Alfa Romeo Front Suspension Rebuild Part 4

Another productive week has gone by, and with most of the painting finished, some reassembly has begun. It certainly feels like huge progress has been made.

In our last installment (Part 3) just about all of our right side suspension components had been painted. I patiently waited the recommended 48 hours for the Chassis Black to dry, and then it was time to have some fun. First order of business was the installation of the new lower control arm bushings. “Bushings” is actually misleading, as I have attempted to describe before. These more closely resemble bearings, as there is a grease-filled spherical joint inside the casing. (The price reflected this too, as these were about $40 for the pair.) My Dremel tool was used with a sanding drum to clean up the inside of the control arm. A light coating of wheel bearing grease was applied to all surfaces, both to ease the installation and to also make it easy for the poor guy who will take these apart for the car’s restoration in 2067.

The bushings/bearings are not symmetrical; a foam ring fits on one side to help prevent the ingress of water and dirt, so I needed to pay attention when pressing these in. The hydraulic press did a beautiful job of driving them home into the control arms.

Next, the spindle was prepped for the upper and lower ball joints to be similarly pressed into place. I recalled from the left side work that one must press the lower ball joint in first, as the drift to do that needs to pass through the opening for the upper joint. The upper ball joint is actually integral with the upper control arm.

Using the bench-top press to drive home the upper control arm/ball joint into the spindle.
Using the bench-top press to drive the upper control arm/ball joint into the spindle.

Once these pieces were pressed into place, completion of the spindle/control arm subassembly was a simple matter of bolting the lower ball joint to the control arms, and control arms onto the dogbone. The bushings slide onto the dogbone, so no press-fitting was required. In the photo below, note the foam rings (in white) between the control arms and dogbone.

Spindle, upper and lower control arms, and caster arm all bolted together and ready to go back onto the car.
Spindle, upper and lower control arms, and caster arm all bolted together and ready to go back onto the car.

With this subassembly ready to be reinstalled, I needed to wash the inner wheel housing while everything was removed. Using Oil Eater and a cleaning brush, I did the best I could. At some point in the future, I’d like to do a more thorough job on the underside, probably when the car is outside and I can use a hose.

The final job for this week was the cleaning and painting of the right side coil spring. As on the left side, the factory paint marks were found and masked so that they would not be obliterated during the repaint. The spring was washed, dried, and given one coat of Chassis Black with a disposable foam brush. Earlier, I had built a spring holder from a 2×4, a couple of L-brackets, and a piece of plywood. It worked like a charm, keeping the spring upright while I dabbed on the paint. And to think it was less than two weeks ago that we took this spring out!

All photographs copyright © 2015 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.





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