Front Suspension Problems and Solutions; Get Rid of the Shimmy! - Page 2
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Thread: Front Suspension Problems and Solutions; Get Rid of the Shimmy!

  1. #21
    Dan
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    control arm is out of the car, having trouble getting the bushings out of it.

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  3. #22
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    If you're replacing with Polyurethane, then just HEAT out the rubber center and leave the metal "sleeve" in the control arm, becaused it is reused. If you are replacing with a factory style rubber bushing, then you can press out the old bushing. If you don't have access to a press then you can heat it out and then cut and/or hammer out the metal sleeve. Getting the new one in may require a press of some sorts tho, or maybe lots of grease and effort.

    HTH
    Paul
    Last edited by kwilford; 02-11-2003 at 09:23 PM.

  4. #23
    Dan
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    Since the rubber was vulcanized to the metal on both sides I ended up burning it out. Pressing ended up slightly out-of-rounding the outer bushings so I straightened the one I damaged and pressed it back in (heated to slide in).

    It was much more efficient to use pure oxygen to burn the rubber once it was on fire, created much less smoke (nearly none) and removed the rubber very quickly. I'm always leary of heating suspension parts much so I wanted them out with the least amount of heat energy introduced.

    One side of the suspension is sandblasted and painted. Other half is to come, but the upper control arm bolt is seized to the inner bushing on the far side so I can't slide it out. I've dropped the entire front x-member and will be working on it in the evenings as I can. I"ll probably end up heating and pressing it out. I don't know what the availability and cost would be on that bolt if I were to damage it.

    Dan

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  6. #24
    Detritus Maximus opelbits's Avatar
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    The best method for removal of the rubber part of the bushing while leaving the metal sleeve in place is to put a bolt thru the center sleeve and put a nut on it. Then use a wrench to torque (rotate) the inner sleeve while squirting 'Carb + Choke' cleaner on the outer sleeve/rubber. The 'Carb+ Choke breaks the adhesion and is very fast. Takes about a minute and there is no smoke/heat, or mess.
    "No, it's not fiberglass."
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  7. #25
    Dan
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    Thats a good idea, I'm already done with mine, but when I get to my Nova suspension I'll try it. Although it wouldn't work with the lower control arms since the knuckle is in there and can't be removed... no way to get a bolt through.

    I actually did the bolt and washer bit through the rear parts and the front upper control arms, but heated them. I also cut off the outer rubber that cushins the area between the mount and the rods with a putty knife and some heat to make is easier to pull out.

  8. #26
    OpelGT.com Übermoderator kwilford's Avatar
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    Front Spring Removal

    I want to remove my front suspension to replace the bushings, and to generally clean it up. Unfortunately, I have the engine out, and when I tried to compress the transverse leaf by jacking the car up, there isn't enough weight. Unless I bolt the engine back in temporarily, I guess I will need to build a leaf spring compressor.

    Any suggestions as to how to make one? I have Stanley's picture to go from (attached). Does anyone have a "design" for one? How robust does the beam need to be? Will a wooden 4 by 4 do? How big is the all-thread that is attached to the the "puller"? What IS the "puller" thing that clamps to the spring? Any suggestions as what else can be used? Could I just weld a 3/4 inch nut to the clamp-thing that the factory puller grabs?

    Thanks for your help.
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    Last edited by kwilford; 11-11-2002 at 02:29 AM.
    Keith Wilford
    Finishing up a bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT

  9. #27
    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    Keith,

    In more detail, I took a two arm puller used to pull steering wheels, etc....took it apart, the two arms have little hooks that slide right under the bracket under the spring. I then bolted the two arms together with the brackets that came with the puller and tightened them down really tight. For safety, I took a pair of vice grips and fastened around the two puller arms and locked in place. With the treaded rod, I went to Ace hardware and purchased a hook that screwed onto the rod, ran the rod thru the steel pipe and hooked it into the puller and started cranking it down, there is alot of tension on the spring, I would think that a piece of 4X4 wood might break due to the fact the rod hole has weakened the wood strength.

    This may not be the safest way to compress the spring but it worked for me.

    Stanley_P

    B.T.W. The car is running great.....rides great.....
    I'm trying another project right now.....Home Building........
    That's right...a smaller home....bigger garage.....Wish me luck..........
    Last edited by kwilford; 11-17-2002 at 11:20 PM.

  10. #28
    OpelGT.com Übermoderator kwilford's Avatar
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    Front Spring Removal: The Next Step...

    Well, I also worried about the wooden 4X4. So I bought a 4 foot piece of 2X2 heavy-wall steel tubing (like for a trailer hitch), which looked about the same size as the proper compressor in the manual. I also bought a two-arm "pitman arm" puller which had the puller-type arms, but was shorter and closer to the required shape, and were of "drop forged" constuction. The final item was a 3 foot piece of 5/8 inch all-thread.

