The front suspension
This turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. After removing the hubs I removed
all of the torsion arms so that they could be cleaned up, painted and most
important, the ball joints replaced. I'd already bought the new ones and
just needed someone to press to old ones out and press the new ones in, well,
if I'd known then what I know now, I'd have saved 50 quid and a lot of hassle.
The ball joints go into the arm in a very particular way, the notch in the
ball joint shoulder MUST line up with the lug on the flange of the arm. The
arms are identical pairs with the ball joints inserted into opposite sides
of the arm making up one left and one right. The guy I took the torsion arms
to must have gone at it like a bull in a china shop as when I got them back
there were two upper left arms and one of the lower arms had the ball joint
inserted 90 ° out. To cut a long story short I had to buy 2 more ball
joints and insert them myself, which I found was not too difficult though
you do need a big vice.
Before removing a duff ball joint, LOOK AT IT to see how it is fitted.
To get a duff ball joint out you need to grind off the raised ring on the top, then tap out the centre of the ball joint which is the actual ball and it's cup. This will leave a outer ring which is a press fit in the hole in the arm. All you need to do is cut GENTLY through this ring to relieve the tension, with a bit of patience you can eventually tap it out.
Below is a sketch showing the relationship between the notches in the ball joint and the lug on the torsion arm
To fit the new ball joint, again patience is vital. Place the ball joint
on the CORRECT side of the arm with the notches correctly aligned. Now comes
the hard part, pressing the ball joint into place. I made up two tubes (made
from scaffold pole) that sit on either side of the ball joint so that it
can be pressed in. It is a good idea to VERY carefully remove the balljoint
rubber boot and clean up the majority of the grease so that the boot doesn't
get damaged during the pressing process, the boot and grease can be replaced
This can be done in a vice but it needs to be a big un, mines a 6" Record which I would say is the smallest you could use. Ideally try and get the use of someones press.
When you are satisfied that it is completely pressed in you can dot punch around the top of the ball joint to lock it in place
When all is fitted and happy you can make sure that the ball joint is free
of dirt and stuff, repack it with grease and refit the boot.
Now paint it.
I will update this with the information regarding refitting the torsion arms when I do it.
Oh, right, yeah, ok, I've fitted them. Nice to do if you have two people but it can be done with just one, I did fit one side on my own. First off, make sure that there's no crud down in the torsion arm bearing area. If in doubt, clean it all out and whack some new grease in there.
Make sure you have removed all the bump-stops before you start this as they get in the way and it would be very difficult to fit the top ones with them still fitted. You could of course take this opportunity to buy new ones like!!
Fitting the bottom arms is dead easy so we'll do that in a minute, let's do the hard ones first. Fit a new torsion arm seal to the arm and slide it right down to the flange. Put some grease around the shiney bearing surface of the arm and slide it over the torsion leaves. This can be fiddly especially if the little welds on the ends of the leaves have broken. Don't worry if they have it was only there to make assembly easier. It takes a bit of fiddling around to get the arm located on the end of the torsion leaves and when you do you will notice that there is no way you can push it right on because that lump of metal that the bump-stops fit to is in the way.
You need to rotate the torsion arm up over this 'lump' and then push it on.....yeah, right!. What you need is a large 'dead-blow' hammer. Dead-blow hammers are very handy, they are heavy and the hollow head is half full of lead shot so when you hit something all this shot flies forward and stops the hammer bouncing also giving it extra umph. They also have rubber heads so you don't damage anything.
We found that the best way to get these on was for me to rotate the arm with all my might (they are not that bad really) while Diane whacked seven shades out of the end of the thing. Once it had gone on enough for it to be over the 'lump' we swapped round and Diane used a long lever to lift the arm while I whacked another seven shades out of it.
As it gets to be nearly in STOP. You will be needing to fit the locating bolt and lock-nut and these won't fit if you've whacked the arm right in. What I did was to keep feeling in the bolt-hole till the centre of the indent in the leaves was roughly in the centre of the bolt-hole. Once it was ok I put the lock-bolt in and tightened the lock-nut. The bottom arms are dead easy, you can push them on by hand.