Shock Tower Renovation


Background:

The tops of the shock towers were pitted and scratched and look pretty bad, some parts didn’t even have any paint on them. They are solid enough metal wise, but not good to look at. The outer shock panels were a bit rusty on the inside and painted very badly on the outside, they just didn’t look good enough for what I wanted.

Parts:

I can reuse what I have and I will clean them up and re-spray them ready for the refitting. These parts are not load bearing more of a protector for the springs and shocks.

New bolts and retaining nuts.

Removal:

Shock Tower Tops:    Again I am assuming that you have removed the shocks ready to take the tower tops off. There are three bolts that hold the caps onto the top of the shock towers.

Shock Outer Panels:    These are held in by a number nut and bolts threaded either outside – in or from the inside – out. The outer plates have a rubber block at the bottom to stop the suspension travel. Undo all the nut and bolts and the covers will come away.

Clean Up:

Removing the paint is going to be the main part of this and as this will be a visible part of the engine bay. POR Strip was applied to the paint and within a few minutes it has bubbled up. Gentle scrape of the layers will remove the main coats. A second application and some wire wool made sure that bare metal was reached within a few minutes. I’m not sure what colour to paint these at the moment. Stay with the satin black or go with the silver look? Maybe stainless steel? They won’t need to go in yet so I will hang on for a little while longer before I decide on the finished look.

To clean the outer shock tower plates this was going to be a case of wire brush and stripper. The first coats were removed with stripper and then the wire wheel attached to a drill was used for the rest. The layers of paint were removed pretty quickly, removing the rust on the inside as best as I could took a little longer. There was a area at the bottom that had a small hole in it on one side, but it looked solid enough and could have been welded up before. The hole was filled and rubbed down to make a smooth surface.

The inner surfaces were sprayed with two coats of Eastwood Rust Encapsulator. Then the outer was sprayed with two generous coats of Red Oxide. The inner surfaces were also sprayed with Red Oxide for an additional layer. The final paint job will cover these with underseal.

Fitting:

The covers will only fit one way on each side of the car. This is a reverse of the above, but now you have a choice of look. The nuts can be either inside the engine bay or outside under the wheel arch. The advantage of the thread inside the engine bay is they will not get so corroded up but the nuts don’t look to nice (in my opnion). The bolt head on the inside of the engine bay and the nut under the wheel arch will be exposed to road grime and could corrode up. But, in all honesty how often are you going to take these off? At this point you can make a statement under the hood. Contrasting bolts can look amazing, chrome bolts for a little bling maybe. Put a bolt through the hole and loosely add the nut, in the opposite corner add another bolt to hold it roughly in place. Align the holes and tighten up. Take the rubber block and twist it into the slot at the bottom. The final part could be a squirted of Gibbs on the threads to stop them corroding up. That’s it.

Time Taken:

This was down to cleaning of the old paint and rust. Depending how bad it all is. It took me about three hours for each cover, clean and painting.

Result:

The cover plates look great and are ready for the final paint job of the undercoat on the chassis. I didn’t need to replace the covers as the small hole was patched. The shock tower tops – I went for the standard satin black to match the rest of the engine bay. The bolts were a contrasting silvery steel to the satin black.

Conclusion:

A lot of work for something you won’t see as they are under the wheel archs. If you are changing the bolts for a clean look then clean up these covers, just because you can.

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