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Restoration Journal

April 1, 2001

The heat/WD-40 worked!  I found the carrier slowly dripping fluid, which indicated the seal of rust had been broken.Given how heavy the chunk is, it was a little awkward removing it.  Lying on my back and trying to slide it off the studs and support it strained my back.  But before I knew it, I had it sitting on the garage floor!

Next step is to remove the housing from the car.  So I removed the brake lines and hose.  Again, heat was required.  Then I needed to remove the shocks.  I had previously removed the upper shock studs from inside the cargo area of the car.  All that was left was where they are mounted to the leaf spring.  With heat I removed the right one.  Once again I got impatient with the left hand nut and broke the mounting stud.  Damn it!

I then tried to turn a nut on the bracket that holds the rear axle housing to the leaf spring.  Wouldn't budge at all.  So I applied heat and WD-40 to all 8 of them (4 on each side).

April 8, 2001

After a week off to prepare for my Rotisserie Baseball auction, it's back to the car.  I applied some heat to the nuts holding the axle housing to the leaf springs, and they just didn't budge.  Not even close.

Thinking that I don't have time to waste (the car needs to go to the body shop in 4 weeks), I start looking at the bolts holding the leaf springs to the car.  I figure I can just unbolt the leaf springs, and the housing will come with them.

Luckilly, I had previously (weeks ago) sprayed WD-40 on every nut I could find on the back end of the car.  So, with some heat, I was able to remove all bolts.  On each spring, there were 2 bolts holding the rear shackle to the frame, and 4 nuts holding the front shackle to the frame.

On the right front shackle, I broke 2 of the studs off.  I applied heat, but I guess they were just too rusted.

I supported the whole assembly with jack stands while I loosened/remove the bolts/nuts.  After everything was loose, I put a floor jack under the pumpkin, raised it enough to remove the jack stands, and then lowered the whole assembly.  After getting it as close to the ground as possible, I then pulled the whole assembly back, to slide the front shackle studs from the holes in the frame.

Voila!  Rear suspension lying on my garage floor!  I was pretty pleased I was able to do that operation by myself.

April 9, 2001

Don't have the pickel forks necessary to remove the front suspension, so I started removing whatever else I can.  Removed the rubber bumpers on the frame rails that protect against the axle housing hitting the frame.  Removed the exhaust hanger where the brake line meets the hose.  And removed the small hanger that holds the right emergency brake cable in place.

Then removed the emergency brake cables, from the rear to the engine bay.  After that, I removed the brake line that runs from the distribution block to the rear wheels.  While I was at it, I removed the distribution block also.

Finished off the night by sweeping the garage and generally cleaning things up.

April 10, 2001

Started going over the car w/ a find tooth comb, to get it ready for sand blasting.  Removed some rubber snubbers from the trunk, a plastic wire guide, bolt receiving clips, etc.

Then I grabbed a torch and started removing the putty/tar goop that the factory spread on sheet metal seams.  The trunk and especially the floor pan is where you'd find this stuff.  My body guy said I should remove that stuff before sand blasting.  I'd heat it with a torch and then scrape it off with a screw driver.  Not much fun and lots of stinky smoke, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

April 12, 2001

Started working on the front suspension.  Don't have any pickel forks, so my progress will be limited.

Tried to get the lock nut off of the steering box, so I can remove the steering box from the pitman arm.  That nut just won't budge, even with heat.  It doesn't help that it's too large for any of my wrenches (I used a pipe wrench on it).  I unbolted the steering box from the K member, and removed the pins/nuts holding the tie rods/center link together.

Looking for something to do, I took a screwdriver and removed all the seam sealant I could find around the engine bay.  Most of it was where the cowl meets the firewall.  Just trying to get rid of anything that will hinder sand blasting.

April 13, 15 & 17, 2001

I'm not sure what I did each day, which is why I've grouped these days together.

Picked up a pair of pickel forks from Bear.  What a difference the right tool makes!  I started on the steering linkage.  Even with heat, I still wasn't able to remove the bolt that holds the pitman arm to the steering box, so after using a fork to disengage both tie rods from the center link, I remove the steering box, center link, pitman arm and idler arm as a unit.

I then disengaged both tie rods from the steering knuckles.  Steering linkage is now completely off the car.

Decided to start removing the suspension from the right side.  Removed the nut holding the strut to the K member.  Then I removed the brake drum, bearings, etc from the spindle.  This gave me access to the nuts holding the backing plate to the steering knuckle.  It took some heat and some grunting, but I got all 4 of them off.

