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mikewags

Rear Toe Adjustment Cost

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*BUMP* UPDATE

I got the quote from the mechanic today, and I wasn't prepared for the cost of the repairs. See below.

estimate.jpg

Can I get some feedback on this estimate? On top of it, I will have to supply the Transverse Link Mounting Plates (which will be cheap) but altogether will bring this job up to about $1,000.

Edited by mikewags

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Doing some research - the parts are marked up a bit : although the labor is what's really costing me here.

I'm really starting to consider trying to do this myself, although I know i'd probably have to take the control arms to a machine shop with a hydraulic press to remove the bushings.

Would you suggest this job being do-able by someone with little rear suspension experience, but general overall technical/mechanical skills?

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Unfortunately, yes, it sounds about right.

I would guess that over 75% of the people on this board do their own mechanical work for that very reason. Your Z car is worth about $5000 whether these parts are replaced or not. Most people on this board would rather spend $1000 buying the PARTS to replace the springs, shocks, swaybars and all the bushings on their Z than pay someone $1000 to replace $25 worth of parts. They would then sweat, swear, and donate blood to the knuckle gods so that they could afford to upgrade their precious cars. Not only do we save a lot of money, but we learn every little nuance about our cars. I have more money in my Z than I could ever get out and I've done 100% of the work myself. If I had to pay others to do the work, I'd have been better off buying a finished car. If you have any mechanical ability, some basic tools and a place to work, you could save lots of money and find a whole new appreciation for your car. To me, you're never really attached to a car unless you have scars from working on it.

In your case, even if you choose to start working on your own car right now, this probably isn't the best project to start with. Replacing the rear control arm bushings is the final exam of Z cars 101... Not the place to learn. :stupid:

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Well, this would be the first time i've taken the car into a shop for any work on the Z (except for when I took it to get the front tires aligned 6 + months ago).

I have done everything else myself:

(fuel filter, spark plugs, distributor/rotor/wires, filters, oil changes, starter, tail-lights, headlights, carpet install, wheel discs/calipers/shoes, dashboard removal and repair, and painting) to name a few. Of course none of these involved deep engine, tranny, or suspension work - and some are relatively "basic" fixes any Z-owner would expect to perform themselves.

I would rather spend half as much doing it myself, but I do realize this is a hard job. It's just hard to drop $800 of labor into $100 dollars worth of parts.

Edited by mikewags

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I wrote the last note before I read your last reply. Knowing that you have done quite a bit of light mechanical work, I'm sure you can do this. It WILL be tough, but that's just how this job is. It's known in the Z world as the Right of Passage. Complete the spindle pin job and you can do anything. Do some research and go for it!

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Right of passage...

Jeff, you make this job sound like some sort of quest or journey. Am I knighted upon completion? ;)

Thanks for the vote of confidence.

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Hee hee. Do a search on any Z forum for spindle pins and you'll be enlightened. Every now and then, someone gets lucky, but 9 times out of 10 the pin is stuck in the knuckle and the four letter words start flying. It's not something you want to do with kids in the garage. You WILL get them done if you are mentally ready and you WILL be proud of yourself when you are done. Yes, you will be knighted upon completion of the quest. You can brag to the next guy in your shoes about how you faced the dragon and slayed it single handedly. Do your research and embark on your journey to enlightenment!

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Still have some thinking to do on this. Will need to borrow a good solid jack, stands, and ramps and will end up having the car boosted for a few weeks. The only thing keeping me from jumping on this project is the rear alignment issue. I need to be confident that replacing the bushings and spindle pins will fix the issue (if the plates aren't bent) - If they are bent I will need to address that by replacing them.

If anybody has any good walkthroughs or references for this job, please post them here or let me know. Thanks!

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Plates are a no brainer. Get some used ones and throw them on. Otherwise, don't worry about the alignment. I think it will straighten out with new plates and bushings.

Search this site and hybrid Z for info on the spindle pin puller. It didn't exist yet when I did mine, so I can't vouch for it, but many have had great success using it. A few people sell them and there are instructions online if you want to make your own. It looks pretty simple to make from what I remember.

If you don't already have it, download the FSM here http://www.xenons30.com/reference.html. You will need it for torque values and instructions on how to remove the lock pin in the center of the spindle pin.

