Part2 – King pin shims

I used a bit of chassis lube on the pins to make it easier to turn them later on. I made sure that the hole in the pins faced backwards. That is where an allen key is inserted to turn the pin which is eccentric, to adjust the caster and camber.

Next I’ll use various shims to set the play for the spindle on the king pin.

Before starting the measurement I made sure all the over-paint was removed from the king pins and spindle machined surfaces. (Notice the rounded inside shoulder on this pin. I’ll refer to it later)

Following the manual instructions first you place the spindle on the king pin and use a .003 to .006 feeler gauge between it and the king pin shoulder. This will be the correct play.

Next a shim is placed behind the thrust bearing at the lower end of the king pin. You keep doing this with different shims or combination of shims until the thrust bearing is just even with the shoulder on the king pin. This worked pretty well for one king pin but the other was a problem. For some reason the inner shoulder at the top of the king pin would not allow the spindle to fit flush to the king pin at the top. However the thrust bearing would as it has round shoulder on the inner race.

So now I need to put the spindle up against thrust bearing with a shim in place. I then need to adjust the shims until I get about .005 clearance between the king pin shoulder and the spindle end.

To do this I made up this jig.

Now I just had to measure the space between the flat washer and the spindle. Ideally I would have used the steering knuckle for this purpose, but I just didn’t want to tear down one of the a-arms to do this. So I made do with this setup. Not perfect, but I was able to fit it so that .006 was too big and .005 just fit. I decided to do the same for the other king pin as well.

Next step will be to get the a-arms back in place

Re-assembly Part1

The lower a-arm pins are a tight fit in the steering knuckle. I had to run a wheel cylinder hone in the knuckle and clean the pin on the wire wheel to get them to slip into the knuckle without a lot of pounding. It still took some fair taps to get them in.

I would have been nice to be able to fit the pins in the knuckles before putting them in the a-arm, but no luck. This means I will have to hammer the zerk pin that holds the pin in place, while it is in the a-arm.

Pin in place and ready for the Zerk fitting.

When tapping in the zerk pin I didn’t want to be hammering on the pin threads so I partly installed the end bushings just enough to support the pin. Before the zerk when in it was necessary to line up the pin slot in the zerk hole. No chance of turning the pin with a large screwdriver. It took a ratchet and a large blade socket to do the job.

Zerk ready to be tapped in place. Nothing holding it in except the friction of metal to metal contact so no grease on the pin or the zerk. Using the bushings, I positioned the knuckle towards the front of the assembly (without interference with the a-arm). The idea being to get the best positive camber (back slant) possible on the king pin. I have had problems in the past with getting enough positive camber on the pins to make the steering come back to centre by itself.

This is the setup I used to get the pin in place. I still had to hold up the knuckle with one hand while tapping the zerk in.

Zerk in place and all’s well….. But what about the seals!

My wife has this problem in quilting. She gets something completed only to find out there is a problem and she has to carefully remove all the stitching just completed. One thing I have learned is that I need to put things together with idea that they will have to be taken apart at some point. So at this point nothing is set that it can’t be removed and replaced.

I decided to try and get the rubber seals in without tearing it all apart. Luckily I was just able to get them in place without a complete disassembly.

All together and ready to go in the car. I won’t try to tighten the bushings fully until I have everything together and the spring in place. The spring and a-arm will hold it securely enough to allow the final torque necessary.

Final Paint & time to start the installation!

Had to use a flash for this shot. The paint is semi-gloss Tremclad and is less shiny than it appears. I had previously painted the cross member and frame ends with Tremclad rust primer. I just need to re-attach the PS line brackets.

Left cross member section. The colour is more realistic here. I noticed that there was a gouge in the exhaust pipe on the left side. Likely caused by the tie rod sleeve clamp bolt. I’ll need to make sure that is corrected when I do the re-install.

Right undercarriage about the same.

As can be seen I didn’t manage to get paint all the way in under the shock mount. Painting the frame is really unnecessary, but it’s all about doing the hobby thing and making things nice as well as performing maintenance and upgrades.

Wasn’t happy with the streaky paint. Since the Pro Forma rock guard is paintable I gave them a coat of semi gloss black. Much nicer now and even less likely to show any rust.

Next: Time to begin the re-assembly- Yeah!

Final cleaning for the frame

Ready for primer and paint. I went over it first using parts solvent in a spray bottle. I should have used a tooth brush and a tin of solvent. I undoubtedly inhaled some of the spray vapour which isn’t good. The old undercoating was a bit of a bear to remove. It needed to be scratched away with a scraper and the remains rubbed off with a small steel wire brush and solvent. Once done I went over it all with a toothbrush and paint thinners.

A arms and springs coated with CarQuest Pro Forma rock guard. Looks good in the shot, but it isn’t a nice even coat. I sprayed the ones I have done in the past which gave a nice uniform coating. The brushed on coating is a bit streaky.

Backing plates came out pretty good – not that anyone is going to see them.

Last messy job

I cleaned up the most of the top frame and cross-member when I put in the new V8 and PS. Still some left that needed the A arms removed so I’ll get that done before the re-assembly.

