Finally got around to getting the new front springs installed on Wilbur. My straightening of the spring shackle mount worked out good. At some point I still think I’ll weld in a piece to box in the frame area of the shackle mount to give it more strength. The U shackle lined up pretty good. For the most part just wiggled the spring and hand threaded for half of the way. One interesting thing I did notice was that the original springs look like they had threads in the shackle pivot eye, but the replacements did not. Replaced the worn pivot bolts too. The mounts on the axel look like they will line up too. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get to lift the front end to bring the spring to the axel and get the U bolts on. But progress for the day.
In trying to mount the new springs under Wilbur, I’m having problems getting both sides to line up with the center spring pin. When getting the passenger side attached, the drivers side is off by maybe about 1/4”ish. It’s like the spring needs to go out a little. I don’t see any bends, etc., in the frame, but anything could have happened in the wreck. The differential does not look bent anywhere, but I guess I need to put a straight edge on both tubes just to check. I looked it over pretty close when I first removed the broken springs and rolled it out from under the frame. If its not bent anywhere, it would be like needing to move the spring some. Need to just stare at it and see if I see anything else.
The pin wont be taking the force once the U bolts are tightened down. Often it is from the way the main leaf eyes were made that they are not even. Try swapping the leaf pack from one side to the other and see if anything changes.
The only thing you might see if left as is, is uneven in the bushes over time, as they will take up the angle difference.
Played with the tailgate rubber bumpers some the past couple days. I choose to try soaking them in some brake fluid. I figured there are rubber parts in brakes so gave it a shot. I did watch it very, very carefully. The PO had sprayed bucket Rustoleum and it was a pretty thick coat of paint. It took a good 4-6 hours but then most of the paint just lifted just like a stripper. Getting it out of all the cracks and wear marks in the rubber took time and patients. But I think it came out pretty good. Here are one untouched with one after initial cleaning after soaking. Then after all done. Next step will be soaking in a rubber restore I bought or Lances idea of soaking in rag of Armor All.
Today I got the axel married up to the springs/body. All I have to do is lookup torque specs and put the rebuild kit in the draglink then Wilbur can roll and turn. But one question, the gap between the top of the springs and the tie rod tube is tight. I cannot even slide my little finger between the two. Is it supposed to be that close? I don’t really remember paying attention to the gap when I took things apart.
Old springs were probably sagged and would have given more clearance. Can always add a caster shim which will rotate the tie rod up and give you more caster. You might have lost some with the arc of the new springs anyway.
Should be alright -- mines very close as well -- thing to remember is the draglink is hard mounted to the axle at the knuckles and the spring pack is hard mounted to the perch (there's not much spring movement that close to the perch) so the two move effectively as one.
You could put a bit of modeling clay or similar in-between the two and see how squished it gets.
I see from your pic that it looks close too. I never really paid that much attention before the wreck and the couple pics I have after, it looks close in them too. Good idea to use some clay to see, once he’s driving again.
And I’m finding the old parts are so much better. For example, today I was going to put the new shocks on, but the new washers I got from Walcks won’t slip over the mounting pins. I even ran sand paper over to make sure there wasn’t any rust build up. Then I got to old ones out and they slip over with no issue. I didn’t bother to measure but probably metric from China. So I’ll clean up the old ones and use them. I’m getting tired of dealing with the Chinese crap. I’ll probably clean up the old cotter pins and use them. They are the good old solid ones.