Traction front cradle rebuild
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  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default Traction front cradle rebuild

    Just venturing into unchartered waters and am about to attempt a rebuild of a traction (L15) front cradle. I have managed to collect a few traction bits over the years amongst which has been a complete front end . So far , I have managed to dissmantle the assembly completely (using a press and also brute force ) and some how have re-assembled the lower link arms using s/h silentblocs! - I think they might be ok ? I have found the workshop manual to be very confusing ! ie in which direction are the splined link pins are to be removed and installed etc.? Am I just a bit slow or others confused as well! Can some one help by offering a simpler description of dissassembly / assembly of the cradle? Thanks.

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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    The splined pins press out through the rear silent bloc and are fitted the same way. The pins must be in top condition. The first section of the splines in the lower arm must not bear any corrosion or the arm will not be stable on the pin. Dimensions are given in the workshop manual for the depth of the splined pin into the rear silentbloc once fitted.
    The centre line of the lower arms along their entire length must be parallel to the centre line of the cradle ( in practice this is the welded seam along the lower edge ) and 4mm ahead of the cradle centre line, otherwise steering geometry will be affected.
    Cheers Gerry
    PS Half a torsion bar makes an excellent drift used with a sledge hammer to remove and fit splined pins. Be suspicious of their condition if they come out very easily. They could be badly worn. When removing or fitting support the cradle squarely on 1/4 " plate steel on a concrete floor to avoid damage to the silent bloc.
    BTW the pins are slightly tapered. One end ( the larger ) is often marked with a notch.
    Good Luck.

  3. #3
    Tadpole
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    Default traction cradle

    Thanks Gerry,

    But still a tad confused. Just maybe need to confirm which way the splined pins are tapered. ie big end at the front of the car [ larger dia.] or at the rear ?
    Cheers Geoff.

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    Small end in first so that the pin progressively tightens the further it is driven in.
    Cheers Gerry

  5. #5
    Tadpole
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    Thanks Gerry,

    Appreciate your patience and maybe Im not making myself too clear but what Im trying to confirm is the orientation of the taped pin ie does it taper from front to rear or rear to front ? (front refers to front of car).

    The cradle that I have part assembled is a trial/test using s/h components, which makes things a bit more tricky - silentblocs and pins are damaged and or rusty so determining which way things go together is tricky . but if I can just go through what Ive done so far-

    Pressed the pins out through the rear silentbloc ie the pin travelled forward in relation to the car. Assembly was the reverse ie the pin travelled rearwards in relation to the car. Aassembly was done with a drift ( cut down torsion bar-great minds think alike!) So I figure the from this the taper runs front (larger dia.) to rear.

    The OS Pin went together well but the NS proved tricky - as the cradle had accident damaged (repaired it using a jig) on this side ,I figured the alignment may have been slightly out.

    So Gerry just wondering if this makes sense and await your comments with interest.

    PS. Is it possible to assemble the pins wrong way round as there is very little taper ?

    Anyone else had any experiences with cradle work besides Gerry? I would like to know.

    Cheers all Geoff.

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    G'Day Geoff. Sorry mate but I think that you have been going about the task in reverse. The pins press out from the front to the rear of the cradle. i.e, away from the shock absorber pin side ( which of course is the front of the car). The larger part of the taper is the rear i.e. the part that the torsion bar butts up against.
    I cannot imagine that you would have been able to dismantle the cradle by pressing the pin out through the front silent block unless everything was very worn or rusted.
    New silentblocs and pins are available from Peter Larrson at CTA Sweden http://www.ctaservice.se/
    be very careful in your assessment of the lower arm splines. It is no good to fit new pins into a rusted out set of lower arm splines. The forward few cm. are critical. If this are damaged the services of a good engineering shop will be needed to rebuild and re cut them to spec.
    Cheers Gerry
    Last edited by gerrypro; 22nd March 2011 at 10:18 AM.

  7. #7
    Fellow Frogger! Trading Estate's Avatar
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    This thread makes me laugh! I had to press out my pins to fit a new link arm that replaced one that had ben bent back about 20 mm, god knows how.
    David Gries and I bashed away and afterwards found under a layer of grime, a small grub screw through the journal of the link arm that tightened the pin into the arm. Obviously a technique to ameliorate rusty splines and pins. Sure made a mess of it, pressing it out ! If only we had looked first!
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  8. #8
    Tadpole
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    Hi Gerry and Trading Estate,
    Just revisiting the manual and following the text it concurs with your descriptions Gerry.
    However, looking at diagram 46 in the illustrations book, it appears to me to show the serrated shaft to be extracted (14) is travelling rear to front (front beam the bottom i.e. the lower link arm offset 4mm to centre line).
    Please put me out of my misery, where am I going wrong in not reading this diagram correctly?

    P.S. Grub screw story interesting. Must have been a later modification.

    Cheers,
    Geoff

  9. #9
    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    Refer to page 38 and 40 of the illustrations section Work Shop manual.
    38 shows the necessary offset , the torsion bar in place and the fixing bolt for the torsion bar.
    40 shows the fixture used to draw the torsion bar into the rear silent bloc.
    Page 46 does indeed show the centre line offset on the wrong side of the cradle for extraction. This would be the fitting position. Congratulations you have just discovered an anomaly in the working diagrams. I have never noticed this before!
    I suggest that you read the text, page 63, paragraph 8b and note the Capitalised text. " the shafts being tapered it is essential to press them out towards the rear of the cradle"
    Cheers Gerry

  10. #10
    Tadpole
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    Thanks Gerry,
    Just wondering how serious this is. How many people have followed the diagram or the text? I followed the diagram and managed to assemble the cradle sucessfully or be it using second hand bits. Which is the correct procedure? You would hope it would be the text description. But, maybe not. In regard to your reference to the text, press towards the rear of the cradle. This to me is ambiguous with the cradle out and in a press situation the action of the press would be too towards the rear of the cradle as it sits in this press situation.

    Regards,
    Geoff

  11. #11
    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    Geoff, that is like arguing "if you turned the cradle upside down, which would be the top?'
    Obviously the "rear" references the orientation as the cradle exists, installed in the car!
    Cheers Gerry

  12. #12
    Tadpole
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    Thanks Gerry. I'm not doubting your experience or knowledge one iota so I'd like to set the record straight. For future dismantling and assembly, would you agree that diagram 46 is incorrect? I attach a photo of the cradle I disassembled/assembled the wrong way just to prove that it can be done : ) I interpreted the dismanteling process viewing diagram 46 and related text and found this to be ambiguous. I did not read the assembly notes at this point. I find it difficult to understand that no-one else has experienced this previously. Am I a basket case? PS: Spline pins and silentblocs were in reasonable condition ie no rust apart from minor surface rust, and disassembly/assembly was tight. Geoff
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Traction front cradle rebuild-dsc_0040.jpg   Traction front cradle rebuild-dsc_0045.jpg  

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    Diagram 46 shows the cradle in the assembly position. Looking at your photos it seems that you have been very thorough. If every thing was tight and required substantial effort to dismantle and reassemble, and if as you say there was no trace of rust pitting or corrosion on the splines then I would say you have done a pretty good job. Just check that the centre line along the entire length of he arms are 4mm ahead of the cradle centre line and are parallel. Essential for getting correct steering alignment once remounted.
    I do this with a string line clamped between the ball joint housings of each arm so that the line passes through the centre of the inner set screw hole for the closing cap of the ball joint.
    Cheers Gerry

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