Category Archives: Suspension & Coilovers

Front/Rear suspension and coilovers

Fixing a Leaking 9 Inch Ford Rear End

Note the grade-8 washers

I have recently noticed that the 9″ Ford rear end in bowtie6 has started leaking.  Nothing severe mind you, but just enough to make a mess of the garage floor.  So I jacked the car up and slid my new Race Ramps under the rear tires.  As it turned out, all ten nuts holding the third member in place, were loose.

But why?  Sure, wear and tear might cause things to loosen up.  Not wanting to leave this up to chance, I did a handful of Google searches and sure enough…  According to what I read on several websites this is a common issue on 9″ Ford rear ends.  The solution is to use copper washers on each stud.

In Search of Copper Washers

As you can see in today’s featured picture, we used grade-8 washers when we put the rear end together.  At the time, that is all we had available and after a short conversation with my cousin Jim, he told me he was not able to source the right copper washers.  Hmmm…

Two sets of Ford copper washers

So I searched eBay for some copper washers for a 9″ Ford and success!  I found a vendor offering “original” vintage Ford washers exactly for this application.  After reading the auction, I promptly clicked the “buy-it-now” button and ordered two sets for $6.00 per set of 10 washers.  Not bad.

Delivery was very quick:  the washers arrived in yesterday’s mail.  Cool!  Today, I lifted the car up again and crawled under to replace the grade-8 washers with the new copper replacements.  According to my research the washers are very soft.  As the Nylock nuts compress the copper washer they “seat” and this prevents the nuts from backing out.  Of course, this never happened with the hardened grade-8 washers.

Washers Replaced

So here is what the new washers look like.

The new copper washers are smaller than the earlier ones (see the featured photo for the “before” look).  The advantage is they have somewhat collapsed to take shape.  This is the same principle behind the soft aluminum washer on the oil drain plug on my Honda S2000.  Another problem solved!

Happy New Year

And so, I bid you all a Happy New Year.  I hope 2017 brings you great fortune and good health.  Cheers!

 

Rear Suspension Reassembly

In the last couple of posts I’ve described the reason for taking apart the rear suspension on bowtie6.  I had to send the coilovers back to the manufacturer for servicing and sure enough, after a few days they arrived back in as-new condition.  This morning, I started cleaning all the hardware and springs followed by a dry-run:  installing the coilovers on the rear suspension (without springs) and going through the entire range of motion of the axle using my jack.  I just wanted to make sure nothing was binding or out of alignment.  All checked out, so time to quit farting around and get down to business…

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Rebuilt Coilovers

The Man in the brown truck delivered a box containing bowtie6‘s rear rebuilt coilovers.  This stuff is like jewelry – too bad they are not in plain sight!

Needless to say I unpacked them and they are perfect.  Sure, there are a few scratches from wear and tear but overall they are mechanically back to as-new condition.  The rebuild price was not too bad:  $99.00 + shipping.

I can’t wait to get the springs assembled back on them and then mounting them back to the rear axle.  I’ll have a new post with pictures this weekend.  Stay tuned!  :mrgreen:

Coilover Repair

After nearly 25,000 miles on bowtie6 and countless number of rebounds the rear coilovers finally gave up the ghost; time for coilover repair.  In order to get them apart, I had to do a partial rear suspension tear down.  My cousin Jim designed all the mounts so they could be easily disassembled – “…remember, everything will eventually be replaced or serviced at one point or another”, he says; “…it doesn’t matter how nice it looks or how great it performs, if it is not easy to disassemble and put back together, it isn’t worth a damn!”.  Wise man, my cousin Jim.

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Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement

2400 miles driven and one of the two rear axle wheel bearings has failed on a sub 2500lb car.  Sad shape of affairs this is indeed.

Fist off, the wheel bearing in question has the SKF name all over it; made in of all places, China.  I have a problem with offshoring and a bigger problem when the offshored goods are defective.  QA was definitely not in the picture when this bearing was made.  And no, this is not the first one to fail.  My cousin Jim Thompson’s TR4 had the exact same thing happen on an identical rear axle as used on bowtie6.

So what is all this fuss about?  Let me show you.  After lifting the rear of my TR6 up in the air, we were able to determine the driver’s side axle bearing was at fault.  I took the caliper off, then the rotor and the retainer plate off the rear housing.  A couple of strikes with a deadblow hammer and the axle was out.  This is what it looks like:

The picture above shows the bearing and on top of it the retaining ring.  In order to minimize damage to the axle, the bearing is cut as follows:

And once the outside race “pops” (it is under tension and cutting the outside race eventually makes a muffled “pop”), we get a chance to see inside.  This is where things get very interesting:

In the picture above we have the outside race cut showing the ball bearing retainer.  It is what lies below the ball bearings what is of interest!

Here we start to see the root cause of the problem.  The inside race should be slick, polished and accurately ground.  Look at the photo above: the lower half is indeed properly hardened and finished.  However, see the top half?  It looks very rough indeed.  That is where the racket was coming from.  Another couple of pictures:

And…

Further inspection revealed the outside race was in good shape.  No case-hardening issues there.  However, the inner race was very poorly made – somehow the case-hardening process was not properly applied and the surface of the inside race pitted severely after only 2400 miles.  This cannot be blamed on poor lubrication because these are sealed bearings.

A new bearing has been sourced – unfortunately it is SKF.  I just hope I’m not here in another 2500 miles talking about another bad apple.  Here is a photo of the new bearing being pressed in:

Once I got the axle back in the housing and bolted it all back together we were set to go.  I put about 50 miles this afternoon and all is good.  I just keep my fingers crossed the new bearing lasts a little longer.