The Suspension Situation, Part 2

So during the next week my task was to find replacements for everything that broke. The castle nuts for the front upper ball joints, some new nuts and bolts for the rear shocks, and the alignment bolts for the rear. Sounds easy enough right? I started to realize the castle nuts would be a problem. I used my tap and die set to size the threads. It was M12x1.25. That is a very fine thread for an M12. Last weekend while at Sears Hardware near Irene’s Dad’s I looked for the castle nut. They didn’t have any. But the hardware selection wasn’t as nice as the one near my apartment. The Sears Hardware near me is awesome. They have had just about everything I needed when I needed something. Bailed me out plenty of times. They did have an M12x1.25 castle nut but it was too tall. The slots for the cotter pin would end up below the send of the stud and the hole for the pin would be covered up. I actually needed a slotted nut as opposed to a castle nut as I found out (yes there is a difference!). I was able to find the bolts for the rear shocks there however. I had to use a flanged cap screw b/c the hex on a regular hex cap screw would be too big for the slot in the control arm where the socket goes in. They has some some flanged nuts with a 17mm hex as well. Perfect! I tried PepBoys and Autozone for the castle nuts with no result. It was a long shot but I tried. Doing a search on the internet I found out that Motormite sells castle nuts in their HELP! line. But not the size I needed.

Irene happened to be ordering a new clutch for her Miata from Young Mazda. Young gives LVMOC members a discount. Great! I can piggyback my parts on her order. I double checked real quick the price on the alignment bolts b/c I new I could get them for a good price from Trussville Mazda, who has a big online business. They were the same price. I asked her to order the upper ball joint castle nuts as well. OK so everything looks good so far. We get up to the dealer Saturday morning with not too much time to spare before they close. We get all the parts and head back to Irene’s Dad’s place. When I get there, to my horror, the castle nuts are the wrong size! They are obviously for the lower ball joints. All we can do is work on the rear.

Irene’s Dad was keen to help again and while we were driving up and stopping at the dealership he power washed the rear suspension assemblies and painted the control arms and uprights with a flat black paint! Awesome. The rear shocks & coilovers went together and along with the new shock bolts and alignment bolts both sides of the rear suspension went in without anymore drama. I got everything torqued down to spec. Since I couldn’t work on the front I used the extra time to remove the rear sway bar as I did not anticipate needing it for most surfaces & courses. No fasteners broke, but the ones holding the end links on were trashed after taking them apart. Luckily the studs that hold the sway bar bracket against the frame were in better shape. Not great, but re-usable. I cleaned them up by running a tap over them and then called it a day. Another weekend and the car was not finished. But at least I got to enjoy my Sunday not under the car.