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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all, so long story short I picked up this R from a 78 year old guy in Connecticut with only 19k miles on it. He was the second owner and bought the car from a dealer in 2005 with only 7k miles on it. The previous owner before him put in the euro xenons and he didn't even know. I can't say it enough but the car feels so new! No creeks, squeaks, rattles, or anything. I work in the city and commute by train so I'll probably only put 10k miles on it over the next 4 years. I plan to keep it minty fresh with some tasteful upgrades. Call it OEM+

Here's a little pic of her the first night I got home. I had a HUGE grin on my face after a nice 3 hour drive home from CT. Mine is the monster truck on the left. lol



First on the list was suspension, so I purchased a set of half used(fronts warrantied new and never installed) pss9's for it. I also bought some k-macs from USRT guys to replace the front rubber mounts, aka garbage that comes in them from the factory.





We started with the fronts and there was a lot of struggling to get the the stock shocks out of the spindle. I didn't have that snazzy socket spreader tool but was using something else to accomplish the same thing. There was a considerable amount of rust on the spindle and nothing I could do would make it come out easy. It took a couple hours just to get the fronts out and then the new coil overs in. After we finished my fronts, we decided to install the kmacs on my bro inlaws car since he had purchased a set and I figured the rears would be a lot easier so to just get his out of the way. Holy hell his slid out and in so easy!! None of the bolts needed wd40. Everything was just buttery smooth. A hour later we were done and onto my rears. While I was installing the rear suspension it came to a big surprise to me at the amount of rust and corrosion on the the suspension/subframe components. I was less then pleased. I suppose the previous owner living in CT drive the car in the salt/snow and then it sat since he hardly drove it. The undercarriage didn't have a chance to get rinsed off by the melting snow or better yet rain.... I'll reiterate that the car is in perfect shape other then the suspension/subframe components and feels like a brand new car. I decided I wasn't going to just put the suspension in and pretend like a didn't see everything. I was instead going to remove everything and clean that bitch up right. Such a low mile and rare care. I couldn't let it rot! I snapped a bunch of pics of the trailing arms, control arms, and subframe but some how they got deleted. I'm only left with these few now, but you'll get the idea.







I ripped everything out in the rear and started cleaning. There were literally only 3 super tiny spots on each side of body that needed touch up. I wire wheeled, primed, undercoated, and then reflex silver sprayed the spots.

































I wire wheeled the hell out of the rear trying to get in all the little nooks with various sized wire cups, but it was pretty tiring to do. Here's a before shot and I'll post a pic of the after tomorrow during the day.



I don't have a before pic, but you can see how deep the corrosion was on the axles. It was really bubbled and chipping. So I wire wheeled those and painted them with some VHT suspension paint.





I bought some new trailing arm brackets from VW and although they were painted there were some chips on them from handling. I scuffed them up and added a couple extra coats since I had the paint out.



While I sent the subframe and trailing arms out to get sand blasted and powder coated I ordered a ton of stuff.

gen2 pss9 rear springs(old ones looked to be collapsed)
gruvenparts upper/lower control arms
gruvenparts swaybar linkages
hotchkis front/rear sway bars
power flex front trailing arm bushings
42DD 20mm spacers
new rear oem trailing arm bushings
new hubs
new bearings
ALL new suspension bolts/nuts
40 new black torx head screws for the fender liners and various spots on the car

I was originally going to reinstall the stock subframe bushings and then replace them with solid ones once USRT finished making some, but after the nightmare I had breaking all kinda of difference grade bolts trying to remove them I opted to have some solid bushings turned out for me from a buddy. I also new there was no way for me to just lower the subframe a bit to get the out. I would of had to pulled everything out again. This was the right choice to do them now. So here is were I sit. I have everything ready to go in, I'm just waiting on the bushings. They should be done tomorrow and I can get everything back together!!



Here's a google doc I thought I'd share. It has various part numbers in it that could help someone one day. :thumbup:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArlEavpYGNccdHpqeEs1eV9pbXNDYnl4dFBmNUxLOEE
 

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Looks great so far :] I need some of those control arms for the rear!
 

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Mad props Playboy for the big score, and mad mad props for giving her the love and TLC she deserves.:thumbup: Also this shows how corrosive living in the salt belt can be. I have 122 K on mine and my underbody dosent look anything like that. Where I'm from winter is a concept I know nothing about and that's the way I like it! Good luck on the build.
 

