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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all

I think some of you are right ahead/behind me on a full suspension rebuild. Lokki i'm looking at you. I'm nearing completion on the front suspension and dabbling in the rear / collecting parts. A few questions have come up already:

1- Lock nuts on the bottom of the shocks are spinning with the nuts above them. They are recessed so theres no way to double spanner them to hold one steady... what's the deal?

2- It sounds like the rear trailing arm bushings are the worst part of a full suspension rebuild. From what I gather on the BB -

Pressing them OUT is possible but slightly dangerous due to potential trailing arm damage. Drilling/cutting is preferred?

Pressing OEM bushings IN is very hard due to difficulty of squaring trailing arms on press?
'Pressing' POLY bushings is easy because they don't actually get pressed in?

I'd prefer to keep the suspension all stock as I'm not looking for a firmer ride. Can anyone tell me how they got OEM bushings in?
 

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RMM -
Sorry I didn't see this till now. I suspect that you've found answers (or invented them) for most of this already but here we go:

1- Lock nuts on the bottom of the shocks are spinning with the nuts above them. They are recessed so theres no way to double spanner them to hold one steady... what's the deal?

I took the nuts off the top of the shocks and vice gripped them - had some one hold the vice grips and I turned the bottom nuts. Wasn't hard. Since I'm replacing my shocks anyhow I wasn't worried about marking the old shocks, but it turned out to be a non issue.

-2- It sounds like the rear trailing arm bushings are the worst part of a full suspension rebuild. From what I gather on the BB -

Pressing them OUT is possible but slightly dangerous due to potential trailing arm damage. Drilling/cutting is preferred?


I used the drill method...it took a long time. I took a little sabre saw with a long metal-cutting blade and cut out the metal rings from the swing arms.
It was a pain and it took awhile but I don't think pressing them out is very practical. The inside of the swing arms were bright as if I'd polished them when I got the bushing rings out.... Nothing got in there for 40 years. That's a pretty [email protected]%* tight fit.

Pressing OEM bushings IN is very hard due to difficulty of squaring trailing arms on press?
'Pressing' POLY bushings is easy because they don't actually get pressed in?


I can only speak to the poly bushings since that's what I went with. They were a piece of cake to put in, since you push (note no press needed) in each half. Took 30 minutes which kind of made up for the long d*mn time it took to get the originals out.

I'd prefer to keep the suspension all stock as I'm not looking for a firmer ride. Can anyone tell me how they got OEM bushings in?

Can't help, but I can say that the shop I took my trunnion bar to for the big body bushings has had it for a week (which isn't unusual for them unfortunately).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Lokki - this helps a lot. I'm still doing the delightful work of cleaning the front wheel wells to prep for POR-15 so your advice is not too late by any means.

One more thing I'm trying to get my head around is removing the rear springs. The factory manual refers to a special tool - I can't quite understand what its doing or how to work without it. Also, a dumb big picture question - why is no spring compressor needed to remove the rear springs?
 

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why is no spring compressor needed to remove the rear springs?
Because once you disconnect the limit straps and the flex brake line (*) you can drop the diff down enough to release all the tension on the R springs. In fact that's why it's important to have limit straps in place and of the proper length - without them, the springs can fall off their perches.

The front springs are different - even if you jack up the chassis, and let the front suspension go to full droop, the F springs still will have significant compressive force.

(*) For extra credit: You can remove the R springs without disconnecting the brake flex line if you jack up one side of the diff, while dropping the other side. Once you have removed the first spring, reverse the process to remove the second.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
RMM -
1- Lock nuts on the bottom of the shocks are spinning with the nuts above them. They are recessed so theres no way to double spanner them to hold one steady... what's the deal?

I took the nuts off the top of the shocks and vice gripped them - had some one hold the vice grips and I turned the bottom nuts. Wasn't hard. Since I'm replacing my shocks anyhow I wasn't worried about marking the old shocks, but it turned out to be a non issue.
.
Okay I'm still a bit confused on this one. I got the top nuts off by holding the shock body with channelocks. When I tried the same with the bottom nuts, the nuts spin the shaft running thru the shock body... how do you lock the shaft and remove the nuts?
 

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One way to do this is by using both an open end wrench and a socket. Use the open end wrench on the inside nut; (if the nuts were aligned enough you could use the box end of the wrench on the inside nut) let it move sideways to lock the wrench against the inside of the swing arm and then use the socket to remove the lower nut.

If this doesn't work easily, drop the rear springs by removing the limiter straps.
To do that, put a jack under the rear diff (put a block of soft wood on the jack to protect the fins on the diff)and lift the rear axle enough to put slack in the straps.

