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Thread: Kingpin replacement

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    Kingpin replacement

    I got my front end apart!!! It was a nightmare that ended when I bought a 12 ton press from Harbor Freight. Now that I'm onto reassembly I have a couple of o-rings and I'm not sure where they go. Anyone know?

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    Side note

    And a side note to everyone who wants to quit after one kingpin because the other side seems fine... I was one of you, but I figured if I'm pulling the axle I'm doing them both. My driver's side was tight with no play, it seemed fine. Once I pressed out the pin I saw half a bushing gone and the other side packed full of rock hard petrified grease! Just cuz it don't seem bad don't mean it's good!!! And you can wipe me on that.

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    Figured it out!

    I guess the o-ring goes into a groove on the top side of the carrier bearing. (Researching other sites) I got the driver's side together easily but once my kingpin warmed up it got real stiff. (I read a recommendation to put them I'm the freezer before install to make it easier...) It moves smoothly but requires effort now. I'm thinking it'll break in? The passenger side doesn't want to go in at all. It just wants to push the bushings out. I'm thinking I'll run a brake hone through the bores to make sure they are clean and free of pitting. I thought I got them clean enough with brake cleaner, but maybe expansion from rust...

    Also I noticed the camber looked different between sides while pressing it apart. Is there a way to adjust camber other than torching the axle and bending it? That seems a little sketchy what with camber also being in jeopardy.

    I'll update when I get it all together.

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    Of all the kingpins I have replaced, I have never need a press to take them out - - - an air hammer, yes. Even then a few raps and the king pins came out. Once out, I take the spindle to a machine shop to have the bushings/pin "fitted"

    When reassembling the king pins should just slip right in

    As for alignment, consider a shop that does big trucks or semis. The axle is never heated, for caster the axle is bent using a chain/jack. caster is adjusted using and angle shim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joyrde View Post
    As for alignment, consider a shop that does big trucks or semis. The axle is never heated, for caster the axle is bent using a chain/jack. caster is adjusted using and angle shim.
    Great insight and advice, John!
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    NEVER heat an axle. It will bend later.
    Gregg Groff


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    It definitely needed the press! I was mushrooming the old kingpins beating on them.

    I must've moved something between my press and my support for the back end of the axle. It all went together nicely and everything looks good now. I did run the brake hone through the bushing holes to clear out rust pitting and paint from someone sometime. The steering wheel has returned to normal even. It was hunting as little at first but has gotten much more stable and neutral in the last couple days. I think I just had to burn a little of the cupping of off the tires.
    My only real concern now is that I think I spun one of the bushings when installing the pin so it isn't taking grease like it should. I'm planning on pulling the grease fitting and looking for a hole in the bushing and making one if needed.

    I'm also going to do Wookie's jackstand and string alignment trick to check alignment this weekend.

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    Thank you both for your input!!!

    I hope I never need to bend my axle or buy shims! I guess if I did need to bend it I have a press now... I like doing all my work myself so no shops if I can avoid it. I'd rather learn the old school tricks and make my own jigs/ specialty tools if needed.

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    VCVC Member joyrde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 65 Van Guy MKE View Post
    Thank you both for your input!!!

    I hope I never need to bend my axle or buy shims! I guess if I did need to bend it I have a press now... I like doing all my work myself so no shops if I can avoid it. I'd rather learn the old school tricks and make my own jigs/ specialty tools if needed.
    Wheel/steering alignment is measured in a small difference of degrees and 1/8" to 1/4" increments. No matter what "old School tricks" used, the steering may seem "better", but the likelihood of the settings being accurate is unlikely.

    In my years of teaching Auto Tech, and working as an Auto Tech, trying to accurately, or even "coming close" is in my humble opinion, impossible. In my 30+ years of teaching Auto Tech, including Wheel Alignment, we always had, learned on and used the latest Alignment Rack Technology. The difference between "old School" and modern best practices is like comparing alignment settings on a Model A to any new vehicle.

    The real difference is handling, tire wear, and most of all safety at 30 mph a Model A, and running 60 mph+ in a modern vehicle.

    My '67 GMC's last wheel alignment was 33 years ago. The right side of the axle needed bent to bring the camber into specs. I also had to install wedges on both sides to bring the caster into specs. The driving difference was night-n-day, In the 33 years since, I have probably put a 100,000 miles on the old girl. In that time, I have replaced the ling pins 3 times, and the front shocks twice. The rear shocks are STILL the original Air Shocks install in 1983!!!

    Each time the king pins were replaced, I checked the alignment on our Alignment Machine in my Auto Tech Class. Each time the alignment was unchanged.

    My point(s) in this answer, as I drove into my students minds is - - - Safety is always job one. When folks use methods designed for vehicle of 80 years ago, the safety factor is out the window. Especially in each "road test" to "see" if the adjustment(s) worked. Please complete all the mechanical work needed to bring the front and rear suspension components and the front steering components, then take the Van to acompetent alignment shop.

    If the above seems preachy, I am sorry. I taught and believe there are many repairs that can be made at home by competent home mechanic, Tere others that must be done by professionals on professional equipment. Wheel Alignment is something best left to professionald

    The following is a good article on wheel alignment - - - https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiret...e.jsp?techid=4
    Last edited by joyrde; 06-19-2019 at 06:02 AM.

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    VCVC Member joyrde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 65 Van Guy MKE View Post
    Thank you both for your input!!!

    I hope I never need to bend my axle or buy shims! I guess if I did need to bend it I have a press now... I like doing all my work myself so no shops if I can avoid it. I'd rather learn the old school tricks and make my own jigs/ specialty tools if needed.
    In my years of teaching Auto Tech, and working as an Auto Tech, trying to accurately, or even "coming close" is in my humble opinion, impossible. In my 30+ years of teaching Auto Tech, including Wheel Alignment, we always had, learned on and used the latest Alignment Rack Technology. The difference between "old School" and modern best practices is like comparing alignment settings on a Model A to any new vehicle.

    The real difference is handling, tire wear, and most of all safety at 30 mph a Model A, and running 60 mph+ in a modern vehicle.

    My '67 GMC's last wheel alignment was 33 years ago. The right side of the axle needed bent to bring the camber into specs. I also had to install wedges on both sides to bring the caster into specs. The driving difference was night-n-day, In the 33 years since, I have probably put a 100,000 miles on the old girl. In that time, I have replaced the ling pins 3 times, and the front shocks twice. The rear shocks are STILL the original Air Shocks install in 1983!!!

    Each time the king pins were replaced, I checked the alignment on our Alignment Machine in my Auto Tech Class. Each time the alignment was unchanged.

    My point(s) in this answer, as I drove into my students minds is - - - Safety is always job one. When folks use methods designed for vehicle of 80 years ago, the safety factor is out the window. Especially in each "road test" to "see" if the adjustment(s) worked. Please complete all the mechanical work needed to bring the front and rear suspension components and the front steering components, then take the Van to acompetent alignment shop.

    If the above seems preachy, I am sorry. I taught and believe there are many repairs that can be made at home by competent home mechanic, Tere others that must be done by professionals on professional equipment. Wheel Alignment is something best left to professionald

    The following is a good article on wheel alignment - - - https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiret...e.jsp?techid=4

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