If you saw my post Friday morning you saw I had a large pile of parts to install on the Milan on Friday. Here’s the outcome, it’s a long post I’ll do a TL;DR at the bottom.
For those who missed it:
You probably saw the last update was a broken sledgehammer (thanks harbor freight). What you didn’t see was that I also broke the pickle fork. And a standard wrench. And a ball joint separator I borrowed from the mechanic who lives down the street. Lots of pain and intense manual labor led me to that point.
So after a full day of breaking tools on my rusted together car I called it quits for the day and the mechanic down the street agreed to work a saturday to help me out. It’s a very interested business plan he has, he’s called the Mobile Mechanic. Does everything out of a big E-Series van. Even has an air compressor in the back to run pneumatic tools on site. Theory is, no overhead from owning an actual shop. Man it’s gotta be hard on the body to not have a lift to use while doing this day in and day out though.
So Saturday came and we got to work.
We try more pickle forks and sledges, nothing will separate the ball joints on this damn thing. Heat wouldn’t even help! Had the torch on em.
That’s it. Time to cut em, I’ve got all new control arms so it’s being replaced anyhow. About 5 disc/blades per side of the car to cut through the inch think stud going through the knuckle. Now the problem of getting the stud out of the knuckle. So we removed the knuckle and got out the replacement to that little harbor freight sledge, which was a full length 8 pounder. So now the sleeve that stud sits in pops out of the knuckle too (sorry wish I had more pics to explain all this shit but I was paying this guy by the hour to work with me, even if it was a discounted rate because I was helping). So we get the stud and the sleeve out of the knuckle. Now what? we need those sleeves. Well he’s friends with the guy directly across the street from me, who happens to have a 20 ton press in his garage. So we take them over there, first time we press one out BANG goes everywhere. We found the pieces and we’re good they didn’t break.
Now that we’ve got it figured out we can get to work re-assembling. About 45 minutes after all that we have 1 side done. We started at 8 am, it’s now around 1.
ROUND 2 - FIGHT
On to the driver’s side now. Same problems as the other side, except we didn’t work as hard on it, we went straight to cutting the lower control arms off. Found out the Sway Bar Link was garbage on this side, had to run to the store to buy a new one. He keeps working while I run to the store, this side is going a lot quicker, that’s the usual though isn’t it after you’ve figured it out on the other side?
So we’re about to put it back together and be done aaaaand one of the slide pins on the brake caliper isn’t going in right. some brake clean hit the rubber on the end of the pin, it expanded and won’t fit. I send him on his way so I can stop paying him at this point because I just had to run to the store and get a new slide pin and put the brake back together which is easy enough to do myself.
So I close it up and call the shop to get an alignment on it so I can come to work today. It’s 4:15 at this point and I know they close at 6. They say we can get you in if you’re here in the next 15 minutes. I made it there in 10.
So all of the “slop” in the steering is gone, and I swear the alignment was better on the way to the shop than it was before we started all this. Now it drives GREAT. Mechanic said he couldn’t believe how difficult this project was and that I shouldn’t feel bad because I did everything right the car just fought me on it every step of the way.
So this weekend the Milan received: 2 quick struts, 6 front control arms, 2 outer tie rod ends, 1 sway bar link, and 2 new brake caliper slide pins.
TL;DR - this job was a bitch thanks to our salty roads leading to a shit ton of rust under my car. I’m crazy grateful I have a mobile mechanic down the road who could help me out because I REALLY needed to be at work today. he did give me a discount because I worked with him and he said it would have taken him many more hours if he didn’t have a second set of hands with him.
As you can tell giving the investment - I’ve called off the replacement daily driver search and I’m keeping the Milan long term.