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Discussion Starter #1
I've been meaning to start a new build thread here for a while, but just haven't had the time/patience to really go back to the beginning and repost all the old stuff. So I'll just start from now, and not worry so much about the previous stuff.

I've had this car for about 18 years now, and she sat unused for far too much of that time, stored wherever I could manage. In early 2015, I had to move her and didn't have many options since I was on crutches from a foot surgery, so a friend offered to help and we brought the car to his shop for some vehicular surgery. It took several months (and a lot of hopping around on one foot), but I got the front end all back together and woke the engine up again. Finally, the car could move under her own power again!

But...registration was an issue. I finally got that sorted out a few months ago, so now I can legally drive the car, but it's not a great ride. I could see caster was not even close side-to-side, and the car shakes over 60mph or so. But that's easy to fix, just replace more parts!



 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I've been sitting on these Street or Track LCAs and strut rods for a while and just installed them last weekend. As you can see in the pics, I also picked up a good spring compressor for when I piece together the rest of Shaun's coilover kit. In addition, I have some new reverse-eye 5-leafs and Bilstein shocks waiting to go on the rear, but we ran out of time this weekend.

Right now, I need an alignment more than anything. Must be like 2" of toe-out with the strut rods set to minimum thread engagement (max length), it's pretty funny lookin. After that, I need to find someone who can tune a carb properly. I rebuilt it, but it isn't very smooth yet.



Old 'n busted:


New hotness:


Yeah, that happened.


Work in progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Obligatory Quarterly Update:

I've been having a heck of a time finding an alignment shop that:
  • knows how to work on an old car with custom suspension
  • is willing to work on an old car at all
  • is local enough that I can get towed there and not be worried about the drive back home
Well, I'm getting closer and decided to go ahead and replace my tie rods and sleeves just so there's a minimum of old & crusty parts to work with.
NPD had a smokin' deal on their "best replacement" tie rods and I couldn't resist. They should be waiting for me when I get home.

It's been really difficult to not just purchase the rest of the Street or Track coilover package, but I'm TRYING to be "smart" and only buy what I need to get rolling down the road for now.

Once I have a free weekend, I'll swap out the tie rods and take care of my rear leafs/shocks at the same time. Then I can make the appointment for alignment and have MOST of the variables taken care of ahead of time and reduce the likelihood that the shop will find something that I need to replace on the fly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, due to the hassle and cost of a good alignment, I'm going to just bite the bullet. I started an email chain with Shaun @ Street or Track this morning and I will soon be pulling the trigger on his UCAs and Bilstein coilovers!

I'm really excited about this, and am trying to forget that I'll soon have more money into the suspension that I spent on the purchase of the car...

But just look at it...isn't it completely worth it?

 

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Looks great! I have never done an alignment but several members here do their own and swear that is the way to go. Once I get my front end installed, I will probably research and take a shot at it.
 

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Well, due to the hassle and cost of a good alignment, I'm going to just bite the bullet. I started an email chain with Shaun @ Street or Track this morning and I will soon be pulling the trigger on his UCAs and Bilstein coilovers!

I'm really excited about this, and am trying to forget that I'll soon have more money into the suspension that I spent on the purchase of the car...

But just look at it...isn't it completely worth it?

Man that setup looks nice! I'm about to do the whole front suspension and alignment myself. Going to be fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Looks great! I have never done an alignment but several members here do their own and swear that is the way to go. Once I get my front end installed, I will probably research and take a shot at it.
Man that setup looks nice! I'm about to do the whole front suspension and alignment myself. Going to be fun!
I've read the same, but it doesn't seem very feasible for me right now. The car is in the driveway (decently sloped) and no room to pull into the flat garage. Even if I could, there's no room on either side to work. I would like to get the tools and do this one day, but I will have my own place and will be driving the car around by that time anyway.

Big kudos to anyone who tackles their own alignment! I will do my best to get it close and at least safe to drive to the shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The rest of my coilover kit will arrive on Monday! Shaun has been super helpful and I can't wait for install day.

I've just been biding my time watching episodes of AutoRestoMod. Just about every time I watch one of those, I think, "Oh yeah, I'll need to do that to my car at some point."
 

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I'm not sure how I missed your initial posting.

Congratulations on holding on to it that long, and welcome to the board.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Weekend before last, I installed the driver's side. The step bit I used only went up to 1/2" but that was plenty sufficient; no need to enlarge for the bolts. And DAMN that thing chewed through the metal in no time. I really expected more of a fight.

The biggest issues I had were:

1. UCA removal. I wanted to get everything off together and that was a big pain (I did manage it, though). Probably would have been easier to remove the perches, but I just couldn't get the bolts off with the spring in the way. I was either going to round the bolts or break my wrench. A helper would have made this go smoother, one person to crank the compressor and one to pull the UCA out of the shock tower and over the calilper/spindle.

2. Drilling the upper shock tower bracket holes. What a mess! I'm not sure how to make this work better on the passenger side. I lined up my export brace, marked and drilled holes, and then realized that the bracket/spacer thing would not fit due to the upper perch. I couldn't find my dremel (might be in storage somewhere) so I went to town with a jigsaw and managed to slot the holes just enough to force it all together. If anyone has some tips on this, I'd appreciate any help! I think because the export brace and, well, the whole car flexes a bit, it's not really "lined up" until everything is tightened down.

