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Rear Suspension Refresh

jhorton3

Jedi Warrior
Offline
What should I start on first in refreshing the rear suspension? I've got new bushings, nuts, bolts (and u-bolts), spring pads, and round plastic spacers. I realize I won't know the true condition of the springs or shocks until I get into it (and hoping I don't have to replace them).
 

jcatnite

Jedi Knight
Offline
You are on the right track. Bushings and spring pads are a must. While you have the rear end out, now is a good time to descale and repaint the axle housing and fix any fluid leaks you might have on the pumpkin. I am also the type to go ahead and replace bearings if I am going to be in that deep. If you don't plan on pulling the axles, then I wouldn't do it but if you are pulling them, new bearings can only help. Don't buy the cheap ones from the usual sources. You can buy sturdy bearings that will last as long as the original from local parts houses. There is a lot to paint and clean around the rear brakes as well. Also the condition of the shock links might be worth looking at.
JC
 

jcatnite

Jedi Knight
Offline
And I guess I should have said, you can learn a lot about the shocks before you pull them off. They should slow the rebound of the car significantly as they are installed. Also, visually inspect them and look for any signs of fluid leakage around the lever arm. If they are leaking, that will only get worse. Probably plan to have them rebuilt. Once you pull them out, check for play at the lever arm shaft. Change the fluid in the shock and give it a good cleaning.
20 weight hydraulic fluid works good in the shocks. Check with PeterC if you have any questions, he is the resident expert.
JC
 

tosoutherncars

Jedi Knight
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Pictures, Jim! This could be your shot at immortality, through the Wiki page. Document it, for those who will follow your footsteps (possibly this winter). :smile:
 
OP
jhorton3

jhorton3

Jedi Warrior
Offline
My gray matter is so scrambled these days I have to have pictures just to remember what goes where. I plan to take pictures and document it like I did the front suspension.
 
OP
jhorton3

jhorton3

Jedi Warrior
Offline
I stayed past 8 at the office last night, then came out to a dead battery in the Jeep. Hopefully tonight I can begin.
 

jcatnite

Jedi Knight
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Sorry about the battery. My daughter's Wrangler just misteriously ate a battery. Thought it might be the alternator but it checked out ok. I charged the battery overnight and everything seems normal again.
JC
 
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jhorton3

jhorton3

Jedi Warrior
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I think it's something with my battery connections. That and the alternator is the original with 140K miles on it.
 

texas_bugeye

Jedi Knight
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Since your back there I would check the condition of the brake hoses and run some freash grease into the E cable. U jiont could probley use a sqirt too.
 
OP
jhorton3

jhorton3

Jedi Warrior
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U-Joints are newly installed. New brake lines and rubber hose last year. I do probably need to grease up the e-brake cable though while I'm under there.
 
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jhorton3

jhorton3

Jedi Warrior
Offline
OK, I started the refresh tonight. Turning out almost as bad as the start of the front suspension rebuild. I'm going to have to replace the shocks, if the right one is anything like the left. Kinda of a pain to remove. Had to wedge a flat head screwdriver between the inner bolt head and the shock body because there's not enough room to get a wrench or socket in there.

Opened the shock up after scrubbing the outside. Do rebuilt units have a blue and yellow painted band on the shock? This one has that. Arm traveled too easily. Opened the top and very little oil. Inside has what looks like graphite paste where the insides have worn. No amount of cleaning is going to fix that.

Haven't even got to the point of taking the nuts and bolts off. I can see taking the front springs off requires taking the mount off. That's gonna be a pain in the rear! Started soaking in PB Blaster.
 

jlaird

Great Pumpkin
Country flag
Offline
Tough job to remove springs. Had to drill mine out.

Nastys in your shocks. Peter C can make em well again. You will really notice the change.
 

jcatnite

Jedi Knight
Offline
PeterC is your best bet. If you are on a budget, they may still perform well for a while. Check for play at the lever shaft. If the play is minimal and there is no leakage try flushing with new hydraulic fluid and replacing fluid. I was able to salvage my rear shocks but the fronts were toast. Well, that is until PeterC took care of them from me. I used 20 weight hydraulic fluid from the Co-Op. You might be able get by with something a little thinner.
JC
 
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jhorton3

jhorton3

Jedi Warrior
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I worked a little more with the shock last night after my post. With no fluid there's a distinct catch about 85% in the upward arm travel. With fluid I can feel the grinding. No way these are going back on the car.
 
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jhorton3

jhorton3

Jedi Warrior
Offline
I was finally able to get back to the rear suspension project yesterday afternoon. Surprisingly the nuts and bolts came off real easy. PB Blaster is my new friend, along with my air ratchet. The only bolt that gave me some trouble was a bottom bolt holding the left spring mount.

Parts list grew after the springs were on the ground. Shackles are ruined as well as shock links. Rebuild shocks from Peter C were ordered today.

I did take pictures and continued the log of the suspension rebuild here:

https://www.jhorton3.net/suspension.html
 

Jim_Gruber

Yoda
Country flag
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Jim,
Take a look at the front spring mounts to make sure they are still good. On Bugsy my '68 the DPO reassembled without correct size bolts and front shackle/mounting plate was actually rotating, There was a 1" long V shaped hole in all 4 mounting holes. When I'd go into a turn the axle was actually twisting underneath me as the mounting plate shifted. Made for some interesting handlig as car set up for a RH Turn, would lean, and then shift again as the axle rotated. BTW, new spring hangers did not fit, needed the grinder to get them to fit up into the body, 1'2" too long on welded in captive nut. It is a big mother of a nut to begin with but I wasn't happy needing to relieve one side. Maybe not the captive side, might have beed the other side. Long time ago. Just check to make sure mounting holes have not elongated.
 
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jhorton3

jhorton3

Jedi Warrior
Offline
The mounts and mounting surfaces are free and clear from rust or damage. I think I lucked out. I realized this afternoon I didn't remove the right side shackle. Looks like I won't be able to take it out unless the gas tank is dropped down out of the way.
 
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