Not too much grease and oil, but there is some old undercoating. I was thinking of using rock guard on the frame, but I’ve decided to scrape away the old undercoating and prime and paint the same as the rest of the frame.

Backing plates sand blasted and primed with Tremclad oil based metal primer. I didn’t bother to sand after sand blasting. I figure the rough metal will be better for the primer to grab. They make black oil based metal primer that isn’t supposed to need a primer beforehand, but I have found that the primer is what sticks best. It remains often even after the cover paint has be scratched off. Also any missed spots when doing the cover coat are more obvious to the eye.

Back to the spindles. Thinking about the re-assembly I couldn’t figure out how the cork lower king pin gasket would work with the lower bearing flush and up against the steering knuckle. Sure enough when I read the manual (when all else fails!) the special tool to put in the lower bearing set it in far enough to take the gasket. I’ll be referencing the manual as I go through the re-assembly – even though I’ve done this twice before my memory is perfect by any means!

Unfortunately they didn’t specify how far to set the bearing into the spindle. The gasket is about 1/8″ thick so I set the bearing back about 3\32″ . The gasket is about flush now, but as it is an old dried out cork gasket I’ll soak it in warm water for about 15 minutes and it will swell enough to fill the spindle hole tightly and rise above the spindle surface a bit more. Should provide a good seal. I have tried using rubber O rings, but they are too tight and will not allow grease to escape which is how you determine that grease has reached the bottom bearing.

Spindle Arms and A arms

My parts order came in with the new quick steering spindle arms. They came with new castle nuts and keepers which was nice.

The new arms are about 1-1/4″ shorter or about 16%. I don’t know how this relates to the number of steering wheel turns lock to lock, but I have read that it is about 20% less. I know on the ’54 Champion it was noticeable.

Tools to remove the old spindle arms. A small maul and a hardwood block – basic or what!

To remove the old arms I backed off the castle nut then re-installed it backwards until it was flush with the threaded end. I used my hardwood block and smashed the nut a couple of times and it broke loose.

New spindle arms and bushings in place. Just need to be painted.

Meanwhile painting continues. I can only run by sandblaster for about 45 minutes at a time as that is the stated duty cycle. It is only a 15 gallon 225 lb pressure unit – it too from Princess Auto. So in between I clean and paint parts.

New lower bushings and bearings

Always nice to have the right tool. This is part of a bearing setting kit I borrowed from my Stude buddy.

The bearings went in nicely, but the bushings were quite tight. Still all went well. Ideally you would use and bench press with the bearing installer (the long shaft is only used when using a hammer to seat the bearing.) Both the bearings and the bushings were set just flush with the spindle surfaces.

Test fitting the king pins in the spindles. The fit was quite snug. Any more and they would have to be pressed in which I don’t think would be a good idea.

This ‘n’ that

New nos a arm bushings in place. They fit much better than the aftermarket items.

Sand blasting really does a nice job on the small parts too.

Tools to remove the bearings and bushings from the spindles. I use the piece of hardwood on the bottom of the vice jaw and rest the spindle bottom on it.

I ended up using this tool also. The bottom bearings cam out easily, but neither bushing wanted to move.

So I used the hacksaw to relieve the bushing. I didn’t cut all the way through – just about half was was all that was needed and they came out – albeit they were still tight.

Oh yes, still need to sandblast the backing plates.

A arm woes

The a arm is about 1\8″ wider that in earlier models so my buddy’s tool to support the a arm while the bushings are being pressed in, was too short. I have drilled out the rubber from the old bushings and removed the inner sleeves.

This is the type of thing I need to make – this is the one used on the upper a arms.

So I had to fashion this out of a piece of 2″ plumbing pipe. I used a zip cut wheel on my electric grinder (my air compressor can’t supply enough pressure at high volume for my air tool to work except on small jobs).

First I cut about a 1/3 of the pipe off lengthwise. I then cut two slots to accommodate the a pin ears. Finally I had to cut a notch for the odd loop. I say odd because the earlier pins I have seen don’t have this loop affair. All’s set now for the final install of the lower bushings.

Pressing new bushings, etc

I don’t have a big press, but fortunately my Stude buddy does. Here we’re pressing out the old bushings. This setup didn’t work too well as the pin was spreading the old bushing at the bottom. When all else fails… The manual shows a special ‘tool’ to get them out. It’s just a piece of bar stock that is bolted to the pin and goes beyond the pin bolt holes. We fashioned one up and got the old bushings out OK.

The piece of pipe stops the ends of the A arm being squeezed together when the new bushings are put in place. The bushings should go in far enough to meet the shoulders of the pins. Here there is a gap on the left side of the photo. This is with the bushings pushed in so they just bottom on the bushing flange. These are aftermarket bushings and the flanges are too wide compared to the originals. So we had to push them in beyond the flange to fit properly. Happily the A arms were able to take the pressure. These are the upper arms. We’ll do the lowers later.

Sand blasting is coming along. Still have the springs, one spindle and bits to be done. I’ll take the lower A arms to my buddy put in the new bushings tomorrow I drilled out the rubber on the old bushings and removed the inner sleeves to simplify the removal and replace process.

Parts ready for gravel guard or prime and paint.