Disc Brake Project – IT’S ALIVE!

When I last left off, I was waiting for the correct center link to deliver.  A busy holiday weekend (and a mini heat wave) left me with little energy to spend in the garage, so I didn’t get anything started until Tuesday when the correct center link arrived via UPS.  For this step, I enlisted the lovely and talented Mrs. Magicboltbox to help me bleed the air from the brake lines.  I began at the right rear wheel and moved around the car, alternately loosening and tightening the bleeder screws while ordering politely requesting the missus to pump, hold, and release the brake pedal.  I stopped halfway through to tighten a fitting that started to leak under pressure, and continued until no more air bubbles appeared in the coffee can of fluid.  As an added benefit, I also got a fair amount of nasty old brown fluid out of the lines.

The following night, I returned to the garage to install the new (correct) center link.  It went considerably smoother than the first time, and I torqued all the fasteners and got ready to grease all the lube points.  While jockeying around on my creeper to get the correct angle on one of the inner tie rods, I turned abruptly and smacked the just-installed center link with my forehead.  A bit dazed and more than a bit embarrassed (even though I was alone), I shook it off and finished the job.  It wasn’t until I got out from under the car and mopped the sweat from my brow that I realized I was bleeding.  I took a quick break to wash up and apply a Looney Tunes band-aid before returning to mount the wheels and remove all the tools, broken parts, and detritus from under the car.  I suppose no project is complete without an injury of some sort, but only I would manage to cut my forehead during a mundane lube job after surviving the use of air tools, a propane torch, and a sledgehammer.

Anyway, I lowered the car off the stands and took stock:

Please disregard the pink tricycle and the snowblower

It’s low, but not too low.  It’s also pretty even from front to back; while I would like a little more rake in the front, I’m very glad it doesn’t drag the tail like many lowered cars do.  At this point, I topped off the fluids and hooked up the battery, only to find that the brake lights were stuck on.  A few minutes spent adjusting the brake pedal clevis and the brake light switch fixed that issue.

It was nearly 1AM at this point, so I decided it was best that I head for bed rather than risk waking up the house by starting the car for the first time in 7 months.  So I got up early this morning and put the key in the ignition.  It cranked for maybe 10 seconds while I pumped the gas, but no fire.  I gave the starter a break for a few seconds and twisted the key again, and it fired right up.  While the engine warmed up, I refilled the power steering fluid, overfilling it and causing it to spray all over the inner fender when I turned the wheel back and forth to get rid of any air in the system.  I added a half-quart of transmission fluid, pumped the brakes, and eased out of the garage.  I didn’t have time to run around the block, but the steering felt tight without any hard or dead spots, and the brakes felt solid.  There’s a little too much pedal travel, so there might still be an air bubble somewhere, but if that’s the worst bug to work out I’ll be happy.  I’ll be dropping it off for an alignment after work tonight and will hopefully be able to drive it a little this weekend.  Not bad for four months of work, right?

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