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There's a fair amount of work here, but nothing I would call complicated. If you're willing to drop the exhaust, you can drop the entire rear suspension and diff as one piece making disassembly all that easier. I wish I had done this on mine. Based on my experience, the hardest part was getting the old bushings out. I used the burn and cut method and the pyro in me was greatly satisfied. However I felt guilty later due to the pollution factor involved.

Spindle pin removal is a non-issue with the spindle pin puller. I do not recommend doing this without it. Loaner pullers are available here as well as on Hybridz for the cost of shipping.

If you do this yourself, you'll also have the opportunity to refurbish and refinish them for less than what you'd pay for someone else just to replace the bushings. In the end you will feel a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Right of passage?...maybe.

To drop the whole thing as one piece:

1. Jack the rear of the car up by the diff

2. Support the rear of the car firmly on on jack stands. I use the rear frame rail extensions near the seat belt pockets. To make this more secure support the front of the car as well.

3. Remove both rear wheels

4. Remove the exhaust at the header or at a connection forward of the front diff mount (if available):

5. Support the entire suspension assembly by the diff with a floor jack

6. Unbolt propshaft from front of diff

7. Unhook e-brake lines from each wheel

8. Seperate flexible brake lines from hardlines at each wheel

9. Remove 4 bolts from front diff member

10. Remove 6 nuts from rear strut towers

11. Remove 4 bolts from transverse link mount brackets

12. Remove 2 nuts from rear diff mount (moustache bar)

13. Before droping the assy, tie the two struts together with rope or a toe down strap to prevent the strust from swinfing out and dinging your fender lip.

14. Slowly drop the whole assembly as one unit while steadying it

15. It's beer thirty!!!!

I still have those brackets if you need them. PM me.

See attached for a partial before and after.

post-9360-14150806530246_thumb.jpg

post-9360-14150806530502_thumb.jpg

Edited by =Enigma=

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Spindle pin removal is a non-issue with the spindle pin puller. I do not recommend doing this without it. Loaner pullers are available here as well as on Hybridz for the cost of shipping.

I really wonder if the puller would have worked on mine. I tried everything with no luck. After banging away for a while, I tried to pull them out by stacking washers under the nuts, but it just stripped the threads right off the pins. Finally, I cut the pins off at each end of the knuckle and took the knuckles to work. I heated the crap out of the first one with a torch before using a commercial quality pneumatic/hydraulic press. It took every last bit of the press' power to push the pin out and when it did move, it sounded like a gun was fired each time the pin slipped a few mm. The shock from the movement kept making the push rods slip out of position. I skipped the heat on the second one with the same results. I'm pretty sure the lock pin had mushroomed the pins such that they were stuck tight. They were NOT rusty when they finally came out. I found when I tried to install the new pins that the control arms were a bit bent at the two rings, so they didn't line up with each other. I had to straighten them before I could re-assemble everything.

I think the puller would work on most, but I'm not so sure about mine. I wish I could have tried it though. It might have saved me LOTS of trouble.

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Plates are a no brainer. Get some used ones and throw them on. Otherwise, don't worry about the alignment. I think it will straighten out with new plates and bushings.

Search this site and hybrid Z for info on the spindle pin puller. It didn't exist yet when I did mine, so I can't vouch for it, but many have had great success using it. A few people sell them and there are instructions online if you want to make your own. It looks pretty simple to make from what I remember.

If you don't already have it, download the FSM here http://www.xenons30.com/reference.html. You will need it for torque values and instructions on how to remove the lock pin in the center of the spindle pin.

I can vouch for the spindle pullers. I have done this job twice and I would NEVER attempt it without one. I averaged about 10 minute per pin as apposed to hours I have heard it takes without a puller.

Another neat trick I learned to stay away from the toxic fumes of burning the bushings out, is to take your electric dill and drill a million holes through the rubber part and then when its loose, pull out the rubber with pliers. I think its faster than burning too. Once its out you either clean out the rubber and leave the outer bushing collar if you are using PU bushings, or if you are going stock rubber, you need to carefully cut the collar with a hack saw and ply it out.

I'll agree that this is not a fun job, but with a puller and patience it is totally doable. You might as well clean and paint everything while you have it appart.

Good luck.

Marty

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These photos are long overdue.

http://s15.photobucket.com/albums/a369/mikewags/Car/?action=view&current=IMG_0325.jpg

You can see from this photo, the Right rear tire is angled inwards quite a bit.

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a369/mikewags/Car/IMG_0327.jpg

General rear suspension under-carriage shot.