The torsion adjusting bolt (in the lower control arm) is frozen with rust, so I had to figure out some other way to remove all tension from the torsion bar.  The only thing I could think of was to remove the knuckle from the control arms, which would allow the lower arm to drop completely.  I supported the lower arm w/ the floor jack and used a pickel fork to remove the knuckle from the upper control arm.

This worked very well.  Once it disengaged, the front of the car did lift off the jack stands, but nothing bad happened.  If you try this, just make sure your floor jack is properly positioned, because it's all that was supporting the front of the car.

The only nut left to remove was the lower control arm pivot, which goes through the K member.  No big problem there.

At this point, I should be albe to slide the torsion bar/control arm/strut asembly backwards and out.  But it won't budge, and I don't know why.  I tried hammering on various parts and prying the control arm back from the K member, but it wouldn't go.  I'll
have to just keep working on it, I guess.

Meanwhile, I separated the knuckle from the lower control with a pickel fork, so all that's left of the suspension is both arms (and strut and torsion bar).  I also managed to remove both nuts that hold the upper arm to the chassis, but the bolts wouldn't come out.  They appear to have rusted in place.  More on that to follow...

April 19, 2001

Removed everything I could from the driver's side front suspension.  Things like the tie rod, drum, steering knuckle, etc.  Anything that wasn't held in by rust.  After I was done all that was left was the 2 control arms, just like on the right side.

April 20, 2001

Took the propane torch and burned the hell out of the UCA bushings on the passenger side.  I was hoping that a lot of heat would break the bond of rust between the bolts and the bushing, but it didn't.

April 21, 2001

Burned the hell out of the left side UCA.  When I tried to remove the UCA nuts, they both broke.  No big deal, because it's looking like I'll have to cut them in some way to get the UCA off anyway, because the heat didn't do the trick.

Had a decent idea: if I can't get the torsion bars out because the K member is in the way, why not remove the K member?  I'll be removing it anyway, because I'll want the frame rails blasted where it attaches.  I had to run to Home Depot to buy a 17/16 wrench for the bolts.  Surprisingly, with heat and a lot of grunting, I was able to remove all 4 bolts holding the K to the frame.  I was having visions of those bolts be rusted tight or breaking, and I was very pleased neither was the case.

With a few taps of the hammer, I was able to knock the K forward, disengating the torsion bars from the LCAs.  Voila!  I had the K and the lower control arms lying on the gargage floor!  Removing the LCAs from the K was then quite simple.

April 22, 2001

I assumed that once the K member was out of the way, the torsion bars would come out easily.  I was wrong.  They are really rusted tight inside the receiving cross member.  I wailed on them for a while, to no avail.

I then wailed on the UCAs again with a torch/hammer.  No luck.

Looking for something to do, I began working on the broken bolts that hold the front bumper to the frame.  After lots of drilling with a carbide drill bit, I got one out.  What a bitch.

April 23, 2001

Got the torsion bars out!  I decided to stop playing nice guy with them; I had been using a block of wood between the T bars and the sledge hammer to avoid damage.  Well, I said to hell with it and just wacked on the front end of the bars with the 3 lb. sledge as hard as I could.  Coupled w/ some heat on the receivers, and they finally came out.  Not without quite a fight, though.

Looking for something to do, I removed a the remaining bady panel seam glue where the fenders meet the doors.  I also removed the clips that receive the bolts that hold the fenders to the inner fender wall.

The car is all but ready for the body shop, except for the UCAs...

April 24, 2001

Decided it was time for the Sawzall.  Rented one from Home Depot, and got some tungsten-carbide blades.  It was a pain in the ass, but after an hour or so of cutting, I had the left UCA off!  I was so happy, just to know it could be done without resorting to a cutting torch.

April 25, 2001

Hacked off the right UCA with the Sawzall.  It was a little more difficult, because a) the blades were getting dull and b) the castor of the right wheel had the forward bolt set very far back, making it difficult to cut the bolt without also destroying the reinforcing steel behind it.

One thing helped a lot - I used a tin snips to cut 2" off the 6" blades.  This gave me some new cutting material, and also made it more difficult to ram the end of the blade into the metal behind the bolt.

After a couple hours, I had it off.  Whew!

April 27, 2001

Other than making the dolly, the only thing left to do is remove a bolt I broke off in the frame (that connects the front bumper support to the frame).  I drilled most of it out, but I didn't finish the job before stopping for the night.

April 30, 2001

Drilled out the previously mentioned bolt that was broken off in the frame.  The car is now ready for blasting!  Just have to assemble the dolly.