Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Days 5 - 10: Battery Apron, Body Work/ Grinding, Shock Tower Covers, and Starting the Front Suspension

Sorry I haven't blogged in a couple days, we took a day off and then the hurricane came out of nowhere. A lot of my time as been spent preparing for and then subsequently cleaning up after the hurricane. My entire garage was covered with about 1/2" of water and it left a ton of mud and random crap everywhere.

One nice thing is a lot of my tools and parts have started to arrive!

But here's what we got done on the car in the past 5 days!

1. Removing the Battery Tray:

OK so to remove the battery tray appears straight forward but it's not, especially in my case. Basically there are 4 bolts with nuts below the tray itself that hold the plastic liner to the tray, 2 of these bolts also hold the tray to the body. One is really hard to get at because of the tray arm, and a socket won't fit, sorry.

Now as you can see in the picture my tray is bad, once I got under those bolts and started trying to loosen the nuts they just started spinning. There's practically nothing up top to grab hold of either. So I cut out the plastic tray liner with a blade and pulled it out with vice grips.

After that I was able to get the nuts off the bolts but the tray to my surprise had been welded in. The previous owner attempted to do a patch underneath the tray but the rust had gotten out of control since that patch. We decided to scrap that whole area and just cut out the tray and the apron behind the tray. We will weld in new metal and then get a new tray and bolt that on when the time comes.

2. Passenger Side Bumper Mounts:

With the battery tray out of the way the bolts/nuts for the bumper mounts were much easier to access (follow the instructions on the post before this one for the drivers side bumper mounts, same process)

3. Grinding, grinding and more grinding:

OK so once you have enough of the under body and front end exposed you gotta start to expose the bare metal to find out exactly what you need to patch and repair. All of our front end was covered with a tar type undercoating so basically here all you want to do is grab as many people as possible, some 40 grit sanding discs, a couple grinders, and get started:

4. Removing the Shock Tower Cover

Use a 1/2" socket with a 1/2" wrench, there's 8 bolts with nuts total, someone must hold the inside of the engine bay (bolts) and someone must remove the nuts from the outside.

Front Suspension:

OK so this was a bit of an interesting process, it involved a lot of hammering and working around problems. Almost all of it clearly hasn't been replaced in a long long time, so getting it off was rather difficult

5. Remove the Tires

6. Remove the Shock and Coil:

Remove the shock from the top of the strut tower first, then from the upper control arm:

7. Remove the Upper Ball Joint

Start by removing the cotter pin holding the bolt in place, then remove the big bolt nut underneath the ball joint, finally... hit it with a hammer a lot.

8. Remove the Tie Rod

There's a bolt and nut at either end (inside and out) of the tie rod with a cotter pin. Remove those and the grease boots.

9. Lower Ball Joint

Same as upper

10. Sway Bar

Unbolt from lower control arm

11. Directly underneath that there's another support bar, we're not sure what it's called, I'll update this later, but it's bolted in twice to the lower control arm, and once with a bushing to the body as seen here:

We removed it from the body as you can see and left it connected to the lower assembly which we removed all at once.

12. Cut the Brake Line

All of this is being replaced anyway, no need to be ginger:

13. Lower Control Arm from Body

There's a beefy bolt and a bushing, just needs a lot of pressure and it will pop off.

14. Upper Control Arm from Body

2 bolts inside the engine bay:

And that's it!

Continue grinding.... Grind all the time!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 4: Finishing the front end, back end and doors

Came home from work and this was at the door step:

Went through it all and cataloged it, there's a lot more coming, but it's nice to start organizing...

OK so last night we did a lot. Sweeney came over and lent us a hand, with 3 of us we trucked through it till about 2 AM. It was a good time, we got the front end done, the rear done and the passenger side door off. Sweeney took a look at the most problematic areas and feels he can do a lot of the patch work, so I guess we're getting a welder. He's also going to ask a buddy of his to do the glass work and his dad to help with the painting, so things are moving along nicely.

1. Removing the Front Turn Signal Light Housings:

Start by disconnecting the wiring harness, the turn signal lights are connected to the headlight light harness, simply pull the harness apart and push the turn signal light wires down through the access hole:

Once you do that you can disconnect the entire housing, there's 2 nuts on the backside of the housing (Note: you do not need to remove the lens cap to do this). One of the two nuts has the ground wire under it, loosen and remove the ground wire, then remove completely and pull the turn signal light out.

2. Removing the Lower and Upper front Valance

To remove the lower valance (which you should do first) there are 4 bolts in the front along the top, 2 bolts in the front along the bottom, and another 4 bolts (2 on either side/end) in the back of the valance.

As you release the one side, set it on a jack stand so it's not pulling the other side down as you work:

For the upper valance there's 2 bolts (one on either side/end) above the lower valance bolts in the rear. There's also 2 bolts in the front center that can only be accessed with the lower valance off first.

3. Grille Assembly with Headlight Retainers

So the grille assembly is connected directly to the headlight retainers. With the headlight retainers already disconnected from the day before, it's already almost ready to be removed. There's 2 plates that site behind the upper valance, they're not bolted in, but the upper valance must be removed to pull the grille assembly out. There's also 3 small bolts behind the upper valance that must be removed.

4. Hood Spring Assembly:

Basically straight forward, just 3 bolts. However as with most of the things the bolts were stuck and the nuts were spinning. Even this little straight forward task took some time because we had to hold the nut on the back in a very tight space with a crescent wrench:

5. Fenders!!

Finally! OK so here's what you have to remove:
- 6 Bolts up top in the engine bay

- 3 bolts to the upper and lower valance (already removed from earlier)
- 1 bolt INSIDE the car (through an access hole)

- 1 bolt BEHIND the door hinges (up top)

- 1 bolt underneath the car between the tire and door

Then just remove the fenders (be careful, the passenger side has the antenna which also needs to be disconnected).

6. Front Bumper Brackets

Again pretty straight forward, there's a center and an outer bracket on both sides. There's 2 bolts and 4 nuts that hold them in place. They spin, so someone needs to be inside the engine bay holding the back.

7. (Moving to the rear...) Tail Lights

- 4 screws on outside plate to remove lens and gaskets
- 2 gaskets
- cap and lens
- inside 4 nuts (10 mm)
- remove wiring harness and pull out

8. Rear Bumper Guards

Basically it's 2 bolts that can be accessed from underneath the car and inside the trunk.

9. Reverse Lights

Same set up as the front turn signal lights, remove from underneath the car behind rear valance

10. Rear 1/4 panel caps

3 bolts from inside trunk (Note ground wires connected to one of them)

11. Rear Valance and License Plate

Believe it or not it's all phillip's head screws all along the outside of the valance.

12. Rear Bumper

Directly Next to the bolts for the bumper guards there's 2 sets of 2 bolts for the bumpers themselves:

After that we finished by removing the Passenger Side Door and finished stripping the weather strip which means BODY IS BASICALLY DONE. woooooooooo

Onward and Upward to the engine, transmission, electrical, and suspension!