12/9/07 – Spindle Paint & Steering

Or maybe this should have been called, "two steps forward, one step back."  Why?  Well, despite some good progress, there have been a couple of setbacks (not the last, I’m sure).  First, the progress.

As you know from last time, I was thinking of different ways to paint some of the donor parts given our lovely Pacific Northwest weather (lows around freezing & highs around 40).  I settled on keeping the parts and paint in the house at a nice room temperature, then taking them outside to paint, before bringing them back inside to cure.
First up on Saturday, the front spindles get some primer:


Then on Sunday, they get some black paint:


You can see that there are some brackets bolted on the upper portion of the spindle  The original Mustang utilized McPhereson struts attached to this point.  Since the FFR uses a dual wishbone setup, it needs a way to attach to the upper control arm – these brackets.

Then it was time to turn my attention to the steering rack.  This was the next thing I could install while waiting for those pesky back-ordered upper control arms (they should be here early next week, by the way).  Step one for the rack was to install the FFR spacers that extend the rack outward to clear the frame before the tie rod angles towards the spindle.  In order to install these extenders I had to pull back the boots – when I did this 1/2 pint of steering fluid poured out (this picture was from before the oil spill…):


Obviously the seals are bad – replacing them requires special tools and would cost about as much as just replacing the whole thing…  I did some calling around and found a new steering rack at Shucks up on Aurora Ave.  On Sunday we picked up the new rack, returned the old one as a core, added the extenders and swapped out the tie rod ends. 

Oh, speaking of the rod ends, good news here.  They are Baer bump steer tie rod ends (and not cheap). Fixing bump steer is a good thing on a lowered car like the FFR.  But, once again, there was a problem.  One of the rod ends had threads that were completely bunged-up:


Finally, I got the steering rack installed and added the shaft and bearings.   There are a couple of u-joints that I had to rotate just the right way in order for it to all line up (the directions call for installing the shaft first, then the rack, but really, who reads those?):


As I mentioned to a friend of mine, the older I get, the more satisfied I become with small victories.  So, although this is less than I thought I’d get done this weekend, it still represents forward progress and I’ll take it.