Rust and the Art of Welding

Do you know what this part is?

Nope, it’s an upper shock mount on a Range Rover Classic. Wait, what? You guessed that right? Bully for you. This weekend I climbed under the Range Rover to swap out the old and tired Old Man Emu shocks I bought in 2001. Before it was over, I had ordered two of these.

I sourced a set of Terrafirma shocks from Atlantic British and they had been languishing in their boxes on my garage floor. It was time to replace them.

The front shocks on went without a hitch. However the rear shocks were quite the ordeal to remove. It required me using the electric impact wrench. (Brilliant tool, by the way. If  you don’t have one, get one.) The rust was terrible. I have pictures to share in another post.

The nuts were welded to the shafts with corrosion and after hitting them with the impact wrench they just spun on the shafts. I had always wondered why people buy shock mounts, they are made out of metal right? How pictures have you seen or witnessed in person a person breaking a shock mount on the trail? I used to think these things were from hard use. Apparently they are from “use”. The part is shipped from the factory unpainted and you know what that means. RUST.

This means that after just a few years the rust has begun and the structural integrity of that part is being compromised. After climbing around under the Range Rover this weekend I was really surprised at how much rust was forming on the parts I had painted with Marhyde Self-Etching Primer just a summer ago.

If I had the budget and time I would probably pull the major bits and have them all powder-coated. But that is not really practical nor affordable. If I were doing a FULL RESTORE it would be. But I’m not, so I’ll just chase the rust around, part by part.

Speaking of rust, I noticed the brake calipers on the rear are really nasty. I replaced the right rear brake caliper a year or two ago when I noticed my second caliper rebuild failed. Frustrated I sourced new brake calipers. I did not paint them at the time thinking if I needed to return them under warranty they would not take them back. That left them with what ever they were coated with to rust. Turns out they were coated with Pre-Rust ™. Yes, I just trademarked that product. I will show a picture of the right side rear caliper in a future post.

After pulling the wheel to remove the shock, it turns out, I will need to replace the left side brake caliper as well. It does not seem to be contacting the brake disc. I may or may not have mentioned already that I have a pop when I apply the brakes and I would bet 100$(US) that this caliper is sticking and the culprit.

So what started as a Difficulty Scale 1 shock replacement, is going to be four jobs:

  • Replace Upper Shock Mounts
  • Rust Abatement on Right Rear Brake Caliper
  • Rust Abatement on Left Rear Brake Caliper
  • Replace Left Rear Brake Caliper

I think I will pull the right rear caliper and take it to JagGuy’s shop this coming weekend and sand blast the rust off. Then everything will get two coats of primer and get slapped back on. I wonder if anyone makes a “portable sand blaster”? I’m guessing Google is going to get work out on that search string later today.

I missed SCARR this weekend (http://scarr.texasrovers.org/) I really wanted to go but the time was not available. And as it turned out, my Range Rover wasn’t ready either.

Happy Earth Day. I hope it was awesome for you. In honor, I cut down a tree Sunday which was encroaching on my swimming pool. Up with people! (there will be no singing).
Smoke’m if you’ve got’em.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Rovering.

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