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Anyone replaced D60 inner knuckles?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Ryan B., Dec 18, 2002.

  1. Ryan B.

    Ryan B. 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I was just curious if anyone has seen this done before.
    If you were to grind the factory welds seperating the inner knuckle from the tube, would it be possible to use a BFH to get the knuckle to come off the tubing? How about a big press? Then get some NI-rod and arc weld the knuckle back to the tubing.
    Wes told me that he's seen guys use a lathe to grind the welds off and then get the knuckles off.
    A friend told me they heat the knuckle up so it'll expand and then press it on the tubing and weld it. Then when it cools it'll never come off of there. (which would make it very difficult to R&R)

    If you were to remove both inner knuckles, you could bolt up the axle at the right driveshaft angle for the front, and then re weld those inner knuckles at factory spec for the caster angle. Seems like the steering would be a lot more stable and more like from the factory, than a big lift affecting the steering caster.
    This would no doubt be A LOT of work, but has anyone seen inner D60 knuckles pressed off and replaced?

    I did a search on the net and only found some jeeper that did this with a 44. Welded the inner knuckles back at factory caster angle. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  2. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    That is basically what they do at the big shops.
    I don't know how easy it would be, but it's the way to do it right.
    I will try and do one on my D44 since I have an extra to play with. I will be getting a 10ton press so I think I will have enough power.
    If you are not in a hurry, I want to try this after new years, you could work with me, we try it on the D44 and if it works we can do it on the D60
    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif?
     
  3. Ryan B.

    Ryan B. 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Seems like it would be easier with the 44.

    I also have a big press at work that i could use. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    And a lathe... I'm just not too sure that the whole front end would fit in it... and spinning it to grind the welds might be kinda scary with that whole center section spinning around. /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
    Oh well, if you got the will and determination i'll bet a hand grinder will do the trick.. Its just time and patience.
     
  4. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    Since here I don't have a lathe, grinding is my only choice.
    But When I did the driveshaft back home I had a big lathe and that is what I used and it was so easy. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
    It's next on my list after the press, the plazma cutter, and the drill press. /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  5. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    an air arc tool is used to blow the welds out.
    I think it is basically a tungstun rod feed by an arc welder box used to heat the weld and an airnozzle to blow the molten metal away.

    *apparently it is a copper coated carbon rod*

    then a BFH is used to turn the knuckle to the new desired poistion.
    the tricky part is now you have to work on the cast into the pumkin perch and studs(now I cannot recall if the 10 bolt uses studs??)
     
  6. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    I wouldn't touch the perches, I can use a shim, even weld the shim on the perch if need be.
    The purpose of turning the spindles is keeping a good caster angle and still rotating the pumpkin up to get a good pinion angle.
    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  7. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    on the 60 you still have the studs on the right perch to contend with
     
  8. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    Sorry I was talking about my D44, but I think I still can use angled shims with studs?
    Anyway, one step at a time.
    I know they do it all the time for Jeeps, I am sure there is a solution, and I can always find a way.
    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
    Just need the time, which lately I don't have much of /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  9. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Any particular reason you want to turn the knuckles instead of the tubes?

    If you turned the tubes, your caster angle would be stock and you would not have to mess with the driver's side perch (in essence you are just turning the center section up). You would only have to deal with the passenger's side mount which is cast into the pumpkin and would have to even if you messed with just the knuckles.

    I haven't done it, so I'm not sure if I missed something, but that seems like the way to go.

    Also getting the knuckles even is tough. You can weld a piece on one tube that goes over the housing and touches the other tube and scribe it. When you reasemble the the tubes and turn the center section, you can then reindex the tubes and keep the same caster specs equal on both sides. It can be done indexing each knuckle, but would seem to lend itself to more induced error.

    Thinking out loud........

    However you decide to do it, let us know what the results are. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  10. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    That's the way I'd do it Chris...drill out the plug welds on the center section and turn the tubes. Then plug weld the housing to the tubes again. Obviously that's a much simplified description...

    I would guess that a custom spring plate could be machined for the troublesome cast perch. a "x" degree angle could be machined on top so the nut and washer sit flat and the hole slightly ovalled for bolt clearance at the slight angle.

    Rene
     
  11. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    Chris and Rene,
    I guess you are right that turning just the pumpkin is the way to go not because you won't tough the knuckles, you still have to get both sides at an equal angle, but I think that drilling the welds on the rosette and turning the tubes might be easier than removing the weld around the knuckle ends.
    Plus it always better to weld a few more strips on the edge of the pumpkin after we're done because it's a known problem for the rears, it might happen to the fronts too.
    So I guess we'll be working on the center.
    And for the perches, we still have the same problems for the passenger side anyway, so we have to find the cure.
    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  12. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    have you heard of anyone turning the tubes in the centre section?
    I think the press fit there is more tricky then the knuckles.
    never tried either way myself but will one day.
    U2slo did some housing work perhaps he will chime in.
     
  13. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Thats the way I've heard it done. Once the rosettes are drilled out the housing can be heated to get the tubes to come out or rotate. Doing the knuckles would be very difficult without a proper jig to keep camber good as well as get the caster equal on both sides. Doing the tubes means the camber will stay good and only getting the caster equal would be needed.

    Rene
     
  14. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    knuckles are press fit and I dont think you could screw with camber much.
    cutting the welds and sledgehammering to achieve new caster setting is what I have seen.
    no jigs in site other then whatever means is used to level the housing and a handful of levels/inclinometers.
    I have 'heard' people talk about turning the tubes but have only ever 'seen' the knuckles done.
     
  15. Ryan B.

    Ryan B. 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    It just seems easier to get those knuckles off the tubing or rotated than the tubes in the housing. Those tubes should be a tighter press fit into the housing than the knuckles i would think.

    As for the leveling jig i was thinking along the lines of a degree level bubble gauge thingy on top of the flat top steering arm bolted to the outer knuckle torqued in place on that inner knuckle. Then there would be a common flat spot to measure from on both sides. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    Haven't tried to mock something like that up but thats an idea i was thinking in my head.

    As for affecting the camber when you do something like that, if you think about how the knuckle slides over the tubing and then is welded. How much room is there to possibly affect the camber angle? Maybe a degree?
    I don't see how the knuckle could move in either direction to affect the camber angle much at all. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
     
  16. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    you can level the housing with a level on the machined cover surface.
    then the inclinometer on the knuckle to determine caster
     
  17. Langosta39

    Langosta39 1/2 ton status

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  18. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    As stated, camber should not be an issue as it's built into the knuckle and with the tight fit with the tube, I could only see it being off by a microscopic amount (i.e. not measureable by most our means). The caster is what would be hardest to get correct. Not that it can't be done, but it does take some care. I know guys have done it and had good success. A search over on the general forumn on PBB will put you in touch with people who have been through this (or know links).

    As for tight fit on knuckles vs. tubes, I have personally seen a front axle rotate a tube, but not a knuckle. Granted this is only one instance, but I have heard of rear tubes twisting, so I would assume (you know what that does /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif) that the tubes would be the lesser of the two evils as neither route is "easy".
     

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