Rebuild front axle Part 2 (renamed) was "Cleaning" thread

indian301

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Don,

Are you moving the knuckle farther on the bench then the steering will move it when it is mounted on the truck?

Dave
 

Vintage Don

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I don't know, I've never had it together. This seems to be at/near the limit of it's normal range of motion, though. That could be the whole answer, maybe.

EDIT: How would I figure out where the "stops" would be, if it was all together? Something has to bump into something, to limit the travel.
 
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Lookout Ranch

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That black bolt is your stop. It should stop it before it gets to the point it did, but you may need your brake back panels on to mate with it. (I’m on a plane and can’t remember what the mating surface is for that bolt head.) Can yours be adjusted? I think mine are welded.

By the way, you might think about replacing that brass bushing in the end of the axle tube, it looks worn. They’re available from Walck’s or K-W and not that expensive or hard to change.
 
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Lookout Ranch

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I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your knuckles or diff housing. Those dents don’t hurt anything.

That ball surface is a little rough, but you can sand that down a bit perhaps.
 

Mark L

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I don't know, I've never had it together. This seems to be at/near the limit of it's normal range of motion, though. That could be the whole answer, maybe.

EDIT: How would I figure out where the "stops" would be, if it was all together? Something has to bump into something, to limit the travel.
Don,
If you had the tie rod in place, the “Stop” on one side also limits the motion on the other. So as David said, you are moving it farther on the bench than it would rotate if the two knuckles were joined by the tie rod.

Mark L
 

Vintage Don

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You guys are great, thank you! Of course! If the tie rod was installed, those stops would then limit BOTH directions of travel! That's tomorrow's job then. Carter, yes, they screw in and out.

(Don't worry about those worn brass bushings - they only come into play with Bendix or Rzeppa axle joints - with the Spicer axles I'll be installing, they don't matter any more. Only the ones in the outer hubs matter, which I already replaced.)
 

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This has been a great thread, Don, I’ve really enjoyed it and admire your willingness to forge ahead and persevere. That diff housing sure looks nice! The tags on the back of my knuckles say Spicer Joint.
 

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Don, I believe that with the tie rods connected and adjusted properly the stop on the passenger side will correct your problem. However...having never had to troubleshoot a problem like this, you may be correct about building up that lip where it's ground down. I know these can be welded and ground, Back in the mid-'70's we broke a CV joint (don't recall what style) and pushed a chunk of it right through the ball. Being a kid, my father wasn't going to let me weld on a steering component, even though we just bought a welder that summer (and the neighbor, a high school shop teacher, welded the steering column shaft to the worm gear earlier that year!). The "shop" at the local rural gas station welded and ground (filed?) it smooth and it's been that way ever since.
 
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Vintage Don

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Thanks, Carter! That makes me feel good. I know I definitely get something out of all this - I get advice from people that see things I miss, and have experience where I don't. But it's great to hear that you also enjoy my stories and struggles! Haha. But of course I love it, or I wouldn't be doing it.

I am headed to the Shop as soon as I post this, to try the whole assembly with the tie rods and drag link installed. But thinking about it and reading all the above, I think it's a real good bet I'm gonna be OK here.

A little self-analysis here - re-reading my long post from last evening, I was getting real close to solving this, but was a little panicked. I talked about "So next I started to try and understand if somehow it was turning too FAR - what made it stop?" And of course now it looks like a classic case of "looking at the trees and not the forest." (Needed to look at the whole assembly, BOTH knuckles). I KNEW there was an adjustable bump bolt on the axle housing. I even said "I know there is also the bolt on the axle housing that serves as a stop - but that's for turning the other direction." That's pretty dumb of me - obviously, they wouldn't want to limit movement only when turning one direction and not the other.

So my panic came from knowing about the damage I had in that drivers side in the ball and the knuckle housing -and jumping to the conclusion that this new problem must be related to that old damage.

But you guys set me on the right path and helped me open my eyes a little wider, and I thank you!

JabJeep, your experience of not seeing those other, newer posts is almost certainly a result of your "point of entry" to the on-going string. If you were following in an "Alert" from up top, it only takes you to the oldest "new post" since you looked at the string - and things below that will be - well, below that. Compounded by the fact that my long post was the final entry on that "page," and then the string turns over to the next page. So if you were reading my long post, and answering it, that's on Page 10, and the next posts were Page 11 (at least on my software/browser).

So now - off to the shop and see what Murphy has in store for me next!
 

Vintage Don

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This isn't really over, of course. Yesterday, I did a "Phase One" clean-up of the backing plates, and stuck one on the driver side. Time to start studying how things fit and go together, what I'm gonna need to buy etc. (Footnote: still has the original Warner Lockheed wheel cylinders in place, looks like mostly original hardware in there).

So the old wheel bearings slide easily onto the passenger side hub. Drivers side, I get the same bearing about half way between the seats where the races ride, and it won't go any further. Sanded with emery paper, polished things, still won't go. Got steadily more aggressive, now I'm leaning on it with a big gnarly file, and STILL won't slide on. Although I'm getting a little further. I realize if I keep doing this, eventually I'll have it so it will slip on.

