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A Saab Story - My 1997 Saab 900s named Garrus

Project cars, modifications or other general showoff

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FrankTheCat

  • Posts: 91
  • Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:04 pm
  • Location: Foothills of the Adirondacks

Shitty Chinese Tools

PostSat May 31, 2014 10:07 pm

So my shitty Chinese jack broke, so I've been just piling up parts and problems for a the past two months. Should be getting a 'new' one from a family friend tomorrow, though. Here's a couple videos in the mean time:




Sooooo, updated priority list:
-Oil change with Pentosin HP 5w30 and a longer filter (sick of it sludging Mobile1 EP in 4k miles.)
-Change the pads, rotors, brake hardware and bleed the calipers.
-Install rear suspension bushings & rear ARB.
-OPERATION DESTROY ALL RUST 2k14
-Whatever else I'm forgetting.
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FrankTheCat

  • Posts: 91
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  • Location: Foothills of the Adirondacks

Rear Brake Replacement Hell Part 1: The Breakening.

PostFri Jun 06, 2014 5:01 pm

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So first of all, getting my car into the air was a problem. See the following video:


Preface; I apologize for the awful blurry photos. Taking pictures was kind of an after thought.

Anyway, once my car was safely on the jackstands, I pulled the rear wheels off and got to work. First off was breaking the index screws free. Passenger side came out easily:
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But the drivers side was jammed in there super tight. Had to drill it and use an easy-out:
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Then it was just a matter of punching the caliper pins out:
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I forgot to take a photo of removing the caliper bolts, but they were locktited in place, and required my impact gun to take off.

And pulling the disc off, which required some tapping with a hammer to get it to slide off of the handbrake pads:
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But a slight mishap happened during the removal of the caliper pins on the passenger side:
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Looks like the shithead mechanic that touched them last, just did a pad slap and reused the old caliper pins. So they were peened over and SUPER stuck in there. End result? Piece of the caliper came out.

I guess this is kind of a blessing in disguise, because even if I hadn't broken that chunk of cast iron off, the calipers are barely serviceable in the first place, and the bleeder valves are seized. This is just forcing me to replace them, instead of cheaping out and leaving them in place. My sister's boyfriend has some line wrenches and other tools (and he's an ASE certified mechanic...,) so he's going to help me with replacing the calipers.

Since my day with the brakes pretty much ended with that snafu, I moved onto the rear ARB. It came off in a cloud of rust flakes after 3 out of the 4 bolts just snapped right off, and required the use of a crowbar to pry the rusted flanges apart:
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The chunks of broken bolts are still stuck in there, so in addition to brake fluid and new brake calipers, I'm gonna have to buy some cutoff discs for my dremel. Hopefully then I can pull the old nut plates out.

But since I got the stupid stock ARB off, here's a comparison to the Taliaferro 22mm replacement:
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The stock bar is 15mm. The effectiveness of an anti-roll bar is determined by is diameter squared, so just a 7mm bump should make a huuuge difference in rear end body roll.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to bolt the new ARB up, replace the suspension bushings, and finish the rear brakes. Let's see how that pans out...

Stay tuned to Project Car Hell.
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FrankTheCat

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Rear Brake Replacement Hell Part 2: What Brakes?

PostSat Jun 07, 2014 6:39 pm

So today between family gatherings and the starter solenoid taking a dump on my girlfriend's 900 (I had to bang it with a hammer in front of her family to get the car home,) I managed to stop by NAPA to buy new calipers and some brake fluid. So the part pile grew:
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Also went to the hardware store to buy a new cutoff disc set for my dremel:
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Then I wizzed off all the stuck bolts that once held the stock ARB in place, so I could pull the nutplates out. Done and done:
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A bit of a struggle with lining up the mounting holes ensued, but I eventually got the new ARB installed:
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And finally, once I pulled the muffler off, broke the last caliper bolt free on the driver's side, and pulled the old driver's side brake disc off, I started work on the swingarm pivot bushings. I supported the axle with my jack to keep it from falling, and started pulling the bolts. They were 8" long, fine pitched, and I had ONE CLICK on my ratchet on both sides, so it took a looooong time to remove them. Thankfully both are actually in good shape, and not bent:
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That's where I stopped work. I looked like a chimney sweep from accidentally rolling through a pile of brake dust, and it was getting pretty late. My sister's boyfriend is coming over tomorrow morning with flare nut wrenches, so hopefully I can swap out the swingarm bushings, put on the new calipers, rotors, pads and hardware. Then I just need to bleed the brakes, put the wheels back on, put the car back on the ground, and go for a nice drive to bed the brakes in.

