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Heim joint/rod end bearing removal on hydraulic rams on Convertible


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I've broken a rod end on the driver's side hydraulic ram for the convertible top. It broke off cleanly at the end of the shaft, saving the threads, but the "collar" still remains on the rod end. Any good tricks on how to screw this off without really messing stuff up? There's not much room to work...and I'd rather avoid tearing the interior panels off if I can avoid it.

 

Thanks!

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When I bought my '95 project car last summer, I had the exact same problem with the driver's side ram. I had to remove the inner panel (which requires removing the back seat and loosening a couple other panels because they overlap). Even then it was tricky to remove the ram, because I had to use a small wrench and loosen one of the bolts by "feel". There isn't much room at all between the ram and the body panel, I couldn't fit a proper socket in there. Sorry I don't have pictures. I didn't have to mess with anything on the actual top mechanism, and everything seemed to be still lined up fine when I put the new ram in.

One silly thing I screwed up was that I left the seat belt attached, because I didn't want to mess with it. I just extended the belt all the way out and slid the panel along it, out of the way. But when I reattached the panel, I ended up rotating it 360 degrees. After I put it all back together and got in for a nice test drive, I realized I had put a twist in the seat belt! I had to detach the seat belt mount on the pillar after all, and twist it back.

 

Hopefully somebody else will chime in a give you a helpful tip.

 

-Lincoln

red '95 3.1L, currently in my garage getting new rear suspension (struts, trailing arms, and leaf spring pads)

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I appreciate the information, but my problem is that the threaded portion of the old rod end is still threaded onto the shaft of the ram, the ram itself is fine.

 

The problem is figuring a way to get that threaded portion off the shaft without messing things up...preferably, without disassembling the car...but it's looking more and more likely that will be necessary.

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I broke one but mine unscrewed ok. I took the entire ram out of the car and basically unscrewed the top piece from the ram casing. My memory may be poor, but I think I just held the piston and rod with a rag in one hand and vice grips on the "collar" to bite just enough to get it started. A little PB Blaster might help there. I bought two stainless heim joints from some nice folks on ebay and had them shipped to my door for less than $10. Amazazing.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Finally got this fixed. On my way down through Georgia, just south of Atlanta is a Summit Racing Equipment store. They had the rod ends. Mild steel, rated at over 9,000 pounds. They're a bit meatier than the originals, but fit just fine. You'll have to discard the plastic bushings used on the original rod end, these have metal spherical inserts, rather than a large hole for a plastic bushing. Be sure to use Locktite on the threads, as the cylinder rod can rotate, and over time loosen the rod ends.

 

3/8-24 female thread for the cylinder rod, 3/8 hole for the top bolt.

 

Summit Racing Equipment Part # SUM-MSF6

 

Cost $4.88 each

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  • 10 years later...

 

On 3/15/2011 at 5:25 AM, Galaxie500XL said:

Finally got this fixed. On my way down through Georgia, just south of Atlanta is a Summit Racing Equipment store. They had the rod ends. Mild steel, rated at over 9,000 pounds. They're a bit meatier than the originals, but fit just fine. You'll have to discard the plastic bushings used on the original rod end, these have metal spherical inserts, rather than a large hole for a plastic bushing. Be sure to use Locktite on the threads, as the cylinder rod can rotate, and over time loosen the rod ends.

 

3/8-24 female thread for the cylinder rod, 3/8 hole for the top bolt.

 

Summit Racing Equipment Part # SUM-MSF6

 

Cost $4.88 each

I finally did this repair myself last night.   I thought it was funny that we were talking about this 10 years ago!   Summit still sells the same part with the same part number.  Thank you so much for figuring this out and sharing how you did it, it saved me a bunch of time and money.   I left my cylinder attached to the car to do the repair.  I struggled with getting the broken end off the cylinder rod for a little while before I realized that I could move the rod end up and down into a better position by latching the convertible top in the up position, and just pushing the "up" and "down" buttons.    I know this seems obvious, but I never push the up and down buttons with the top latched and didn't think of it until I watched a youtube video.    The good cylinder on the other side is held in place and the hydraulic pressure change just moves the cylinder with the broken end up and down.    I put a pair of vice grips wrapped with cardboard on the shaft and the broken end spun off easily with another pair of pliers.   I used locktite on the new heim joint, because you can't tighten it very well and have it still lined with with the bracket.   I also was careful to not drop the nut down into the body, as I'd read about a guy on w-body doing that in another thread.   I just want to say I love this forum so much, my car broke and I fixed it for $5.    A body shop would have probably charged me a bazillion dollars for a whole new cylinder assembly and labor.     

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