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Front sub-assembly time

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Last Thursday was spent changing over the front sub-assembly. As with the rear axle, the aim was to recover the one fitted to the car so it could be refurbished and then refitted, along with all new components, bolts and fastenings. So this work is just an interim position. It was a long day, starting at 10.00 and finishing at just after midnight. Not finishing was not an option as the garage space was needed on Friday morning.


I have been fortunate to have access to a professional garage with pit and all the tools. I have little prior mechanical knowledge so these jobs are proving a whole new experience requiring lots of research. Having a mechanic friend on hand to advise and help with the tricky bits is a massive bonus. My mechanical apprenticeship is progressing well as I am having to learn a lot of new skills.


The task for the day was to remove the existing sub-assembly, wishbones, ARB and hub carriers. Then to fit replacement items complete with new wheel bearings; new control arm bushes; new steering rack bushes; new rear engine and gearbox mounts; new ball joints, drop links and track rod ends. All the useable recovered items, like the bolts and fastenings, will be de-rusted, refurbished and recycled onto the Silver VR6 in time. The replacement assembly and control arms had been previously nylon coated.


The work progressed well considering it looked like nothing had been disturbed since new, apart from a track rod end which was seriously stuck fast (had to remove the rod and use a TIG welder to heat the track rod end to red hot); a front wheel bearing which needed grinding off the driver's side hub; the compressor for the hydraulic press failing. The latter was a complete pain as the whole task needed one set of hubs and front bearings removing and a new set fitting along with one set of wishbone bushes removing and a new set fitting. Doing this by hand was not funny. Because of the temporary nature of the replacement parts, pattern bushes and bearings were used. The genuine VW items will used when the original item is refitted.


The car and engine all supported.



The existing items to remove. Not in bad condition for 17 years.



Work in progress.



The old sub-frame off and preparing the replacement. A bit of impact driver action for the hub ABS screws.



Back on with various replaced items. The splash shields, hubs, carriers, discs, brakes etc will be renewed when the original sub-frame is refurbished and put back on.



All finished at 00.15 - see the clock!



And, the following morning, the final activity was a professional digital 4 wheel alignment.



With all the work that has been done the car drives unbelievably well. Once the suspension and top mounts are replaced, it should be back to being as close to the factory settings as is possible.

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