But this brings up two questions:

How does a hub GROW? (I do remember I had to really tug to get the bearings off that side during disassembly).

And: once the hub is installed - since those bearings just slide onto the area of the hub where they belong - what prevents the bearings from spinning on the hub? It's not a tight fit obviously, or we couldn't slide them on and off, we'd need a puller. Just got wondering about that.

(Hope I didn't scare anybody with that video of the crazy old man! Ha.)

 

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There are 6 "pads" on the backing plate at the1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 o'clock position where the shoes ride. These should be flat. A step can develop where the shoes rub which will keep a new shoe from returning all the way making adjustment difficult.
 

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Time to mic the spindle. It looks like you're stuck in the undersized area between the two areas that are machined to accept the bearings. There must be a serious deformity of some sort in that area because it's supposed to be slightly undersized on these old spindles. The newer styles use different bearings, a larger one in back but that's not the case here.

I've also pondered how the bearings don't spin, and when I totally destroyed one after I got stuck in quicksand (and it went past the seal and ruined the bearings) I think I figured it out. They have more rolling resistance (on the spindle) than the properly adjusted bearing does. In other words, when the bearing is "bad" they will easily spin on the spindle, eventually ruining it. In fact, many times I've seen evidence on these old vehicles that the bearing does occasionally spin on the spindle, if only briefly, with little more damage than the "skid marks".
 
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Vintage Don

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Herk, thank you for that tip. When I'll take the backing plates back off to go to "Phase Two" cleaning, I'll take a close look at those pads. I know where you are talking about. Old Chevy manuals even told you to rub a light finger of Lubriplate on the contact faces of those pads whenever you were in there.

JabJeep, that explanation makes sense (about the bearings spinning), and is what I had decided was probably the case, too. Plus, when you're running, that's all going to heat up in there and expand things so that probably tightens it up a bit more, too.

Yes, where it gets stuck is in that unfinished (should be undersized) area in between the two finish-machined bearing surfaces. It actually goes on a bit farther than in my photo. It's just an odd problem, as if the spindle diameter has somehow increased, which of course is impossible. The spindle shaft looks pretty good (or it did before I went to work on it with a file!). No burrs or obvious damage of any kind. Mic-ing it makes sense. I even tried putting some of my yellow tooth pattern paint on there, to see if I could tell anything about where it is hitting. That was Inconclusive. And once I get past the undersize area, I don't know if it will be happy on the machined area or if that is magically expanded, too. All 4 old bearings go on the other side just fine, and all 4 get hung up on this driver side.
 

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Was that the side with all the damage in the knuckle? Maybe a piece of broken CV joint got in there while the spud shaft was flopping around the piece got between it and the spindle and pushed it out. If so, that's serious enough to put it on the trophy shelf and get a better (used*) one. What does the bore of the spindle look like?

*(I don't trust any important replacement parts for these old Willys that aren't made in the USA. Too many experiences similar to your starter.)
 

Bill Kuran

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JabJeep comment made me think that perhaps the spindle is bent but you can't see it because is only enough to deform the tube a few thousandths.
 

Vintage Don

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Jeff, Bill - thanks, good thoughts. Unfortunately, my afternoon kinda blew apart on me and I didn't get a chance to do any more in the Shop.

One good result from all that unexpected activity, though. A friend is now bringing over an old brake drum lathe tomorrow, and we're hoping to fire that up and see what he's got. With any luck, I'll end up turning some vintage Willys drums on it later.

Back to the spindle: as a matter of fact, it IS the side that had the busted axle damage. I thought about that too - but after jumping to a wrong conclusion on my recent oil seal scare, I thought I'd ask about this here first - see if anybody else ever had a spindle "grow" when they weren't looking... The inside of the spindle bore is pretty mundane, average looking - nothing dramatic that catches your attention in there.

At some point tomorrow I'll pull that spindle off and do some measuring and probably some more filing, and try to get an old bearing to get on there. Thanks.
 

Vintage Don

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Ya know, thinking about this a little further, I can't really be certain that this spindle IS the one that was originally on the damaged side. When I put the new bushings in them, they could have been swapped. Since they are the same, side-to-side, I didn't necessarily track that. I did with the hubs and other parts, but then again the rest are mostly non-interchangeable. It's probably still on the original side, but not 100% on that. And it doesn't really matter at this point I think. Just babbling here, basically.
 

Vintage Don

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So today, I kept filing, sanding, polishing and repeat. Eventually got the spindle down to where it would accept the bearings the same as the other side. And it took a while - spindle metal doesn't sand too easily! But finally, I could slip the hub together with the old original Timken bearings, and do this - (more below)


And my buddy showed up, with the antique brake drum lathe he got for $25, and we managed to get it running and got tooling bits assembled where I think I'll actually be able to turn the drums. That was kinda fun. Ready to turn them, probably Tuesday evening.

(Spent most of last night in the ER. Apparently, I have been blessed with a kidney stone. I don't recommend it, though. Got home at 3 AM. The one night out of the whole year where you lose an hour, and I had to be up until 3 AM and with plans for this morning and this old brake lathe. So kinda dragging tonight.)

 
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