C3-Corvette Restoration

Restoration of a 1977 Corvette Stingray

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January 2008

Part 2



Chassis Rebuild



With the front brake discs and hardware reconditioned the next step was to clean, paint the steering knuckles and fit new polly bushes to the front suspension.









Sandblasting was the only real option to get into all the tight corners and get these parts clean.


After sandblasting i used marine clean to degrease all the components and metal ready to etch and prep before spraying two coats of POR15 and two coats of chassis black to give them the matt black factory finish.










The 'A' arms were blasted and painted the same as the steering components, removing the upper 'A' arm shaft really requires the use of a press, after undoing the bolts the shaft needs to be pushed free of the housing until the bush is free, then turn teh 'A' arm over and do the same, the shaft does not come out of the housings (each end) but sits in the middle.

You can drill the bushes, with a 3mm drill, you drill a series of holes around the bush until you have a perferated line all around the bush, this should releive the pressure and allow the shaft and bush to be pushed through.  You can also heat up the rubber bush until it fails, but the result is messy and lots of black toxic smoke!, remember that the bush also has an inner and outer metal sleave, the outer sleave needs to be removed from without damaging the housing (some people leave these in place if they are in sound condition and re-use them with new bushes, rubber or polly)


To fit the polly bushes i made sure all the surfaces were clean, and put the new bush's and sleaves in the freezer over night, the 'A' arm and shaft were heated up to expand the metal housing, with plenty of grease i used a joiners cramp to squeeze the new bush's into place, you have to make sure that they are perfectly square to the housing before applying pressure to seat them. The end bolts were then torqued to the specificatations in the manual.




The ball joints were tested before i removed the wheels and suspension and where fully packed with grease and no play was found, these will not be replaced and its not a big job if they do fail in the future.








I bolted the upper 'A' arm back on the suspension turret and 'nipped' up the nuts, no shims were replaced at this stage as new polly bushes, washers, steer rods etc will have some effect on how the wheels camber, this is an easy job and will be set up at home before getting a four wheel alignment later.













The biggest problem i found with the installation was compressing the spring, the standard type of spring compressors tend to fit on the outer edge of the spring which wont fit inside the recess between the upper and lower 'A' arms so i purchased an internal compression tool.


This brought problems of it own, having to compress the spring quite tight to fit in the turret the compression tool wouldnt fit on the inside either.


So with the upper and lower 'A' arms fitted i lowered the lower 'A' arm down to vertical (by raising the chassis higher on the jack) inserted the spring against the top inner edge of the turret, inserted the compression tool minus the top part of the tool, fed the threaded bar through the hole in the top of the turret (where the shocks bolt thro) then placed a thick washer and the top part of the compression tool.













By doing this i was able to use a socket/spanner on the top of the threaded bar (i ground a square on one end first) and compress the spring.



Once the sring was compressed enough i fitted the steering knuckle and relieved the pressure from the spring and removed the tool.


This technique seemed to work well and give greater protection from the compression tool working loose and springing out in your face or trapping fingers.



Also remember to seat the spring in the correct place, there are tapered grooves in the 'A' arm base (lower 'A' arm) for the spring to sit in and a hole, the end of the spring should sit partly covering the hole.












The last step was to install the shock absorbers, thes slot in from the bottom and bolt through the to of the turret and by a small plate secured with two bolts on the bottom.



The last step was to install the blasted and painted anti-roll bar with new bolts and polly bushings.














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