Since the last update on this project, I honestly haven’t made much progress. Life and other, more important things have gotten in the way, to the point that even my lovely wife is making jokes about looking forward to going for a drive sometime in September. It doesn’t help that I’ve completely given up on trying to rehab my upper control arms; after weeks of intermittently beating and chiseling, I made one last attempt to heat the bushings and pound them out and got nowhere.
That was the last straw. Coincidentally, OPG was having a sale last weekend, so I bit the bullet and ordered complete new upper arms. I’ll be able to offset some of the cost by returning the ball joints and bushings that I’d already bought, but it’s still money I wasn’t expecting to have to spend. Of course, one of them (I don’t know if it’s the left or the right) is on backorder. Grrr.
Shifting gears to a concurrent side project, I was able to successfully disassemble the junkyard steering box to inspect the wear items and replace the shaft seals. It was actually fun – sort of like 3D puzzle, I had to rotate a shaft to get the gears to line up and slide the shaft out of the housing, then remove a dust seal, snap ring, outer lip seal, plastic spacer, and inner lip seal, and then install new parts in the reverse order. Unfortunately, I was too covered in power steering fluid to take pictures. Next, I need to find the right adapter fittings to couple the “new” steering box to the old hydraulic lines.
Which gives me a chance to vent. Maybe I’m deficient in some way, but I’ve yet to use my flare wrenches on a project without at least partially rounding off a nut – which is exactly what they are supposed to prevent. A flare wrench is essentially an open-end wrench with longer “arms” to wrap around the nut; since you can’t use a box-end wrench or socket on a nut that has a metal tube coming out of it, the flare wrench gives you a little more contact area than a standard open wrench. Yet, nearly every time I’ve used mine, they’ve slipped off and I’ve either busted a knuckle or rounded off the nut. Removing my old steering box was no exception, and I eventually gave up and used a pair of vice-grips to loosen the line nuts. If anybody out there knows what I’m doing wrong, I’d love to hear it.
While I did make a trip to Summit Racing and buy the springs and shocks I wanted, I’m a little bit in limbo until the upper control arms arrive in the mail. Since I’m waiting on the parts to arrive, I plan on cleaning up the frame and inner fender area and painting it, disassembling the old master cylinder and installing the new power booster and master cylinder, and fixing the brake line that I broke way back at the beginning of this project. This weekend is my oldest daughter’s second birthday, so I’m not planning on much garage time – but since Spring doesn’t seem any closer around here, I’m not exactly feeling rushed.