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Über Genius
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10,021 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There's too many sizes of bolts. Some are bolt through, others bolt into.
There's shims you have to keep track of.
The stupid spring pressure you need to deal with (I have a tool).
Rusty shocks.
And I haven't even gotten this one apart yet. Spent too much time going to get a new tool.

And then how do I clean everything? I will probably have it media blasted.
I HATE the thought of getting the rubber bushings out.

At least the weather is nice.
 

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Registered
1970 Opel Gt - Purchased July 1972 - Chartreuse - restored - 3000 miles as of 02-16, 2021 -
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1,101 Posts
I know exactly what you mean. I have started the project twice, got the spring ends loose but cannot get the bolts holding the spring to the body off the car. The nuts will come off no problem but, If I remember correctly, two of the bolts are seized and yes the thought of removing and reinstalling the bushings is scary based of a lot of things I have read. I don't have a press and frankly a little scared of taking it to someone that may just ruin the control arms. I have also have not moved on it because the car drives really well, no shimmy and does not pull to one side. The only bushings that looks degraded are the lower passenger side. But someday......
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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17,002 Posts
I hear ya. Mine had repair or some kind of work done to it and some oem bolts were missing and replaced with different thread/lower grade bolts. The orientation of the domed washers was a challenge. Some of the fat spacer washers were missing and replaced with stacks of thin washers. Upper left and lower right a-arms were bent due to accident. I decided to install gussets, but OGTS was out, so bought some from a guy in Germany. THREE months and they still haven't arrived because Charlie packed modern Opel steering wheels in the box and the explosive air bags in them wouldn't pass Customs. Got them from Keith Lundholm. And I'm still fluffin' waiting on spring saddles from OGTS. They were supposed to come in a week ago. 3-4 months and the suspension still isn't fully assembled and it's taking up my whole 5' square work table and my car is stuck on my lift sitting on wood blocks, so I couldn't put my other GT up there to deal with a bad coolant leak, had to do it in the hot asphault driveway. I did the exponentially harder replacement of the rubber bushings with new rubber bushing cartridges, instead of poly's.

So, don't feel bad! :)

I pushed the easy button and had a blaster dude get all the funk, rust, and paint off and powdercoat it. I supplemented that with epoxy spray paint and clear coat. I soaked bolts and other small rusty parts in vinegar for a few days and painted them. All new brakes and ball and tie rod joints. I pre-cleaned the crossmember in a large storage tub using Purple Power. I decided that the low mileage steering rack was in good condition, so cleaned as good as I could without disassembly and fed it new grease and booties.

All done for at least 3 months now and twiddling my thumbs waiting for those stupid spring saddles to come in. Uurrgghh. :mad:
 

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Opel Key Master
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5,529 Posts
we generally have 1 out of 4 suspensions that are good, meaning the crossmember isn't all rusted out, but we came across several that had to be scrapped. I used to blast all my suspension, but it only does so good. I put all my suspension, hardware, and bolts into a large pallet cage/basket...send it up to Cincinnati, and have all of it chemically dipped and stripped of paint and rust. The powdercoat guys appreciate it as well, since they have to do the minimal prep and shoot. I send all my other hardware that doesn't go black to a local plater, and we are good friends. So I just trade out an occasional firearm for plated parts. I usually send 6 50cal ammo cans full of bolts.
 

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Detritus Maximus
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3,695 Posts
On the rubber bushings, the best thing I have found is that if you put a bolt thru a bushing and tighten it real tight so you can a wrench on it and put some twist on the bushing, squirt carb and choke cleaner where the rubber is adhered to the outer sleeve. It tends to cause the rubber to release from the outer steel sleeve. Then all you have is the outer sleeve to remove. Way better than a torch to burn out the rubber....yuck!
 

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Premium Member
1970 Pearl White GT
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169 Posts
I honestly didn't find the rebuild to be that bad.. Most of typical bolts were seized but i got everything apart in 2 days. Torch and screw driver made easy work of the rubber bushings and the new poly stuff slid right back in. Quick trip to the blaster, powder coat shop, and a couple large shipments from Gil, BOOM all new and good to go! I must confess that some of the front end has been apart at some point in the last 20 years. So i have not had to deal with full on original.
 

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Über Genius
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10,021 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Got the spring out. Now I just need to get the saddles apart.
I have to admit this front suspension is in pretty good shape, though weathered.
The rubber bushings still have a lot of flexibility and not shrunken at all.

I've never done ball joints before so that might be interesting. The, normally riveted ones, are bolted in. This makes me think this suspension was rebuilt at one time.

Hmm, do I remember how to get the saddles off?
 

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Can Opeler
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4,096 Posts
Got the spring out. Now I just need to get the saddles apart.
I have to admit this front suspension is in pretty good shape, though weathered.
The rubber bushings still have a lot of flexibility and not shrunken at all.

I've never done ball joints before so that might be interesting. The, normally riveted ones, are bolted in. This makes me think this suspension was rebuilt at one time.

Hmm, do I remember how to get the saddles off?
There are no riveted ball joints on an Opel suspension. Upper balls are bolted. Lowers are pressed in. The saddles usually fall off when you remove the spring. Unless you are talking about the cast iron pieces which I’ve never had a reason to remove. To get those out I guess you’d have to press out the outer pushing sleeve first. If you’re going back with poly urathane don’t bother.
 