Also need to replace the tail light gaskets, but we'll see how that goes; next weekend I'll do the front brakes and change the oil.

More to come in FrankTheCat's PCH.
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FrankTheCat

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Rear Brake Replacement Hell Part 3: RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

PostSun Jun 08, 2014 6:23 pm

Spoiler alert, I didn't get much done today, despite spending 8+ hours in the garage.

I did manage to drop the axle down to get a look at the bushings:
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It's not readily apparent in the pictures, but they both were severely cracked around the webbing between the outer nylon sleeve and the inner bolt sleeve. So I got to work. First I drilled out the webbing and hacked it up with a hacksaw blade to weaken it, then I started pushing the sleeve out with my gear puller and a socket (not pictured:)
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Eventually I succeeded at pushing the sleeve out, along with a few chunks of the webbing:
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And then I hacksawed the nylon sleeve, and prized it out with a screwdriver:
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That took four hours.

Doing the other side, took half an hour:
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Then I tried putting the new bushings in. I had freezed them for a couple hours so they could just push right in, and lubed them up with sil-glyde (silicone paste.) Well, 90% of the first bushing just pushed right in. Then no amount of hammering, or pressing, could get it to go in all the way.

Four hours of struggle later, I ragequit.

I was going to do the brakes, too, but my sister's boyfriend has his tools at his dad's house. His dad loaned, literally, out of all of his tools in his massive toolboxes, JUST his 10/12mm flare nut wrench. OF COURSE. So I'm not getting that until tomorrow. I'm going out with some friends to do a rope climbing endurance course tomorrow, so I'm probably not going to work on my car. Le sigh.

Hopefully I can get to the hardware store too, so I can cobble together some sort of press to get the bushing in using fender washers and all thread.

More stories from PCH incoming...
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FrankTheCat

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A SAAB Consumer PSA

PostThu Jun 12, 2014 3:22 pm

So I've been quiet for the past four days, because I've been battling this guy:
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That is the new Proparts polyurethane replacement rear axle bushing on the driver's side. You're supposed to, with some mild lubrication via some silicone paste or similar (I used Sil-Glyde,) be able to push the bushing in. It only did that 80% of the way.

Believe me, I broke two iron pipe end caps in half trying to press it in place with a homemade screw press, so something is wrong. It won't come out, either.

Seems the shitty quality of Proparts finally caught up with me. This is a warning from me so you don't waste your money; SPEND THE EXTRA $40 AND GET THE POWERFLEX BUSHINGS. As I've found out, the Proparts ones are molded incorrectly (probably shitty inaccurate tooling) so they don't fit correctly, and according to the internets, if you do get them in they pancake after only a few months/thousands of miles because the urethane they use is low quality.

I ordered the PowerFlex ones today with 2nd day air shipping. Hopefully they'll be here Saturday so I can button my goddamn car up. In addition to that fucking snafu, the local Sears has been out of stock on their metric flare nut wrench sets (sister's boyfriend still hasn't got his back,) but they should be restocked by tomorrow. I really want to return the old calipers to NAPA and get my $160 core charge back.

This car is a never ending story of hate and frustration. I JUST WANT TO DRIVE IT.
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FrankTheCat

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Rear Brake Replacement Hell Part 4: The Unbreakening

PostSun Jun 15, 2014 3:26 pm

[whiteboyrhymes]HELLA FLOCKA MAKIN' LIKE ROADKILL
WITH MAH CARDBOARD DO LIST
CROSSIN' SHIT OFF LIKE A CONTRACT KILLA
CLIMBIN' ON OVER DIS HILL OF BULLSHIT
BOY DON'T I FEEL LIKE A WINNA[/whiteboyrhymes]***
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Yeah, I finished the brakes today! And it wasn't even that hard!

Hardest part was breaking these guys loose:
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Soaking them with liquid wrench for a few hours got them free without too much drama, thankfully.

But before tackling replacing the calipers, I replaced the brake fluid in the master cylinder. Why? Because this:
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Believe me, it looks that black in person. You'll see better later.

I used my homemade brake bleeder helper tool to get the old fluid out, using the magic of liquid siphons:
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This is the crap passing for brake fluid that I drained out. Looks and smells like swamp water:
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Once I filled up the reservoir with fresh, clear DOT4 straight from the bottle, I got to work putting the new stuff on. First came the new (rebuilt) calipers:
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Then a coat of anti-seize on the hub (so I can get the brake disc off easily next time:)
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Then the new brake disc and index screw (which I barely tightened down, and got a coat of anti-seize:)
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Caliper bolted and locktited in place with blue locktite:
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And finally the pads, pins, and spring installed. Good thing I had three sets of pins, the Proparts ones (shockingly) were the wrong size:
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Yes, I know the pins aren't in all the way; I fixed them after taking this photo.

