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Old 10-12-2010, 04:00 PM   #1
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This weekend's To Do list, likely next weekends too!

So my SVTF is at 120k miles and riding like crap and eating tires. I am basically just rebuilding to stock suspension. My SVTF is my DD/puppy hauling/tow vehicle, the mazdaspeed miata is my fun twisties car now so I wanted to keep it on a relatively cheap budget, and its tough to beat the SVTF suspension kit assembled for $286, Thanks Steve! The assembled kit saves you a little on the strut mounts over the normal kit, since the SVT already has the sway bar.

Steve at Tousley Ford was a big help, he shipped out some parts for me yesterday, I put in an order to Rock Auto, and an ebay order for the full prothane Kit. All are on the way. Tomorrow afternoon I am taking a trip to the ford parts place to overpay for some bolts, but I'd rather buy all new bolts and have everything I need then have to stop and order something midway through.

Hopefully start on things this weekend, likely lift the SVTF up high and pull wheels and brakes Wed night. And start a veritable bath of PBblaster. Hopefully that and an impact wrench capable of 625 ft-lbs can coax the rusty bolts out!

Job List:
- Full SVT suspension kit, assembled (M-3000-ZX3A)
- Prothane bushings all around
- Outer Tie Rod ends (Moog)
- Front Sway bar Links (Moog)
- Getrag output shaft seals (too many trans drops, very small leak on the drivers side, figured now is the time if I am pulling suspension off)
- Both front Lower Control Arms (Mevotech, ball joints were $27 and would require grinding/drilling the stock rivets out, or pay $44 for the full LCA w/ ball joint and save some time!)
- Replace o-ring on Tstat housing to stop my trickle, maybe the T-stat while I am in there since they are cheap, dunno how often they fail though.
- Service the IMRC, again (did this last winter, cleaned up the contact and tweaked the limit switch, was OBDII code free for 6 months, now I need to do it again)

Once that is all done I have a fresh set of Dunlop SP Sport Signature's (A/S) stacked in the garage to go on with an alignment to the specs listed on this forum to hopefully fix my tire eating issues and get me set for the next 80k miles

2-3 more years and 80k miles puts me at 200k miles and far enough away I can start thinking about ordering a new 2013 Focus ST (i know they will be out earlier but I am paying off bills before taking on another car payment!)

I may end up getting a SCT X3 and tune from McNews or a Diablo tune from Tom this winter, since my rear O2 is not happy with my hi-flow cat, and I think January will be my OBDII emission inspection for MD, the tune should add fun factor and get me code free.

But I am really looking forward to having my car back in running order and not hating it so much, this has been a hellacious year of service for the SVTF! I have been hating it because the darn thing has been riding like crap with a busted old suspension, and all the work prevented me from putting a full intake and turbo back exhaust on the mazdaspeed miata (200 hp and 200 ft-lbs to the rear on a 2500lb car ). So as much as I hated spending more money on parts, I can't wait to get to work and get it running smooth again!

This year it's already had:
- timing belt and associated pulleys/ idlers
- water pump
- serpentine belt and tensioner/idler pulley
- replace the Spec stage 2 clutch and flywheel friction pack
- brakes
- Hi-flow Cat due to stock cat failure
- O2 sensors


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Old 10-14-2010, 12:16 PM   #2
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I pick up a hydraulic press last night to help with bushings. And bolts and nuts.

Has anyone re-used the bolts for the any of the control arms? I know the lock washers are supposed to be single use, but i could at least get some money back if I can re-use the bolts. I bought them all since i have no idea how rusty they are yet.

I dropped about 100 bucks on bolts and stupid lock nuts for all the arms and the 2 bolts in the knuckles up front. I am hoping to return some of them, but figured I should buy them and have them if I am under the car and need them. I was thinking like 50 bucks for all the stupid Ford nuts and bolts, so I was a bit shocked at 100! Just a heads up, i had not factored that into my suspension work cost.
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Old 10-14-2010, 12:19 PM   #3
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I would replace them.

Good luck getting the SVT up to full par.

You seem to be on the right track.

-Ray-
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tukaniSVT View Post
I would replace them.

Good luck getting the SVT up to full par.

You seem to be on the right track.

