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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm about to dive into a complete f/r suspension rebuild on my 73 GTV. I have a huge box of parts ready to go, but nothing in the way of a press or even a vice. I'm wondering what my best bet is? It seems like it makes sense to plan for the worse case bushings... ie buy a press with enough capacity, or take the pieces to a shop and have them all pressed in. I'm open to either. Got a HF coupon for 20% handy...

What worked for you?

Any other unusual tools I might need besides a pitman arm separator?
 

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Unless you have a continuing need for a press; take them to a shop that knows what to do. It'll be a lot easier! Also, sometimes they need to bore the i.d. of the bronze bushings to fit the o.d. of the arms.
I have a Harbor freight 12 ton press, that I use a lot.
Dis-assembly was pretty easy with it but you need a variety of diameter pipes, sockets, etc. to match the bushing diameters. I still used a machine shop to bore the i.d. of the bushings. Good luck.
 

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r-mm -

I think I'm just a couple weeks ahead of you on installing a Centerline suspension rebuild kit.
I'm tackling the front end first. After that's put back together it's on to do the back, and finally the driveshaft.

Just this afternoon I took the A-arm's and the bushings to a shop to have the old ones pressed out and replaced with new ones. I considered buying a Harbor Freight press myself, but decided that after the suspension jobs are done, I'm unlikely to use it again.

Additionally there's the fact that as Sagebrush Bob points out above, there's probably more to the game than just buying the press. I decided I'm better off with somebody who has done it before.

I should have the arms back Monday or Tuesday and I'll report back on the price I pay here in Dallas. I'm also replacing my wheel studs while I'm at it since on my 71 they're reverse thread on the left side.

Oh, couple of small things about the Centerline kit, if that's what you bought. It doesn't include new bushing caps for the A-arm bushings... not a big deal but something to know. Also make sure you keep the nuts from the old ball joints - the new ones don't come with any.

I also had to replace all my spring rubbers and metal spring seats as they were shot... those aren't in the kit either. I ended up getting those from IAP because I had a 15% discount from them.

Overall however, except for the bushings, I've been able to do everything with a good set of wrenches, a good set of sockets, an impact driver to remove the screws in the hubs, a can of PB Blaster penetrating oil, and some cursing. I would prefer not to mention the use of the BF hammer and the torch.... but I've used both a lot more than I thought I would.

With the exception of a couple of ball joints that are on their 3rd/4th day of PB blaster and STILL not loose enough for the ball joint splitter to break loose, everything is going pretty well.

Good luck and have fun!

Lokki
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lokki - thanks I think we are in the same place indeed. I actually bought all the suspension pieces a la carte from IAP when they had a big maybe 20% sale for purchases over 500 bucks.

Good points about needing sockets, etc of the correct diameter. I'm not so sure I will need a press again.

Did you take the parts to a general service mechanic or a machine shop? I am curious to hear what they charged.

Thanks
 

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Or, the guy next door to my shop will take all your suspension (including the diff) parts as is, break them down, sandblast and powder coat all the components, zinc plate all the fasteners, install the bushings (you provide) and reassemble for $950 plus shipping. Looks fantastic and allows me to get other stuff done. The same work was done for me at a place in Seattle and they charged over $4,000! Although that did include bushings...
 

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Oh now come on, Lokki....you know you want that 6-ton Harbor Freight hydraulic press. Think of it sitting in your garage, all shiiiiiny, just waiting to press things out! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Lokki - one more for you

What ball joint splitter did you use and does one tool work for the tie rods and suspension? I loaned a pickle fork style splitter from autozone but with no air hammer, its not doing much of anything on the tie rod ends.
 

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Thinking that once the suspension is "done" you won't use a press again is kind of like thinking that once you fix something on an Alfa you won't need to fix anything again... no disrespect to earlier posts intended. I bought a 12 ton press about five years ago and while I don't use it every week or even every month it has paid for itself several times over. If you are not inclined to do as much work as possible on your car, then by all means, take your suspension parts to a machine shop and save a $150 and the garage space a press will occupy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
so far i've done every last thing on my car except resurface the flywheel and r/r the valve guides. so i'm inclined to do stuff myself but wondering what the hell i'm going to do with a hydraulic press when I move. but in all likelihood, when i get a quote from a shop that will likely exceed the cost of the press, i'll probably just up and buy it. actually as I wrote his I decided to just go ahead and buy this guy. 6 Ton Shop Press
after all i've never regretted buying tools...


Thinking that once the suspension is "done" you won't use a press again is kind of like thinking that once you fix something on an Alfa you won't need to fix anything again... no disrespect to earlier posts intended. I bought a 12 ton press about five years ago and while I don't use it every week or even every month it has paid for itself several times over. If you are not inclined to do as much work as possible on your car, then by all means, take your suspension parts to a machine shop and save a $150 and the garage space a press will occupy.
 

