While I've been busy with my new kid, I've finally gotten a chance to work on my tbird again to prep it for my next 24 Hours of Lemons race. Missing socket in the engine aside (I'll find it eventually even if I have to pull the stupid engine again), I'm trying to diagnose a handling issue.
It's hard to describe because we were only on the track for 18 laps last March (our last race) before alternator charging & cooling issues pulled us in but it seemed like my back end was quite loose and wanting to step out esp on left handed sweeping turns.
I'm 90% sure it's because something was wrong with my front right suspension. The other alternative cause would be because I had stupidly gone to a larger diameter tire when we stepped up to 16" wheels (225/50-R16s have a 4.43" sidewall compared to the 4.04" of our 205/50-R15 tires). We'll fix this with a credit card but back to my original questions.. which are in regards to the strut assembly I just pulled off my car.
The current plan is to replace the strut with an new one of identical make/model (Monroe Sensatrac - dont' laugh -- it's lemons). I also bought a new upper mount.
Q: What's going on with my upper mount?
Please see the first pic -- did the spring just get knocked off the mount or am I missing something here?
In Pic 2, I found that the metal tube and rubber mount that sits in the center popped right off. Is this normal or further indication that I need to toss this mount into the rubbish bin.
I'm pretty sure these are the original 1995 upper mounts that came with the car. That doesn't happen on my two "race spares" that I pulled off the 1993 Tbirds I scrapped, but it could be a design difference from the early to late MN12s.
In pic 3, you can see some tears that are absolutely a good reason to toss the mount.
As far as the old strut is concerned, it's only got a few hundred miles but those miles have been very, very hard on the car (2 full lemons races plus 3 track days plus 30 some laps in two crappy races). I'm not surprised if the strut is blown because there were some unexpected offroad trips that slammed this end of the car down hard -- one even caused the grease fitting in the upper control arm to punch a new hole in the top of the shock tower. FWIW, the strut itself still seems to rebound BUT you can smell some oil on the shaft and there seems some residue at the top of the shock body. Bottom Line: it's getting replaced.
FINALLY, I'm trying to understand if there are any other bits I might be missing on my front shock assembly -- and maybe need to beg Dan for
From top to bottom, here's what I currently have to reinstall:
1) Nut that screws onto the shaft.
2) 1-2" small Metal plate that distributes the spring's tension on the nut.
3) Rubber Upper Mount with this small metal shaft inside. This upper mount has 3 bolts that bot into my car's body.
4) Plastic cup that protects (maybe -- not sure what it exactly does) the upper part of the shock.
4) Spring (SC spring with one coil cut off - again lemons budget took precedence over what you'd do in a quality DD build).
5) Strut body
Q: I seem to recall a small rubber block that probably sat on the shaft of the strut underneath the cup item. It's not there now. Do I need it?
Thanks in advance for your advice here and best wishes to all of you for the New Years...