Productive Wrenching Weekend

I’ve been working on the winter project of revamping the suspension (and fixing some major oil leaks) on the RX7 so that by spring it’s ready to do like last year, and just be driven. I made some good progress the past two days.

First though, I noticed late this past week that the exhaust on the Crown Vic was getting very loud, in both “this sounds like an open header” as well as the loudest leak-ticking I’ve ever heard. It turns out the flange on the driver’s side between the manifold and cat was loose. The stud consists of rust, not threads, so a pipe clamp was wrapped around the flange, yielding the quietest that car’s exhaust has been in years, leak-wise. We’ll see if it holds up.

MOOG branded, made by 555 in Japan

Back on the RX7, most of the weekend was spent working on the front end. Control arms (bushings and balljoints), tension rod bushings, endlinks, and swaybar bushings have all been removed and replaced, and because I can’t remove something that should be painted and not repaint it, the tension rods are freshly black as well. Sway bar/endlinks and tension rods got poly bushings, everything else will be staying rubber. It’s a daily, not a race car.

In the above picture, you’ll see that I also painted the new tie rod ends - one of my greatest annoyances is that all these parts come in bare as-cast state, and flash rust as soon as you drive near a puddle or park on a humid day. I would gladly pay a couple extra dollars for paint or powdercoat on new parts (heck, even a black oxide to slow things down) but nope. The idler and pitman arm have a darker finish that should hold up.

Next step is to wrap up with the front end (for now) - I replaced the pitman arm today (including a predictably-dramatic pitman arm removal, since it was very well on there) and have the tie rods assembled in a close enough length to get it together and on the ground to break out the string. Hopefully in the next couple days I’ll get the steering all together, greased, the last of the bushings torqued (with the car’s weight on them) and so on.


After that will be engine and trans mounts, before moving on to the rear suspension.

But wait! You say, what about the shocks and struts? I’m working on it. All the performance ones are discontinued and all I can find are meh-grade replacements. Odds are they’ll be the last thing to get swapped out this phase of the project, since it’s going to take that long to find a good set...

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