I'll try to get some better photos, farther out perspective of how out of alignment that tire is. The mechanic told me the left was aiming outwards, but it really doesnt look like it is. See below:

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a369/mikewags/Car/IMG_0322.jpg

Edited by mikewags

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I took a few more snapshots after pulling the car out of the garage.

Back View

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a369/mikewags/Car/IMG_0332.jpg

Over rear fender (you can see the tire tapering in a bit)

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a369/mikewags/Car/IMG_0339.jpg

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a369/mikewags/Car/IMG_0339.jpg

If I decide to go at it myself - this will be my workspace :stupid:

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a369/mikewags/Car/IMG_0338.jpg

Ain't she a beaut.

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a369/mikewags/Car/IMG_0343.jpg

Edited by mikewags

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Sorry, but I can't really tell anything from those pics. You really need to hold a long straight edge across the rear tire to see what it looks like. A 4' level or straight 2X4 would work. Hold the straight edge halfway up the tire so that it touches in two spots. Now you will see where the front of the board points. Does the front of the board point towards the car, straight ahead, or away from the car?

Other than a diff leak, the underbody looks pretty clean. You should be able to get everything apart easily.

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After banging away for a while, I tried to pull them out by stacking washers under the nuts, but it just stripped the threads right off the pins. Finally, I cut the pins off at each end of the knuckle and took the knuckles to work. I heated the crap out of the first one with a torch before using a commercial quality pneumatic/hydraulic press. It took every last bit of the press' power to push the pin out and when it did move, it sounded like a gun was fired each time the pin slipped a few mm.

The hammering method didn't work on mine even though the locking wedge came out without any problems and the pins were in excellent condition. The puller made child's play out of the job and the pins cam out like butta. If I hadn't ruined the threads on one end with the hammering method, I would have been able to re-use the pins.

Note that the puller engages with much more of the thread than the nut does so it has a better hold of the pin. Also, pulling the pin out would in theory stretch the pin, making it thinner over all, whereas using a press would expand the pin making removal more difficult.

When I installed the new pins and freshly re-plated locking wedges, I coated them with anti-seize to make sure that they would be easy to get out in the future.

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It's hard to get a good shot, especially with a small digital camera. Regardless, in person you can pretty easily tell its off.

Would it be worth changing the differential gasket out during this project? (Don't know if it would be easier while the rear suspension is out).

Edited by mikewags

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To seal the diff cover, the mustache bar must be removed, so yes, it would be easier while you already have it off for the mustache bar bushings.

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The hammering method didn't work on mine even though the locking wedge came out without any problems and the pins were in excellent condition. The puller made child's play out of the job and the pins cam out like butta. If I hadn't ruined the threads on one end with the hammering method, I would have been able to re-use the pins.

Note that the puller engages with much more of the thread than the nut does so it has a better hold of the pin. Also, pulling the pin out would in theory stretch the pin, making it thinner over all, whereas using a press would expand the pin making removal more difficult.

When I installed the new pins and freshly re-plated locking wedges, I coated them with anti-seize to make sure that they would be easy to get out in the future.

Yep, I agree completely with everything you said. Unfortunately, nobody had designed the puller yet and I was in a time crunch so I never took the time to come up with a puller myself.

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Would you guys says air tools are a necessity for this job? (Removal of the rear suspension).

I would imagine there will be some really tight bolts back there.

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I'd say they are helpful, but not required for rear suspension work considering your Z looks to be rust free. There really aren't that many fasteners to do the job you are looking to do.

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Would you guys says air tools are a necessity for this job?

If you're asking these kinds of questions, you're probably not ready for this job. Air tools are always better then hand tools, but hand tools can get the job done just fine.

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If you're asking these kinds of questions, you're probably not ready for this job. Air tools are always better then hand tools, but hand tools can get the job done just fine.

There is no doubt in my mind that this Job is over my head, but unless I happen to come across some money walking down the street; i doubt I will be able to have my guy do this.

I have loads of hand tools; and can borrow air tools & compressor if needed. I am just trying to prevent any unnecessary frustration by having everything readily accessible.

Once again, thanks for all the advice guys.

Edited by mikewags

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I think you can fix this problem for all intents and purposes by just installing the camber adjusting bushings and the plates. That eliminates the spindle pin problems and makes it much more of a DIY project. Ideally you'd do the outers too, but if you're just looking to fix the toe issue I don't think it's necessary. There isn't a whole lot of rubber in the outers, so they are not going to be the source of a really bad toe problem.

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