||03-31-2011 11:47 PM
BMR 1.4" drop springs, sway bars, pro bushing kit, trailing arms, toe rods install.
So I finally had a couple days set aside to install a large chunk of mods that have been sitting in my spare bedroom for over two months now. This thread will be over the BMR suspension portion of the installs.
Hmmmm, where do I start. Taking out the stock bushings was THE BIGGEST PAIN EVAR! Installing the BMR stuff was pretty easy, I would say I spent the majority of my time taking out the stock bushings. I won't take you on a step by step install, the BMR instructions are pretty thorough, but I will give you some tips and pointers to try and save you some of the horrors I experienced.
The main tools will need for removing the stock bushings is a trusty dead blow hammer, a chisel, a drill with lots of different sized drill bits, a 2" hole saw, a sawzall with an assortment of blades (preferably new), a good vice and a bearing press tool (I made my own out of giant sockets and a C clamp). Dropping the rear cradle is pretty straight forward, I zip tied the calipers up out of the way so I wouldn't have to disconnect them our just leave them dangling by the brake hose. I went ahead and left thew axles in the center section so I wouldn't have to worry about fluid leaking everywhere. It was a bit more cumbersome, but I managed.
To remove the differential bushings, use the 2" hole saw to drill out the rubber part, use the sawzall to cut two slits in the bushings metal lining (cut the slits towards where the bushing mounting hole has more material in case you go too far, it would suck if you accidentally cut your mounting hole) and use the chisel to pry the "slice" of lining out. The shell should now be easily removable. To install the half of the bushing that goes into the side of the housing that does not have a machined beveled edge, i grinded a small bevel into the bushing itself.
Next up was the giant cradle bushings. NOTICE: one thing the BMR instructions did leave out was that you must remove and reuse the black caps that go under each big bushing. The instructions did not mention these ATALL and I almost destroyed them when i was about to start taking the bushings apart. To remove the giant rear cradle bushings I used the drill to drill a hole right next to the fiberglass liner. I wallowed this hole big enough to get a thin sawzall blade in there and cut a slit in the fiberglass lining (again, cut towards where there is more material on the cradle so if you do go to far it won't destroy the mounting hole). After you get a good slit cut into the fiberglass lining a few dead blow hits will pop the mount out. I did notice that the bottom halves of the front most cradle mounts seems to fit small. I don't know if this is supposed to be how they are made, but I will contact BMR just to be sure.
For the rear lower trailing arm bushing and the front lower control arm bushing I used my home made bushing press. For the rear upper control arm and front radius rod bushing I used the hole saw/sawzall method.
For the lowering spring install you really don't need a spring compressor to get the assemblies apart if you use a floor jack to SLOWLY release the spring tension. Reassembly can be done by hand, no compressor needed.
Another couple of notes, in the instructions for the cradle bushings it shows in "Image 10" how the cradle looks with the bushings installed. Nowhere does it tell you that the cradle in the picture is upside down. I attached a pic so you can see what I mean (it's the one that says "image 10"). It took me about 10 minutes to figure that out. Also my front lower springs had the part numbers scraped off. I could barely make out that one used to say SP023R (the 1.4" drop front spring part number) and the other used to say SP020R (the 1.0" drop front spring number). I could only assume that they mislabeled one of the springs, so i measured both springs and the seemed to be the same size. Being that it was late at night and I wanted to get this done I went ahead and installed them, looks like I was right.
Update: Been pretty busy but I swapped out springs a few days after installing the 1.4". I replaced my BMR 1.4" lowering springs with some BMR 1.0" lowering springs (I had ordered both the 1.4" 1nd 1.0" in case the 1.4" was too low). I LOVED LOVED LOVED the look of the 1.4" drop but when I tried to chase down why it was a little bouncy I found that the rear struts were sitting on the bump stops. I cut the bump stops to give the rear suspension some room to travel and the rear of the car dropped another 1".
This of course was unacceptable. I called Apex and BMR, both had GREAT customer service. They said that I was pretty much the first convertible to install these springs and together we figured that the verts are probably too heavy for the 1.4" drop. They said to send them back for a full refund. The pics of the car with the black wheels is with the 1.0" drop. Apex-Speed and BMR had AWESOME customer service handling my 1.4" spring return.