I headed out to the garage yesterday afternoon dancing and prancing with the wonderful 20 degree weather with visions of all the things I would do on such a great day. Then I realized that the work I did last weekend on my shock mounts was incorrect 😦
Where I had originally thought I had the suspension fully pushed down to make sure that the shock would extend all the way to the lowest point of travel, I was mistaken. Turns out there was still about an inch and a half where if the air bag was fully inflated, the shock would be the part that was blocking the suspension travel and not allowing the upper A-arm to hit its bump stop.
I hate re-work. It’s like all the time you spent doing something was an entire waste of time. But it’s better to suck it up, do the work and ensure that you don’t have problems down the line. Chalk it up to a lesson learned.
Correcting this meant cutting the existing top shock mounts off, re-measuring, trimming and welding them back on. Lovely. This time around I fully inflated the air bags ensuring that the upper A-arms were pressed tight on their bump stops. Then I made sure the shock was fully extended, connected the bottom of the shock to the lower A-Arm and measured how much I had to trim off of the top mounting bracket.
Ever since I first mounted the shocks I’ve also been searching for a new place to attach the brackets which connect the flex brake lines to the hard brake lines on the chassis. I’ve been eye-balling a spot in front of the spindle but haven’t had much luck finding a location that didn’t end up having the flex line rubbing against something when the suspension travels up and down. The last thing I need is front brake failure from a ruptured line caused by rubbing!
So I took this opportunity of re-doing the shock mounts to push the top of the shock outwards enough to allow me to run a hard brake line behind the shock and place the brake line mounting tab just in front of the shock. This gets me really close to the original mounting position.
I was a little worried that by lowering the top of the shock tower that the shock wouldn’t have enough travel when the suspension was collapsed and would bottom out. Causing the reverse effect of the problem that I just discovered. So I pushed the shock down to its fully collapsed position and marked the position on the barrel of the shock using some masking tape.
I tack welded the top bracket onto the chassis and then fully collapsed the suspension by pressing it up with a floor jack until it was resting on its bottom bump stop. You can see in the picture above that even with the car sitting on its bump stops there’s still about an inch of travel left in the shock. Phew!
I finished off the work by permanently welding the top shock mounting bracket, the brake line tabs and replacing the old flex brake lines with some fresh new ones. I also gave everything a fresh coat of paint so that it would have time to dry overnight for final installation of the hardware today.
While the welds were cooling I also prepared the front sway bars for re-assembly. I’ve been working away at the bushing brackets for quite some time now with an alternating treatment of grinding away rust and then soaking them in the rust remover bath. Yesterday they were ready for some paint. I also replaced the front sway bar bushings with some new ones and everything should be ready for installation today along with some brand new sway bar end links 🙂