Fortunately, encouragement from my buddies in BAMA finally coaxed me back into action. I started by taking the seats back out and moving them into the attic above the garage, and then my friend Chuck came over to help me take the hood and fenders off the car. I'll be storing the fenders in the shed for the rest of the Summer at least. With this done it was time to begin the next phase: refurbishing the engine bay and rebuilding the front end. In due course I will be lowering the front suspension, converting to disc brakes, and figuring out a new steering set up.
I started by removing the steering, because I thought this would be difficult, but it was actually straight forward (cough, cough). After pulling out the cotter pins and undoing the various castle nuts, I used Ron Bramlett's shock and fall method to get the suspension apart - basically give each tapered joint a meaningful whack on the outside with a BFH. This method worked perfectly after I searched through my new garage for my 5lb short handle sledge.
Then it was onto the suspension. The first step is to remove the shock absorbers.
|Start with the bolts at the underside...|
|...and then the top|
Which just leaves the little matter of the coil springs...I've heard stories from some folks in BAMA about tying up the springs with a rope, but I'm just not that adventurous, so I went to Autozone to rent a spring compressor.
The way the rental works is that you pay for the tool when you collect it (about 40 bucks for this model), and if you return it within 90 days, they give you a full refund. Nice. I will probably end up keeping this one though, because it worked well, and I'll need it again later.
Once installed, you just crank on the top bolt.....
...until the spring is small enough that it can be lifted out.
It is advisable to treat the compressed spring with a great deal of respect...I've heard it referred to as an unexploded bomb.
I slowly backed off the compressor until the spring was fully extended. This spring has some spots of green paint across the coils - this was something they did at the factory; from looking at the color and arrangement of the paint spots the concourse boys can tell you what car the spring came from, where it was assembled, and what the line foreman ate for lunch that day. Probably.
Onto the front brakes. I stuck with (bigger) drum brakes at the back of the car, but I will be moving to discs at the front.
Getting the drums off requires pulling the cotter pin, removing the spindle retaining nut, and pulling hard on the drum.
You can't really get to the backing plate while the brake shoes are in place, and since these parts are going to straight in the Turlock pile it made sense to just pull the springs and shoes. Followed closely by unbolting the backing plates and removing the spindles and struts.
One of the struts was a little bit bent:
And there we have it, all ready for the wire wheel to work it's magic over the next few months.......
(*In case you were wondering, this tenuous link is just an excuse to reference my favorite Mustang blog).