-Ray-
Yeah I was thinking that, thanks! I have them, I just had no idea to expect another $100 bucks in nuts & bolts.

I'll likely put up a post when I am done of any helpful hints.

I am very grateful to members on this board who put up the "How To's" ! I am checking out some of them for sure.

2 lessons learned so far:

1) Budget in money for nuts and bolts, they are shockingly expensive through ford. If i had the time to leave the car in pieces for a couple weeks I'd pull it apart and try and order similar bolts from McMaster-Carr, but for me it came down to "fork it over" just to make sure I had everything.

I do now have a list of ford part numbers (which are NOT listed in the factory service manual), I could post that up for ease of others. I spent 45 minutes at the ford parts place looking at exploded diagrams to find all the bolts/lock nuts I would need. With part numbers, it'd be an easy phone call to order and maybe find a better deal then my parts place.

2) Ball Joints vs new lower control arms: My SVTF has 120k miles, it's a daily driver and I hope to make it to 200k miles. There is a great "how to" on how to get the factory rivets out and bolt in new ball joints, but I found the difference on price between the ball joints and the entire LCA with ball joint and bushings was only $17 for the mevotech's. So unless you plan on needing new ball joints more often, $34 can save several hours of work. In my case with no track time and just daily driving, I expect the ball joints in the new arms to outlast the car or at least my ownership of it, so I don't care that they are riveted in.

I am planning on pressing out the new rubber bushings in the new control arms, the rear one is surprisingly squishy! Mainly I just don't want to mix poly and rubber bushings, I don't know for certain, but my suspicion is that some poly and some rubber bushing will stress the rubber bushings more and wear them out faster. I just want to practice pressing out bushings on the old LCA when it comes off first so I don't practice on a new one!
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Old 10-15-2010, 03:26 AM   #5
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These are the exact things I want to do. I have Poly's in the garage but little room to do such a tear down.
Replacing the bearings was difficult enough with the limited space I have.
Which reminds me why I started to post.
Consider doing the bearings as well while you have it all apart.
A full hub and bearing assembly will cost around $57 and will need to be pressed into the knuckle one piece at a time. Bearing first then hub.

Good luck on the work.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:16 AM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestion, I did consider wheel bearings too, I should probably cave and do them, but I decided to wait to save the roughly $200 right now.

I have my mazdaspeed miata for summer drives, so I was thinking if I wait till spring or summer 2011 to do the bearings, I will probably only be putting 10-15k miles on the car by then, if that.

This is more of a get the car back running since a miata with summer tires cannot handle the winter.

I actually just cleaned up my garage last night and moved the Ducati's over to 1 side against the wall so I can park my SVTF diagonally in a 2 car garage for more work room.
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apagios View Post
Yeah I was thinking that, thanks! I have them, I just had no idea to expect another $100 bucks in nuts & bolts.

I'll likely put up a post when I am done of any helpful hints.

I am very grateful to members on this board who put up the "How To's" ! I am checking out some of them for sure.

2 lessons learned so far:

1) Budget in money for nuts and bolts, they are shockingly expensive through ford. If i had the time to leave the car in pieces for a couple weeks I'd pull it apart and try and order similar bolts from McMaster-Carr, but for me it came down to "fork it over" just to make sure I had everything.

I do now have a list of ford part numbers (which are NOT listed in the factory service manual), I could post that up for ease of others. I spent 45 minutes at the ford parts place looking at exploded diagrams to find all the bolts/lock nuts I would need. With part numbers, it'd be an easy phone call to order and maybe find a better deal then my parts place.

2) Ball Joints vs new lower control arms: My SVTF has 120k miles, it's a daily driver and I hope to make it to 200k miles. There is a great "how to" on how to get the factory rivets out and bolt in new ball joints, but I found the difference on price between the ball joints and the entire LCA with ball joint and bushings was only $17 for the mevotech's. So unless you plan on needing new ball joints more often, $34 can save several hours of work. In my case with no track time and just daily driving, I expect the ball joints in the new arms to outlast the car or at least my ownership of it, so I don't care that they are riveted in.

