As I move through the restoration process, I will be putting the finishing touches on the transmission before setting it off to the side. The next step will be to tackle the IRS to see what challenges it might be willing to provide.
Any thoughts or suggestions based on the groups wealth of experience and knowledge?
I did that last winter. Take your time, the radius arms can be very stuck. Chisels or pry bars are often required. Remote bleeders are worth it. Consider changing the gear ratio if you want to reduce highway revs. I used a motorcycle lift to hold it on the way down and in fitting the IRS back up. “While you’re there” check and replace all worn items.
I am in a complete disassembly restoration. EVERYTHING on the car is taken apart,cleaned, plated, painted and prepped for reassembly.
I am glad to be here and respect the opinions of everyone.
To date… The bonnet has been stripped, repainted (inside) and prepped for some bodywork before repainting. The frame was just painted again yesterday to hit some light spots. The transmission is almost put back together after a rebuild. The engine will be addressed over the Christmas break when my son is in town. The IRS will be getting much needed TLC. And soon, the body will be on a rotisserie to strip undercoating and address some issues before proceeding.
As I explain to people, it looks like a Jaguar exploded in my garage (and also the basement. And the machine shop.). My friends and coworkers look at what I am doing with a state of amazement. People cannot comprehend the ability to completely disassemble a car and put it back together. When I complete the initial phases and start reassembly, it will be a huge clean,rust and grease free puzzle with new hardware. IT WILL BE GREAT!
Oh yeah… Thanks to all of the supportive and great replies so far. As anyone who’s done this before knows, it is easy to run out of steam on a project like this. The support from the community really helps.
I suggest that you be very careful about securing the IRS to whatever lifting device you use. I used stout rope and a HF jack. It’s center of gravity may be forward of where you think it is, with the radius arms tilting it forward, potentially causing it to topple off the trolley jack or whatever.
The rubber IRS mounting blocks and their bonding to the metal are safe when in compression. They are not safe in tension/unsupported. Do not get under the IRS with only the suspension rubbers holding it up.
Once removed, be aware the the IRS is very heavy. If there is any unevenness or slope in the concrete of your garage or driveway, be aware of the IRS’ inertia and of gravity. Roll it around slowly and if it starts to fall off the jack, let it fall. The IRS and gravity will win. Your back and groin muscles won’t. Ask me how I know. (so refer to prior point on securing it to the jack with rope or something.)
As someone else said, the radius arms removal from the body attachments can be the biggest hassle with removal. A helpful tip is to remove the bolt and ““washer” at the front of the arm and then reinstall the bolt (only) to use it as a fulcrum point for the lever you then use to lever the arm off. I used a ~1/2” wide hex cold chisel inserted into a socket of the same hex size on a 24" extender bar to create a lever. Others have used other improvisations. (This is one area where I suspect PB Blaster by the gallon has been wasted over the years in a vain attempt to get it to penetrate the wrong surface/thing.)
You are fortunate that having a late S2, you can easily remove the trailing arms from the IRS after removing the unit from the car, because the shock absorber lower mount is in two pieces. That may not seem important, but it can be convenient.
When eventually you reinstall the IRS, a come-along winch attached to the IRS and to the front suspension may be needed to pull it into place so that the trailing arms re-engage with the body.
Don’t take any of my comments as discouragement. For me, It was easier to remove the IRS the first time than to remove the oil pan the first time.
May as well pull those out too. The pedal assembly should be checked for at least weak or broken springs. Spring kits are cheap and well worth it while you are that far apart. Fuel tank flushed and boot floor cleaned and painted? If you are that far apart, dash removal is not that big of a deal.
My method was to go to the garage every day for at least an hour. Some days I would not touch a wrench and just make notes and such because I didn’t really feel like working on the car. Other days, I would start working with a part and four hours later the wife was calling me in because it was late and I had lost track of time. There were a few days I just turned around and went back in the house. Some days I couldn’t wait to get out there. The key for me was to at least open the garage door and go from there.
Needless to say, removing and rebuilding the IRS is not an easy task, but the advice you get here will make it much easier. I pulled mine starting July 4 this summer and had it completed and back in by August 15. I spent hours on it every day so I could have the car ready for the Oil Leak (BSOL) this past September and could not have managed without the help I received from the folks here on JL. @L.Lynn Gardner, @Erica_Moss and @Ahwahnee all had great advice and often photos to share that helped make all the tasks clear (as well as our late friend Jerry Mouton). There are some tricks to the most difficult tasks. Geo’s transmission jack and board make for a more stable way to remove and install the IRS. Some of the tasks required special tools that I had to borrow from friends. Cleaning the damned thing was the least fun part and mine could not be power washed until the loads of grease and grit were scraped away. Lots of photos and keeping track of the various shims found as you proceed is hugely important. Just my $.02.
I removed my IRS using the sideways method. If you use two jacks, you can lift the car off the IRS.
Undo all connections to the IRS (brake lines & cable, prop shaft and reaction arms). Place a dolly under the IRS, lower the car, undo bolts securing the IRS to the body and lift the car off the IRS.
Many ways to skin the cat. I like the Harbor Freight motorcycle jack because it has a wide, stable, and safe platform. I used it in combination with their scissors transmission jack (for lifting the chassis). Installed the IRS in under an hour by myself.