Removing Rust from Old Coilovers
We all know that OEM parts get old and have to be replaced; most of us use this as an opportunity to upgrade to a better part. Time, heat and weather take their toll on all of our cars, often seizing bolts and rusting components. Even our aftermarket parts, sometimes constructed better than the originals, succumb to the wear and tear of daily use. So what to do? Obviously a lot of money has gone into the aftermarket upgrades, so pitching them seems a bit wasteful. Well if you are super careful, you can oil, clean and inspect your investments every day. Often however, that’s easier said than done. More likely the parts are on the car, and don’t get much care after installation. Enter our B5, the coilovers were installed a while ago and as a result, they are quite dirty and even have some rust. (Winter is a cruel mistress) We did not want to replace the coilovers because they are still working well, however we did want to lower the car. The grime and rust on the threads would make the task near impossible and could even damage the coilover permanently. So we were left with no choice to remove and clean the assembly thoroughly. Removing the coilovers was not as hard as we thought it would be. The shock tower bolts were easily reached after moving a few lines and wires in the engine around. We chose to take the upper control arms out as well for ease of cleaning and reinstall. Surprisingly the control arm pinch bolt came out with no issue. (Some slight tapping was needed, but not nearly as bad as the stories say) The hardest part of the job was clearing the lower control arm, while working around the delicate CV joint. We found that we could get the coilovers in and out by pushing the uprights down and towards the back of the car. This gave us the clearance we needed, but be careful, you can damage the CV joint by doing this. So go slowly. Another important note: We completely destroyed the car’s alignment by doing this. (Seriously, you will need to get one after this job a.s.a.p. The car crab walks more than Zoidberg.) Once the coilover assembly was out, cleaning began. We used several products, starting with brake cleaner. That loosened most of the caked on dust. Then we sprayed the whole thing down and poured Coke over it (Not joking, not drinking Coke anymore either, trust us) While the Coke was still on the coils, a brass wire brush was used to clean off the harder dirt and rust. This method worked extremely well, and the coil’s threads bounced right back. To finish off the restoration, a healthy coating of WD-40 was used. We coated the threads and other moving parts as well, the light grease should work to protect the surface from rust and dirt once back on the car. Installation was the reversal of removal, and the car sat at its new height nicely. The adjustment ring and locking ring moved like silk over the freshly cleaned coils. All in all a few hours’ worth of work and some money saved. Next week the rears will be tackled, in much the same manner. The usual warnings apply, don’t try this unless you are comfortable working on your car. Use jack stands and other appropriate protection items. No, we won’t take responsibility if you screw up your ride. As always, happy wrenching.
Don’t try this unless you know what you are doing, Seriously just don’t.