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  #1  
Old 03-16-2008, 05:35 PM
Meridious Meridious is offline
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Unhappy Front Suspension Woes

I decided to rework the front suspension while my engine is out of my T-bird (1960)...all went well with the coil spring removals, etc...but when I tried to actually remove the lower-arm/a-frame, I ran into a problem.

The bolts on the frame-side of the lower A-frame/arm (whichever you prefer to call it) are 1 1/8 in size, but the heads are so thin you can barely get a wrench or socket over them.

Now, I know some tricks to keep from stripping the head of a bolt, but I am coming nearer and nearer reaching that point. The head of this bolt is less than 1/4 inch deep, and apparently is torqued to oblivion.

I've tried everything short of using my acetylene torch to heat the bolt red-hot and then wait for it to return to gray, and then try to break it free. This has never failed with a bolt that is perhaps an inch or so in depth, but this funky bolt is so long (through the frame) I don't know if the heat would penetrate well-enough to free it.

These have to be some of the most frustrating bolts I've come across considering that it is staring me right in the face and is easily accessible. It should be a no-brainer to remove these, but again...the bolt head is so thin and the torque so high that I am at a loss on how to break these loose. Rounding the head off is becoming nearer and nearer.

For any of you who have removed these bolts, how on earth did you manage to do it? Are mine just torqued beyond all reason?

I can't go any further in my efforts until I get these removed (And I can't turn back now), and the only thing I see I can do from this point is use heat and hope it works. If not, I face the daunting task of burning them out/ cutting them out with a torch and praying I can somehow replace them.

Any ideas? Am I missing something....perhaps that these somehow don't need to be removed (though I don't see how that is possible)?

Thanks,

Merid

Last edited by Meridious : 03-16-2008 at 05:39 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2008, 06:53 PM
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Bob M Bob M is offline
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Merid
I have a 59 the bottom A-Frame is bolted at the back to the round tubing and the front is bolted to square frame there are 5/8 bolts that I took out and then used a punch to drive the 1 1/8 part out of the round tubing at the back side it slides through the tubbing.I am just a barn yard mechianic and do not know the names of all the parts, but I rebuild the upper and lower a frames with all new bushings and ball joints hope this may help you figure it out as I had the same problems
Bob M
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  #3  
Old 03-16-2008, 07:17 PM
Meridious Meridious is offline
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Thanks....so then just to make sure I understand...the inner 5/8-head bolts are removed, and then a good sized-punch
can be used to drive the "what looks like a bolt" out of the corss-member and the frame?

So, it has a bolt-head, but in reality it is just there to help with the tightening/loosening of the inner bolts..and can be 'driven' out?

Man, I sure hope that is the case. I have the 1960 shop/repair manual, and it doesn't go into ANY detail about driving out/removing that humongous so-called bolt...so I thought I had to loosen and remove this crazy thing. It has to be the thinnest head on a 'bolt' that I've ever seen....especially to be that large.

Thanks a lot...
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:39 PM
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I belive that is the way I did it just watch that you do not mess up the threads so you can put it back together
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  #5  
Old 03-16-2008, 08:10 PM
RustyNCa RustyNCa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meridious View Post
Thanks....so then just to make sure I understand...the inner 5/8-head bolts are removed, and then a good sized-punch
can be used to drive the "what looks like a bolt" out of the corss-member and the frame?

So, it has a bolt-head, but in reality it is just there to help with the tightening/loosening of the inner bolts..and can be 'driven' out?

Man, I sure hope that is the case. I have the 1960 shop/repair manual, and it doesn't go into ANY detail about driving out/removing that humongous so-called bolt...so I thought I had to loosen and remove this crazy thing. It has to be the thinnest head on a 'bolt' that I've ever seen....especially to be that large.

