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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(this is a long winded posts just detailing my steps towards a stiff ride)

Thursday night I went to work installing my Ractive rear strut brace. I mostly wanted to have the trim panels cut to fit over the brackets, and after an hour of fighting those damn panels, I got what I wanted.

I got home from work at about 6 on Friday, and began taking out the rear struts on my wagon. I found that both rear springs were broken, one of them in 2 places. This was a bit suprising since the rear springs had already been replaced once due to a broken spring.. but then again.. it is a known issue :x The good thing is that the broken springs took very little effort from my compressors to get them off safely and quickly. The H&R's went on without the spring compressors (although I did have to put about 90lbs of weight on them to get the top nut on). Before installing them I compared the stock struts to the new S/R Tokicos. The only difference is that the S/Rs are gas charged and the stocks weren't... outside, the shocks were identical in nearly every way (accept for the shock body cap).

As I was putting the 2nd strut back in place I discovered that one of the strut to knuckle bolts was screwed up... I took a drive around town (with my other car) and found both the local auto parts chain and home improvement warehouse to be closed (it was late). I got home and called it a night.

Saturday morning I drove out and got some new bolts and nuts, installed them and went for a quick drive. I could tell that the dampening in the rear was much improved, but it was hard to tell how firm they were. Jumping on the bumper let me know that they weren't much firmer than the stock springs (minus a few coils, of course).

On to the fronts, I set about taking out the control arms and replacing the bushings. I had to buy a pulley puller to get the front bushings out.. the rears I drove out easily with a large socket and a hammer. With the supplied silicone grease, the new Energy Suspension bushings went in easily. You can't pound on urethane I found out.. it just laughs at you.. but if you put firm steady pressure on it, it moves where it you want it to. The passenger side (that's the right side of the car, Penny :p) control arm's front bushing had a bolt that refused to come out without going through the oil pan. I unbolted the front engine mount and jacked up the engine about an inch and I barely got it out (whew).

Control arms done, I moved onto the ball joints and tierods. I discovered, while inspecting them, that one of my tierods was to blame for the steering pull I was experiencing. I used a forked puller for the first time and had a blast, banging away while grease oozed out of the wounded boots. It's very theraputic, and I reccomend it to anyone to enjoys getting messy every now and then. Having already forked over the heavy dough for new stuff (Oy, Ve'!!), replacement was a cinch.

I went ahead and put the control arms back on the car so that the steering knuckes would have something to hang on to (didn't want to hang them by the brake lines)... and then realized that I had an appointment to run with a friend.

After running about 4 miles (which is a whole frickin lot for someone like me who's done nothing in the 5 years since high school but sit on his rump in front of a computer screen *slight exaggeration*), I went back to work on the car.. I took the front struts out and discovered that they were in good shape (when compared to the rears), which meant I had to toil over the spring compressors for the next hour. If you've read this far, you deserve a medal *hands you a magical invisible medal* I compared the front shocks and found that the front shock rod is larger in diameter, and shorter by nearly an inch (20mm I believe). The little plastic bearing cartridge was easly reamed out with a few minutes spent on my dad's drill press. I was able to force the bumpstop/boot unit over the larger rod with the help of the aforementioned silicone grease, and the weight of my fat ass. The front springs took a little more work to get compressed than the rears thanks to the shorter rod length, but at no time this weekend did I get that "I'm going to die" feeling I got while compressing the springs on the Subaru.

I got the struts back in and broke out the torque wrench. Fortunately I found my Haynes manual while I was searching for some tools on Friday night, so I wasn't asking you guys to transpose the torque tables for me :wink:. I got everything (or so I thought) torqued down properly and decided (while I had the car up and the jack still in place to lift the engine) to put the urethane engine mount inserts in. The front one was a cinch.. much easier than I had anticipated. The rear.. I didn't even unbolt it.. I could tell that I'd need to remove the shift linkage to get the bolt out.. and I wasn't even sure if I could get the thing out to press the bushings in.. so I left it.. torqued the front mount down, dropped the car and went for a test drive.

WOW! What a difference. Almost no brake dive.. Almost no lean. The car feels like an athlete.. but makes the 88hp seem even less. I was powering through turns and couldn't brake loose if I'd wanted to. Granted, I'd entered them slowly trying to learn how the car was handling, but the grip was definitely there. The ride is suprisingly comfortable.. with a little more vibration being tranmitted from the tire tread, and the engine more tightly fastened to the chassis (thanks to all the urethane) being the most noticable downsides. Potholes are a little jarring, but not too bad. Most importantly, the S/Rs damp the H&Rs really well, there's no bouncing.