With the LR brakes done, I did the RR off camera:
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\o/

Currently drip bleeding the brakes to get the rest of the nasty out, then I'll have someone pump the brakes for me to get the rest of the air out. As it is right now, just from drip bleeding the rear calipers, and with the old front brake stuff still installed, the brake pedal feels ten times more solid. Good vibes so far.

Once the Powerflex rear axle bushings come tomorrow or Tuesday (brown santa is late ;-;,) I'll button up the rear end, put the wheels and muffler back on, and tackle the front brakes.

More still to come!

***I really apologize for that
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Alcology

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Re: A Saab Story - My 1997 Saab 900s named Garrus

PostMon Jun 16, 2014 2:38 pm

Nice work!
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FrankTheCat

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Re: A Saab Story - My 1997 Saab 900s named Garrus

PostMon Jun 16, 2014 10:41 pm

Alcology wrote:Nice work!

Thanks! I try. Very hard. Too hard.

please kill me
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FrankTheCat

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The Scope Creep Struggle.

PostWed Jun 18, 2014 11:08 am

Every time I cross something off the list, another gets added.
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So this stuff is from yesterday/last night, but I'm going to be putting the new, new rear axle bushings in (hopefully successfully) today:
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dog for scale

There might be a post on that and reattaching the rear axle today, but don't hold your breath.

Anyway, this is what I had to do to get the ill-fitting and thoroughly stuck Proparts bushing out:
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Even after decimating it that much with a drill, it still only came out when I grabbed it with a crescent wrench and yanked on it while pushing on the axle with my foot. Yep.

After struggling with that, I went with something a bit easier: the tail light gaskets:
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My earlier investigation into my trunk's water leaks found that 90% of the water was coming in through the tail light holes in the body. So I ordered new gaskets, and those came in a few days ago. Since it was too damn hot to do much anything else, I decided to replace them.

This is how the gaskets came out; in pieces:
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After scraping all the old RTV and disintegrating foam off to get the sealing surface clean, I put a thin layer of clear RTV to help the gasket stick:
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Then I stuck the gaskets on, and sandwiched them in with the tail lights:
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Preliminary tests with a cup of water suggest that leak has been fixed. Success!

The hatch is still leaking through the spoiler mounting holes and the center brake light, though. I'll have to fix that soon, but it's extremely tiny compared to the torrent of water that came through the tail lights.

Hopefully I'm more productive today. But to do much more than wrap up the rear suspension, I need to go shopping. To remount the muffler and stop the damn slip joint from leaking, I need a new clamp and some muffler cement. Then I need a valve cover gasket set, distributor base o-ring, and some permatex gasket maker to stop the oil leaks. Also need more brake clean and degreaser. I go through so much of that stuff.

My car better be rock freakin' solid reliable for a couple months after this rigamarole.
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FrankTheCat

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I Need To Learn When To Stop

PostWed Jun 18, 2014 5:47 pm

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that'll never happen

So I left the new Powerflex bushings in the drink fridge's freezer overnight, and after greasing them, they just pushed right in. I neglected to take photos of this process since I was in a hurry to get them in before they thawed, and then very excited that it worked.

Actually, I think I took the photos without the memory card in the camera. Oops.

But protip; freeze the rear axle bushings for at least 24 hours before installing them, sand all the rust/burrs off of the lip around the bushing hole in the axle, and use plenty of grease. Should go right in with your hand, with just a few taps with a hammer to get it to seat all the way. If it doesn't, something is wrong.

I then neglected to take photos of bolting the axle up, since it was hell. Absolute hell. By far the most annoying thing I've done so far, it involved a 4lb sledge hammer, two floor jacks and brute force. I eventually got the driver's side bolted up:
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And that's where I quit, tired, thirsty and exhausted.

I managed to get the other side allllllllllmost lined up, though:
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I'll need to persuade the axle forward a bit so I can squeeze the passenger bolt through.

Ugh.

