I am planning to rebuild the front end on my '70 convertible soon. I am not a mechanic but have managed to muddle my way through things like a new intake, carb, distributor, steering wheel, shocks, export brace, remote mirror etc with the help of some googlng and youtube. However this task feels a bit more daunting so I am debating whether to just pay someone to do it. I have bought new Moog upper and lower control arms, tie rods, sleeves, strut rod bushings and sway bar links as well as a new power steering control valve, cylinder and all new hoses.
So, without a hoist or a ton of mechanical knowledge, is this something I should tackle on my own or no? Can anyone offer a basic step by step or order of removal/replacement and or tips? Do I have most of what I should need or should I also do coils/perches/isolators/strut rods/spindles/special tools or anything else?
Royce has much experience. I just did this but differently in that my components were in good shape and some new-ish. I just wanted to restore all the parts and replace the strut bushings. So I took it all apart on jack stands.
Sounds like you know your way around a torque wrench from your previous “muddling”. You are working on steering so you want to get it right. Inspect those spring perch’s well in the rubber area.
Take your time and get the shop manual, it is your friend. Also, be aware that there is supposed to be several safety cotter pins in several bolts. Put them back in.
Your biggest enemy in this is rusted bolts, nuts and cotter pins. Your need a coil spring compressor to do it also. Remove the sway bar first and reinstall last. Didn’t notice sway bushings on your list? Then the strut rod front nut and leave the rear nut alone. That way you won’t change the lower control arm adjustment. New spring lower perches are good to change also right now along with the upper coil spring insulator. Unless your strut rods are rusted out badly, they don’t need replacing. Unless you want pricy adjustable ones. After you get the strut rod bushing done, then unbolt them at the lower arm spots. Replace the lower control arm making note where the camber adjusters are. (the eccentric on the frame) Remove the shock, compress the coil spring (very carefully, if it breaks loose and hits you, they can be deadly), then remove the upper arm. Watch for shims behind the upper arm’s attaching bolts.
Use the old tierod stuff to setup the new ones. Don’t tighten anything until it’s on the ground and bounce it a few times to settle everything in. While on the ground tighten everything up.
Drive it a few times and while still on the ground loosen and retighten the suspension.
Make sure you use a good set of jack stands under it. To compress the coil spring, I use a jack on the lower control arm and jack it up enough to lift up the car. Then tighten the compressor some more, jack again, tighten some more. The weight of the car helps to compress the spring easier. Don’t hang the brakes on the hoses, good way to break them internally and not know it.
Not absolutely necessary, but a huge “nice to have” when not working on a lift is an impact gun of some sort be it pneumatic or cordless, it will make the work much more enjoyable. Still doable without impact tools but it will take much longer and be much sweatier when not on a lift as it is harder to get good leverage and positioning on your back.
I’ve done plenty of work without impact tools, and generally don’t use power tools for most work on my fleet of classics to prevent damage, but crusty suspension gets into the sweaty work fast, so just double your beer budget if you don’t have the impact tools.
I just finished rebuilding the front suspension on my 68 in my garage with the car sitting on jack stands. It’s not particularly complicated, just lots of grunt work. The only special tool I bought was a spring compressor. I made a quick and dirty ball joint separator using a 1/2” coupling nut and two bolts. Rather than take everything off all at once, I replaced both lower arms first, then removed the springs and did the uppers. That way the spindle stays connected to one ball joint at all times and you don’t need to disconnect the brake line or fight with wire trying to hang it out of the way.
I just finished my whole front end and the steering too this last month. I too hot the Mook upper and lower control arms as they come with new ball joints so just pushed all the old. You will want the new spring perches too that articulate as they are so much better. I got new springs as I wanted the front lower by one inch. WCCC has a free loaner spring compressor I borrowed and worked well. That helped to make a scary job easy.
The tirods I only ended up replacing the inners as the outters were fine. I cleaned up all the rust, and repainted everything black while I was doing it. I
Just put new rubber bushings on the study rods and made new “eyes” the whole the go through out of a piece of sink pipe as they are usually rusted out. The rods should be fine. I have lots of photos I haven’t posted yet but can if you want to see what I did.
I am like you having never done this but studied a lot of videos. I have no air tools, didn’t need them. Only basic power tools. Didn’t really use them. Mostly need some good big wrenches. I used PB Blaster penetrating oil before trying to crack any 50 year old nuts. Works fast and well.
I just used floor jack stands. It was probably the most daunting project yet but very satisfying to complete by myself! I took my time doing a little every day then hit on the weekend. I figure I spent two weeks doing that way working around my regular job schedule.
Then I tackled the power steering but that is a whole another project!