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Author Topic: My daily driver is getting a little love  (Read 3921 times)

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Offline slowride

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My daily driver is getting a little love
« on: December 09, 2011, 12:20:29 PM »
(Sorry for the long read, but I'm waiting for it to warm up a bit so I can go out and finish this sucker up)
My '74 wagon is my daily driver, and to be honest, I drive the wheels off of it. The problem with THAT is, old parts like to be replaced. The steering had developed some play, and the rack bellows were torn, so I bought a R&P from JPL to add to the other parts I've been collecting. With around 140,000 miles, rubber items were showing a little wear, so I picked up strut rod bushings some time ago and added THEM to the collection. Let's see, there are also new rear wheel cylinders in the collection, as well as new upper and lower ball joints.
The plan was to take yesterday and today off work and just rip the front suspension off and go at it. That was until I got in to go to work Wednesday morning and the brake pedal went to the floor. I couldn't see any brake fluid on the ground, and there was still sufficient fluid in the master cylinder, so I started calling around for another MC. Apparently, they are quite difficult to come by nowadays as they are being discontinued left and right. I found a closeout on Rockauto and with overnight shipping  it came to $65. Not too bad....
With my original plan now complicated with the brake issue, I prioritized what needs to be done. R&P, strut rod bushings, MC, and rear wheel cylinders..... the ball joints will have to wait. The rack was a piece of cake, and other than a minor difference in mounting, went VERY smoothly. While I was under there, I noticed a few things though. There was brake fluid dripping from the left caliper. I grabbed a wrench and sure enough, the brake hose had come loose causing the pedal to drop. Oh well, it still has the original MC from '74, so it won't hurt to replace it. Oh, and as long as I will have to bleed the system again, the rear cylinders are now on the front burner.
Here's what will be done by tomorrow morning so I can get it in and have the front end aligned.
  • Rack and pinion. Found the majority of the play in the wheel was from the pinch bolt on the rag joint coupler loosening. Still needed to be replaced though
  • Strut rod bushings
  • Vacuum modulator hose replaced.
  • Rear wheel cylinders
  • Master cylinder
  • Adjust lf wheel bearing (had just a hair of wiggle)
All in all, not too bad considering how much I drive this. The steering is already go-kart tight, so it ought to be a kick to drive again. Oh, and if anyone has a spare manual rack rag joint coupler, I'm interested (rag joint condition doesn't matter).

Offline dave1987

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Re: My daily driver is getting a little love
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2011, 12:53:08 PM »
Sounds like a good list of things to do! Lots of stuff that the average Pinto driver doesn't replace (steering rack, bushings, master brake cylinder) My 78 sedan has all of that and more done to it and it really makes a difference when it's all done. Like you, I drive the heck out of my cars because I love 'em, and there's always something that needs replaced or I want to replace because of it. lol

Good luck with it and keep us updated!
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline slowride

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Re: My daily driver is getting a little love
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2011, 08:39:23 PM »
Well, everything is done except for the RR wheel cylinder. I was running out of daylight, so I replaced the cylinder I knew needed it. When I get it back from the alignment shop the other will be replaced.
I have to say, this thing has VERY tight suspension and steering now and handles like it's on rails. Originally, the 2 days off was supposed to be to do a valve job and do a little cleaning and detailing. Looks like I'll have to kill a little more vacation.....
Oh, and there are a few things that I'm not using that I'll be cutting loose. A spare pair of rear wheel cylinders, boots for a manual rack, rack bushings (all new in boxes). Get a new left inner tie rod and you'll have a new rack!

Offline dave1987

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Re: My daily driver is getting a little love
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2011, 12:40:14 AM »
Sounds like progress! :) I agree the these cars handle completely differently when replacing a worn rack. I don't know the exact different with just replacing the rack though, as I put urethane bushings in the front end at the same time I replaced the rack. I do know how much of a world of a difference it made replacing it all though! A completely different car for sure!
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline slowride

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Re: My daily driver is getting a little love
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2011, 12:35:59 PM »
I drove it down to the alignment shop and wow! There is absolutely no play.... you sneeze and you're changing lanes. I can't imagine it being much tighter with urethane rack bushings (I used rubber), but if they have urethane strut bushings that'd be a trip.
Next is replacing the header with the stock exh manifold. I've fought this leaky POS, and with as little performance as it gave, I'd rather have it quiet again. I'll put it up in the loft and who knows, when I pull the head and get a crazy idea to cam it, the header may go back on.

Offline dave1987

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Re: My daily driver is getting a little love
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 01:45:40 AM »
You are in luck! Energy suspension has them, I bought them with my front end bushings from AutoZone's website. Hey were cheaper there than anywhere else at the time. Since energy bushings are energy bushinga regardless of where you buy them from. Plus I got free shipping and a free $20.00 gift card which I believe is still going on.
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline slowride

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Re: My daily driver is getting a little love
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 01:52:10 PM »
One note about using the rack and pinion assy from JPL. It uses 2 mounting bolts instead of the original 3. Doesn't make any difference in rigidity or placement, and even the tie rod ends are correct for the Pinto. For $160 including shipping, it is arguably the best money I've spent on the car!

Offline dave1987

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Re: My daily driver is getting a little love
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 03:52:36 PM »
Agreed. I bought my 78's new rack from them this summer and it's perfect!
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!