wagon steering knuckle question

DACW

Knuckle Buster
Jun 16, 2013
3
Az
First Name
David
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
  2. Other
Willys Year:
  1. 1950
  2. 1960
Hello, New to this foum. I have owned and driven a 3-b for about 20 years, but have been eyeing the wagon for nearly as long. I have taken the plunge, and now have my 1950 willys wagon. (Hooray!) I am still assessing the issues, and have began to correct problems. I found that the drag-link was loose on driver's side steering knuckle. When I removed it I found that a previously installed heli-coil had come out. The reason THAT failed was that the knuckle was cracked and the crack lead to the stud hole. Fine. NP. I see a bunch of driver's side knuckels for the dana 25 but they never list the pickup and wagon. I suspect that they are differnt because the wagon is driven directly by a drag link, and the others use a bell crank to drive the front of the knuckles...

Now for the questions...
Does anyone know if the driver's side steering knuckle from a wagon is interchangeable with the knuckles on other willys with a dana 25?

If they are not interchangeable does anyone know what the differnces are?

Finally, It seems that the crack could have been caused by the drag link exerting the steering force through the 4 bolts that connect it to the knuckle. Has anyone heard of this roblem hapening on other wagons or pickups?


Thanks in advance ! I look forward to any responces!
 

mathman

Well Oiled
Mar 14, 2012
2,938
AR
First Name
David
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
  2. Forward Control
Willys Year:
  1. 1950
  2. 1964
Does anyone know if the driver's side steering knuckle from a wagon is interchangeable with the knuckles on other willys with a dana 25?

If they are not interchangeable does anyone know what the differnces are?

Not sure why they're not showing the pickups/wagons on this listing:

http://www.kaiserwillys.com/product/855/willys-jeep-steering-tie-rods-steering-knuckle-parts-accessories

The Willys parts book shows the 80573 part number fitting the trucks/wagons starting in 1952. If I remember correctly, the earlier models required shims top and bottom, the later models only used shims on top to set bearing pre-load.


Finally, It seems that the crack could have been caused by the drag link exerting the steering force through the 4 bolts that connect it to the knuckle. Has anyone heard of this roblem hapening on other wagons or pickups?

Dad and I have beat the crap out of things over the 56 years we've had my truck - never did have a problem like you describe. I'd suspect other abuse than just steering in order to cause that kind of damage (or just unlucky and had a weak knuckle).

One thing to check if you buy a 'new' one - make sure the lands for the bearing cap are 'square'. You don't want to see a gap like this:



and you might have problems sealing if the casting is a little off on the inside:



Have a little more info at:

http://www.jeep-trucks.com/index.php?page=guide&group=axle&part=front&action=d25_knuckles
 

diggerG

Well Oiled
Oct 2, 2011
4,799
Wrentham Ma.
First Name
Greg
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1963
I've seen cracked knuckles before, from hitting rocks underneath, car crashes, or bolts loosening. Also could be a bad casting I suppose. The arm on the bottom of the knuckle needs to have studs with nuts on them and tightened to specs. not bolts. bolts will fail in due time. All knuckles for wagons, trucks and CJ's are all the same outside of the early ones and the later double holed pass. side ones. Most knuckle failures are the threads that hold the spindle bolts on, or when the knuckle bearings fall apart because of lack of lube after 20 years or so, or wheel bearings going south. diggerG
 

cnsay

Well Oiled
Jun 20, 2010
1,482
North Idaho
First Name
Chris
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
Welcome to the forums. Steering knuckles re all interchangeable on the Dana 25's.
 

muleskinner

Bigger Hammer
Oct 6, 2009
40
High Desert Caiifornia
First Name
mike
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1955
Make sure you install the shim pack on the top or bottom or both. This is on the king pin caps as this sets the pre load and prevents the cap studs from coming loose.
 

mathman

Well Oiled
Mar 14, 2012
2,938
AR
First Name
David
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
  2. Forward Control
Willys Year:
  1. 1950
  2. 1964
Make sure you install the shim pack on the top or bottom or both. This is on the king pin caps as this sets the pre load and prevents the cap studs from coming loose.