As I wrapped up my test drive, I was driving down my short strech of gravel driveway and heard a rattling.. and it struck me right away.. the ball joint clamp bolts.. I hadn't tightened them down! No harm was done.. but I was humbled a bit.. even with my double-checking before, I'd ignored a bolt (or a pair rather). Fortunately the ball joint can't come out while the bolt is in there.. but it isn't tight until you crank it down.

Today as I went out to drive her around some more, I just started working on her again. I used my new heatgun to remove the 'Escort LX' emblem from the rear.. as well as some of the 3M tape that was holding the side moulding onto the car. I can't stop! Fortunately I had another exercise appointment to tear me away. Now it's raining, so here I am.. tired.. but happy. :)
 

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[quote="Beaverboy.. but if you put firm steady pressure on it, it moves where it you want it to. The passenger side (that's the right side of the car, Penny :p) control arm's front bushing had a bolt that refused to come out without going through the oil pan. I unbolted the front engine mount and jacked up the engine about an inch and I barely got it out (whew).
[/quote]

:? Thanks Beavers - next time I'm doing what ever it was you were doing, I'll bear that in mind!! lol :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just got done driving her around the county a little while ago. No traffic at 1:30 at night. :wink:

My assessment.. She's stupid fast mid corner.. I'm going to need oil-pan baffles, that's for sure. She's not quite to the level of my friend's BMW with the camber adjustable spherical bearing strut mounts and ground-controls.. but she's getting close enough to hang with him on the street. The problem is.. I'm doing 50mph through turns that I normally take at 40, and hardly realizing that I took the turn.. there's no leaning.. there's no complaints.. POW.. I'm on the other side of the turn. It's wierd... in a good way of course.

I still can't get over the intake snorkle removal... the car sounds so good without it.. and she's pulling harder for another 500rpm before barking back at me than she was previously.

I'll try to get some pics up in the next few days. Goodnight.
 

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i did mine about 2 weeks ago, LCA and sway bar bushings (frame mount and endlinks) and new ball joints. It's much harsher than before, railway tracks especially. I didn't do the rear bushings yet and last weekend racing, it pushed pretty bad, but with a little tire presure adjustment it came back, nearly....i'll do the rears tomorrow and test it again in 2 weeks.

i have a decent list of suspension mods, but i did notice a pretty noticable difference with just the bushings.

H&R MX3 springs
ZX2 S/R struts
RMM front strut bar
Autotech rear strut bar
My custom lower tie bars (front and rear)
ST 22mm rear sway bar (w/poly bushings)
ES poly sway bar bushings (front)
-1.25 camber (front)
-1.50 camber (rear)
15x7 35mm offset Rodeo wheels
Falken Azenis 205/50/15
Brembo slotted/xdimpled rotors
Hawk HPS pads
Technafit SS lines

next is to swap the springs and struts for the ZX2 racing coilover kit and get some GC or Cusco camber plates. Then i think i'll be set....
 

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Beaverboy said:
I got home from work at about 6 on Friday, and began taking out the rear struts on my wagon. I found that both rear springs were broken, one of them in 2 places. This was a bit suprising since the rear springs had already been replaced once due to a broken spring.. but then again.. it is a known issue
Exactly which year/models are prone to have broken springs? I have not heard of this before?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
zzyzzx said:
Exactly which year/models are prone to have broken springs? I have not heard of this before?
Many haven't. We had a nice discussion about it recently in this thread.

bpletch1 had this to say:
Also, 2nd gens are NOTORIOUS for the rear coil springs breaking! That may cause a slight camber change, as well as some other ride problems. Jack up the rear of the car and check the rear coils...usually the 2nd coil up on the body-side of the car (not the street side). We see these DAILY at work, but of course Ford will not issue a recall or service bulletin. I had to replace mine a few years ago when I installed my Tokicos, haven't been a problem since.

Until reading about it here at FEOA (in another thread from farther back), I didn't think much of the spring breaking the first time around. Now that I've removed two broken rear springs from the car I'm a believer.
.....

Wear it with pride, rellimpk. They're not only magical and invisible, they're also rare, precious and completely kid-safe. :D
 
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