Time for a Test Drive!

Today was put-it-back-together-and-go-for-a-ride day.  So, yesterday I rebuilt the calipers, and painted them a nice red.  Today, they went into the over.  200F for 90 minutes to cure the paint.  Supposedly, this improves the chemical resistance of the pain.  We shall see.  Nothing like the smell of paint baking in the morning!

I spent some time working on a different project (a table for my Mother…2 years late!) while the brakes were baking.  Once I reached a stopping point on the table the brakes were long since done (90 minutes in the oven, and just about as long to cool back down).  Time to put it all together!

First the front brakes.

Gotta make sure that everything is close at hand, and prep’d:

  • Clips
  • Pads
  • Springs
  • Caliper (cleaned and ready to install)
  • Caliper bolts (cleaned and greased with fresh grease)

There is a caliper support frame that actually holds the brake pads.  I put some anti-seize on the bolts and tighten to 50 ft-lbs.    There are some small spring-steel clips that fit into the caliper support bracket.  These help the pads slide back and forth.  It seems like you need about 7 hands to hold the clips in while you get the pad in place.  But wait…it gets worse!

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There are two small springs that help push the pads back when the pedal is released.  These springs fit into small holes drilled in the pad backing plate.  Hold the calipers with one hand, while inserting the springs with the other.  The reach for the caliper and fit over the pads and springs.

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Installed.  Note: The brake lines must head straight towards the chassis from the caliper.  Otherwise, the won’t clear the wheel.  In the following picture they are not routed correctly.  You can see they come out from the caliper parallel to the driveline, and then turn towards the hardline.  This was incorrect, which I learned when I tried to install the wheel.

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The picture above (right), and below (left) are of the rear calipers.  Installation is the same as the fronts.  In the rear there is only one spring.  It fits between the pads at the top of the calipers.

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After I finished the brakes, it was time to change the diff, and transmission oils.  The diff drain and level plugs are 23mm and 24mm.  Mine were friggin tight.  Even with a 1/2” socket I had to brace my foot against the driver’s side wheel to generate enough force.  Funny since the torque spec is 30-50 ft-lbs (basically wrench tight).  I use redline oils for everything 75W90 for the diff, MTL for the trans.  I bought a hand-pump to push to oil into the trans and diff.  I cut the snout off the top of the redline bottle two ribs below the cap-threads.  The hand-pump fit perfectly in the snout, and made a decent seal (in case it tips while under the car).

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The transmission also has a drain plug, and a level plug.  The level plug is a square head instead of hex. This is not a good thing.  Mine was tight as a son-of-a…using a crescent wrench on something that tight is never a good thing.  Anyway, I didn’t have a choice.  I used the largest crescent that I have, and wiggled, wriggled, and fiddled to get it as tight as I could get it.  I pulled with both hands while bracing my foot against the front tire.  No luck.  So, I crawled around to the front and used my foot against the wrench.  Of course, the first time I touched it with my foot the stupid wrench fell off the plug!  Grrr….back around under the side of the car, and tighten it against the tips of the jaws, and then slide it the rest of the way on.  That made it snug.  Back to the front, and I actually had to press HARD with my leg.  Again, the torque spec is 19-28 ft-lbs…wft???!!!!

All DONE!  Time to drop it down off the jack stands and take her for a spin.  The brakes need to bedded, you know.  Torque the wheel lugs (also new Smile) to 80 ft-lbs.

Here are the brakes peeking from behind the wheels. Winking smile

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I bed in second gear.  I accelerate from 3500 to about 6000 rpm, then brake hard back to 3500 or so.  Repeat until you smell hot brakes.  Its pretty easy to tell when the pads are bedded.  Besides smelling the hot pads, once they are bedded they really start to grab.  Give it about 4 more accel/decel sequences and your done.  Here’s a pic of the driver’s front caliper after bedding the brakes…and “testing” the new ball-joints and tie-rod ends.  Unlike street pads, with the PFC97s its very easy to lock up the wheels.

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The steering was significantly improved.  About 3/4ths of the play has been taken out.  There is still just a touch.  That’s probably in the rack, or the rack-end of the tie-rods.  Someday, I might buy a rebuilt rack.  But, the steering is very drivable, as-is…even at speed.  The car doesn’t wander anymore over changing pavement.

All-in-all a good two weekends of work.  Of course, it seemed like more work than it looks like now that its all done.  Hmmm…now I have to decide what’s next.  Given the oil leak, and the elderly clutch…that’s probably where I’m headed.  I may have to find an engine hoist….

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