Then put jack stands under the rear axles on each side and remove the straps. Since I was replacing mine, I cut them with a saw rather than unbolting them. After they're gone lift the diff slightly, and remove the jack stands, and the lower the jack slowly, until the tension is gone from the springs and then put the jackstands back at the new lower height. Then you can remove the rear bolts holding the swing arms to the rear axle. You may want to put something under the drive shaft next to the diff to keep the diff from rotating when the swing arms are removed. I haven't completely removed my diff as I'm afraid it'll be too heavy and awkward to put back in place (after the rear suspension is back in place to keep things aligned, I'll do the driveshaft and guibo).

The backs of the swing arms will then hang down, but the springs may not come off because the shocks are still inside them. So, drop the front of the swing arms by removing the bolts/shafts that hold them in.

You should then be able to remove the whole swing arm, with the shocks still attached.
Then you can easily remove the springs and get to the shock bodies to hold them.

You may as well remove the swing arms now as you'll have to do it to remove the bushings anyway.
 

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When I tried the same with the bottom nuts, the nuts spin the shaft running thru the shock body... how do you lock the shaft and remove the nuts?
When you refer to "the shaft running thru the shock body" do you mean the stud that the nuts screw onto? Are you just saying that the whole shock turns when you apply a wrench to the lower nut?

One approach is what Lokki described: just remove the whole trailing arm, and attack it on the workbench. Everything comes apart more easily on the workbench.

But, if you want to just remove the shocks, reach your channel locks through the spring, and grab the shock that way. Two disadvantages of this approach:

1) If the nut is really rusted to the stud, you may not be able to generate enough torque with the channel locks.
2) You will mess up the paint on the shock body.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
When you refer to "the shaft running thru the shock body" do you mean the stud that the nuts screw onto? Are you just saying that the whole shock turns when you apply a wrench to the lower nut?

One approach is what Lokki described: just remove the whole trailing arm, and attack it on the workbench. Everything comes apart more easily on the workbench.

But, if you want to just remove the shocks, reach your channel locks through the spring, and grab the shock that way. Two disadvantages of this approach:

1) If the nut is really rusted to the stud, you may not be able to generate enough torque with the channel locks.
2) You will mess up the paint on the shock body.

Yes you have it right.... only here's the catch: I tried locking the shock body with the channel locks. Worked for the top nuts. But the bottom nuts+stud STILL turn as one. In other words the stud rotates independently of the shock body. I considered grabbing the actual stud where it is exposed at the bottom (the shiny steel part) but the springs are too densely wound down there for channel lock access. I'm going to go with removing the trailing arm.

Thanks guys... and stay tuned for probably 1000 more questions and hopefully useful observations.

Actually, here's another right now. I've read on the BB that the trunion to body bushings don't take that much of a beating. Did you replace yours? If so did you find them in decent shape? I have a feeling I'll replace them just cause i'm replacing everything on this car, but I do like to avoid mission creep where it makes sense. I will replace the trunion to diff bushings for sure.
 

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I've read on the BB that the trunion to body bushings don't take that much of a beating. Did you replace yours? If so did you find them in decent shape? I have a feeling I'll replace them just cause i'm replacing everything on this car,

So, so speaketh I. Mine looked fine and even when really stressed didn't show any damage.

HOWEVER: the metal bushings were frozen to the shaft. The rubber was pliant, and would twist on the the shaft to probably 30 or 40 degrees. But, dammit, as far as I know the metal tube in the center of the bushing is supposed to rotate on the metal rod of the trunnion bar. A week's worth of PB blaster failed to free them up. (That's how I know how far the rubber in the bushing will twist).

THEREFORE: (and since I'd already bought the replacement stock bushings before reading that they usually don't need to be replaced) I decided to go ahead and replace them.

I took mine to the shop with the press that did my front A arm bushings. I was supposed to pick them up this afternoon but life in the form of Ms. Lokki got in the way.

If you could get your old ones to rotate on the metal shaft as they're supposed to, I wouldn't replace them.

OBVIOUSLY: I ain't no expert... so anybody with more experience should be listened to first.
 

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The bushings don't rotate on the shaft, there're a press fit. Also, you need to make sure that shop thats installing them notes the position of the housing to the T-Bar. There're a couple of threads on replacing these bushings.

Best regards,
 

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Rubber bushes always use the rubber to enable movement.

Pete
 

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Lokki,

The bushing does not rotate on the trunnion bar shaft. Do a search on the replacement of these bushings, there are a couple of threads on the subject. Your bushings were probably O.K. if the rubber was still solid. You might want to contact the shop that's replacing the bushings and see what they say on the subject. Also, again, please note that there is an alignment between the T-bar and bushing housing that must be retained when replacing these bushings.

