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CJ New Reader
2/25/18 1:07 p.m.

Bought an '81 diesel when in college the second time for $300.  Owner had run up on a median and bent the rear axle.  Junkyard parts got it moving again.  Brother found a NOS turbo setup for $150 and I found a aluminum fuel tank that sat in the spare tire well... and plumbed into the original filler.  Brought the fuel on board total to about 20 gal.  Funny to watch the pump jockeys start looking under the car to see where all that fuel was going.  With the turbo, the car went about as well as the gas version and got 45 - 50 MPG.  I had to make pit stops more often than the car did.  Miss it sometimes. 

Great thread.  Carry on

paranoid_android UltraDork
3/22/18 10:03 p.m.

No real progress to report.  I've de-rusted and painted all the suspension bits I had taken off the car, so there isn't much more I can do on it with one working arm.

But I did start a thought exercise on my strut housing quandry.  After a mail order mishap made right, I have a pair of KYB strut inserts that will go on the car.  I think they will be better than the Sachs OE ones I ordered initially.  And the KYB's came with a cap that threads into the top of the strut housing to hold the inserts in (the part of the housings I don't have).  Since I had the caps, I could measure the threads to see where to go next.

The caps have male M50x1.5 threads on them.  And I have some 2" OD steel tubing in the garage.  So idea one was to cut the 2" tubing to the correct lenght, cut the corresponding amount off the stock housings and marry the two with intense heat.  After that, source an appropriate tap, cut the threads in the end of the newly welded on tube and be done.  But finding a tap for less than I paid for the car proved to be difficult, not to mention the effort it would take to run a tap that big in by hand.

Idea two was to find some weldable parts that already had the threads I needed cut in them, then weld those things onto the strut tube.  This was easier than I thought.  Google led me to the idea of "bearing lock nuts", and I was able to find some that offered the actual material they were made out of.  So $40 and a couple days of waiting landed me these:

Made out of 1018 Japanese steel with the M50x1.5 threads machined in them.

With some minor fitting, two of them should be able to be welded onto the 2" tubing I have, and then that mess can be welded onto the remains of the stock housings.  Maybe.

The OD of the lock nuts is too big, I knew this when I ordered them.  The major diameter measures at 2.750".  So I kind of figured I would turn the ODs down so the coilover sleeve would fit over the tops of them after they were welded on.  But realistically that doesn't look like it would work well, as the remaining wall thickness would only be about .030".

So I'm thinking now the 2" tubing will need to be welded onto the housings, the coilover sleeve slid over the housing and then the lock nut welded on the end.  The springs for the coilovers are 2.5" ID, so the lock nuts would have to be turned down at least that far so the springs can be changed out down the road.  The down side is the coilover sleeves wouldn't be coming off again.

The general idea:

The biggest challenge for this idea so far is finding someone that has a lathe that will turn the lock nuts down for me.  There aren't many shops left in Ann Arbor that do that kind of thing it seems.  At least not that I've found yet.

brad131a4 Reader
3/23/18 12:02 a.m.

Wow that is aaah interesting approach to your problem. I have a couple pair of mk1 struts housings laying around. I could check to see if they have the inner threads. Will pm you if I do. Plus they are in far better looking shape than the one you have pictured. 

paranoid_android UltraDork
3/23/18 7:14 a.m.

In reply to brad131a4 :

That would be great, thank you!


DeadSkunk UberDork
3/23/18 10:18 a.m.


Near the bottom of this there's an interesting bit about using diffenet shock inserts.

DeadSkunk UberDork
3/23/18 10:21 a.m.


This one may have some info of use to you about other cars that have threaded strut tubes to cut up and weld. The local pick-n-pull may deserve a visit.

paranoid_android UltraDork
3/23/18 12:56 p.m.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of rolling my own, but haven’t convinced myself I can do it yet.

And yes, I’ve been hankering to make a trip to a local pick and pull (for a set of mk2 strut housings).  But I fear I wouldn’t be able to accomplish much in my current lame state.

Thisoldrustbucket New Reader
5/13/18 7:07 p.m.

In reply to paranoid_android :

I live in Ann Arbor, have you talked to the machine shop near Costco? They did some similar machining for me on their lathe for literally $20. You might want to try them. If they can't then I suggest advanced industries in Chelsea. They made a custom steering knuckle arm for my 65 Scout. They could do any machining you might need including cutting threads. 

paranoid_android UltraDork
5/29/18 9:42 p.m.

In reply to Thisoldrustbucket :

Thank you for that tip!  Honestly I had no idea they were there, but I will remember that.  There is a little CNC shop on South Industrial by the PTO Thrift Shop I talked to.  They reluctantly agreed to do it for $100 and no promised finish date.  They were very nice, but it was pretty obvious they didn’t want to do it.

But, this whole quandary was solved right after my surgery by a kind soul here that took pity on me and sent me some real, intact, usable strut housings!

For this gesture I am truly thankful!

So I’ll hang on to the coilover sleeves I bought and go back to the stock parts.  Once my lifting restrictions are lifted of course.

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