Disc Brake Project – Picking up the Pace

After procuring the right piece of brake line and an adapter last week, I was ready to begin the reassembly process.  I started with this:

Before

After some work with a tubing bender and a little tweaking by hand, I ended up with this:

After

That got threaded into the junction block on one side of the frame and positioned in the hose bracket on the other side.  With that accomplished, I positioned the passenger side coil spring and jacked the lower control arm to hold it in place.  The shock absorber was next, but I ran into a series of issues.  The car originally had u-nuts clipped into the control arm, into which the shock bolts threaded.  Over the past four decades, however, each of them had broken and had been replaced by a regular nut and bolt.  This setup was difficult to remove with the old spring in the way, and would be virtually impossible to install with the new, tighter spring there.  So I found a reasonably close u-nut replacement at the hardware store:

Close, but no cigar

These are similar, but too long.  So I used my bench grinder to knock about a half-inch off of the bottom of the clip and hammered them onto the control arm.  After a few minutes, I noticed a distinct “campfire” smell in the garage, different than the “hot metal” smell that had accompanied my grinding efforts.  I poked around the grinder and found that a spark had landed on a cotton buffing wheel on the bench.  It was only smoldering, but I’m glad I caught it before it potentially burned down my garage.

With that disaster averted, I slid the shock up into place, tightened the bolts down, positioned the new spindle in place, and torqued the castle nuts on the upper and lower ball joints.

Real, actual progress

Next I’m going to transfer the tie-rod bracket from the old spindle to the new one (something I wasn’t expecting to have to do), pack and install the wheel bearings, and get the rotor and caliper mounted.  Spring is coming, and I’m anxious to get the car back on the road – and it’s actually cooperating now.

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