Restoration Wednesday, Suspension – The Shoulders of Your Car

posted in: Restoration Wednesday | 2
I didn’t confirm but these looked liked NOS on the shelf for 30 years.

 

When you’ve been going through physical therapy for almost two months for shoulder problems, tendinitis type stuff not rotator cuff, you begin to appreciate the value of shoulders that work. Just like a suspension, they prop everything up for you. And for as long as I’ve been waiting to fix my shoulders, it’s been about as long as I’ve waited to put back together the Bavaria front suspension. My gosh, golly, flim-flam have I been waiting.

Round One, try to unscrew the shock retaining nut. It was rusted and crusted. The original “nut” was a fairly flimsy piece of flat metal tack welded to 50mm threads. When you clamped onto it with a pipe wrench, the wrench teeth dug into the metal. Sorry no picture of that. After soaking and torching, the flat metal hex finally snapped off the threads. I was left with threads still stuck inside, see pic. Next move, cut the shock to try to gain access to the threads. Finally, a saws-all into the shock gave us access to the threads and allowed us to cut, chip and bang the threads free.

Round Two, get the right shock and retaining nuts. I had bought new KYB shocks in December of 2019. But they were on the shelf along with this BMW project until August when we finally got the old shock removed. I went to put them in and they were about an inch too tall. The guys at “jdmwerks13” on eBay were super knowledgeable and gracious about helping with an exchange for the shorter size, since different years used different length shocks. After another week or two delay to swap the 48mm retaining nuts I bought in 2019 for the proper 50mm, I tried building up the tower. Crap! The shaft on this shock was too narrow.

So I went to Mesa Performances for KONI shocks. The KONIs came with the 50 mm retaining nut (you mean I could have avoided this nut frustration!) but not the hold down nut for the final shock tower mount. Sooooo I had to order that from McMaster Carr since the only other option was waiting on two nuts to ship from South Africa or ordering them from Germany. Typically when I can’t find a nut, screw or washer, I look up the original size and thread pitch on a parts diagram then order from McMaster who ships same day. Job done.

Round Three, test your memory and your shoulders. To make a long story short, I spent Wednesday putting everything back together – three times. I had to back out assembly because I forgot certain pieces which needed to go together in a certain order. After all the squeezing, lifting, straining and contorting I went backwards about 20% on my shoulder healing despite icing them when I was done. When I finally get the passenger side together and drop this car off of jack stands, I’ll be wildly excited not to have to shoulder the responsibility of this part of the project anymore. Try the veal.

 

Springs and spring plates were powder coated while the tower assemblies were cleaned, degreased and painted with several coats of tractor Rust-oleum paint.
Old cracked rubber boots were replaced with aftermarket boots and a crap load of grease. Thankfully, the tie rod ends are in good shape.
All the hardware that was removed was cad plated.

New shock tower mounts were sourced at a couple hundred dollars a piece. This entire strut assembly pivots on bearings in these mounts where typically, you have an upper and lower ball joint to handle the steering.

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