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good work man. My R came from up north aswell. Every thing looks pretty rough. I plan on doing pretty much the same thing you did when I get more garage space or I move into a actual shop.

Ill be watching :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mad props Playboy for the big score, and mad mad props for giving her the love and TLC she deserves.:thumbup: Also this shows how corrosive living in the salt belt can be. I have 122 K on mine and my underbody dosent look anything like that. Where I'm from winter is a concept I know nothing about and that's the way I like it! Good luck on the build.
Yeah, it's going to make me think twice about were I buy any future cars from. At least the rust was only on the suspension pieces that good be fixed or replaced easily.

good work man. My R came from up north aswell. Every thing looks pretty rough. I plan on doing pretty much the same thing you did when I get more garage space or I move into a actual shop.

Ill be watching :)
pffft garage space, I'm working in a car port/tent thing! :thumb up: :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
So just a little update for today. I was waiting most of the day for a call from my buddy. While I was waiting I pressed in the bearings only to find out that the bearings did not come with C clips to hold them in. So much for a saving a buck, I'll have to grab them from dealer since you can't really get them separate anywhere else.



After running around doing other things I finally got the call that I could go pickup the bearings!! With a little love from my flooring hammer they were in!









They were even baby approved! :laugh::heart:



I re-used the bushings that hold the rear in. They were in good shape. Since I put the solid bushings in, I couldn't get a cup or plate behind the one bushing. I had to engineer something special to get them in. lol figure someone could relate to having to improvise! I also did a quick test fit of the subframe before putting the rear back in it. Good thing I did because my buddy left no wiggle room for the bolts which would have been great if everything lined up perfectly which it didn't. I tried pushing and prying a bit, but I knew once I had the rear in I wouldn't be able to maneuver that thing the same way. I decided to open the bushings up just a tad. I used a 1/2 bit gave the bolt just the slightest bit of wiggle room. Popped in with no problem!





I was smooth sailing after that. I had the rear mounted in the subframe and just had one last bolt to put in. I think because I didn't have a short triple square socket and had to have in on a bit of an angle I cross threaded my last bolt that secures the small bracket to the subframe..... :banghead::facepalm: It was only the first two threads and I quickly backed it out. It's to late now or I would have went and grabbed a tap to fix my #$%@ up. I'll grab on after work and get it in tomorrow. BLARGH!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Working on car after a 1.5 hour commute home from work, in a car port, with wet ground isn't fun, but at least its in! I also re-tapped the #$%^ up in about a minute. My goal is to be driving it this weekend. I know there isn't much work to get done but working in my conditions and alone doesn't make it come together fast. :sly:



 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
My C clips came in today from the dealer and I was able to finish pressing in the bearings and then the hubs. For anyone who is thinking about doing any wheel bearings in the near future, don't bother paying someone to press them in for you. Spend a couple bucks on this tool from harbor freight. It presses them in like butter.

I also lubed up the powerflex bushings where there make any metal contact and popped them in. The bushings only with a tiny little packet of lube and it pretty much only covered them with a thin layer. This is my first time with poly anything. Does anyone recommend applying an excessive amount of lube on them just to be sure they are greased properly? Is it something I can pickup at pep boys or some where similar? :beer:

 

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There should be enough grease included. You only put the grease on the outside of the metal sleeve that pushes through the center of the bushing. That's the pivot point, not the outside of the bushing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There should be enough grease included. You only put the grease on the outside of the metal sleeve that pushes through the center of the bushing. That's the pivot point, not the outside of the bushing.
Ok, if thats the case there probably would have been enough. I assumed it should go on the outside of the bushing that makes contact with the trailing ate to prevent wear and squeaking. I guess I should still find a little more and re-grease the sleeve. Thanks!

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 

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How have i missed this thread, lol Great work man, Ill be doing soemthing similar in the future with the rear end. Great work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
How have i missed this thread, lol Great work man, Ill be doing soemthing similar in the future with the rear end. Great work.
Thanks, if I could go back and start over I would have picked up a used roadster rear subframe with half the solid bushings already installed in it and the added mounting points for bracing. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Ok major update here. I got to drive my car!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! :D:D How I got there was a bit of a struggle though...... :mad:

Friday I worked from home and pretty much skipped out of doing any real work and went right to putting stuff back in. I start with the trailing arms. Hanging the fronts and then securing the rear with the strut.



