Alright, good news finally! That menacing differential is done after countless hours of hammering, pressing, pulling, pretty much all of the -ing’s you can imagine. All of the paint has dried and my masks worked beautifully. My favourite part about painting something cast is seeing the bare machined surfaces that are used as a seat or a sealing surface. The contrast is absolutely gorgeous. With that being said, I’ve actually been able to clean up my work area in the basement and open it up again for the next assembly of the car. I’ll probably tackle the next wheel hub.
I loaded up the Evo a couple of days ago with some new bags of hardware, seals and the differential itself. I managed to wedge in two old flip flops that I had sitting in my truck to keep it balanced while I drive up to the shop for installation. Being at the shop was a dream, hanging out with friends, telling jokes while we beat on our cars, having some drinks while some music was playing and making new friends. It’s amazing; it’s an awesome lifestyle and a great hobby for those that truly appreciate it. We always look to see what everyone else is doing to their cars, their hopes and dreams, their creativity and soul poured into something that is a true extension of their personality. Being around these people and bouncing ideas back and fourth just makes the entire experience that much better, especially just having the company as you work.
Before even starting the job, I knew that installing this differential onto the frame was going to be a pain. It’s a heavy, awkward unit that really works against you in every way possible. I used a jack with a cotton cloth on it to prevent scratches to balance and lift the differential to the mounting points on the frame and greased everything up. The rear bushings didn’t want to slide into their appropriate holes, go figure, so I had to get creative.
I backed the differential back out and lowered it, greased the frame up even more and busted the precision instruments out. The force pushing up against the frame from the differential on the jack was enough to lift the entire rear end of the frame up. I used this to my advantage, using a long 2×4 to prevent scratches/dents and a 4 LB mallet, I beat the living crap out of the rear of the frame to try to force it down onto the differential, hoping to seat the bushings. I ended up having to expand the section of the frame where the bushings go ever so slightly using a couple of flat punches.
Once those were expanded, the bushings slid in like a dream. Now, I never said that this car was designed very well. The entire rear end of the differential mounts to the frame with one giant machined bolt. The original one that I took out of the car was pretty much fused to every piece of metal it touched so to prevent this I grabbed my synthetic grease and slathered it all over the bolt. Thankfully, that also aided in the installation as there was little to no hesitation getting it back in.
The front polyurethane bushings went onto the frame without a hitch, I can’t even describe how much I enjoy working with non-rubber bushings. They’re so much more accurate, so much easier to install and their benefits are huge. I can’t wait to drive this car, it will actually steer and drive in the direction I am pointing it in. All that’s left to finish this section of the car off is torquing the driveshaft flange which requires making a simple tool. The tool itself bolts onto the driveshaft end of the flange to hold it from rotating; it’s half done, I just haven’t had the time to finish it off yet.
I should give a brief mention to my finished hub assembly. Last time I was at the shop I grabbed one of the unbent brake lines from my kit and brought it home so I could fit it to the hub assembly. It looks absolutely mint and as with the rest of them, this line was also bent 100% by hand. They’ve been a dream to work it and they look killer. Although I have to admit, this one was pretty complex to bend.
Hopefully I am able to continue making as good of progress as I have been recently, it’s been a pleasure. It never really looks like I am that far into the project until I look back at my old posts, especially where the frame is stripped. I’ve come a long way and although there’s still countless hours left – I look forward to them with nothing but anticipation.