After work I got back on putting the suspension back together. First step is to hang the sway bar. The replacement bushings I got are not an exact match. The new ones have these ridges on them that will not fit in the brackets so I trimmed them off with a sharp knife.
So now I have a size mismatch problem. I will have to get creative to push the rubber over the bar.
This is what I came up with. I lubed the bushing up with silicone and used the clamp to push it on. It worked like a charm.
I did the same thing on the other side and wiggled the bushings into place.
Hanging the sway bar is a three-hand job so I used a couple of C-clamps to make a sway bar holder. Once a couple of nuts were started the rest went easier.
All the nuts are in but not tight. I will do that later once the sway bar links are attached.
The theme of the day seems to be putting things into holes too small for them. Now I have to figure out how to put the bushing into the spring eye. Plan A was to use the chisel technique I used to get the old bushings out. That almost worked but when I flexed the eye the eye was oval rather than round and I could not get the bushing to start in there. So I started working on a plan B.
This is plan B. After greasing the bushing and the eye I found an old bearing race the same diameter as the bushing and used my vice to press the bushing in. It worked very well. Interestingly there is a right side and a wrong side to start the bushing in from. I could only get the bushing to start from one side of the spring.
Just like a new one!
So this is one axle’s worth of new hardware. The only snag here is that the new u-bolts are a LOT longer than the old ones.
I started hanging the spring from the rear frame mount. Shiny!
Then the new spring shackle at the front. I lubed the bushings up with silicone grease and bolted them in.
With the spring secure I used the jack to set the axle back down on the spring. Now I need to install the spring plate and clamps. But as I noted before the u-bolts are way too long.
So I did this. Frankly I am not sure the die grinder with a cutoff wheel was any faster than using a hacksaw but it certainly was more dramatic. Notice I threaded on nuts before cutting off the bolts. After the cuts were complete I dressed the cut ends with a file then backed the nuts off to clean out the threads.
Freshly cut u-bolts ready to go. I really wanted to keep going here but it was getting really late and I was really hungry. So this will have to continue tomorrow.
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