Front brakes better be a goddamn cakewalk or imma be throwing tools around like it's an episode of OCC.
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FrankTheCat

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The Re-Unbreakening: Brake Harder

PostThu Jun 19, 2014 4:56 pm

So while I was bolting the passenger side of the rear axle back up, I noticed something interesting on the top of the axle:
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A date code; day 352 of 1998. My car was manufactured in the fall of 1996, which points toward my car having its rear axle replaced at some point (with one from a 9-3 it seems.) I wonder why; it's not in the carfax and there's no rear-end damage from an accident, as far as I can tell, that would necessitate replacing the axle. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, once that was done, I grabbed my extra jack stands, jacked the front of the car up, and got to work on the front brakes:
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They don't look that bad, but they're worn really weirdly (both the pads and rotors; more on that later.) And since the rotors would be just above minimum thickness if I got them turned, I'm going to just say fuck it and replace it all.

Strangely, just like the rear wheels, the passenger side index screw came right out:
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But the driver's side requires a screw extractor. Since my Hazard Fraught extractor just dulled and killed my drill battery in the process of trying to remove the screw, I'm going to have to wait until I can go to sears to get this one out:
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The old pads still have plenty of meat on them...:
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...But they're worn at an angle and the outer one was covered in rust on the edges, like it hadn't really been pressing against the rotor a whole lot. Turns out the caliper slides had no lube on them. None. Zip. Just bare metal. Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Anyway, so I pulled the caliper off, and chained it up to the strut so it wasn't hanging off the brake hose:
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Then came the caliper bracket:
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And the brake disc:
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The new brake disc went on with a coating of anti-seize on the hub and index screw, and the caliper bracket went back on after cleaning where the pads ride with a wire brush and coating that with anti-seize:
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Which brings me to a point. Everyone always says to take the cap off of the brake fluid reservoir before compressing the brake piston so the fluid pressure will be relieved, but that it might overflow. Okay? Why would you do that, when there's a bleeder valve on the caliper? I just put my brake bleeder bottle on the bleeder valve, open the valve, and compress the piston with the cap still on the fluid reservoir. Excess fluid just runs out into the bottle, and the piston is much easier to compress, given that you're moving the fluid two inches into the bottle, instead of through several feet of line, the ABS pump, and then the brake master cylinder.

Just my two cents.

Caliper went on with PLENTY of syl-glide on the pins. Had to reuse the old retaining springs, though:
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Why did I have to reuse the springs? Because, shocker, the new ones are Proparts parts and the WRONG FREAKING SIZE (too small.) Better not continue to be a trend, since they seem to be the only goddamn manufacturer for aftermarket parts on my car.

Tomorrow the wheels should be going back on the ground, so I can break the brakes in. But, we know how my plans go.
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FrankTheCat

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FINISH HIM!

PostSat Jun 21, 2014 12:54 pm

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Crossed everything preventing me from putting my car back on the ground off!

So last night, out of pity, my girlfriend's dad lent me an easy-out set that didn't suck dick. Result? This:
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Had to drill all the way through the rotor index screw to get it to come out. Once I got it out, I found zero anti-seize on it. No wonder it wouldn't come out.

Once I had the rotor freed from the car, I pulled the caliper slides out:
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Surprise! Basically no lube. It's not nice to push shit into holes with no lube. Well, they did have a tiny, tiny amount of anti-seize on them, which isn't even the correct lubricant you're supposed to use (use Sil-Glyde you numpties.)

An hour later, I had the brakes back together:
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Then I fully bled the brakes: RF, LR, LF, RR. Brake pedal went from spongy as hell to harder than a dad's dick in the crowd of a One Direction concert.

With the brakes done and dealt with, the USPS man showed up right on time with yet another box of parts from eEuroparts. This time I got a new valve cover gasket set, a new distributor base o-ring and another exhaust clamp.

Armed with a tube of exhaust goop, I went to work sealing off the slip joint on the muffler's inlet. I took no prisoners:
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Then I put another line of goop on the inside of each half of the new exhaust clamp, and tightened it down:
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Wheels went back on (I also rotated the tires back-to-front,) I lowered the car off of the jack stands, aaand:
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I went out to bed the brakes in (warm the brakes up by doing several moderate stops, do 55-5mph stops 5-6 times without stopping, then drive with minimal brake usage for ten minutes to cool the brakes down,) and wow the difference in my car. No more snap oversteer, no more teeth rattling ride, and I can trigger the ABS at 45mph with half brake pressure. \o/

Rear ride height went up by a couple inches too. Guess those rear axle bushings were absolutely stuffed. Notice the dead cat bounce from the rear shocks a little more now, though.

Anyway, gonna give my car a wash and go take a ride down my favorite road in the world...
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