I managed to grind down the welds, fix a few pinholes (there weren't very many fortunately), and paint the toe board against the elements. It was a pretty straight forward job, not really much to say. I also managed to get out the old 8 inch rear and leaf springs. That ended up being quite the task.
The leaf spring bolts were extremely rusted, and after all the usual methods of bolt removal (heat, penetrating spray, breaker bar, and lots of grunting/yelling), I had only managed to loosen two of those blasted bolts. That just means it was time to break out the old cutting wheel, and remove them the quick and destructive way. I cut through the back bolts first as they were the easy ones. The front ones under the floor were not so easy. With my 4 1/2 inch grinder I was only able to cut through one side of the driver's side bolt. The clearance was just to tight to get in there with the cutting wheel.
As I sat and pondered the problem, I thought, how about a sawzall? Fortunately, my father-in-law had one I could borrow. Unfortunately, after I had started in on trying to cut through the bolts, I found out just how fast one of those blades will dull on hardened grade 8 bolts. I made it a quarter of the way through the bolt. After pricing out blades at the hardware store, I determined that it would probably cost me 40-50 dollars in blades just to get the 2 bolts out. There has to be a better option.
As I started walking out of the store, wondering how I was going to get these bolts out, I passed the grinding discs. The 7 inch discs caught my eye and I stopped and took a look at it. Holy crap! It has a 7/8 inch arbor! I can fit it on my grinder if I take the guard off! I will have to be very careful with this as it is very dangerous to do what I was pondering. The thing that finally sold me on trying it was the cost. A measly 4 dollars. Well, here goes.
Got home, got it on the grinder, put on gloves, and face shield and proceeded to slowly and cautiously grind away. After a few minutes of doing my best to keep the speed to a manageable level, and all my fingers where they were, the first bolt was cut to pieces and the spring dropped out of the pocket. After a little more time on the other side, that one was free as well. Whew! Hopefully I won't need to do anything like that again.
Pulled it out and examined the transition pan with close scrutiny for pretty much the first time. It doesn't look to bad, I can probably get away with some minor patches. Not too worried about it as I plan on upgrading to a four link sometime in the future. Assuming I have the money for the system. I also have a 9 inch that I plan on installing in as well, so there goes the rusted and beat on 8 inch.
|Ground down, and fixed some minor stuff.|
|Painted a nice uniform color. I may fill in the e-brake hole. I am pondering using a Lokar hand brake like Mr. Pruett used in his boss.|
|Here is that blasted hunk of rusted metal.|
|Here is my solution. I'm very glad that it worked.|
|Empty wheel wells! Yes, yes, that quarter is on the list of repairs. It has had at least one really bad attempted repair already.|
|Here it is pulled from the car. It's a mess. I wonder if I can sell it?|
|All this rust and grit fell out of the rail as I was pounding and working on the springs. Yikes!|