I am planning on pressing out the new rubber bushings in the new control arms, the rear one is surprisingly squishy! Mainly I just don't want to mix poly and rubber bushings, I don't know for certain, but my suspicion is that some poly and some rubber bushing will stress the rubber bushings more and wear them out faster. I just want to practice pressing out bushings on the old LCA when it comes off first so I don't practice on a new one!
have a torch of some sort on hand, you'll need it to burn out some of the bushings (the trailing arm iirc).

Also, i reused all my bolts when i did bushings. (except the one that i had to cut out). Also a sawzall will not cut thru the bolts easily, they are too hard. get a angle grinder with a fresh cutting disc.

good luck!
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:40 AM   #8
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Haha I do have a torch, just in case. I am hoping to press out the old bushings with the outer shell of the new prothane bushings.

Also I had presumed I needed outer tie rod ends so I have some Moog's from rock auto, over the weekend found my drivers side inner tie rod was totally shot, so I ordered both inner tie rods yesterday.

I am kind of really keeping this thread as a in progress record, I'll try and write up a total suspension job lessons learned when I am done, hopefully save some people some time.

Couple lessons learned:

1) I have an impact driver/wrench capable of 625 ft-lbs, some of the bolts would not budge. I noticed the impact driver bit oscillating, turns out that each impact would twist the rubber bushing ~5 degrees, the rubber would snap back before the next impact came. So I tried a big 1/2 drive socket and after twisting the bolt ~70 degrees the rubber would stop stretching and I could get ~10-15 degrees of actual bolt twist. It was a long process & work out but I got a couple out by hand that way.

2) The rear LCA bolts on the outer end where the bushing connects to the trialing arm are just plain seized, I cut 1 out with a cut off wheel, going to cut the other tonight. The passenger side I used the impact wrench and socket combo to shear the bushing entirely so the siezed inner sleeve and bolt would rotate freely. Much to my surprise I actually bubbled the pocket on the training arm with the impact wrench! The bushing sleeve was seized so tight that the massive torque and threads on the bolt served to open the pocket some, so I need to clamp it back, it bulged by about 1/4 inch maybe a little less, just enough to notice.

3) Actually a question for anyone still reading this saga. Is there a way to disconnect the brake line from the trailing arm without actually disconnecting the brake line and needing to bleed? There is a small square bracket on the trailing arm the brake line goes through, and it is square with no slot so the only way to get the trailing arm off is to totally disconnect the brakes. I really didn't want to have to bleed brakes so I am considering just not doing the main bushing on the trailing arm. I though about dremel too cut off wheels and slotting the bracket very carefully then safety wiring it back on, but I am leery of grinding right next to my brake line
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:03 PM   #9
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progress update:

So life gets in the way sometimes, still working, I feel I at least see the end in sight. Got the entire suspension off, decided to quit complaining about brake bleeding and disconnecting them to get the trailing arm off.

Stuff adds up, I decided if I have everything off then I might as well clean up the rust on the lower control arms and paint the calipers red again (120k miles have not been kind to the caliper paint that was on them).

6-8 hours of cleaning with wire brush grinder bits and alcohol and brake cleaner and I am now painting. I presume re-assembly will be fairly quick compared to dis assembly since I wont spend 4-5 hours grinding off bolts!

So I could have been done but figured I may was well clean things up and re paint while I got everything apart. Coats of paint and bushing pressing during the week after work!

Can't wait to have my car back in good running order
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:49 AM   #10
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rear, rear lower control arm (holds the spring) and trailing arm both now have 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of paint, probably 1 more coat of pain tonight.

I was feeling pretty sick last night, so I was just futzing with the front suspension, struts. Figured I have the Prothane kit, might as well install the poly bump stops even though the struts came assembled.

1 of my stock rubber bump stops was installed upside down by Ford, I am sure it really wouldn't make much difference at all, just funny to notice. [:P]

Tonight I'll blue-tape up the rear brake calipers and starting the painting. I am thinking 4-5 coats, I could only find the paint in spray can rather then brush on. In between coats of paint I'll be pressing bushings in the arms.

The trailing arm looks like the pivot bushing may be a pain in the butt. The Prothane kit is only 2 large bushings. Looks like the steel pivot bracket that bolts to the car needs to be reused, as well as the stock outer collar on the bushing. So I am thinking it will be a lot of cutting rubber and sanding it off the pivot bracket and inside of the bushing collar, probably a few coats of primer and paint as well to protect the metal.
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