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Thread: '95 Century FWD Refresh

  1. #1
    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    Default '95 Century FWD Refresh

    Nothing ground breaking here, but a much needed refresh of FWD components promoted by the discovery of a blown inner CV boot. I found this while bleeding the brakes.



    My plan is to replaced the CV boots, the lower ball joints, struts, and...the trans / engine mounts. No quick turn around required here, so I should have plenty of time to get it done.

    I pulled the caliper first, and was going to hang it, but ended up sitting in on a block of wood, which i have i abundance. There's really not anything to hang it from since the strut is coming out. From there the pinch bold comes out to release the lower ball joint:



    I've done this a couple of time, and I've discovered that the ball joint really doesn't drop out of the steering knuckle very well when you try to lift on the knuckle. Seems like a good idea, but it's really best to let it hang low as possible and use the separator. Also, the sway bar should be unbolted as a part of this operation, else it will work against you.

    Next, I had to get the axle free of the steering knuckle. I've done this job before some 25 years ago on a then 10 year old j-body. That hub nut seemed a lot harder to deal with this time, even with the impact. But, the toughest part was getting the axle free of the wheel bearing. This was pretty stubborn, and took a 3 jaw puller with an impact and a 3 lb. hammer. But it finally succumbed to my persistence:



    The inner CV boot was broken very neatly all the away around. The joint came apart with no effort at all. The outer inner:



    The inner inner:



    I still got to get the inner portion of the shaft out of the tranny. I've heard stories about this thing, and I don't plan on making a career of getting it out.

    I thought maybe I was a little over cautious on the ball joint, but it looks ready to retire:



    More in a few days.

    Ken T.



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    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    So, I yanked out the inner CV Axle today (tripod housing). I read quite a bit about this, so I really didn't want to fight with it. I'm getting older and arthritic, and just wanted a quick and clean victory. Everyone says, you just need a good jerk, and of course you've got to get a handle on it.

    So, there's a tool for this job. It's insanely expensive, but I did some shopping on the resale market and got one for half price in like new condition. All I needed then was a slide hammer. So, having made my investment in the still expensive tool, I decided to make my own slide hammer. The Kent Moore (J-33008-A) tool takes a 1/2"-13 thread into attach the slide hammer so:

    (1) 36" All-thread 1/2"-13
    (4) 1/2"-13 Nuts
    (3) 1/2" Washers
    (1) 1/2" Lock Washer
    (1) 5/8" Washer
    (1) Rain Bird Pipe
    (1) Matching section of 3/4" PVC Pipe
    (2) CAP 5 lb. Weight Lifting Plates (left over from my youthful weight lifting ambitions)

    The result:



    The Rain Bird Pipe is made of some sorta flexible plastic/rubber composite, and fits so snuggly to the all thread that I had to screw the all thread into it. With some penetrating oil and the impact, I was able to thread it, then slip the PCV over that. This took up the slop/clearance between the PCV and the All-Thread. Then it was a matter of stacking the components. One nut was to lock the Kent Moore tool onto the All-Thread, two more to lock themselves into the center and the last one to hold it all together. The lock washer is on the end to keep the last nut snug, and all the washers were to keep the plates from coming off. All the assorted hardware was something like $10 or so.

    Two whacks, and the CV joint quickly surrendered. Shock and Awe. Done.



    I'm looking at the seal now. Leave this alone or replace? Anyone have any experience with it?

    Thanks,
    Ken T.

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    Senior Member CorvairGeek's Avatar
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    I love that tool!

    I believe David has talked about folks ruining the seal on that side in particular, as the side cover has to come off for replacement IIRC. I don't believe the side cover can be removed without movement of the transaxle or engine cradle.
    Jerry

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    Senior Member Keiths1976's Avatar
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    Good job and write up Ken

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    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    I've always wondered about the actual effectiveness of specialized tools like that. I've had to replace my driver's side axle a couple of times, including what I believe was the original part, and all I needed was a pry bar to pop the tripod out of the transmission, and a couple of love taps on the stub to get it out of the hub. Maybe I'm just lucky, or spoiled, since my car is from southern California.
    Daniel
    Kaiser George IX: 1996 Buick Century Special wagon. 214-SFI. 194k miles. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. First documented LX9 swap in an A-body! Click here to read my build thread!
    Goldilocks: 1992 Buick Century Special sedan. 204-MFI. 116k miles. Will be mom's car soon.
    Susana: 1993 Buick Century Custom wagon. 204-MFI. 121k miles. Garage ornament. Waiting for... some fun!

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    Wow Ken, that's great. I tried last year to remove mine and just gave up on it. I have the puller for it too but just couldn't do it. Maybe I'm just too weak for that kind of work LOL.

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    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    I've read that some folks have had an easy time with it, and others it was just an awful experience. With my tool, I can up the ante my finding some a couple of 25 lb. plates. I am told by a reliable source that the passenger side is the killer. Thing is, I really didn't see a good place that was easy to get at to pry on it, unless it was from below. Maybe I am just thick...

    I found SegaGT's write up not the trans mount (which contains contributions from Keith and David). So the tie rod comes off next.

    Found this nugget on that subject that had me laughing out loud. David commented once on replacing the rear mount:

    "If I die and go to hell it will involve daily replacements of that mount. I would rather change the main bearings on a hot engine, laying in gravel with fire ants; before changing that mount.” - Turbokinetic



    Ken T.

