Well, since my last update the dial indicator I ordered finally arrived along with some shims I needed. Now that they've arrived I can finally get to adjusting the brake rotor runout and hopefully get a lot closer to finishing my chassis.
I wasn't sure what I would need for shim sizes so I bought a variety ranging between 0.001" and 0.004" thick. If necessary these will be placed between the spindle flange and rotor to get runout within spec.
First off I installed one of the rear rotors and set-up the dial indicator. Back when I had the trailing arms rebuilt the spindle flanges were tapped so that countersunk bolts could be used in lieu of the original rivets used to fasten the rotors to the spindles. After all bolts were evenly torqued I checked the rotor runout by spinning the spindle/rotor assembly and noting the maximum reading on the dial gauge.
The initial check showed the rotor runout to be about 0.007", a bit more than the 0.005" specified in the chassis overhaul manual, but a lot more than the <0.002" I was looking to get. Guess I'll have to put those shims to use. Click the photo below for a video of the initial rotor runout check.
After several tries I was able to get the runout to about 0.002". Basically I took runout readings at each bolt location, removed the rotor and added or removed shims as necessary. It did take a few attempts though since when I added a shim in one location, it affected readings in adjacent locations too. Between shimming, installing and removing the rotor about a half dozen times it took me about two hours to do each rotor. But then again I'm a rookie...
Well, here they are, both trailing arms ready for installation on the car.
As part of the trailing arm installation I installed some new trailing arm shims. The shims are used to adjust the rear wheel toe in/out. I splurged a bit and ordered the stainless steel shim kit, no rust worries here!
The alignment shop will need to fine-tune the shim size and quantity but for now I matched what was there when I originally disassembled the chassis. Thankfully I had plenty of pictures showing what was there before I tore it all apart. The zip ties in the photo are just to hold things in place temporarily. The local hardware store didn't have a cotter pin long enough, I'll have to look for one elsewhere.
Once the trailing arms were installed I was able to do quite a bit more assembly of the rear suspension and driveline. It really started coming together pretty quick at this point!
Time to move onto the rear brakes. Here I've installed the parking brake cable in the tab of the parking brake lever. Initially the fit was a little loose and it seemed like the cable was going to slip out so I ended up using a hammer with a punch to bend the tab over a bit. That seemed to work quite well. Oh, and be sure to install the parking brake cable before installing the calipers. I learned this the hard way...
With that out of the way it was time to put on the calipers (again). Here they are with the brake pads loaded ready to go on the car. To paint them I used a paint kit from Dupli-color. It worked alright but not great. If I were to do it again I'd probably use a different paint or have them powder coated. Using the Dupli-color paint it took about 4 coats to get a nice even appearance of color. Also, I noticed the paint seems to chip more easily than I would expect. I have a feeling I'll be painting the calipers over again in a few years...
The caliper install went pretty smoothly, nothing too complex. I installed new stainless steel flex hoses as well.
Installation of the rear shocks followed the calipers.
I also mounted the rear anti-sway bar to the frame but found that without first compressing the suspension installing the bar links was going to be pretty tough. I decided that rather than forcing it together it would be best to wait and install the sway bar links once there was a little weight on the rear suspension.
Here you can see a bit more of the front and back parking brake cables I installed earlier. To keep things in place I zip-tied the front cable to itself for now. Once I get the body back on the frame (a long way down the road) I'll be able to make the front cable's final attachment to the parking brake lever located on the center console of the car interior.
Hmmmm... You know I think this half of the chassis is pretty much done. Sweet! I think it came out looking pretty darn good!
Well, no rest for the weary! Time to move onto finishing the front end. First off, install the front hub and rotors and check the rotor runout similarly to the rear rotors.
Rather than ordering new front wheel bearings I ended up reusing the original ones. Sure, in an ideal world I would have installed new ones but the originals were within spec so I decided this was a good place to save some money. Plus the front wheel bearings are pretty easily replaced so it won't be the end of the world if I need to replace them in a year or two.
After cleaning out all the old grease I repacked the front bearings with Mobil1 synthetic grease and installed the washer and castle nut. At that point I checked the rotor runout using my dial indicator (with the indicator clamped to the caliper bracket). I was really relieved to find the runout was only about 0.002" on both front rotors. Phew, I really didn't want to have to drill out those rivets, tap the spindles and go through the shimming process two more times!
With the rotor runout checked I went ahead and installed the front calipers and flex hoses.
Here it is, the completed front end! It's definitely a big improvement over what
I started with!
So this is it, the chassis about 99% complete. I figure I still have a few hours of odds and ends to do (paint touch up, greasing joints, put some wheels on, etc.) but it won't be long until I have a completed rolling chassis!
As a recap I thought it would be interesting to show some before and after photos of the chassis. Until I looked at the original photos I forgot how ugly the chassis was when this project got started.
So, here is a before photo of the front frame cross member (below the engine) looking toward the rear of the car.
Before: Looking at the idler arm & passenger side front wheel from about where the passenger foot compartment would be.
After: (Holy crap what an improvement!)
Before: Looking at the rear passenger side trailing arm & rear wheel assembly.
Before: Looking at the rear passenger side wheel from behind the car.
Well, it's almost there! Getting the chassis this close to completion sure gives you a real sense of accomplishment. Even though I'm probably only about 1/3 of the way through this project I consider this a major milestone! A few more hours of tinkering on the chassis and I'll be moving onto my engine build-up. Check back soon!