After a couple of weeks away from everything, I managed to get some time over the last couple of days out in the garage  I managed to resist the urge to drop the back axle off and spend some time tidying it up – mainly because I’m sick of the car being off the road on the odd occasion I get a couple of hours to go somewhere  No point having it taxed, MOT’d and insured otherwise. So, the strategy was to bolt everything back on, make a list of future jobs, and get the car on the road for a test before sunset 

The “new” rear springs were a complete bastard to get into the chassis mounts at the front  With the new bushes they were a tight squeeze anyway, but then you’ve got to get them in and lined up with holes you can’t see, before you can push through the bolt that doesn’t want to fit … each side took ages, and more than a little muttering under the breath, but the basic technique was similar to the Track Control Arms at the front – line up the bolt hole vertically, then use a small jack to push the spring eye and bush up into the chassis mount, then wiggle it all about until the bolt goes through. 

On the nearside, it was easiest to drop out the rear exhaust section first to give enough access to persuade the bolt to go through the hole  Of course, with me being me, I then felt the need to de-rust and repaint the exhaust bracket – must be OCD or something 

Capri rear single leaf spring with 1.5" one and a half inch lowering block

When fitting up the new U-bolts to the axle, there seem to be differing views on whether axle pads should be used with single leafs and lowering blocks. I took the view that they’d potentially remove excess NVH … at least until someone shouts at me for it being the worst thing I could possibly do 

After that, it was mainly a case of getting the car back onto its wheels so that everything could be torqued up under load, before remembering to bleed the brakes  and take it out for a quick spin.

The light was fading fast, but the sun hadn’t technically set yet… 

Ford Capri 2.0 GL Mk3 in Corsican Blue

Ok, the drive was fairly timid as I was a bit knackered, my girlfriend wanted to come out too, it was getting dark, the RAC membership’s expired and I’d never taken a car apart quite so much before – so I went with the stiff upper lip approach and didn’t use any unsettling words like “loose” or “flappy” whilst out 

First impressions are that the steering is so much lighter than before, in fact, it almost felt too light compared with how its been for the last year or so. However, it all felt very straight and there was no pull for me to have to correct.  The back end feels lighter and more skittish. Ride is firmer, but that’s good compared to what would previously have been described as “wallowy”. Stance is noticeably lower, which is also what I was after.

Next things I need to do are to find a nice big car park and throw it around a bit to get used to the new feel, and I also want to drop it round to the local garage to get them to check the alignment and just see if there’s anything I missed – after all, it’s the first time I’ve done half this stuff so it’s better to be safe than sorry 

All in all – a good weekend 

 

EDIT 01/01/08 :

Dave : Well done mate 
Good to see it out on the road again. I must admit, I can usually hear lots of “wrong” noises and “strange” feelings in the car on its first test flight. 
It is a good idea to keep your eye on the U-bolts for a while, they have a habit of coming a little slack while settling down. 
They won’t fall off or anything, just check the nuts are still tight (says he with threaded bar on his still )

Graham : good on ya stu 

normally the best place for those rubber blocks around the rear leaf spings is in the bin, without them the rear end is much taughter as the axle cannot move in relation to the springs, which also will raise the rear ride height a little, which is no bad thing as most capri’s tend to sit somewhat arse end down

dangerousdave : I used them on my mk2 for a few weeks and they made the car sit pissed side to side 

Also a tip for lining up bolt holes…..a screwdriver in the hole and wiggle