Suspension 5: Sprint Speciale Differential housing clean up

Having this blog to look back on is pretty neat – I get to revisit my younger self, see what I thought about stuff, and reflect on what’s changed.  Most people can probably relate to how it feels when they discover an old essay they wrote for school, or a set of pictures from some big event in their life – a very human mix of nostalgia, slightly embarrassed introspection and my-god-where-has-the-time-gone reflection on changing priorities.  Anyway, I was doing some house keeping and found this post.  I think it is as useful now as it was then.


Me in a younger mans clothes – a few days before I wrote this post.  How’s the Sprint Veloce doing Corey?

From July 30, 2008:  Cleaning up the differential housing was one of those jobs I resisted doing for a while.  Every time I looked at it the 2 hours of scraping, solvent bathing and degreaser scrubbing I would have to do flashed before my eyes and I found something else to do.  Last week I rearranged a lot of my stuff to fit the Berlina in my space and found myself once again faced with this greasy lump in a tray sitting on my bench top waiting for me to clean it.  It was time to face the subject of so much procrastination.

The housing was covered in a thick coating of dirt that had bonded with oil and built up over the years.  To save time and solvent I used a small scraper to remove the big stuff.  By the time I was done I had removed probably three pounds of the caked oily dirt.


Greasy oily goo scraped off easily, but there was so much of it that it took about an hour to get it ready for a solvent bath.

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SS 00121 engine 6 and bodywork 6: the shop sunday

Update 4pm. Aaron put up a new post on his blog with a pretty cool video of his first trip in his 1962 1600 Giulia Sprint that spent a month in my shop getting freshened up to be roadworthy with some occasional, marginally helpful pointers from me.  Check it out.

Sunday December 6th, 2009.  I didn’t have any big plans for the time I would spend at the shop, mostly catching up on some small jobs and doing some organizing.  I was cold at the shop, even with long underwear and a thick hooded sweatshirt -hoodie in California stoner parlance, so I was moving slow and not very motivated.

Veloce intake side motor mount

Veloce engine mount receives a good cleaning, new bushing and used but good shape engine mount.  Note Bendix fuel pump in the background -the subject of a future post no doubt.

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Suspension #6: The 410?

It’s official kids, I’m back on the SS. I bought a CAD plating kit today online from Caswell, ordered a set of tail light base and lens seal gaskets from Velocespace, requested a price quote for a new set of door latch buttons, a rear view mirror and some interior handles from Afra, and made a list of engine parts I still need to buy from Centerline.

As far as real work, I removed the brakes from a spare rear end I got that I am thinking I will use for the SS -but I guess I better back track a bit here before I get into the gory details. I bought a big group of parts last spring and among them was a complete rear end, which having the cable style emergency brake cable set-up meant it was from either an SS or a Sprint Veloce. I have been thinking a 4:10 rear end might make some sense for relaxed freeway cruising during commutes and with the engine being a somewhat hot 1600 it wouldn’t be too terrible off the line either. Anyhow, the other day I decided it was time to see what I had bought. It went something like this…

The gentle approach to removing drums involves tapping and pulling with your hands. That is followed by prying and hammering. Prying and hammering gives way to a big puller and when the fins start to break you call it a day and think about it until your next day at the shop. Today was that next day at the shop for me. Picture above is what it looked like today when I started.

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Suspension #1: Front lower wishbone and ball joint

Update 11/17/09: I’ll be moving the Fiat out tonight and moving the SS to front row center and starting to work on it again this weekend. All the suspension pieces could be assembled to the car by the end of the year if my plans to get floors in the car work out.

Original Post 5/22/08: I am going to use the parts book terms for these parts so there is no confusion as to what I am talking about.