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    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Century7667 View Post
    Found this nugget on that subject that had me laughing out loud. David commented once on replacing the rear mount:

    "If I die and go to hell it will involve daily replacements of that mount. I would rather change the main bearings on a hot engine, laying in gravel with fire ants; before changing that mount.” - Turbokinetic
    I will probably be experiencing that particular hell soon as well. I need to do all the lower mounts on the yellow sedan. I really don't want to. But thou must!

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    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke George V View Post
    I will probably be experiencing that particular hell soon as well. I need to do all the lower mounts on the yellow sedan. I really don't want to. But thou must!
    You can only get away with it for so long....

    I'll be getting up in there one night this week when the weather is good and I don't have much going on.

    Ken T.

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    Senior Member Moonkilla1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Century7667 View Post

    I found SegaGT's write up not the trans mount (which contains contributions from Keith and David). So the tie rod comes off next.
    Ken T.
    Keep up the excellent documentation and quality work Ken!


    I have a new set of inner and outer tie rods waiting for install so this will help a ton when the time comes.

    The wife and I will finally be at the closing table for our new home on Friday (FINALLY). The seller gave us the keys weeks ago so we can tear out the old floors and tile it. Needless to say, Rusty and I have had very little time together with the getting the home ready but this thread will prove valuable so enough.


    Carlos
    “Teach your young children to work, and teach them that honest labor develops dignity and self-respect. Help them to find pleasure in work and to feel the satisfaction that comes from a job well done.”

    -Joseph B. Wirthlin

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    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonkilla1 View Post
    Keep up the excellent documentation and quality work Ken!


    I have a new set of inner and outer tie rods waiting for install so this will help a ton when the time comes.

    The wife and I will finally be at the closing table for our new home on Friday (FINALLY). The seller gave us the keys weeks ago so we can tear out the old floors and tile it. Needless to say, Rusty and I have had very little time together with the getting the home ready but this thread will prove valuable so enough.


    Carlos
    Thanks Carlos! As time permits I get to work on it. I'll be pretty disappointed if I can't address the motor mounts this weekend. The car is jammed front first into the garage, so I can only get to the trans mounts, and maybe the torque strut. If I can get the mounts done and complete the disassembly / cleaning, I'll be happy. Cleaning and repacking the CV axle will probably slow me down a bit, but I'll be sure to document as I go. I wish I could do video, but despite my IT background, I don't have any experience with video editing. If were like David, I would get it all in one take and wouldn't need any editing at all!

    Congrats on the new home! It's a great feeling! It's your place, and with your talent I know you'll make it your own.

    Thanks,
    Ken T.

    P.S. - I really appreciate your taglines. Good stuff. You're daughter is very blessed!

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    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    Update: Last weekend I joined David in the 5th circle of Hell attempting to remove the transmission rear mount.


    I failed.


    That mount is secured to the transmission with a single stud with a 15mm nut on it. IIRC, Keith mentioned something about Loctite? In this application, the 4T60-E has an unused tapped mounting boss that's right there in close vicinity to the stud. You get a 1/2" drive anything on the nut, let lone power anything to break it free.

    All that I had to get on it with as a 3/8" drive ratchet, and not enough room or leverage for my hands:



    The ratchet arrangement is just too...janky with the slop between the socket and the ratchet. Combined with not being able to see or feel anything, I didn't want to risk getting off square and buggering the nut. If that happens, game over.

    SegaGT suggested using a offset wrench....which I couldn't locate locally, so I ordered one.

    I'll try again when it get's here. When I get it, I'll try again.

    Ken T.

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    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    UPDATE: After some issue with my other vehicle that needed my attention, I have returned to this project.

    I've got the rear mount free, but it's still trapped between the cradle and tranny. I had to take loose the mount to tranny bolts (great fun, but doable). Currently working the front mount, and hopefully I will be able to scoot the engine/trans forward a bit to free the rear mount for replacement.

    A BIG THANK YOU to Keith for helping me understand how to support the car. It's not really easy to see in pictures, but there is a way! Speaking of pictures, I have a ton of them, but I need to organize them an hopefully assemble something that's useful and help.

    Still have a ways to go on getting the mounts out. I image I'll have the who car completely disassembled before long, but I view this as a good training for when I do the BIG project on the '96: Dropping the entire cradle for transaxle removal. With the advice from Keith, I can now at least visualize what this might look like.

    Thanks,
    Ken T.

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    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    Well, the mounts are out. As is well documented on this site, the rear trans mount is a real problem.

    Here she is:



    For those who haven't done this before. It is key to understand that the whole "rear" of the transaxle needs to "float" to get these mounts out. The front mount must come out first, then the rear. The transmission rides on a block of wood on a jack. It's real tight in there.

    It illustrate, here's a trans bracket to trans case bolt. As it bolt backs out, the trans MUST go forward, else you don't be able to get a wrench on it:



    Here you can see just how much movement is made by looking at the dog bone brackets (dog bone is missing):



    In my case, the rear mount still had life in it, and was intact. But, it would not clear the trans and cradle. I managed to get the 15mm nut that holds the transbracket to the mount to face me, and put a 3/8" impact to it. Once separated, I was able to remove them one at a time.



    Here's the rear mount:



    ...and the rear mount with the bracket:



    Keith talked me into replacing the trans lines while I'm at it, so I have not quite done with tear down. Hopefully I'll have those done later this week.

    Ken T.

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    Senior Member Keiths1976's Avatar
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    Sir your very welcome and a job well done !!! This is what inspired me to the most is a forum group that's more like family and friends and respect and help another . I don't mind it at all if I can help text call to make it easier I will do it ask Carlos lol . We should clear it up I said the sport steering rack first then the transmission line Ken lol .

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