Depends on the year. Early models had shims top and bottom, later models had more material on the bottom and were to be shimmed only on the top. Service manual has more info. Part number on the knuckle changed in 1952 so that might be when the change took place.
 

mathman

Well Oiled
Mar 14, 2012
2,938
AR
First Name
David
Willys Model
  1. Pickup
  2. Forward Control
Willys Year:
  1. 1950
  2. 1964
OK, went and dug out the service manual: "Mechanic's Manual, Willys Trucks and Station Wagons, 1950-1955". Here's the whole section on the 'Steering Knuckle Pivot Pins':

The steering knuckle pivot pins pivot on tapered type roller bearings. Replacement of these bearings or bearing cups necessitates removal of the hub and brake drum assembly, wheel bearings, axle shaft, spindel, the steering tie rod socket and the steering knuckle. Dismantle the steering knuckle as follows:
  1. Remove the eight screws which hold the oil seal retainers in place.
  2. Remove the four screws holding the lower pivot pin bearing cap.
  3. Remove the four screws holding the upper bearing cap in place. Remove the bearing cap. The steering knuckle can now be removed from the axle.
  4. Wash all parts in cleaning solution and inspect the bearing and races for scores, cracks or chips. Replace any damaged or worn parts. That puts the change around 1950 (March if I recall correctly on the release of the 'new style' bodies). Should the bearing cups be damaged they may be removed and installed with Special Driver, Tool No. W-138.
Reverse the procedure outline above to reassemble the unit. When reinstalling the steering knuckle, sufficient shims must be installed under the bearing caps (under top cap only on later models. See note below.) so the proper tension will be obtained on the bearings. The shims are available in thicknesses of .003", .005", .010" and .030".

Install one each of the .003", .005", .010" and .030" shims on the steering knuckle at the top and bottom. (At top only on later models. See note below.) Install the bearing caps, lock washer and screws, and tighten securely, Check the tension of the bearings by hooking a checking scale in the hole in the arm for the tie rod socket. The load should be 6-9lbs without the oil seal assembly in position and is secured either by removing or adding shims as required.

NOTE: Beginning with Models 473-4WD and 4x473, .058" was added to the bottom face of the king pin boss on the steering knuckles. This eliminated the shims for the lower king pin bearing and the adjustment of the bearings is no made by shims at the top only.

If you're not familiar with the model numbers, the 473-4WD was the 'new-style' truck produced late in the 1950 production year and the 4x473 was the 'new-style' wagon. One other item to note: later "mechanic's manuals" have a heavier 'load' - they went to something in the 12-16lb range rather than the 6-9. I put mine together using the 6-9 setting - I didn't know about the 12-16 until well after I had that part all back together.
 

Jinx

Sharpest Tool
Apr 19, 2012
304
Wisconsin
Willys Model
Willys Year:
OK, went and dug out the service manual: "Mechanic's Manual, Willys Trucks and Station Wagons, 1950-1955". Here's the whole section on the 'Steering Knuckle Pivot Pins':



If you're not familiar with the model numbers, the 473-4WD was the 'new-style' truck produced late in the 1950 production year and the 4x473 was the 'new-style' wagon. One other item to note: later "mechanic's manuals" have a heavier 'load' - they went to something in the 12-16lb range rather than the 6-9. I put mine together using the 6-9 setting - I didn't know about the 12-16 until well after I had that part all back together.

I'd vote to stick with the later manual's 12-16 lb range. The bearing preload has a lot to do with the "death wobble". New bearings and a 12-16 lb preload solved my wobble. So, I'd use the higher preload so you don't have to take everything apart again and risk damaging the knuckle seals.
 
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