The front suspension on my SS was lightly assembled without shocks to make the car a roller and it came apart without any problems. Most of the pieces just need cleaning and painting so I will deal with those as a group later, but there are some components that require great care in cleaning and restoring. The lower wishbone is one of these parts because there are several critical systems tied to it: the bushed suspension support pivots, lower ball joint, suspension limiting rebound strap, sway bar mount and lower spring seat. In this post I am going to look at the wishbone itself with regard to cleaning, and the disassembly of the ball joint. I was advised to leave the ball joints together but this one had enough play that I was worried about it having to come apart later anyway. The parts book has only one part number ( for the wishbone that fits all 101 cars and 2 are required for each car so it must be symmetrical.

The suspension components on my SS were treated with some kind of rust inhibitor that is very hard to remove, requiring a combination of scraping and media blasting. Once I have the wishbone stripped bare I tape over the openings to the support pivot bushings, to prevent blast media from getting into the grease passage ways and I masked the ball joint opening to keep media out and grease from getting in the blast cabinet. For a first pass I spend about 10 minutes removing as much of the loose coating as possible and I focus on the snap ring on the ball joint threaded ring nut. This snap ring has to be removed to thread the ring nut out.

Wishbone masked off and ready to be blasted.

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Suspension #4: Drivers side front assembly part 1

It’s nice to have a couple of working examples hanging around the shop to supplement the parts book when it comes to finalizing assemblies. Even when taking care to label and organize parts as they come apart it’s possible to mix them up and if they have been apart before, which on a 47 year old car you have to assume they have, it’s possible they are not put together correctly in the first place. I started on the complete sinestro (left) front suspension assembly with the goal of having it completely ready to bolt on the car before I moved on to the destro assembly. All of the upper wishbone parts had been cleaned and painted before I started this blog so I will deal with the assembly now as a whole for simplicity and look at most of the individual parts later in the blog as I work on the destro unit.

The first two pictures below are of the destro assembly to give an idea of the condition of the sinestro parts before I started work.

Complete lower Destro Wishbone assembly ready for hours of attention. This should give an idea of how much work went into the Sinestro assembly.

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Suspension #3: rear axle rebound straps

Rebound limit straps are very important, if the rear axle were allowed to rebound freely away from the body without them, due to a large bump, the single nut at the upper end of the shocks is the next limiting devise. This nut is small and the sheet metal it mounts the shock to is not thick so damage to this area is easily possible. The straps are a strip of layered canvas bonded with rubber which is clamped together by metal plates held together by nuts and bolts to form a loop. A rubber bump stop limits axle travel toward the body. Conveniently the strap and bump stop are incorporated into the same assembly.

This strap, although frayed, is still in one piece and functional.

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Suspension #2: Rear axle locating triangle

The differential and axle assembly has to be able move around freely as the rear suspension absorbs bumps and loading changes caused during cornering and braking.  This travel in the axle has to be limited so that the wheels can’t come into contact with the body in any loading condition.  To accomplish this the axle assembly is attached to the body by a rear triangle at its center and a pair of trailing arms at either end.   These pivot together as a sort of 3 dimensional four-bar linkage through the center of the massive ball joint that connects the triangle to a boss nearly equidistant from the two rear wheels on the axle. The ball joint is the fulcrum of a teeter-totter between the two rear wheels.  With respect to each other and this point when one goes up, the other goes down.  This motion is softened with respect to the body by springs that are dampened by shock absorbers and the travel at either end is limited by canvas straps.  The entire assembly is isolated from the rest of the car by rubber bushings.

The ball joint pin is a taper fit into the boss it goes in on the axle housing.  Removing the triangle from the rear axle required heat and a ball joint separating tool commonly called a pickle fork.  The pickle fork works by acting as a wedge between the axle housing boss and the triangle.  I first scraped as much grease as I could off the boss to avoid a fire and to minimize stinky fumes, then heated the boss up, once it was hot I used a big hammer on the end of the pickle fork and the ball joint popped out of the taper. 

A lot of road grime attaches itself to everything on the underside of the car and the axle locating triangle is no exception.

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