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Reliant Scimitar SE5a 2008-04-13
Trunnions and oil...

After hearing some scary anecdotes on the life expectancy of Scimitar front trunnions I made a point of replacing these as soon as possible. Ordered the trunnions, grease seal and fixing kit from Graham Walker and set to it this weekend. Both sides were in a similar state; the bolt through the trunnion and wishbone seized solid and lots of play in the trunnion threads. It was that stiff to rotate the trunnion about the wishbone end I wondered how the suspension moved at all! I'm thinking some of the clonking heard around the front end may have been due to this (there still is the occasional clonk which I think is the exhaust contacting something...).

I read a few tales on how tricky they can be to replace so I had a reasonable idea of what to expect. The trunnion nut was removed, then the rear wishbone half taken off. Luckily it unbolted from the bracket easily, looks as if someone has installed some poly bushes in there recently. The vertical link was separated from its balljoints then rotated off the trunnion. The trunnion bolt head was then ground off and the trunnion remains knocked off the front part of the wishbone. Only took a couple of pictures of the nearside, here they are...

Brake disc off and I'm wondering how to get the caliper/backplate off. The nearside was a bit trickier as the copper brake line went round the back of the vertical link, so I had to separate the top balljoint before the caliper could be moved out of the way. Of course the joint wouldn't break and my separator tool was too narrow to do any good so it was unbolted from the upper wishbone.

Here we are with everything removed, caliper tied out of the way and the lower wishbone rear taken off. Should have taken some pics of the bits that were taken off I guess!

The back plates and brake lines were a real pain to remove/install, next job at the front is to replace with a length of braided flexi line and bin the backplates/copper lines. Will probably combine that with a brake fluid flush and a caliper overhaul as the pistons and seals look a bit corroded and split (respectively!).

Anyhow, the parts that came off were given a quick clean; the wishbone eyes were given a quick once over with coarse sandpaper to get the surface clean for the new nylon bearings. The new fixing kit took a bit of head scratching to work out how the top-hats, washers and O-rings all went together but the internet provided the answer yet again. A chap called Don Kennedy has a great site and the FAQ's document, amongst other things, describes the right way to assemble them. Plenty of copper slip over everything as it went together, then tightened so that the entire bolt assembly rotates with the trunnion/vertical link. Pumped plenty of CV lith/moly grease into it, heard thats the correct stuff to use, to be honest I guess if its greased regular any grease should suffice!

I would have cleaned and painted the bits but I was lacking in time, I have new inboard bushes on the way so the wishbones are coming apart anyway in the near future. Should be plenty of time then to get it all looking nice, and check the inboard brackets! Will probably try the modification of adding grease nipples to the lower wishbone end to keep the nylon bushes lubricated.

The remainder of the weekend was taken up with changing the engine and gearbox oils and creating a minor oil slick in the process. Would have done the axle too but the fill plug refused to move (had the nouse to try it before draining!) and by that point I thought "balls to it" and went home for food. And beer.

Whilst the gearbox was empty I cleaned out the overdrive filters

Heres the Laycock overdrive before I took the filter cover off. Fill and drain plugs on the right and bodged wiring on the left. Still getting voltage down there though which is good.

This is what was deposited in the tray on removal. I thought it was just your usual metal particle rubbish but closer inspection revealed some sizeable chunks of something aluminium-y looking. Not a good sign and possibly the reason the filters broken. Didn't have much choice but to stick it back together and try it. Once on the road there still wasn't any sign of life. I cleaned out the pressure valve when doing the filter, the only servicable part left is the solenoid. But thats a job for another day...

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