Panhard Bar Installation – Part 2

By: Bob Goodson
November 18, 2020

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Author: Michael Yount

This is Part 2 of the Panhard Bar installation. To see part one Click Here

Used an old, adjustable rake handle to get an idea of how it’s going to sit.

Began fabrication of the chassis bracket for the passenger side of the car.  

Holes drilled to bolt this to the trunk floor from the bottom-side.  I’ll use the left-over piece from cutting one of the strut brace pieces — one nice, curved piece to make this into a 3-sided box.

Somethin’ like this….

Laid some paper under the rear axle and used a plumb bob of sorts so I can figure out mounting points for things.  Perfect world, the Panhard will be parallel to the ground at static ride height and parallel to the rear axle.  Using the plumb bob, I discovered that my shock bracket will have to be re-engineered to move the rod a bit further back – to clear the ring-gear-hump in the axle housing.  Below the pieces I fabbed — and then tacked together.

To weld the new piece to the shock bracket, I drilled some holes for plug welds.  The tip of the MIG is a bit too big to get in close enough to get a good weld all the way across.  So this will help anchor the piece — and I’ll weld the ends.

Moves the rod about 3/8″ further back — I think that’s gonna be just right.  Now I can use the plumb bob to locate the proper position of the chassis bracket on the passenger side.

Tack welded the chassis bracket.  It’s gotta go up in “there” somewhere – hard to hold and photo at the same time.

The bad news is that to get to the other side of the trunk floor for attachment and reinforcement may be a real pain.  Previous owner covered the floor in medium density fiberboard AND glued carpet to it.  At the very least, the part of the fiberboard where the bolts come through the floor has to be removed.  AND — looks like at least one of the bolts is gonna hit right underneath the fuel tank (sits behind the back seat back).  I have a little room under there – but not a lot.  Scratching head.  Well, nothing to do but dig in.  Remove battery and jack hold down.  Have to pull up glued down carpet to get to the sheet metal screws holding the MDF down.  It’s two pieces – plus the hinged cover for the spare, which bridges the two pieces.  Have yet to figure out what’s holding the hinged cover in.  It has to come out to get the two pieces of MDF out separately.

No less than 2 dozen screws holding all this stuff together.  Also had to remove the trunk latch, the driver’s side tail light and pull the wiring harness out of the way.  The passenger side piece came out first, then the larger driver’s side piece.

All to get to this part of the trunk — under the fuel tank on the passenger side.  Those two bolts will have to come out along with re-routing the fuel pump wires.  All of that was ‘smashed’ under the mdf.  I’ll drill two holes for the panhard rod chassis bracket — and the fasteners and reinforcement plate will go in that corner. 

I trimmed the mdf so it will go back in with all this stuff in place, something that should have been done when the trunk was upholstered.  Cleaned up the floor pans (NO RUST AT ALL!), reinstalled harness, light and trunk latch – and put the driver’s side mdf back in.  Properly trimmed, went right in.  The brown paint on the left side of the photo (under the jack hold down bracket) is the original color of the car.  You can also see where I removed the two fuel pump wires and the two bolts/nuts.  I’ll have to drill another hole to route the wires back into the trunk.
 
Laid out a line using the plumb bob — the one represents the back side of the axle tube.  Mark a spot with bob on both sides of the car, and then connect the dots.  Then use the bob to make a mark on the front side of the Panhard rod right near the shock mount.  It’s 3 1/8″ behind the axle tube.  Make a dot 3 1/8″ behind the tube line on the passenger side and connect the dots with the line in the foreground.  This is where the center line of the chassis bracket needs to hit.  Here you can see the bob over the line — I’ve got it centered up above through one of the chassis bracket holes – in this location, mark the holes and the outline of the bracket.
 
Then, drill two small holes and temporarily attach with sheet metal screws.  The small holes will be enlarged to 7/16″ or so to attach the bracket permanently.
 
Now I can mark the Panhard rod and make a final cut for length.
 
1″ lowering blocks arrive tomorrow – install them and I’ll have final ride height.  That’ll let me mark where to drill the holes in the chassis bracket for the Panhard to connect to.  Meanwhile, I removed the 3/4″ blocks and while I have the traction bars off, I cut the shock mounting ears off.  The passenger side might hit the bottom of the chassis bracket on a big rear suspension compression.  I think these traction bars were actually for a Toyota pickup.
 
 
1″ blocks arrived – 3/4″ drill bit to open up the hole on the backside to fit the Toyota leaf spring/u-bolt bracket.  And transferred over my bespoke copper bushes to fit the hole on the bottom of the Toyota axle bracket.  Got both sides cleaned up, painted and installed.

Put my level on the axle with the car back on the ground — set it at zero.  Then installed the Panhard to see where the holes need to go in the chassis bracket.  Can’t quite get to zero degrees (parallel), but can get to within 1 degree.  Going lower puts the holes in the bracket just a little too low for my comfort.  Sorry for no picture on the level on the bar — couldn’t hold the level, the bar and take a picture.  

ARGH – decided I’d like to come closer to having the Panhard be level with the rearend at ride height.  So I made a 3-plate spacer to lower the bracket a bit.  This allows the adjustment I wanted.

Test fit — everything fits and using some magnets to hold the bolts in the holes from the bottom – I was able to bolt it in place by myself.

I altered the top plate of the spacer to wrap upwards and tie into the part of the rear bulkhead behind the fuel tank.  You can see the small pilot hole above – another 7/16″ bolt will go through there as well.  

Now, on to fabricate a couple of braces that tie the bottom of the chassis bracket into the spare tire well for more support.

More to come… Part 3 coming next week. 

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