Saturday, March 20, 2010

JeepSpeed (half) Build Day

I received a text message from Randy yesterday asking if I wanted to work on the truck this morning. Since we're so far behind, I figured we should work on it as much as possible so I headed off to his parents' house at 8:30am. It's been about 20 months since we acquired the Jeep.

We were supposed to work on the front suspension today. As usual, we grossly underestimated the time requirements, mainly because the car wouldn't cooperate. Our first mistake was buying an out-of-state car. This particular Jeep Cherokee came from Illinois so the bottom has a lot of rust. We're not really worried structurally since we're replacing a lot of pieces but a good percentage of the nuts and bolts are corroded and very difficult to remove. So instead of mocking up and installing some of the front suspension pieces, we spent 4 hours removing the original shocks and springs. Throughout the entire time, I was worried that the spring (under tension) would fly out from the suspension and kill/maim me or something. Fun.

Oh yeah... it was just Randy and me again. Well, his dad, like always, was a huge help. Without his expertise and tools, we probably wouldn't even have the car stripped even.

Front suspension at ~9am. We moved some of the jacks around and removed the front tires. Did I mention that the car has 4 different brand of tires?

Front disc brakes. Lots of original rust and grime plus new rust from the car sitting outside. There was also a lot of spider webs and rodent droppings. Randy's parents live in La Habra Heights so maybe there are field mice running around. I hope they didn't decide to build a nest anywhere in the car.

It's all about the tools. We couldn't remove the steering linkage until Randy's dad let us use his puller. it attaches above the linkage and a bolt underneath pushes against the output shaft from the power steering box. Even with the tool, it took both of us pulling/pushing on a 4 foot long bar attached to a socket wrench to get it to move.

More tools. The steering linkage was attached with a 1-1/2 inch bolt. Randy's dad brought out a set of huge sockets which included a 2-1/2 inch socket. The socket in front is a 15mm metric socket. Crazy.

Even though this was an American car (Jeep Cherokee), a lot of the bolts were metric (13mm, 15mm, 18mm) instead of Imperial (9/16", 1/2", 5/8"). Weird.

One of the bolts underneath the car was heavily rusted. After 30+ minutes, we managed to move it but the welded nut in the back broke free. There was no way to loosen the bolt so Randy's dad pulled out his acetylene torch and basically melted off the top of the bolt. Tools... very important.

Another stubborn bolt was the one attaching the front left shock. It didn't look rusted but it wasn't coming off. Since we didn't need to save anything, we decided to slice off the top using an angled grinder. I tried for ~30 seconds and let Randy finish.

Bolt removal FAIL. The two bolts we cut. The torch basically melted the top off the offending bolt (gray slag pile). Now we have to find some replacements but at least we were able to remove the bolts.

My hands after ~4 hours. Since we were working on the front suspension, everything was super dirty and my hands, arms, and pants were covered with black grease/dirt/grime stains. This was before we "rubbed" WD40 all over the roll cage to stop it from rusting further. Hmm, that probably made my hands a bit cleaner.

Rust on the roll cage... my Z is parked in the back. BTW, WD40 is awesome. It probably helped us remove most of the nuts/bolts. Auto mechanics must go through gallons of this stuff.

End result. The shocks and springs are out but I had to leave. We'll try to attach some of the new suspension pieces from Full Traction next week (yup, $1800... though we didn't get the coil springs and leaf springs so it may have been a bit cheaper).


Randy said...

LOL The springs weren't under that much load. Just looked more dangerous than it really was. Hopefully we can the front suspension done minus shocks and springs. I have the springs on order.


Randy said...

can get