We have made some more progress over the past few weeks. I purchased a set of air-springs for the rear axle and proceeded to fit them myself. I got them at a very good price and they come in kit form, which is supposed to just bolt onto the vehicle, according to the instructions. Well, I must have the only Colt that has, welded on bump-stops. For the uninitiated, a bump-stop is fitted on the chassis, against which a rubber piece, fitted to the axle, hits when the spring reaches its limit. That happens when you fly over a bump. The vehicle gets airborne and when the full weight of it lands on the suspension and compresses it, there is a good chance you will get the rubber to hit the bump-stop.
However, after discovering that the bump-stops, on this vehicle are welded on, and now had to come off, I also saw that one of the rubber stops was missing. Just as well I don’t fly over bumps. Not sure how Lesley drives when I am not around. L: Only when the car is loaded with my shopping!! and I can’t wait to get home to unpack…….
S: After thinking all I had to do was bolt on the air-springs and drill a few holes, I now had to get out the angle grinder and cut metal L: (Under the car, with sparks flying next to the fuel tank!!! Needless to say I hauled out the biggest fire-extinguisher and baby-sat the whole day……).
S: It being a public holiday, I don’t think the noise went down too well with the neighbours. It was rather tricky as I could only get to the front and sides of the bump-stop to cut the weld. So I cut a window into the front so I could fit a crow bar into it and bend the metal backwards to break the weld at the back. It was a bit of a mission, but I managed to get it done. Then after grinding off the excess weld (L: more scary sparks flying) and painting the bare metal it was pretty straight forward bolting on the air springs. I took off the shock absorbers to get more room to bolt on the bottom brackets. The top bracket needed two holes drilled into the chassis so it could be bolted on. Then it was just a matter of mounting the air valves next to the rear number plate and running the pipes and connecting them to the air-springs. It all sounds easy, but it took me about 6 hours. A lot of learning on the first one, so the second went a bit faster. I could hardly move afterwards as my body does not bend as well as it used to and I felt as if I had ridden an Argus cycle tour.
We also managed to get the front tyres replaced. I took the best one off to use as the second spare. For a while now the vehicle has been pulling to the left and I had planned to do the alignment after the tyres had been replaced. When the vehicle was set up on the ramp the alignment was spot on. I did not believe it, so we went for a drive and it drove perfectly. It is incredible to think that in all the time we have had the Colt and done over 60 000 km over many types of terrain, that the alignment is still fine! L: That is because I am careful over the bumps…… :->