Alfa Romeo Front Suspension Rebuild Part 5

Part 5? How many “parts” are there going to be? Given the progress made this week, it is my fervent hope that there will be ONE more part. We’re that close. The end is near, er, a road test is imminent.

The week started with assistance from my step-son who worked with me to bolt the right side spindle/control arm assembly into place. Once that was hung, install of the backing plate and steering link was quite straightforward.

It was time to pay attention to the hub/brake disc assemblies, both of which have sat, ignored, since I removed them. In quick succession, the old bearings and seals were removed, the races knocked out, new races hammered in, the hub surfaces painted, new bearings packed and dropped in, and the bearing seals installed.

I used Valvoline full-synthetic wheel bearing grease for the first time. The stuff is black, and if possible, even nastier than the dino-based grease. It is supposed to tolerate higher temps (for those times when I’ll be driving the Death Valley 1000 old-car rally).

As an additional step, I used a 3M fine polishing disc in my trusty Black & Decker electric drill to remove the fine layer of rust on the rotor surfaces. Doing this removed no metal, and left the surface ready for the new brake pads.

The 3M fine polishing disc was used to clean up the rotor surface.
The 3M fine polishing disc was used to clean up the rotor surface.

The hub/disc assemblies were reinstalled on the spindles, and a preliminary seating of the new bearings was done by spinning the hub and tightening the spindle nut, then backing off and repeating that process two or three times. I had forgotten that the LEFT side spindle nut has LEFT-HANDED threads. Once I relearned that, we were good. The brake calipers were then bolted back on. On the left side, the new hose was connected, and new pads and hardware put into the caliper.

There are some jobs for which you need that second set of hands. My brother-in-law Kevin happened to be visiting this past weekend, and I pressed him into service to help me install the coil spring on the right side. Just like the left side, a series of threaded rods were used to join the lower control arm and the spring seat. By alternately tightening the nuts under the spring seat, we were able to safely compress the spring to the point where the proper bolts could be installed.

What’s left? The devil is in the details: right side brake hose and pads, bleeding of both front brakes, right front shock, sway bar, and steering links. Bolt the tires on. Torque the suspension with the vehicle’s weight on the ground. That’s it. I think. Then we drive.

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

 

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