Front Suspension: I took the time out to get the the front suspension attended today. The only fly in the ointment is the very bad track rods and ball joints - See post # 361 where I mentioned about the same thing. After inspection today, I have to order the entire rack end or track rod as it is correctly called.
I was super surprised to see the condition of the rubber parts. Yes they were a bit squished but not as bad as I would expect on a 34 year old equivalent Japanese van. In the pictures below it will be seen that old grease and muck on the suspension parts has not been removed. My thinking is that if after 34 years there is not one square mm of rust and the factory cadmium coating and paint on, springs, control arms etc. is still in tact, then why disturb anything?
Anti roll bar drop link bushes. The upper one was just fine including the anti roll bar mount bushes. Hence they were left alone. However in future they decide to fail, I already have spares on hand.
Radius rod bushes
Upper wishbone ball joint. The old one was a bit loose
Lower track arm ball joint. At the other end of the track arm is a rubber bush that was moderately misshapen. This too was replaced but it is hidden from sight so cant be photographed.
Also another thing that can't be seen are the new front wheel bearings and seals. Also it needs to be mentioned that all rubber part assembly was done using silicone grease. Care was taken not to allow conventional grease to come into contact with rubber parts. With regards to the wheel bearings, Mobile XHP 220 was used. Care was taken to work the grease into the roller elements. Also liberal grease was packed into the bearing cavity. The this point one must not get overzealous with the grease packing. Over greasing will lead to bearings heating up.
There should be a slight amount of end float (play) in the wheel bearings. About five thou (0.005") is fine. At the time of tightening up the wheel bearing nuts, I asked the mechanic to let me check before he pressed the safety collar of the bearing nut. Sure enough the nut was over tightened with zero end float. No end float leads to premature bearing failure. After a few kilometers, I will re-check the end float.
The jobs yet to be done with the front suspension/steering are (a) replace the track rods, (b) replace the steering rack gaiters and (c) wheel alignment.
Even with the above pending jobs, the van has been totally transformed. I didn't know that it could ride so quietly over bumps. Previously there was a fair bit of banging and thumping while going over the cracks and ruts in the asphalt. I am hoping that after above jobs are done, the steering should become light enough for my wife to drive it.