    I ground the puller arm tips a bit so that they would slip into the the metal bracket around the centre of the leaf & tightened the cross-clamping bolts that were included to keep it in the bracket. I removed the center puller-bolt (which was 3/4") and inserted the 5/8" all-thread through it, into a pair of nuts below the puller, and through the 2X2. I cut off a couple of pieces off each end of the square tubing and welded them to the ends where it contacts the spring ends to add a bit of clearance, and voila: a spring compressor!

    So here goes "twenty questions". Now that I have it, what do I do next? The manual says to compress the leaf until there is 3 1/8 inch between the compressor tool and the leaf, but MY compressor tool is certainly not the same dimension as the factory tool. So how much do I need to compress the leaf to disassemble the suspension? I have compressed it so that it has about the same load as it has in the car, but is that enough? "Oldopelguy" mentioned compressing the leaf until the lower arms were "off their perches". What are the "perches"?

    Is there a specific order I should follow for disassembly? I guess I should remove the spring and lower control arms first, then the upper arms. I have loosened the spring-eye bolts successfully, but what other bolts should I expect to have trouble with? Are the bolts you had trouble with the two vertical bolts that bolt the cast piece that locates the lower A-arm pivot to the cross member? The lower control arm bolts look like they thread into that casting. Should I expect touble with those bolts? Any other things I should disassemble?

    I want to replace the spring eye bushings and control arm bushings. There also appears to be some kind of rubber separator between the end of the leaves that has perished. There is also a piece of molded rubber under the leaf near the pivot point of each A-arm. I don't see these rubber pieces in the OGTS catalogue. Should I worry about replacing them?

    How difficult is it to replace the lower control arm bushings? I had done the upper arm bushings some time ago. But the lower bushings look they have an outer metal sleeve, and the sleeve almost seems like it has pulled through the holes on the A-arm. Or has the arm bent inwards a bit? There was a thread a while ago about burning the bushing out. Are these the bushings?

    That's at LEAST twenty questions! Thanks for all of your help.
    Last edited by kwilford; 11-17-2002 at 11:22 PM.
    Keith Wilford
    Finishing up a bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT

  11. #29
    Member Stanley_P's Avatar
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    Keith,

    The perches are where the 2 bolts that hold the lower control arm to the spring. When you crank down on the rod, you'll know when to take off the lower control arms. As for the bushings, I took a small torch, heated the metal around the rubber bushing and "POP" they came right out. OGTS has the bushings for the end of the springs but I dont know about the rubber between the springs at the end......

    Stanley P

  12. #30
    OpelGT.com Übermoderator kwilford's Avatar
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    Lower Control Arm Bushings

    I need advice. I have my front suspension on my '71 GT dropped, and mostly disassembled. But I am not sure what to do with the lower control arm bushings.

    Two problems/questions:

    1) I have burned the rubber out from both sides on one arm (good tip, by the way). What I have left are the inner sleeves, rusted stuck to the mounting block threaded posts, on both ends. These sleeves are "cone" shaped a bit, with the inner end a bit flared as it slips over the mounting block post (which is still "in place" with respect to the arm, since the sleeves make it too wide to slip out). I happen to have a couple of NOS lower arm bushings, and the inner sleeve, rubber bushing and outer sleeve came as a single unit originally. Should I attempt to cut the inner sleeves off, and risk damage to the mounting blocks? Or should I just leave it in place, presuming that it will be required for the new polyurethane bushings I have coming from OGTS (#3026)? I have ordered a set of metal inner sleeves (#3059) so I (presumably) don't need to save the old sleeves.

    2) On one side, the outer sleeve was actually a bit "loose" in the control arm hole (which is one reason I am doing all this). Do the new Poly bushings need the outer sleeve to be in place? Or do they slip into the hole right in the control arm? If they do need the outer sleeve, was it originally pressed in? The hole is now a bit worn (the outer sleeve was rotating in the hole), so should I weld it up a bit to make it tight? Should I also then braze the outer sleeve back in place? If the new bushings don't need the outer sleeves, do I just press them out?

    Thanks for your help.
    Keith Wilford
    Finishing up a bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT

  13. #31
    Opeler lf62dsp's Avatar
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    I did mine way back in 87 and I did have to use the outer and inner sleeves. I got mine from C&R but I'm sure there basically the same. My control arms were slightly bent so I bought some used straight ones from a bone yard in Arizona. The rubber smell from getting the old bushings is nasty but it's the best way. You'll need to get the whole for the bushing tighter by welding or replacing the arm.


    good luck
    Lee Frisvold
    73 GT 2.4 long time autocrosser

  14. #32
    OpelGT.com Übermoderator kwilford's Avatar
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    Lower and Upper Control Arm Bushings

    Dan,

    It seems we are doing the same project at the same time, so I merged our two threads together (ah, the power of being a Moderator!)

    So far, I have burned out my LCA bushing rubber centers, using the torch and pure oxygen trick. Worked great, smelled pretty awful, made a BIG mess when a piece of the now-softened rubber stuck to my shoe and smeared all over our kitchen floor. Good thing it's a tile floor. And my wife has an even temper.

