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Front end rebuild is done

2601 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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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think they were just being lazy and knew darn well that (atleast on the B-vans) it is not going to be an easy in-out thank you for your $79.99 since just looking at the tires the camber is off and I suspect the caster is as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I can believe it. Caster settings on most vehicles are non adjustable, even camber now is becoming the same way. One thing I did notice when looking through the fsm for the Van is that the differences in the alighment settings are dictated by whether or not it has power steering and with PS having become a pretty much universally standard feature on most everything built in the last 20-25 years now theres no need for adjusting since everything is the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
From the factory caster and camber are usually not adjustable any more.
Camber can be adjusted with either aftermarket struts or crash repair strut bolts that provide adjustment.
Caster could be adjusted as well, simply by moving the suspension cradle or elongating the holes so it can move, but that's not something you'll convince a shop to do most likely.

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.
They are but you also gotta remember different suspension types can/cannot always be adjusted. With a strut type suspension theres not much adjustment unless you install aftermarket camber/caster plates. With a traditional upper/lower A-arm by design you can have a very wide range of adjustment if so required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Five hundred dollars isnt bad. Honestly for a real 'mechanic/garage' to do it that seems really on the low end. I work side jobs like this out of my driveway so theres no real overhead to pay for, I did the front end on a D150 last month (basically the same overhaul as the van) and originally quoted $450 but then getting into things I had to replace a caliper, brake hose, bleed the front brakes and ended up doing the rotors/pads/repacking bearings and added another $50 to cover the extra 2 hours that took.
 
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