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Tools needed to rebuild front suspension...

 
Old 12-16-2018, 04:06 PM
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DorianC3
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Default Tools needed to rebuild front suspension...

Hey All,

Soon going to replace the stock arms with tubular arms...

AFAIK, other than typical hand tools, one needs a spring compressor and pickle forks, right?

It probably makes sense to replace the tie rod ends, sway bar bushing and end links (shot) and the idler arm if it has any play in it.

MTIA,

DC3

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Old 12-16-2018, 04:24 PM
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Gordonm
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I’ve done many and never used a spring compressor. You can lower the arm enough for the spring to come out. Pickle fork yes. I do have a lift also which helps a lot but not necessary.
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Old 12-16-2018, 04:33 PM
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redvetracr
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Originally Posted by Gordonm View Post
Iíve done many and never used a spring compressor. You can lower the arm enough for the spring to come out. Pickle fork yes. I do have a lift also which helps a lot but not necessary.

don`t forget the BFH...
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Old 12-16-2018, 04:50 PM
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At one time in my career I started stocking up on tools (and knowledge) to do front end work before deciding to leave it to others (and focus on what I'm good at, electrical)

I don't think you'll get away without air tools including a good impact gun, air chisel & hammer. You've got bolts that have spent 40 years corroding in place. Wrenches are often useless in removing them. Big rivets holding ball joints in. And that air hammer requires a serious compressor, not some Hazardous Freight pancake.

Single most important thing I learned was how to "shock" a tapered tie rod end loose instead of pounding on it, pickle forks, etc. You apply some leverage and smack both sides simultaneously with hammers. (This requires 3 hands or a helper, although I once saw a co-worker do it with the lever wedged on his shoulder) One well synchronized hit and you're done. In contrast you can sit there all day pounding on a pickle fork.

Front end work is dangerous. You can knock a car off a lift or off jackstands with the forces you're applying. If you're having to use too much force, too long a pry bar, you're probably doing it wrong. I wasted time studying for and passing the ASE test on front end which taught me NOTHING useful about how to actually do this sort of work, just the theory. (So much for certifications, eh?)

The only way I'd do it again would be under supervision of a master, in a shop, using a lift. Garage or driveway, no way. I'm a wussy, I guess. But I've still got all my fingers.

Last edited by wadenelson; 12-16-2018 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 12-16-2018, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by redvetracr View Post
don`t forget the BFH...
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:29 PM
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[QUOTE=DorianC3;1598511755]Hey All,

Soon going to replace the stock arms with tubular arms...

AFAIK, other than typical hand tools, one needs a spring compressor and pickle forks, right?

It probably makes sense to replace the tie rod ends, sway bar bushing and end links (shot) and the idler arm if it has any play in it.

MTIA,

DC3[/QUOTE Take pictures and mark the tie rod ends (measure) before removal. If you remove all the steering linkage take it out in one piece but measure everything TWICE.
You'll need a good small sledge and pickle fork to undo the joints.
Also be aware that since the motor is out (right ?) you'll need weight or downforce to reset the new springs into the A-arms. You can also find that within my post 70 Rebuild has begun. Just so you get an idea of what I mean.
]http://repairs.willcoxcorvette.com/corvette-spring-compressor-on-a-budget
https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...-begun-14.html
Be careful even though with this method it's a breeze you have to kick out the spring from the pocket when fully relieved of tension (while chain is still attached) it still can shock you and bounce a bit.
Safety First !
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:53 PM
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JoeMinnesota
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Dorian - do yourself a favor and just buy a complete tie rod kit with ends and new tubes. Remove the old units and you can measure them and clock the new ones correctly. Just mark PS and DS. They are not expensive and a relaxing benchtop project. Basic set of pickle forks - I have one for ball joints and a smaller one for rod ends. New units bolt right in. INTERNAL Coil spring compressors are helpful (some do without). External are no help as there isn't enough room. Your going to new A-arms will tackle the worst part of the job automatically and new ball joints will bolt into place. Don't forget shims, and just try to get it close to original until allignment. I also found it helpful to get a new set of a-arm bolts and related hardware to make the job go back together cleaner, but your may come with hardware. Good Luck - with a little prep it isn't a bad job. Also, sway arm end link kit for front (should come with new bolts) as you will probably twist or cut those off during removal.

Last edited by JoeMinnesota; 12-16-2018 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:58 PM
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resdoggie
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A length of chain for safety's sake.
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by DorianC3 View Post
AFAIK, other than typical hand tools, one needs a spring compressor and pickle forks, right?
If you e-mail me for my "How to Rebuild Your Front End" tech paper, it lists all tools needed to do the work and a procedure for doing it.

Lars
[email protected]
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:52 PM
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Big2Bird
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See if the shock tower to upper arm studs are loose. I "think" I pressed in larger ones.PITA to align if they get loose.
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:05 PM
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I rebuilt my entire front end, with little difficulty, it was a weekend project. I purchased all the parts from RockAuto. The only thing other then regular hand tools, was a pickle fork, BFH and an air chisel.

The hardest part, at least for me, was removing the lower ball joints. I also removed the upper and lower bushings with an air chisel. The new ones were hammered in using a socket. But since you are replacing with tubular ones, I'm assuming that they already have the bushings and ball joints already installed.

I removed the springs by lowering the lower control arms with a floor jack. The upper passenger side was a pain, because my AC compressor was in the way.
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by redvetracr View Post
don`t forget the BFH...
Indeed, that's the most important tool in my box

Next to this




Last edited by Capt. Shark; 12-16-2018 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Capt. Shark View Post
Indeed, that's the most important tool in my box

Next to this



So true
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:31 PM
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BLUE1972
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I did both on my C3' while on jack stands with hand tools over a weekend - not rushing.

I used a floor jack under the A arm to get the springs out - no issues.

The only tools that is a must is FREEZ-OFF spray for the rusted nuts - spray them the day before and again when starting and a 3' breaker bar. (6 point sockets)

I used a Milwaukee dremmel type tool to grind off the rivets.

A local shop charged me $80 to remove and press the A arm bushings in. They had the tool and used a press.
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by resdoggie View Post
A length of chain for safety's sake.
i agree. Chain that spring to the frame.
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:44 PM
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I used one of these rather than a pickle fork. No need to pound on it with a hammer.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:19 PM
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caskiguy
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Originally Posted by Antz81 View Post
I used one of these rather than a pickle fork. No need to pound on it with a hammer.

I forgot this tool, worked great.
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Old 12-18-2018, 04:37 AM
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DorianC3
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Thanks, Gents !!!!

What a fantastic amount of information here.

The machine shop will close for the Xmas season and will only be able to return my cross shafts by mid-Jan.

In the meantime I have enough information here to start disassembling my front end. While Iím at it I can clean and detail the engine bay.

I clearly wonít need a compressor to get the coils out. Thatís good. I am worried about bashing a pickle fork with a BFH. Iíll try leveraging-and-popping first.

If that doesnít work, I may order that ball joint, tie rod press.

Stay tuned !
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:48 AM
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DorianC3
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Originally Posted by Antz81 View Post
I used one of these rather than a pickle fork. No need to pound on it with a hammer.
What tool was here @Antz81 ? The link seems to be broken.

Thanks
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DorianC3 View Post
What tool was here @Antz81 ? The link seems to be broken.

Thanks
https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...-easy-way.html

https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...ng-a-arms.html
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