Thanks a lot...
Yeah that's the way I remember mine coming apart also. But I don't remember fighting getting them loose, it was more getting them to slide out and allow the a arm to drop out.
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  #6  
Old 03-16-2008, 11:57 PM
FeFranco FeFranco is offline
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Lightbulb

Unfortunately, it is 8:50 pm and I can't take a look at mine to jog my memory of when I removed/replaced my lower arms. I think your missing something. I will take a look at mine tomorrow and see if I can recall the procedure. Be patient
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  #7  
Old 03-17-2008, 12:36 AM
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I completely misunderstood your earlier PM. These guys are right, don't worry about the large headed end of the 'bolts' You need to remove the small headed ones, the ends that face in towards each other. As I recall, they are actually bolts too, the studs with the thin hex head are threaded internally at the other end.

Here's a couple of pics from mine. First, the driver's side rear bolt:

Front of car is to the right, that's the greasy cross tube on the left. That bolt you see is what you remove.

Now the driver's side front:

Again, front of car is to the right. This one has the bolt removed and the shaft or pin that the arm hangs on is pushed back, to the right in this image. Once you push them back, you can drop the arm out.

I had to use channel locks to hold that large hex when I was tightening them up putting it back together, but only to get things started. Once they tightened up, they held tight themselves. To remove them, I didn't hold them at all.

I hope that helps.
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2008, 08:48 AM
Meridious Meridious is offline
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Dgs: You didn't misunderstand. I noticed when you replied to my PM that I had said "UPPER arm"....so it was not you...it was my fault. I meant lower-arm, but my keyboard seemed to want to say 'upper.'

I will try tapping out those nasty 'bolts' this afternoon. If they tap out I am going to laugh for quite a while at all the time I wasted trying to get them to 'turn' and loosen. It was the only time during the break-down and removal of the front-end that I got frustrated. Well...the cotter-pins on both lower ball-joint nuts rusted in place and broke off in bad positions. I saw that coming, and had let them soak in some break-free oil, but to no avail.

Other than that and my lack of knowledge regarding these pesky 'bolts'...the disassembly has gone well.

I do see a problem coming with regard to re-installing the springs...with the engine out of the car, it lacks a good 400+ lbs, and I will likely HAVE to use a spring compressor in conjunction with the floor-jack method.

Fun, Fun. But it will be well-worth it, I am sure. The ball joints were not in horrible shape, but the a-frame/arm bushings are just completely shot. Nothing has ever been replaced. The ball joints are all the originals.

The tie-rod ends were shot, as well.

The sway-bar bolts just snapped off when I tried to loosen them and the brake-lines just snapped right off when I loosened the fittings. The fittings came free very easily, but the line must have been frozen to the fittings, and just twisted right off.

So, I need to add front brake lines (rubber and solid) to my list of 'extra' parts I need to purchase, and I might go ahead and change the brake-line junction and master cylinder. It's looking pretty bad.

There are always surprises, aren't there?




Thanks for the help.

Last edited by Meridious : 03-17-2008 at 09:16 AM.
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  #9  
Old 03-17-2008, 09:21 AM
Meridious Meridious is offline
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Anyone know if Napa carries these old T-bird brake-lines (rubber and steel) and master cylinders? if so, you think I'd be better off price-wise (or dependability-wise) by getting the parts from the Bird's nest, etc?

I notice the Bird's Nest carries a complete brake-line set for $175. Seeing how bad my front brake lines are, it is probably a no-brainer that I should take a little extra time and dollars to replace the rear as well.

Is it me or does it just seem 'safer' to order from a T-bird shop? I know if Napa can get this stuff, they are going to have to order it, and I won't trust that it is the right stuff until I get it in my car.

Maybe I am just too much of a pessimist.

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  #10  
Old 03-17-2008, 02:50 PM
ncbird ncbird is offline
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Default Brakes

Got my master cylinder from Carquest and had Booster Dewey redo the vacuum booster. Got my brake lines from Macs but be aware most of the brake lines have to be made up. My full set took almost a month to get here. If it is just a few front hard lines you can make them yourself. You need a good quality bender and a double flaring tool. It must be a double or the flare is not strong enough. I dont hesitate to source as much locally as I can. Just my two cents worth. Grant
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