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I bought the 6 ton Harbor freight press and wish I bought a bigger one. When doing the rear suspension there was no way I was going to press out the big bushings in the trailing arms. That was easily resolved by buying new ones but then I found that the 6 ton wasn't big enough to push the new bushings all the way home (last 1/8" or so). My local shop did them for $20 (each). Now I'm starting on the front and I figure I'll find some more examples of where the 6 ton isn't enough.
 

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r-mm,

You certainly have done a ton of work on your car. Thanks for the threads and posts as they have generated a lot of useful information. I threw the above comment out just for general consumption. Enjoy your press. You might consider whether or not the one you are interested in is tall enough for most of your needs. I last used mine to replace rear wheel bearings.

Regarding tie rod end removal, PB Blaster and a few whacks with a brass hammer on the knuckle, adjacent to the hole for the tie rod end works for me. Papajam posted an excellent description and picture a few years ago but I cannot currently find it.
 

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I've never needed more than a stout block of wood and a heavy mallet.....
Good for you Typhoon90. Perhaps you're better at this than I am.

I got most of mine loose with exactly that - a stout block of wood and a heavy mallet. But I have two that aren't so cooperative. That's why I bought the splitter. I had three left to do at the time I bought the splitter.... It did one of the three easily. Not so with the other two. I know that they'll come out eventually... but after 40 years in one place they seem to have gotten set in their ways.

I bought the splitter tool shown in Papajam's thread... $19 at Harbor Freight. Today, after the wife leaves the house :D, I pull out the torch and I think the combination of the splitter and the torch will do it.

The splitter has a "finger" that sits on top of the threaded end of the tie rod end, and then a "split finger" that goes under underneath the tie rod. The finger pushes down and then "pop goes the tie rod end!" except when it doesn't.


Rmm-

I went to a local self-owned mechanic - "Bea's Automotive" where the owner Roberto really seems to love old cars (I think Bea is his wife, but I don't know). I never thought about a machine shop, perhaps because my limited experience with them is that they're pretty expensive and I don't think that level of expertise is necessary....if a mechanic has the right tools, it shouldn't be too hard for someone with experience. Roberto didn't blink when I pulled my a-arms and a box of bushings and wheel studs out of the trunk.

On the sockets and wrenches, everything seems to run 17, 19, 22, 24, and I think I ran across a 26 at one point.

Oh, the other tool that I found useful was a plumber's pipe wrench: I found it to be the best thing for removing tie rod ends from the tie rods. It was much easier than putting the tie rod in a vice, which was how I started out.

As for the press, yeah, I know that I'll be back under there and I'll want that press, but unfortunately, my wife has learned to recognize IAP, Centerline, and Vick's as Hubby Hobby expenses on the credit card bill, and I'm a little over the tolerance limit right now :rolleyes:.... even after I bought the Centerline suspension kit, I've been back this month for a couple of $200 nibbles for spring rubbers, etc. However having a "real mechanic" do some things "because it's safer than if I do it";), well - that gets me a little more cash than "another Harbor Freight charge!!!:eek:

And:

I've decided that while I'm in the front fenders, I'm going to buy one of Daniel Stern's Cibie lighting kits... :cool: I'd rather have that than a press right now. I'm practicing the "look how much safer I'll be in the dark now, honey" line in front of the mirror... still needs practice.

Note:

I'm a pilgrim at all this... and everything I've learned has been on this board. There are lots of kind people who can give you much better advice than I can, so whenever there's a difference listen to them rather than me and save yourself some trouble:)
 

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maybe its early but i can't quite fathom how that works!?
Simpler than you might imagine:
The joint stub and reciever hole are tapered.
Baffing the side of the receiver housing very subtley distorts the receiver side of the taper which in turn pops the joint stub out.
(no permanant distortion occurs, it springs right back into shape. Well unless you've got it on an anvil and bash it with a sledge hammer)

It's kinda like popping a zit actually. Squeeze around the outside enough and all the stuff in the middle pops out.
 

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If you like stuffing handfuls of cash into someones pocket, then yes, take them to a shop. Otherwise, you can do most bushings with a harbor freight press and various sockets and pieces of pipe.
 

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Thinking that once the suspension is "done" you won't use a press again is kind of like thinking that once you fix something on an Alfa you won't need to fix anything again.
Yup, I second that. Bought my HF press a few years ago, figuring that it would cost me about the same amount as having the machine shop press my bushings. Knew I would never need it again.

HA! It's become the handiest tool I own. It's amazing how many things come apart easily with the smooth application of force (OK, a lot of force), that would be a bear to disassemble with a hammer, or a vise. Hammers tend to mangle parts, and I have never had much luck using a vise - they really don't apply that much force.

Also, machine shops always install your bushings backward, or lose parts, or take forever to do small jobs. Or even more annoying, they'll install three bushings the right way, and put one in backwards.
 
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