Rear End & Suspension Completion

1989 Mercury Cougar XR7

Things have started to really come together (and fall apart) over the past three days. I was finally able to pick up my rear end from LCB after the big fiasco I had with it last week. I had a little time Tuesday evening, so I sealed up the rear, filled it with fluid, and wrestled it back into place. It also received new poly bushings on the front and a custom poly rear mount. I slid the half shafts back in, and bolted the knuckles with new wheel bearings in, and had everything back in place except for the new rear calipers. I had made an appointment to have the car aligned on Thursday, so I was feeling pretty good about being able to keep it at that point.

For the rear end, I used a Mark VIII aluminum housing and cover. Internally is an Auburn High Performance TL unit and Ford 3.73 gears, along with a master rebuild kit. I'm pretty impressed with the Auburn differential so far.á Also, this rear doesn't make any noise!! For anyone that has known me over the past few years, you know the terrible luck I have with these, so I was extremely excited after the first drive.

March 24-26, 2009

I started the day on Wednesday by installing the new rear calipers. At this point, I thought I'd just need to bleed the brakes and I would be good to go. As I started to bleed the MC, brake fluid shot out of my CV fitting and onto the windshield. After doing some investigation, I discovered it was coming from a seal in the fitting, but it was not something that you could separate and replace. So I ran into LCB quick to see if they had anything I could use instead. If they weren't so nice to deal with, I'm sure they would of laughed at me when I asked for a metric brake line reducer fitting. They had nothing of the sort, but suggested just welding it shut. That seemed like a good idea, so I tracked down Joe and he came over to run a quick bead around it. I burned out the o-ring that was on it to prepare it to be welded, and discovered a small hole that had been machined into the fitting. I believe the hole is there so air can escape, allowing the valve to move inside, and the O-ring is just there to keep it from getting plugged. However, since I gutted the inside of the valve, it was now left open and was allowing brake fluid to escape. Ooops! I went ahead and had Joe run a bead around it, and then I took it to the bench grinder, and all is well. Once installed it looks like a factory piece, and doesn't leak anymore!

After that 2 hour delay, I was able to get the brakes bleed. It took quite a bit considering I had installed a new MC, and 4 new calipers, but I was able to get them bleed fairly well. At that point it was time to put the wheels back on, and do some final tightening of suspension parts once the weight of the car was on them. I started it up for the first time since December without any issue. The brakes were really soft at first, but came around. I adjusted the MC pushrod out a bit, and it helped, but I think they will need another good bleeding after I drive it a few times, and some more pushrod adjustment.

I tried to take it for a drive and only made it a short way before having to return. The drivers wheel was toed out so badly it would hardly go down the road so I pulled it back in and adjusted it much closer. After that, I was finally able to take the car down the road for the first time since October. The car definitely has a different feel to it with the Eibach springs and big stabilizer bars, but it certainly isn't harsh. I also tested out the Auburn rear to make sure it as working properly (see picture).

So after getting everything back together, I was able to make my appointment today for an alignment. The service writer was asking me about the car, and thought the work I had done to it was "pretty cool". It only took about 30 minutes to complete, and everything feels as it should now. It appears the springs and everything have settled in nicely, and it no longer has a bouncy feel to it and doesn't creak and moan pulling into driveways.

As far as going forward from here, there is still so much to do it is almost depressing. There is an exhaust leak on the drivers side collector. My coolant leak is still there, and as far as I can tell, is coming from the oil cooler or the lines going to it. It is pretty major, so that will need to be addressed shortly. The car also has developed a really loud "chirp" sound whenever it hits any bumps, so I will need to investigate that. Andů.the transmission is going to need to come out before too long, so I have that to look forward to.

Here are some pictures from the last couple of days, including a few shots with the new lowered stance. I'm pretty happy with the overall height and look of the car.

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