, and plan on changing out the upper inner bushes - without the springs in place you can test for play in other areas, but you may find the upper bushes are the only things needing attention and you can get things patched up quickly if true.

Randy

TRDejaVu
02-07-2010, 10:16 AM
Per an earlier post on this for my car, I have decided to try the Moss tube shock conversion and it's on its way to me now. I will do a write up, but don't expect the quality of Brosky or BobbyD.

I also have the leaf springs apart for re-bushing and clean up; will probably try the UHMW tape as well. On the bushings, I have both the Joe Alexander kit as well as the original style. I will fit Joe's first, but if it is too harsh I will revert to original.

3798j
02-07-2010, 10:20 AM
As KVH indicated, "some things are just preference". For me, the preference would be to upgrade your rebuild with Koni Classic (the old "D")shocks. The added control on rebound is worth the price.
And as far as the approach to removing the front springs, make, borrow, or purchase this spring compressor:
https://i490.photobucket.com/albums/rr268/3798j/2009%20Infiniti%20G37XS/SpringCompressor.jpg

pjsmetana
02-07-2010, 11:07 AM
As KVH indicated, "some things are just preference". For me, the preference would be to upgrade your rebuild with Koni Classic (the old "D")shocks. The added control on rebound is worth the price.
And as far as the approach to removing the front springs, make, borrow, or purchase this spring compressor

I've done a TON of suspension work in my life, and I have to agree with the Koni Brand being the best for the money. With the exception of race applications, I've not once ever heard any complaint about Koni. They look great and last a long time too.

As far as the spring compressor goes, you can also rent one from pretty much any auto parts store. They also sell them pretty cheaply.

I wish you were near me here in FL. I'd just do all the work for you.

MDCanaday
02-07-2010, 11:44 AM
When you re-build the control arms its best to get new upper fulcrums along with the kit.Up grading to poly bushes is good.Jag upper ball joints get you some extra caster for improved handling at speed.When you put the sleeves onto the lower control arm stands, epoxy them into place, they are NOT supposed to move and will squeak like a thousand mice.This should have all been done with the body off the frame....good luck compressing the spring its twice the work with the body in place.
MD(mad dog)

TR3driver
02-07-2010, 11:50 AM
As far as the spring compressor goes, you can also rent one from pretty much any auto parts store. They also sell them pretty cheaply. Personally, I wouldn't even THINK about using one of those "one size fits none" compressors on a TR4! My fingers are worth a lot more than $50 to me, or the time it took to build this:
https://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh260/TR3driver/Springcompressor.jpg

The critical difference IMO is that the parts store compressor tries to grab the spring itself, while the correct tool traps the spring between seats that specifically fit it. It also allows the spring to be released before you ever have to touch it, further ensuring you don't lose a finger if something slips.

Many years ago I was helping a friend do the front suspension on his Buick. We had removed the spring with a "parts store" internal compressor and left it compressed while doing the other work. When I picked up the compressed spring with the intention of reinstalling it, the spring shot one direction while the compressor shot the other, clear out into the street! Fortunately, neither one hit anything important and my knuckles were only bruised; but it could have been much worse.

TRDejaVu
02-07-2010, 12:39 PM
+1 on coil spring safety. After the driver, they are the most dangerous thing on the car. They have a lot of stored energy that is going to go wherever it wants and all at once, if you are not careful.

TRMark
02-07-2010, 12:40 PM
Jag upper ball joints get you some extra caster for improved handling at speed.

The Jag uppers are narrower than the tr allowing the the upper ball joint to be shimmed to rear, adding caster, a good thing. This would work fine on the later front suspension, 4A on, because the lower A arms are adjustable unlike the fixed position of he 2,3,4. I think this would cause binding on the earlier cars.

sail
02-07-2010, 12:51 PM
Anyone have a photo of the compressor in action, I need to fashion the plate but am not sure how it should fit. At some point I need to do the front end but at the least need to get new shocks in. Will be using on 4A. thanks

TR3driver
02-07-2010, 12:55 PM
Probably doesn't show what you want, but,
https://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh260/TR3driver/DSCF0031.jpg

The plate really just needs to fit between the studs where the shock mounts to the spring pan (which I believe is what some of the commercial ones do). I drilled holes in mine mostly because the piece of scrap metal I picked up was that big (VW bug generator pulley half IIRC) and I was a little worried about how strong it was. It turned out to be plenty strong, so the holes are probably overkill.

sail
02-07-2010, 01:03 PM
That helps. Thanks

TR4nut
02-07-2010, 01:17 PM
I just tore down the 3A suspension recently, here is a link to some similar pictures: Teardown pics (https://s159.photobucket.com/albums/t145/deruiterville/59%20TR3A/3A%20Suspension%20Teardown/)

SCguy
02-09-2010, 12:19 PM
I'm not sure if this would be of interest for any TR4 owners, but I just listed an Addco 130 swaybar and upgraded bushings on e-bay. Its new/never used. Item number 290400758818

https://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&amp;item=290400758818&amp;viewitem= &amp;sspagename=STRK%3AMESELX%3AIT

tdskip
02-09-2010, 01:12 PM
I'm not sure if this would be of interest for any TR4 owners, but I just listed an Addco 130 swaybar and upgraded bushings on e-bay. Its new/never used. Item number 290400758818

And the TR reduction progress begins.....

pjsmetana
02-09-2010, 01:48 PM
As far as the spring compressor goes, you can also rent one from pretty much any auto parts store. They also sell them pretty cheaply. Personally, I wouldn't even THINK about using one of those "one size fits none" compressors on a TR4!

That tool you made is great... unless you have or want to have coil over shocks. There is only 2 tools that work with coil-overs. The one I described, and the same thing but wall mounted. Yes, sometimes the parts that hold the spring are a little big, but they usually have different parts to change out for smaller diameter springs. If not, don't even chance it.


I have been toying with the idea of doing the conversion to tube shocks.

Sounds like coil-overs to me.

The safest tool to use for coil-overs is the fully adjustable, wall mounted, version that is used in professional shops. Its what I've used every time, until I no longer had access to it.

Now, if you can get ahold of fully adjustable coil-overs, then you've got it made. You never even need a spring compressor for those, as they can adjust all the way to zero tension when the car is off the ground. Best of all, you set your ride hight to whatever you want. They work just like whats on the back of any modern sport bike (although, in that case, the adjustment is also for rider weight).

swift6
02-10-2010, 09:51 AM
As far as the spring compressor goes, you can also rent one from pretty much any auto parts store. They also sell them pretty cheaply. Personally, I wouldn't even THINK about using one of those "one size fits none" compressors on a TR4!

That tool you made is great... unless you have or want to have coil over shocks.

The external spring compressors, even those designed for coil overs, are nearly impossible to use on TR front Suspension. Whole different animal from Spitfire and GT6. The tool that Randall shows is by far the easiest and safest way to remove the front springs on a TR.




I have been toying with the idea of doing the conversion to tube shocks.

Sounds like coil-overs to me.

Not unless he is planning on a major engineering project. Otherwise it is just replacing the levers with tubes. An extra bracket is needed and is different than the IRS TR4A-6.