It wasn't long before I was ready to put the spring in. At this time I realized that although I purchased the gen2 springs for my pss9's, I didn't get the lower spring seat that compensates for size difference of the spring bottom. I reached out to bilstein and they were able to overnight me a set for sat by noon. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get the springs in easy enough with the control arms installed so I kinda stopped there. Another day of waiting.... I was able to clean my calipers, paint some brake line brackets, paint some heat shield brackets, install the hotchkis sway bar, install the heat shield, and then finally the exhaust. So I guess the day wasn't totally wasted, but I def wasted some of it tracking down parts.

Saturday morning rolled around and I patiently waited for the UPS guy to show up with gifts!



I started at it right away. Springs went in pretty fast, followed by the control arms, and then the axles shafts. This is where stuff started slowing down. During the removal process before I bought a hub puller, I thought it would be a good idea to hit the end of my axle with a small sledge hammer to break it free from the hub. Bad idea.... :banghead: I bent and mushroomed the end a bit and in order for me to get the nut on I had to grind it back to being round and then chizzle some of the threads open. A long time later I was able to thread the old nut on and off freely(used new nuts for final install). What felt like hours later I was able to move onto installing the brakes. Wait, what another **** up?!?! Yeah, if you look at the last pic you'll notice my hubs are pressed into my trailing arms without the disk dust shields on. :banghead: Total misstep on my end. I just assumed I could put them on after. I was able to bend them a bit over the trailing arm to get them on, but getting the screws in proved to be a serious pain in the ass with no room to work from the ABS ring being in the way. I ended up cutting half of the end of the screw off so I could squeeze it between the two and get it threaded with a pair of needle noes pliers, followed by a wrench. This was a bigger pain in the ass then the axles. A loooooong time later. I was finally able to start putting the discs and calipers on. Installed all the brake lines, ebrake cables, and sensors back in. I finally went around torquing all the bolts making sure I didnt miss anything and then taaaadahhh!





As the night wore on and I ran out of propane for the carport/tent hell hole I work in, I was able to bleed the brakes and mount the tires. The only thing left for this morning was to adjust the control arms, but I needed to go buy the right size wrenches so I didnt have to scratch them up with pliers. Speaking of control arms, while I was measuring my old ones to adjust them new ones I snapped a pic of how bad they were. It's still ridiculous to me how rusted they were. Crazy :screwy:



So this morning rolled around bright and early. I went and bought some wrenches, tightened everything up, and took my car off stands for the first time in a month and a half! I had some adjusting to do. The front was about 3/4 inch higher then the backs.



During all this work with my car, my bro-inlaws R was having a clunk from the front K-MAC camber plates we installed. Since I installed the same set on mine and didnt really get to test them out. We emailed the manufacturer to ask him about proper installation with coilovers vs stock suspension because the instructions seemed a bit off. I also knew I needed to handle this before I could get the final ride height straightened out. I explained to him in the order in which I installed everything and he said I was missing the OEM bearing. I assumed the supplied 'core wash' as he called it, would essentially do the same thing when seated on the bearing of the K-MAC, but he said it wouldn't. He also said if I wanted a lower ride height in the front, my coilovers were as low as they could go, I would need to use their supplied top coil seat. So I decided to jack my car back up and take the front struts out to add the bearing and swap out the bilstein coil seat with the kmac supplied one. I remove the fronts and start assembling it the way he said to. As you guys can see from the pics and videos. It doesnt seem like it would really work. There is so much play between the spring and the top seat and then the top seat to bearing. Even with the weight of the vehicle it seems like I would hear tons of noise and most likely damage something.





I emailed the kmac guys and opted to put everything back together with the bilstein top seat and the OEM bearing as he recommended. Here is a pic of the final assembly.



By adding the OEM bearing I essentially raised the ride height even more in the front. :banghead: I had to remove the rear tires and raise the back by a full 1 1/4 inches to make the car level. Although I wasn't trying to slam the car I did want it at a nice height. It's pretty close to stock height. I can fit about 2 1/2 fingers in the gap between the tire and fender. I was looking about half of that distance. Here's a final pic of the ride height. It looks like a monster truck still.....



Anyone have experience with camber plates and ride heights? My fronts are all the way down and my rears are all the way up!!! Removing the helper spring in the front? Suggest against it? I dont really see how that would be possible as the top seat would be even further from the spring itself. People are doing this though right? Bah, its been a struggling last couple days and I probably sound like I'm rambling.... At least it's all back together. Time to spend some time with the family. :beer::beer:
 

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Beautiful man.
 
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