Cooling Heated Suspension

Rust can make a lot of mechanic work harder, as I’m sure I’ve written about many times before. One of the things it really makes hard is alignments. Adjustment bolts can seize in suspension bushings, making it impossible to actually adjust anything. When adjusting front toe, the jam nut can be rusted to the tie rod, and the outer tie rod can be rusted into the inner tie rod, sometimes requiring the torch to loosen them.

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Using the torch isn’t a big deal if I had the chance to check whether everything would loosen while it was on my regular lift. When it’s already on the alignment rack when I find out how bad it is, it makes the job take a lot longer. Metal expands when it’s heated, so heating up the tie rod to get it loose will throw off the measured alignment angles. After breaking it loose, I then have to try to cool it back down so I can adjust it to the proper setting. Often the easiest way is to repeatedly drape a water-soaked rag on the tie rod, but it still takes several minutes with water dripping everywhere, and is one of the reasons I’m not a big fan of doing alignments.


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-Dan

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