Monday, March 8, 2010

March's Marching Forward

A good weekend! As of today the entire right-side front suspension assembly is back together. Putting things back together is a big and important step that is all too often missed by most of us… me included.

I deciphered the reassembly using the front driver’s side suspension, TRF Parts assembly manual and the TRF TR6 glove box manual. All that was all just enough to get me through. I was very glad that I hadn’t disassembled the driver’s side yet.

I had Friday night, Saturday and Sunday to work. Friday was dedicated to cleaning and painting the last of the suspension parts and test fitting the new fender. The new fender looks great and is a great fit. I just pinned it with clamps for now as I still have to weld in the rocker-panel.

On that note – the new Lincoln Weld-Pak 140 MIG welder looks great in the shop but I resisted it's siren's call. There are things I need before me and the welder will be at one. Not the least of which is a bottle of Argon and most importantly some practice on non-TR6 steel.

The coolest moment of the weekend was when I was cleaning the spring and found it to be in good shape with factory paint marks. It had some not so great spots that would not clean up but this is not a contours car and I would rather leave as much original as possible.

Installing the spring was quite a production. My cheapness prevented me from purchasing the $85.00 spring compression tool specifically for TR6s. I bought the $25.00 spring compression clamps from Princess Auto instead. The clamps worked well for removing the spring without bodily harm. After a few attempts it was clear that reinstall wasn't going to go as well. I even “modified” the $25.00 Princess Auto camps with my angle grinder shortening them considerably. After that I worked at it for about an hour to no avail.

It’s important to point out I was measuring time by how many half hour episodes of Billy the Exterminator had gone by. The thought of homes, with so many mice that six foot king snakes had moved in, will be forever tied in my brain to installing this suspension.

I finally came to the conclusion that with the compression clamps installed it would be impossible to reinstall the spring. I also figured out that if I removed my modified compression clamps – I would never get the spring compressed again. What to do?

In the Magic-Snap-On-Tool-Box-of-Hope there was a small roll of perforated metal strapping. I decided to use a couple of lengths of that strapping and a couple of small bolts to keep the spring compressed while I removed one of the clamps. I was then able to slip the spring into place without injuring myself.

Well… that’s not entirely true.

There was an incident involving the grinder… again. Somebody needs to take this tool away from me. When I was “modifying” the $25.00 spring clamps I drop the grinder. At the time I had the cutting wheel installed. The wheel broke of course. The broken piece was still attached but obviously broken. I had no intention of using it in this condition but I pressed the trigger for no apparent reason. The broken piece came flying off and hit me in the chest leaving a quarter-size bruise and a sharp pain. That was rather stupid and would fit under my dad's heading of "Angus-ized". I really hated admitting that.

Bolting in place the bottom of the shock was rather difficult without the engine installed. Compressing the installed spring using a floor jack would just lift the entire car. I had to get my mother and sister to stand in the engine bay to have enough weight to compress the spring to bolt the shock down.

The next task was to install the lower control-arm bushings for the vertical link. The first thing was to figure out that the plastic sleeves I had already installed were installed incorrectly and had to be removed and reinstall. Two episodes of Billy the Exterminator later I had that all figured out and the vertical link installed.

It’s not contours but it is safe, functional and some of the best work I have ever done. There is an engineer and

his father restoring a ’74 TR6 and reporting progress on He has replaced the frame and now has acid dipped every body part on that car. This is a car he drove home and was few light bulbs and a spare tire away from passing an inspection. There is always going to be someone out there going the extra mile. The only thing that I'm jealous about is that he’s doing it with his dad.

Stay tuned…

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