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Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car
Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car
Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

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Novel uses of ratchet straps in a car restoration shop - Page 2

The jack pad is placed directly under the coil spring below the A-Arm. A block of wood can be set on the jack pad to protect the new paint on the A-Arm.

The jack pad is placed directly under the coil spring below the A-Arm. A block of wood can be set on the jack pad to protect the new paint on the A-Arm.


With the jack raised up a bit, Vince attempts to slide the bottom pin into the outer end of the lower A-Arm.

With the jack raised up a bit, Vince attempts to slide the bottom pin into the outer end of the lower A-Arm.


As the jack pad rises, it does not lift the frame very much because the frame is strapped to the jack. Only the lower A=Arm should move upwards. Just above the outer end of the lower A-Arm you can see the hole for the pin bolt.

As the jack pad rises, it does not lift the frame very much because the frame is strapped to the jack. Only the lower A=Arm should move upwards. Just above the outer end of the lower A-Arm you can see the hole for the pin bolt.


As you start jacking, make a quick check to ensure that everything is moving the way it should be. You need the holes in the lower A-Arm to line up with the holes in the lower link at the bottom of the spindle.

As you start jacking, make a quick check to ensure that everything is moving the way it should be. You need the holes in the lower A-Arm to line up with the holes in the lower link at the bottom of the spindle.


Once the outer end of the lower A-Arm is properly positioned, the pin bolt can be slid through the hole and you can install the nut on the threaded end. Once this is done, you no longer need the ratchet straps.

Once the outer end of the lower A-Arm is properly positioned, the pin bolt can be slid through the hole and you can install the nut on the threaded end. Once this is done, you no longer need the ratchet straps.


As it turned out, there was no length of chain lying around the shop the first time we tried the coil spring install. We then decided to try using a two-inch wide ratchet strap in place of a chain and this method worked just perfectly.

Since we strapped that first MGTD suspension, we have used the same system to remove and install coil springs on a Daimler SP-250, several Triumphs and a big 1948 Chrysler. The system has worked perfectly every time. We've never had a safety issue either. There are different shaped A-Arm pans and spring seats for different cars, and different openings in A-Arms, but if you go slowly, logic will tell you the best spots to wrap the ratchet straps around.

We used ratchet straps a different way when working on the rear suspension of a Triumph TR-7. This car has a four-link rear suspension with coil springs, a sway bar and shock absorbers. We removed the links and coil springs to install new bushings in the links. When we started putting things back together, we got the driver's side assembled and the passenger side parts just didn't want to line up enough to put the bolts through the holes.

The car was on a 4-post lift, so we blocked the front wheels so the car would not roll forward. Then we got out a 25-ft long ratchet strap and a couple of axle straps (short straps with rings on both ends). We wrapped an axle strap around the beam at the front of the lift (the car was facing this beam) and we wrapped the other axle strap around the rear axle, being careful not to put it over brake lines and other plumbing. Then we hooked the long ratchet strap between the two axle straps and carefully pulled the passenger side rear suspension into a position where we could get the bolts through the holes and tighten them up. Unfortunately, we were so busy doing our rigging that we took no photos.

We did take photos of another job we did with ratchet straps on the front suspension of the same TR7. After rebuilding the front end of the car with new bushings and cleaning everything up, we realized that removing the anti-sway bar had released tension on it and the ends of the bar moved outwards a bit. Although it was not a large amount of spread, it was enough to keep the threaded portion of the sway bar ends from going back into the holes they came out of. The anti-sway bar was also very strong and seemed impossible to pull in.



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