Having never done a full restoration before, I had no clue where to begin. Since I completely overhauled the rear suspension on my daily driver Spider a few years ago and found it to be a fairly easy and straightforward job, I decided that this would be a great place to start. Nothing better than an easy job to build your confidence and move forward. Or so I thought…..
I dedicated one of the bays of my 2-bay garage to serve as storage for parts and work area. Dismantling the rear suspension and differential went as easily as predicted and in no time at all, the differential was sitting on one of my work tables.
After further dismantling the half-shaft tubes I decided to attack the trailing arms. Remembering how I destroyed a trailing arm while attempting to remove the old bushings using my 10-ton press, I decided to use the hacksaw and drift punch method. After about 4 hours (over several days) of fruitless efforts, I decided to call it quits and bring them to a local machine shop to have them milled out. After 50 years these bushings weren’t going anywhere. On a positive note, I was able to add some new words to the religious vocabulary of Quebec.
After looking at the trailing arms, the machinist warned me that the cost could be anywhere from 50-170$ per arm depending on how smoothly things went. Considering a brand new trailing arm is about 95$ at Classic Alfa I opted to order new ones instead. This would also save me the trouble of sanding them down and paint.
While waiting for my parts to be delivered I proceeded to sand and paint the other components. I am a big fan of POR-15. The prep work is a little long but you end up with a nice and durable glossy finish. The one downfall of POR-15 is UV exposure and anything exposed to sunlight should be top coated. Although these parts would never see direct sunlight (so I hope), I still opted to toap coat everything.
In addition to the trailing arms, my order also contained uprated polyurethane bushings, rear wheel bearings and all handbrake components. For some reason all the handbrake components were missing.
There were a couple of tasks ahead that I was dreading. The first was sanding down the coil springs but as you saw in one of my previous posts, the electrolysis made that an easy and effortless job. The other was removing the wheel bearings. One of the advantages of being a member of the Alfa Romeo Club of Ottawa is having access to factory tools. Unfortunately a wheel bearing puller is not part of our inventory. After a bit of research in the Alfa Romeo Factory Tool Manual, I saw how the factory tool worked. I figured I could achieve the same results with one of my pullers. The method uses the handbrake shoe backing plate to press the bearing off the shaft. Contrary to the 2000 which uses a shrink ring, the 1300-1750 models use a castellated nut that needs to be removed prior to pressing out the bearing.
After a few weekends of hard work I was finally ready to put everything back together.
And that’s when it started going downhill…….
To be continued in Part 2.