    The inner sleeves were seized in place on the carrier studs, and the common consensus is to just leave them there, and just insert the new polyurethane bushings in the space left by the old rubber piece. But one inner sleeve got a bit wrecked from the torch, so I guess I am about to find out how much work it is to chisel it off. It will be a bit tricky, since the centre carrier is still captive in the middle of the A-arm, since the inner sleeves make it too wide to slip out. But I have new sleeves coming from OGTS, and I also have a couple of NOS Opel LCA bushings, so if need be I can burn the rubber out on that and use the inner sleeve.

    I might also need to use the outer sleeve, since one of mine had come loose from the LCA and is worn down a bit. When you pressed yours back in, how did you figure out how far to press it in? I guess I can just put it at the same depth as the corresponding outer sleeve on the other LCA, and then braze it in place.

    As for the Upper Control Arm, I also had one side seized. The long pivot bolt would rotate a bit in the upright sleeve, but was seized in the inner sleeves on the UCA. I just took my reciprocating saw with a hack saw blade, and cut through the bolt just at the edge of the upright sleeve on both sides. It wrecked the bolt, but I had a spare. You can order a new one from OGTS for $15. Then I just drifted out the bolt pieces from the upright and the rubber bushings and inner sleeves from the LCA ends.

    I have a bushing kit and inner sleeve kit coming from OGTS, so I will report back when I get the components sand blasted and painted and I start to reassemble it all. I will try to borrow a digital camera to document it as well.
    Keith Wilford
    Finishing up a bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT

  15. #33
    Dan
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    The lower control arm outer sleeve was extermely tight so I pressed it until it would not go any further and matched the others.

    The long pivot bolt I used a small center punch and punded it out. It was actually in good shape so I cleaned the threads, greased it up to prevent locking again and reused it. I went with all new bolts, washers and nuts (esp lock nuts) other than these and a couple of other odd ones.

  16. #34
    Opeler
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    front end shimmy

    My 70 GT drives fine until I hit 55 - 65 mph.
    The front end (and steering wheel) shakes like
    it's having a seizure. If I drop below this
    threshold or if I drive 70+, everything seems fine. This happens on accelerating to and coasting down from higher speeds. At lower speeds
    it drives fine and does not pull either way.

    I first thought it was related to the rims which
    are aluminum with oval holes and not having them
    centered correctly and/or not having properly
    balanced tires. I swapped some other steel rims
    which were balanced with different tires and
    still had the problem.

    I don't mind keeping up around 70...

    Is this a ball joint issue?

    thanks

    bill

  17. #35
    Project 1450 supporter... Site Supporter RallyBob's Avatar
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    Usually a-arm bushings and/or alignment, but any looseness in other components (wheel bearings, ball joints, tire rods) only exaggerates this, as would badly balanced wheels. It's common on the GT.

    Bob

  18. #36
    OpelGT.com Übermoderator kwilford's Avatar
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    Front End Shimmy

    I have recently learned that the early model Kadett and GT front suspension is especially prone to front end shimmy at highway speeds. How do I know this, you ask? I am rebuilding my '71 GT front suspension, and when I ordered new front A-arm bushings, OGTS asked if I had the newer, heavier-wall lower bushing inner sleeves, or the older thin-wall sleeves.

    In 1972, Opel finally recognized the design flaw, and their solution was to make the inner sleeve wall thicker (the old inner sleeve is 0.710 inch in outer diameter, the newer style is 0.745 inch; the difference is entirely in the wall thickness of the sleeve, which makes it stiffer). So if you are replacing the old lower rubber bushings with polyurethane bushings, you need to know which inner sleeve your car has. And it sounds like that may be what you need. And do the upper bushings as well, since they are often worn out. But they just need new polyurethane bushings. Unless the upper pivot-bolt is seized to the cross member and/or bushing inner sleeves, which often happens. Parts are readily available from OGTS, so money and sweat can fix it. And if the ball joints and tie rod ends are OK, they also have replacement dust covers if your old ones are perished.

    In my humble opinion, take the time and money to get the polyurethane bushings and later model, updated sleeve kit from OGTS. You will have to burn out the old rubber bushings, and remove the old inner sleeves, in order to install the newer sleeves. I found that the old inner sleeves had to be chiseled off, which was easier than it sounds.

    Since this thread has much in common with two earlier threads on the topic, I will merge them into one and make a link from the FAQ section.

    HTH.
    Last edited by kwilford; 04-13-2011 at 12:09 AM. Reason: sp
    Keith Wilford
    Finishing up a bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT

  19. #37
    Opeler
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    Lower bushing

    Installed new lower control arm bushings on my 1971 opel gt . Finally test drove but the front bushing fell out. Is there something i am missing to hold the in?

    Jeffrey
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    Last edited by kwilford; 03-24-2018 at 02:53 PM.

  20. #38
    Can Opeler Knorm65's Avatar
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    Yes, there has to be this bolt with the large washer there. I would double check that all the other bolts are at the proper torque since this one is missing.
    IMG_3850.jpg
    "Mira," 1970 Opel GT Working ARA AC, European 2.0L and Midikit
    "Kara," 1972 Opel GT Targa, Welded Doors, Rhinolined, 40 DCOE SSD

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