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89 Sub..need front end re-build kit

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by will89, Oct 21, 2002.

  1. will89

    will89 1/2 ton status

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    I haven't been able to correct the pull with an alignment and was told that the ball joints are worn and causing an increase in camber. Do you guys know where to buy and entire front end rebuild kit for a straight axle sub. Im looking for one that would include all new ball joints, bushings,tie rods...etc... How much of trouble is this for the backyard mechanic..I know you need a kit to remove and replace the b-joints..what else?

    any tips appreciated....
     
  2. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    I've never seen a complete "kit" that has all the parts you need. But you can buy the ball joints at about any parts store. You'll need a special ball joint adjustment spanner socket to install them. It's about $15. Nearly the entire front end has to come apart in order to change them. You'll be left with a housing that contains the gears, and everything else will be laying in the driveway about halfway through the project. /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

    I would plan to also repack the wheel and spindle bearings and replace the grease seals while it's apart. If the axle u-joints are original, I'd also think about replacing those while it's all apart.
     
  3. will89

    will89 1/2 ton status

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    thanks for the info.... Do I want to replace the ball joints with the greaseable type? The name of them starts with a Z I beleive...
     
  4. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Well with the age of the truck I would seariously concider doing the full deal in addition to ball joints.
    I like TRW and Moog joints. They were available from Advanced for about $24 each. Where the age comes into play is the inner axle seals. They are probably hard and chances are if you don't replace them at the same time that your going to develope a leak not long after you change the ball joints.
    Advance and Auto ZSOne will lend you a ball joint tool for a $20 deposit but you can often find that tool on sale at www.harborfreight.com for $20 and they are darn handy for both ball joints and u-joints.
    I would also replace all the Wheel seals and regrease the bearings. Don't skimp on the seals. The seals that Auto zone and Advaced sell are cheap chinese JUNK. NAPA carries real DANA Spicer seals. Make sure they say "Made in the USA" on them for the good ones.
    Other thing I would look at is ball joint and drag link ends. If your ball joints are shat it's usualy from lack of maintaince and the ball joints are probably suffering the same issues.
    I'm not going to kid you...Going through the front end and replacing everything is going to set you back about $400. More if you find any bad bearings. Need to look at it this way...it will be another 12- 15 years before it needs doing again.
    I would start by picking up a shop manual. Adjusting the wheel bearings is a series of steps to get it right.
    Tools needed becides nomal sockets:
    Torque wrench that goes to 100lbft
    Hub Socket
    Balljoint socket hard to find. One can be made out of a cheap socket and a little time with a cut off wheel.
    You can make a seal installation tool for the inner axle seals out of some LARGE flat washers and 3ft of threaded 1/2 inch rod.
    Welcome to CK5
    Please fill out your Bio. There may be another Member in your area.
     
  5. Burbinator

    Burbinator 1/2 ton status

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    I just did the ball joints on my truck this weekend with the newly acquired 3-in-1 kit press from Harbor Freight. It is definitely a must have! If you order from the printed catalog online using part no. 38335-6VGA, you can get it for $20.

    The ball joint spanner wrench can be had for $12 here.

    /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif
     
  6. will89

    will89 1/2 ton status

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    How long did it take you? Is a 91 also a straight axle? Did you have to break the alignment to do it?
     
  7. Burbinator

    Burbinator 1/2 ton status

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    '91 is the last year of the [front] straight axle Suburbans/Blazers/Crew Cabs...

    The job, start to finish with breaks and lunch included, took about 5 hours. It would have probably taken a little less time had my 3 year-old son not adopted some of my tools for his Tonka truck. I also have had my front end torn down before, so the learning curve was not as steep as a first timer. Alignment was not really affected, save a small drag link adjustment to center the wheel (this was something that was off-center prior). However, it is probably a good idea to have it checked nonetheless.

    Really, it is not that bad of a job and it is definitely easier when you have the proper tools! /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

    See ftn96's write-up for a comprehensive step-by-step.

    BTW...Welcome to CK5!

    /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif
     
  8. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    alingment hehehe there is only 1 adjustment on alingment that would need adjustment and you can do it with a tape measure and ball point pen. There is no easy way to adjust any other part of the alignment and I can guarantee a shop is not even going to tryc to adjust caster and camber on a straight axle.
    After you get the ball joints in and the truck back together put the front axle on jack stands. Put pen mark on both front tires and rotate that close up to the springs. Measure that distance. roatat the tires as far back as you can and measure the distance between thros two pen marks. These trucks require about 1/8-3/16th of toe in (front less distance than rear). That's it for alignment. Put it on the ground and drive it. play with the drag link till you get the wheel straight.
     
  9. codeman

    codeman Registered Member

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    That is not totally true about alignment. I have worn ball joints in my 10-bolt. I brought it to a suspension place and they were going to replace all the ball and u-joints, axle seals, and add shims to get the right caster and camber. They quoted me for $850. I know that is a lot of money but it would save some work. Plus they could get the toe, caster, and camber where it's supposed to be.
     
  10. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    THATS A DEAL! if it includes labor. Yes it can be adjusted but like I said, most places won't touch it. The way camber is adjusted is a wedge shaped shim that goes under the spindle. If it's not right the first shot then you have to take the spindle back off and turn the shim. It's 2.5 degrees of MAX adjustment and the problem is it will only adjust camber and not caster.
    To adjust caster you have to put shims between the springs and axle (and that screws with the pinion angle) or you have to cut off the ends of the axle tubes and rotate them and reweld them.
     

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