It’s been a while since my last update, but I picked up the car from the alignment shop on the 3rd and have put some miles on it since by driving it to work a few times. The car rides and drives great, although there are a few nagging issues. The passenger side wheel bearing was a little noisy and the wheel had a wobble to it when I checked, so I took it apart last night to investigate; the culprit appears to have been a loose castle nut, but I repacked the bearings just to be safe.
The second, and more annoying, issue is that the steering wheel won’t recenter after a turn. As far as I can tell, this is most likely due to the fact that everything in the suspension and steering system is new and tight, and that it will work better once everything breaks in a little. I think this is true because I re-greased everything last week and made a slight adjustment to the steering gear and now the wheel at least thinks about returning. I’ll hit it again with the grease gun after driving it a few more days and we’ll see if that fixes it. If not, it’s possible that something is binding in the steering column or the junkyard gear box, and I really don’t want to have to tear either one of those apart.
The third issue relates to the phantom creaking/grating noise that has plagued the car during low-speed turns and bumps for as long as I’ve owned it. I assumed that replacing everything under the car would cure it, but it’s still there. I’ve now come to the conclusion that it’s the result of something in the body rubbing (perhaps where the inner and outer fender meet the front clip). Once I’m actually able to consistently replicate the noise, I’ll be able to diagnose it.
Overall, I’m very happy with the way things turned out. Part of me misses the old, floaty, one-fingered steering, because that felt more authentically old-fashioned. But once I get everything dialed in, the brakes properly mated, and can power through a curvy road without fear of ending up in a ditch, I won’t miss it at all.
Now that the car is back on the road, I took some glamour shots. Feel free to use them as your desktop background or frame them in your living room.