Recondition of the Steering mechanism and ball joints.
Steering rack is critical and often accused of having play by modern mechanics. The fact is the powered steering operates on a valve and has to be tuned so far in order for it to work. hence some think it’s play. It’s not, otherwise the car would be snaking down the road with constant corrections. Removal of the Steering and suspension will cause issues with the Tracking, camber and toe of the wheels.
Do not attempt this unless you are confident that the parts will be safely refitted obviously.
The back of the suspension and steering are pretty much integrated obviously, so I will assume that the suspension and Steering have been separated and you are just left with the Steering. The first batch of photos have various angles of the main control valve arm with the tie rods in place and the idler arm.
I started by removing the tie rod ends, these castle nuts have a split pin in the top which needs to be removed. Mine mostly broke away with corrosion. The nuts were on tight with various layers of paint and under seal. I chipped away until I saw bare metal and then soaked with Gibbs Brand to infiltrate the fittings. with the parts held still in a soft jawed vice I had to knock the conical fitting out of the bottom using a copper faced hammer in order to not damage the thread. It took a few monumental attempts to get it out. With the tie rods out I was able to remove the pipe insulator.
The next part was to remove the valve pipe fittings that will go to the power steering pump and the ram itself. I found these loose and almost only finger tight. I took plenty of photo’s here to make sure I had the pipes in the right place when I refitted them. Remove the rubber pipes from the nickel formed pipes and make a note of their locations. With the pipes removed there is obviously the opening that need to be protected. I find that a well fitting screw with a fine thread and poster tack putty squashed over the top works well. I have also gotten into the habit of opening up empty spray cans for the ball bearing inside. (be careful here to cause yourself injury by puncturing the cans). The ball bearing fit well over the fittings on most things and can be sealed of with the poster tack putty again. This stops dirty, fluids and all sorts getting inside. The best part is you peel it out and throw it away. Cheap and simple.
Now it was a case of cleaning up the valve and the surrounding areas with degreaser to remove as much muck as possible.
This was removed from the valve bar in the same way. The castle nut had seized solid and Gibbs was used to soak in. With the nut loosened I could remove the arm and the other ball joint with the copper hammer. With the parts separated again the rust was a golden glow colour that almost looked molten hot. I then wire brushed the rust off and then degreased. A coat of paint stripper to get back to bare metal was required. Once completed at this stage I coated with Gibbs to stop the rust. I used a die set to clean the corroded thread up in order to get the nut back on.
First set of pics to remove idler arm and joint from the valve bar.
This set of pics shows the idler arm being separated. When separating this part be careful of the rubber washers at the end. I had to use a half inch breaker bar to crack the parts free.
I decided to clean up the ram and the main bar. I had to remove the old paint and the surface rust. A lot of the black paint that was on there came of with the flat side of a cheap screwdriver. With the worst of the grime and paint removed I started on the paint removal.
With the paint and gunge of it was a case of degrease and clean up the fittings that went to the valve area. Some of the hoses were a little old looking but I decided to clean them up anyway. I will take them to Adam to get his advice if they need to be replaced or not. The metal pipe work was rubbed with a 240g sandpaper to bring up the base metal and remove any surface rust. The pipes were then sprayed with Gibbs Brand and massaged into the metal to stop the rust reforming while I get ready to paint it later.
I started to clean up the joint to the idler arm and it came up pretty well. Again I will paint and detail this a little later on.
The completed cleaned up parts are all laid out together here, they look a little shiny as they have just been sprayed with Gibbs and it hasn’t dried yet. It took an age to clean this lot up and was rather messy to say the least!
With the parts cleaned up it was time to mask the rubber sections that were not going to be painted. I found that carrier bags on the larger parts inside the masking tape areas is a quick and easy way to protect the areas not to be painted. Only a small amount of tape is needed to hold it in place. I applied a blob of poster tack into the screw in sections to stop the paint getting in. Once it has been sprayed pull it out and throw it away.
The spraying of the red oxide primer was a little slow to dry due to the weather not being its best. But allowing coats to thoroughly dry before giving a second layer. I also sprayed the idler arm sections and the steel pipe from the valve as well at this point as they are quite small.
With the red oxide dried the next task was to mask up everything that was not going to be satin black painted. That was going to be the valve area and the main ram. To save the valve area complicated masking up I used a vinyl glove over the part and pulled it towards the accurate masking I had done earlier, to secure it in place was a simple wrap of tap around the wrist section. You only have to turn it inside out to re-use the glove with no wastage! The satin black paint dried a lot faster now as the sun was coming out and warmed the man up to an acceptable temperature.
The final part once the black had dried to was to reverse mask up ready for the silver spray. The smaller parts didn’t need to be masked again as they were going to be a single colour. Unfortunately the silver is taking hours and hours to try even though I used thin light sprays to build up the colour it is still a little tacky. I was hoping to add the pipe work to it today but the cool weather has put a stop to that. Rather than ruin the paint I decided to leave to dry for a couple of days.
To be continued…