6/1/2008: Leaf Springs

As I mentioned in the previous post, I needed to have the bushings pressed out of the leaf spring brackets to mount the rotisserie there, so I decided to go ahead and have the bushings pressed out of the leaf springs as well.

I opened the phone book and found a local shop that specializes in springs, Super Spring & Brake Co., Inc. They pushed out all the bushings in a few minutes for me. It pays to find the experts. These sorts of specialty shops can be hard to find.. they’re rarely on the internet, and often only have cryptic phone book listings, relying a lot on word of mouth. But they’re worth looking for!

The old rear bushings came out clean enough to read the original part number:

U 497a / RIV - Made In Italy

The front ones are harder to make out, but I think I could probably do it.

I asked for the shop’s opinion of the springs. They said that since there was no real rust putting where the leaves overlap or on the sides, that it wasn’t necessary to disassemble them for complete inspection at this time. So i’ll just clean and paint them, and if the car rides too low, we’ll deal with it then.

Also once the car was on its side, I was able to get the rear shocks and swaybar loose. The swaybar was particularly tricky, since it uses steel bolts through aluminum brackets, into blind captured nuts buried in a box section of the car. If you snap those off, it’s a real pain in the neck to repair them.

Two of the four bolts came out easy.. the other two were extremely corroded in place. With a lot of coaxing, heat, and penetrating oil, I got one of them out. The other one snapped off (at the bolt end, not where it goes into the body.

Fortunately, once the other 3 bolts were out, I was able to turn the whole bracket around 360 degrees and unthread it from the body. Then I took the bracket to a vise and drove out the jammed bolt remains. Victory! These bolts will all be replaced anyway- the main thing was to not damage the hidden captured nuts they thread into.