Suspension & ABS Delete

1989 Mercury Cougar XR7

Things actually starting going back together today! I was able to get all of the new front suspension and brake parts installed with only a few issues along the way. The first came when I tried to remove what was left of the old bushings on the passenger side strut rod.

The bushing is a 2 piece style with a steel sleeve connecting it. The issue was the sleeve had become so corroded, that it had bonded with the rod itself. I started by trying to remove it with a puller, but it wasn't moving. I soon broke the cheap Indian made puller, so I found a good one. I attempted to add some heat to the issue, but it didn't make any difference. It did burn off a lot of the bushing material, so I was able to carefully cut the sleeve, and split it with a chisel. Then I was able to remove what was left with the puller, and cleaned it up with a wire brush. That took up a lot more time than I wanted it to, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

Once that mishap was taken care of, the rest of the passenger side went pretty smoothly. I did have to improvise with a pair of vise grips for the end link installation. The ADDCO bar isn't designed for tapered end links, so I had to clamp it in place to I could install the nut with out it spinning. It ended up working quite well. With that side done, I moved over to the drivers side.

I was moving along quite quickly since I already had all the correct tools out and had just finished the other side when I ran into an issue. The last thing I needed to do before installing the brakes was to attach the out tie rod to the spindle. This is normally quite easy, however I couldn't get the mounting stud to pull up through the bottom of the spindle far enough, no matter how much I tried. I came to the conclusion that the lower joint end was not machined correctly, or it was specific to the old style of spindles. So after a lot of fighting and a few choice words, I got out a step bit and opened up the bottom side of the hole in the spindle. That ended up working, as I was able to pull the joint end up far enough to safely attach the nut and cotter pin. That whole ordeal wasted at least an hour.

This is what I managed to get installed today, in addition to the new stabilizer bar:

March 7, 2009

I am just about done with the front of the car. I need to install the fender liners, Kenny Brown shock tower brace, and paint the strut rods and upper arms. I'm not sure why I didn't get them painted before with the rest of the stuff? Once I get those items taken care of along with a few things on the brakes, I'll start moving my way to the back of the car.

I had planned to reinstall all of the rear suspension and drive train components today, but ran into some issues earlier in the week. The Auburn Diff I bought was missing the center pinion shaft and retaining screw, so I had to order a new one. It hasn't shown up yet, so the rear end can't be completed.

I did manage to get some little things done today that ended up taking most of the day somehow. I started by pulling out the MOOG tension rod to sub frame bushings that I had just installed. I was informed that this particular bushing was not design correctly and has a really high failure rate. I decided not to take a chance and replaced them with Ford bushings. Ford offers them as individual bushings for $40 total, or as a kit with the sleeves and washers for $240 total! Thankfully I was able to salvage the original sleeves, and save myself $200. The one side did require a little work. I had soaked it in PB Blaster during the week, and thankfully it came right out with a little help from my arbor press.

Once I had the front suspension back together, I finished up a couple small details on the brakes. The first was to change out the brake booster push rod. The combination I am using is a Thunderbird base model booster with a Crown Vic master cylinder. The Thunderbird push rod is not long enough for the CV MC, so I replaced it with a socket cap bolt of the correct length. I should have good pedal feel now, and it only cost $0.52.

The second thing to be done was to modify the CV proportioning valve. Since I kept the original Cougar valve inline, I needed to gut the CV unit so the brakes would not be getting overly proportioned, thus turning the CV unit into merely an adapter fitting. The center pin system was a lot tougher than I expected, but after a while with a drill and punch, I was able to remove it from the fitting. All I need to complete the ABS delete project is to replace the crush washers on the rear calipers, and bleed the system.

My next project was to install new down tubes and catalytic converters. It took some effort, but I was able to remove both of the stock down tubes while keeping the rest of the FlowMaster system in place. I measured and cut the new tubes to length, but was not able to install them. I need to weld an O2 bung onto the passenger side, and want to expand the pipe on the front of the resonator slightly to ease the installation process.

While the new down tubes are not any larger in diameter, the design and mandrel bends, along with the new cats should help with the flow quite a bit. You can see on the drivers side just how bad the OE design was with the pipe coming straight down into the cat.

Other than those items, I just painted a few parts up front and touch up a couple of areas from before. I did also install the front fender liners. I have the day off from work on Tuesday, so I am hoping I can get quite a bit done. A lot will depend on whether or not the rear end is completed yet. I should still have enough to keep me busy though.

March 14, 2009

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Inner Tie Rods
Outer Tie Rods
Inner Strut Rod Bushings
Outer Strut Rod Bushings
Lower Control Arms/Ball Joints
Upper Control Arms/Ball Joints
Stabilizer Bar End Links

Shock Mounts
ARC Shocks
Eibach Springs
Hub/Wheel Bearing Assemblies
Mark VIII Spindles
Mark VIII Rotors
Mark VIII Calipers