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Über Genius
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10,021 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There are no riveted ball joints on an Opel suspension. Upper balls are bolted. Lowers are pressed in. The saddles usually fall off when you remove the spring. Unless you are talking about the cast iron pieces which I’ve never had a reason to remove. To get those out I guess you’d have to press out the outer pushing sleeve first. If you’re going back with poly urathane don’t bother.
Yes, I'm talking about the cast iron pieces. I know I pulled them the last time I did a front suspension.
 

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Über Genius
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10,021 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dagnabbit!!
I need lower ball joints.
I've never changed those in any car. I have separated them once. I almost lost all the fingers on one hand at the time. I got super lucky.
Luckily there's no spring pressure on these.
I actually had a ball joint removal tool. Not a pickle fork but the puller style. I don't know what happened to it.
Then pressing them out. Never done that either. I do have a 12 ton press so it probably won't be a problem.

Still. Hassle!!
 

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Detritus Maximus
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3,695 Posts
Hassle, you say?...try changing a broken one on a Manta in a gas station (NOT a service station) lot on the way home from work...balljoint broke as I pulled up to the pump. The outer end of the control arm caught on the edge lip of the wheel preventing further catastrophe.

It'll go easy....
 

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Über Genius
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10,021 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hassle, you say?...try changing a broken one on a Manta in a gas station (NOT a service station) lot on the way home from work...balljoint broke as I pulled up to the pump. The outer end of the control arm caught on the edge lip of the wheel preventing further catastrophe.

It'll go easy....
I haven't done that but I did have to fix my driveline (rear U-joint) on the side of the road. I used stuff I found on the road and a couple sockets from my socket set to hold things together until I could fix it right.

But MORE of a hassle.
I couldn't find my pickle fork and wasn't sure it was wide enough anyhow so I went through the garage looking for my pittman arm puller. I never bought one.
I ended up going to China Freight and picking up a pittman arm puller and knew it was just barely narrow enough to grab hold of the spindle. Worst case, I would have made a shim to spread the load.
NO, that wasn't the hard part. Don't get me wrong, it was still difficult to grab 1/16" on each side but the stupid upper ball joint was in the way of the lead screw being in line with the lower ball joint.
I had to grind off almost a quarter inch of the lead screw to slip it under the upper ball joint bolt.

BUT IT WORKED!!

(and as soon as I had the pittman arm puller I found my pickle fork. It, indeed, wasn't wide enough)

Wood Cross Font Grass Rectangle


I have it all apart now. Smart enough to tag everything too, except the bolts. They will all go in Evaporust to soak.

I plan on pressure washing the other components. I'll get a price on media blasting and depending on the price I will either pay to have it done or buy another blast cabinet. I won't be able to buy something big enough for the main crossmember though. We'll see.
Then I'm either going to pay to have the crossmember powder coated or just paint it. I will be powder coating the A-arms and spindles myself. My oven just isn't big enough for the crossmember.
 

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Über Genius
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10,021 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So today I pressure washed everything that bolts together. I also ordered lower ball joints, rubber bump stops, shock tower caps and tie rod dust boots. $207.

I'm liking my new pressure washer so I'll share what it is.
Greenworks 2000 PSI 1.2 GPM.
It comes with 4 different heads. Turbo is one bad mutha. Do NOT put skin in front of it.

I don't know if this suspension has been worked before but under the black paint was red paint. Did they use a red primer on the front suspension?

All in all it wasn't too bad. There wasn't a lot of crud on the thing.

Now to find a reasonable media blaster.
 

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Registered
1969 Opel GT 1.9L.
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161 Posts
I must be the masochist in the group because I love rebuilding suspensions. We have three classic cars; the Opel of course and my 69 Coronet and 68 Dart, I've rebuilt all three in my garage. All of them are non-OEM rebuilds; the Mopar's have a lot of work and aftermarket parts.
On Maria's Opel we changed out the front transverse spring and rear springs for the 1" lowered ride height and swapped out to poly bushings and red Konis on all four corners. The PO had installed new ball joints several years earlier so I left them alone. Horsepower is great but precise steering and braking just make the cars a pleasure to drive. Suspension work is dirty and nasty and knuckle-busting but can usually be knocked out in a weekend or two and the end results are phenomenal.
 

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Über Genius
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10,021 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Front suspension parts are done being blasted. I pick them up sometime this week.
$180 for everything but the spring.
Busy season at work so I hope to start installation sometime in the next 2 weeks.
 

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Über Genius
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10,021 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yup I picked it all up on Wednesday. I wanted to get the brakes bled on my SUV so I didn't get stuck like I did when I dropped them off.
Right now is the busy time at work so I am exhausted when I get home. It won't go back together as soon as I want it to but Labor day weekend I might get some good progress, assuming my heart procedure goes without complications.
I forgot to take the guy the smaller parts so I'm going to have to use the hand blaster for those. No big deal.

I also want to put down some fresh cardboard on my work table to keep everything from getting secondary grease.

I MIGHT paint the main parts this weekend. I have to take a 150 mile round trip on the motorcycle this weekend so I'll see how I feel after that.

Pictures will come soon.
 
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