February 2012

4 Feb

Happy GD+2! (Groundhog Day)

Happy Honey Badger Day!

You weren't expecting that, were ya? Today I decided to do a couple of things. First on the lineup was to pull the springs off the front suspension. This wasn't too hard to do - pull the cotter pins from the nuts, take the nuts off the shackles, and then use a brass drift to knock the shackles loose from the suspension. Wasn't a big deal at all, except one of them stuck a bit and got bent on the way out. Guess I'll be replacing the front shackles.

Front Driver's side Spring Shackle Front Pass side Spring Shackle

5 Feb

Today I pulled off the rear springs. I figured this would be similar to pulling the fronts, and in a sense, I suppose it was. It started out with pulling the cotter pins from the bolts - there were none. Well, okay, then, I thunk to myself, "I've already hosed these down with WD-40 a couple of times, I'll give them another little squirt, and they'll probably come off just as easy as the front ones did..."

You can probably see where this is leading, huh? I put my combination wrench on there, and heaved mightily. I nearly pulled the rear end off the jack stands. D'oh! So, what to do? Yup, you guessed it, a short section of "cheater" pipe. I added about a one foot section onto the wrench, started puling (not that hard), and the bolt snapped off. one on each side did that, so I guess I'm in for some new rear-end shackles, too. Of course, if they were that brittle, I would've wanted to replace them anyway, sooo...

Next step, of course, was to drift the shackles out. Unfortunately, my drift had momentarily disappeared, so this took 'til later in the week. I fond my drift, and started knocking the shackles loose. Suddenly, CLANG!!, the spring sprung. I hadn't realized it had a preload in there - the shackle I was knocking loose flew pretty much half way across the garage. I guess I'll need to borrow a leaf spring compressor from somewhere when I do the reinstall...

Rear SPrings Removed

11 Feb

It was a beautiful day today... I'm gonna jinx the whole neighborhood by positing that this looks like "a year with no winter." Yeah, it got cold, but we have had zero snow this year. It's probably a really good time to go buy a snow blower for next year's revenge. Oh, wait... I don't have any place to keep one, because all my storage space is full of truck parts! D'oh!

Soooo... (sorry, neighbors) Today, I pulled the rear hubs off the rear end. Not much, but it turned out to be a little tougher than I expected. First off, I tried to drain the differential. Unfortunately, it would appear that there's something stuck in the drain plug. From the feel of it, it's a broken socket end. I guess I'll have to drill that out and maybe replace the plug. To get around this, I tipped the torque tube up and drained from the fill tube.

Draining the pumpkin

After the pumpkin was drained, I moved the rear-end around to give me some space to pull the brake drums off. Believe me, so far, this is the second heaviest part of the truck, right behind the engine. I can pick up one side or the other, and I can muscle it around, but this is definitely a two-man lift type of thing.

Once I got everything into a decent position, I started taking a closer look. The axle nut is right out there at the end of the hub. This surprised me a little bit, but then I started looking a little more closely. Turns out, you have to pull the axle nut to pull the brake drum! Well, not what I'm used to seeing, but no big deal, right? Pulled the cotter pins, and the nut came off nicely. But the, I couldn't pull the drum off. I got to looking, and the drums have an extension with a bit that allows you to attach a gear puller. I'm almost positive that this is the whole reason for this little conical section. Interesting.

Rear Drum

So, as I'm applying the gear puller, I'm thinking to myself how strange this is. Then I got the drum off, and was totally amazed. See, on modern cars, the brakes are under the drum, and that's pretty much it. After you pull the drum, you would usually then pull the axle nut, and the hub, etc would come off to expose the bearings. Not this guy, though. The bearings are integral to the drum! There's a huge inner race mounted to the end of the axle tube - I've since read that it's made of what may be some of the hardest steel I'll ever come across. And the bearings are not what I'm used to seeing, either. I'm used to seeing a set of small, conical rollers in a cage. These are monster roller bearings, nearly as big as my thumb, with grease grooves in them to make sure the grease gets spread everywhere... Of course, there's a major flaw, here - if you get too much grease in there, when it expands (due to heat), it will leak right out into your brake drum - that can't be good! Same with parking sideways on a hill - differential oil could make it out into there. There's something else I noticed - the motive force to the wheel is applied through a (fairly large) shear key. If something were to happen to actually shear the key, then you would be pretty much stuck.

Hubs off Shot of brakes and bearing race Big roller bearings

Another interesting point is the brake pads. First off, it looks like these ones have gotten some oil and/or grease in them. Second is that they're made of cloth! Yep, cloth. I've looked around, and I can't buy new shoes. I can, however, buy a relining kit. I'll have to drill out the rivets, put in new cloth, and press in new rivets. The cloth is very dense material impregnated with copper wire. Interesting stuff. I guess they hadn't figured out asbestos, yet.

The rest of Feb and first part of March

No work done, due to an injury to my hand. D'oh!


Last modified on 10/09/12