3. Sway bar endlinks. These are definitely too long. I swear I've seen shorter ones for sale somewhere, but couldn't find them. I cut down the spacer with my hacksaw (that was fun), but I may need a shorter bolt, too. This may be trial & error, as I'm not 100% sure that I can just cut the bolt threads down and be OK since there is only so much thread on that bolt. If anyone else has run into this, I'd love to hear what you did.

I have a buddy helping me tackle the passenger side this weekend. Even with the struggles, it was nice sitting back and seeing this:



 

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Discussion Starter #14
A couple of weeks ago, I installed new Bilstein rear shocks and 5-leaf springs. They're reverse-eye, but I'm surprised the car didn't end up lower. I'll have to fiddle with the front to get the ride height even, but I'm glad to have it all done with finally.

Next on the list is installing my new mirrors. This is a bit of a challenge since they're universal and the mounting bracket is flat-bottomed. I'll need to make some kind of base that can fit in the depression in the door.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I (sort of) got my mirrors installed. I don't consider this a permanent solution, but this allowed me to mount them to appear level and I'll feel more comfortable with the wider viewing angle when driving around. Just need to come up with another way to get the same result.

I'm sure this isn't for everyone, but I really like the mirror style and am not planning to go back to something stock-like, with the possible exception of the round bullet-style mirrors and I don't know if those are convex enough.

IMG_20170908_092713 by Matt V., on Flickr

IMG_20170908_092719 by Matt V., on Flickr

IMG_20170908_092701 by Matt V., on Flickr

Pardon the filthy car...I have high hopes that one day I'll fit her in the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I've built new brackets for the mirrors, but no pics uploaded yet. Also fired her up for the first time in a while and stretched her legs a bit. Something's goofy with the breaks...I may have the rear shoes overcompensating for the crappy parking brake, as they seem really grabby. I should probably get some new shoes on there anyway.

The steering is also super sloppy. I'm looking at rebuild kits, but I think I'll have to wait on pulling the box, as I have a move coming up next month. Unfortunately, I will no longer have parking space for two cars (my gf and I are finally getting a place together and we only have parking for two). Some friends just bought a decent-sized property and will let me store the car there and work on it whenever I need to. It's a bummer, but hopefully we will save enough to move somewhere with more parking!
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Wow, just over a year since my last post. Sadly, I have not gotten to work on the car. Living with the GF and there seems to always be something going on during the weekends. I'm also in the process of eliminating my credit debt, and while that really is not fun, I know it'll allow me to have more fun once it's all gone!

I did grab a new Hurst shift lever, boot, and knob, as well as a universal add-on fuse box to make some of my wiring easier until I can justify the AAW harness. Looks like those went up in price sometime in the last year or two and now they're upwards of $800!

I'm hoping to spend some time with the car one of these upcoming weekends.

Oh, and I also picked up a 2008 Subaru Forester XT Sports (AWD and turbo 2.5L) for DD duty, and sold the BRZ. Having an extra 100 or so HP is pretty nice, but damn do I miss how sharp that car can turn. Gotta say, it's a hell of a lot nicer going to Costco with the Forester, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I spent some time on the car this past weekend, mainly I wanted to take the rear drums apart and confirm sizes. They're 10 x 1-3/4, which I should have expected, but it doesn't hurt to be 100% certain. I'll get some new shoes for sure, and maybe just pick up new drums while I'm at it. Future goal is a new rearend, but it just isn't critical if the car isn't going anywhere yet.

I'm really struggling with how to proceed on a couple of bigger-ticket items, namely the engine and the wiring harness. I swear the AAW kit went up like $100-150 at some point, and now it's over $800 everywhere I look. Since I can't trust what was done before me, and I probably can't trust what 20-year-old me did either, I want to rip & replace for peace of mind. Plus, my computer building experience makes me long for clean wire routing, and there's just no point in tackling that until it's all new. This is at least a project I can tackle on my own on the occasional weekend, especially since there's not much else I can do outside of the house these days. I settled on the AAW kit years ago, but maybe I could rethink my needs and get something less costly.

As for the engine, I'm leaning more and more towards a long block from maybe BluePrint. I still have more research to do there, but I just can't justify the cost of a FordStrokers build now that they only use the Dart blocks. I won't be racing this car, but I do want to be able to carve up a mountain road. If I were to build a stroker, I'd likely go 331ci, but this would require a lot of teardown (which I can do with some help, most likely), but I'd need to farm out inspection and machining. No guarantees my block is worth saving, as it's been rebuilt at least once in it's lifetime (approx. 250k miles on it now). Adding up the costs of all the goodies to go along with increased displacement and suddenly a long block with warranty looks pretty damn good. If I go that route, I'd just skip right to a 347.

I do not have an engine hoist, but I do have a stand. Even so, there's the matter of space to work. Since this is a friend's garage and he has to store a lot of other stuff in there, I may not have the ability to keep an engine on a stand for months while I disassemble/reassemble it, which makes a replacement more appealing as well. That said, I'd either have to sell the original engine or try and turn it into a coffee table!

I'm open to opinions on the above. Nothing is set in stone.

In other news, I'm fortunate enough to have a job that can be done remotely, so I have not felt the economic impact that many others have during this time. On the one hand, I'm saving a lot of gas money. On the other hand, I've been spending more on Amazon orders to keep me occupied (I do a bit of leatherworking in my spare time). The downside of still working is that I don't have much more free time than normal. I save about 1.5hrs a day on commute time, but that's not really time I can spend on the car since it's not at home with me.

Cheers, and I hope everyone is staying healthy and sane. ?
 
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