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Front end rebuild is done

2600 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  TWX
And my hands are still hurting! Gained a new respect for the old school front suspensions, so simple and durable but holy cow that was far more involved than I set out thinking it was. FWD/strut suspension has really spoiled me. my homemade spring compressor/controlling device worked well so no spectacular explosions from springs shooting out. The miller special tool ball-joint breaker or a similar type of spreader tool is absolutely necessary to break the tapered stud lock from the spindle if you dont want to damage something. Upper BJ socket as well for removal but trying to 'thread' the new BJ into the arm ? yeah right, mine were pressed in because there was no way on this earth they were going to 'thread in' unless you had a 10ft cheater pipe and 1" drive breaker bar to turn the socket.

The victory lap around the cul-de-sac with my measuring tape & plumb bob alighment was like driving a completely different van. Errily quiet and soo much more solid and planted. Taking it for the real alighment sometime next week to a local guy who has quite the reputation for really knowing how to do amazing things with this old stuff. Mr.tire just up the street said they could not put a proper alighment on this van, their machine was not capable of doing it...
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I'm wondering if the alignment tech can't do it, more than the machine. The machine just measures the wheels, it's up to the tech to know how to make the adjustments.

This basic setup was identical through '97, and only somewhat varied '98-'03. I'm disappointed that they can't do anything with it.
 

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Possibly. When I had my Stratus aligned last, they said that one of the adjustments is actually fixed-in-place on my car. I find that a little hard to believe, but it's not impossible I suppose. Either way, if there was a truly fixed one, then that would making passably aligning the car easier.
 

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Manufacturing tolerances are much tighter than they used to be so the factory builds them to spec on caster and camber and no adjustment is needed.
Heh. Tell that to my front tires, which are more worn on the inside than on the outside, enough that I'm considering having the two front tires dismounted and swapped side to side, so that they continue to roll the same direction but now wear on the opposite edge...

The Stratus has only around 110K on the odometer, this does make me kind of sad.
 

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It's expensive, but it's worth it. On the B-bodies the upper ball joints are threaded in and the lowers are press-in, so one needs at least a press to remove and install the lowers, and for the uppers, air, a high quality pneumatic impact gun, and of course the socket.

Dad helped me with the Cordoba. It was a chore, but I saved about $600. It cost us about $200 in parts to do all of the front end work, as opposed to $800 that the shop wanted.

I'd be tempted to use the shop these days...
 
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