Best regards,
 

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Remove the rear shocks and replace them with 10mm threaded rod(s). Big washers top and bottom. Unscrew and remount just like the front pan method.

If you need to move the axle to replace the Trunnion bushes etc , sit car on its wheels (so suspension is at normal height) insert the threaded rods in the shock holes to lock the trailing arms at that height. Jack the car up to working height (with stands) Remove the trailing arm / axle bolts (including the sway bar links on the same bolts). Then swing the axle to the left to clear the trunnion bushes. It will be supported by the limit straps. You may have to remove the drive shaft bolts at the diff to clear the exhaust
(this is easier than removing the trunnion arm)


Replacing the trailing arm bushes - You'll most likely push out the tubes with the bushes, but these can be welded back in. In hindsight I suggest running a weld bead around the inside of the arms/tubes first just to strengthen the tubes. And don't use sockets on the press, they're not accurate enough
 

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Actually, the shop that was supposed to replace my trunnion bushings (not an Alfa shop) hadn't gotten around to it after 2 weeks.... so I told them "never mind; I'm keeping my old bushings".


"He who hesitates is sometimes saved."
James Thurber
Tales For Our Times
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So I've finally dropped the rear trailing arms, shocks still attached. That part of the rear suspension rebuild was pretty easy.

However I STILL can't get the locknuts off the shocks. The impact wrench just spun the shaft that runs thru the shock and I can't come close to generating enough force with channel locks to hold said shaft.

I re-read this thread and am going to go back and try Lokki's suggestion to locate a boxwrench on the inner nut and try the outer with a socket. Any other suggestions? I don't have a vice but do have a press....

In an unrelated note... can someone tell me why my new "stock" springs from Alfaholics are so much taller than the ones I pulled off the car? I'm presuming the old ones are stock since every single other suspension component on the car was stock. Actually, I haven't found a non-original component anywhere on the car yet.

I'm doubly surprised since the new fronts from alfaholics were carbon copies of the existing fronts.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The box wrench trick didn't work because someone was kind enough to make these the worlds thinnest nuts and therefore impossible to grab.

I ended up jamming the shock shaft into the press, which let me remove the outer nut.

The INNER nut (pictured) just rotates in place on the threaded rod. The rod is NOT spinning but the nut is. What is going on!? So far I haven't drilled out a single fastener and I'd hate to have this be the first one. What would cause this nut to spin?
 

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If you are replacing the shocks ... time for your 6" grinder and cut the shaft where the top rubber is and through remains of the old shocks in the bin.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If you are replacing the shocks ... time for your 6" grinder and cut the shaft where the top rubber is and through remains of the old shocks in the bin.

Pete
Actually I was gonna ask about this cause I already snapped the shaft off the old shocks in my press and it's not totally clear to me what's holding the shock onto the trailing arm. Do I need to cut off the top rubber? I slammed the stub of the shaft onto the floor a few times to try and push the shock out the bottom of the trailing arm but nothing was budging...
 

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... can someone tell me why my new "stock" springs from Alfaholics are so much taller than the ones I pulled off the car? I'm presuming the old ones are stock since every single other suspension component on the car was stock. Actually, I haven't found a non-original component anywhere on the car yet.

I'm doubly surprised since the new fronts from alfaholics were carbon copies of the existing fronts.
Your existing rear springs look a lot like the IAP sport springs that were on my car compared to the stock springs with which I replaced them. See the picture below; left. The stock springs are the taller, less tightly wound ones in the picture below.

.


On the trailing arms, there's nothing special about the way the shocks are run through the arms - it's just a hole. If the lock nut is spinning, it's stripped and it's not going to come off. I go with the recommendation above to cut it from the other side. I wonder if (for some reason only known to the PO) the shaft has a nut on both sides of the swing arm.

I'd think a patient man with a hacksaw blade et al could saw through the shock shaft flush against the top of the swing arm without doing any damage except to the shock that's being thrown away anyhow. Time consuming, but satisfying when the little bast'ds go into the trash.

I feel lucky that this is one problem that I didn't have.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I took youall's advice and dremeled thru the offending nut. Looks like someone had stripped it at some point. No harm done to the trailing arm... all good.

The spring height issue is seriously a mystery. My car had basically one grandpa owner and I literally have not found a non-stock item anywhere. The car did have an oddly nose high stance when I bought it... maybe this explains it.

Okay Lokki et al, next can you walk me thru how you cut out the trailing arm bushings w/o cutting too far?

I've started doing this operation on the front sway bar bushings and it just sucks. I've been using a scroll saw, but its hard to tell when you've gone far enough, and I'm not sure how to pry the bushing steel away...
 
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