On the Beam: Old-Time Front Axle Restoration - Page 2
The big sockets took off the wheel hub nuts and we carefully removed the wheel, bearings and brake parts, taking digital pictures of their relationships and putting each part in separate plastic bags. We made some hand-written notes and sketches and put them right in the bags and labeled each of the parts bags.
Steering linkage components do not all come off as easily as the axle and wheel parts. After taking out the cotter pins, a pickle fork removed one tie rod end, but it seemed like nothing except a sledgehammer would drive the other one out. The right and left steering knuckle support arms have socket balls. We used a 20-ton bottle jack press purchased from a body shop auction to push them out. The drag link had dust covers on each end that had to be removed along with grease fittings and cotter pins. Then, we unscrewed the plugs at each end, and pulled the drag link off the steering gear arm and steering knuckle arm.
Once everything was apart, we cleaned the parts of wet grease and loose grime with a wire brush and scraper. Then we bead blasted them in our media blasting cabinet and used a few coats of spray can black paint to protect them from rusting until we can get them to our powder coater. Some restorers we know — such as finned Mopar expert Jerry Kopecky — prefer using paint on suspension and steering parts and we're okay with that. However, the Dodge pickup is a customer's truck and we know that he wants powder coating.
Steering Yoke and Bushings
With everything disassembled, it was time to deal with removing the old king pin bushings from the spindle yokes, pressing new ones into place and fitting the pins in the spindle yokes once the new bushings were installed. The Dodge truck shop manual did not mention reaming the bushings and there were "full-floating" bushings that supposedly did not require reaming. However, the new old replacement stock king pin repair kit we purchased from Northwestern Auto Supply (www.northwesternautosupply.com) included bronze bushings that definitely had to be reamed before the pins would fit in them.