Installing the One Ton Front End Version II

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Knuckles and Axles

Clean off final drive output shafts if they have any grease or dirt on them from your leaky old CV joints.

Carefully guide the new axle onto the lower A-arm, avoiding damage to the rubber CV boots. Rest the axle on the lower A-arm out of the way of the lower ball joint so you can get the knuckle on without running into it.

Clean any rust or dirt out of the tapered holes (eyes) of the knuckle. Degrease the knuckle eyes and the upper and lower ball joint tapers with brake cleaner.

Make sure you have the correct knuckle for the side you're working on. The tie rod steering eye goes toward the front of the vehicle with the bigger side of the taper facing downward. The caliper mounting area should be toward the upper side of the rear.

Do not try to reinstall the old brake hose support bracket on the upper ball joint. There will not be enough room to install the cotter pin if you use the bracket.

Get some help with installing the knuckle if at all possible. It's heavy and hard to do by yourself. Also, when I got the kit the wheel spacer was already bolted to the hub. If yours isn't, I'd wait to install the spacer until after the knuckle is installed. It's heavy enough as is.

Guide the knuckle assembly onto the lower ball joint stud. Attach the new ball joint nut and hand tighten. Lower the knuckle so it's hanging from the ball joint. Tighten the lower ball joint nut, but do not torque.

Note: Do not try to re-use the old nut on the new ball joint; it does not have the correct thread. Use the new nut provided with the kit.

Guide the end of the axle shaft into the back of the hub, being careful not to damage the rubber boots or over-bend the CV joint.

Lift the middle of the axle and rest it on a block of wood or pad on top of the A-arm to protect the rubber boots from the back of the A-arm. It's going to slide around around as you wrestle with the knuckle.

Raise the knuckle and guide the upper ball joint stud into the upper eye. Install the new nut to hold it in place. You may find it helpful to slightly jack up the lower A-arm and/or raise the knuckle with a jack. If you use a jack, put a piece of wood on the jack to protect the knuckle assembly.

Note: Use only the new nut provided with the ball joint. Do not try to re-use the old nut on the new ball joint stud.

Install the shock absorber before removing the jack supporting the knuckle. This will keep the assembly from dropping too much and potentially damaging the CV boot while you're turning the axle in the next steps.

Remove the wood block from under the axle. Align the bolt holes on the inner CV joint with the ones on the final drive output shaft. Install 6 new CV joint bolts and lock washers on each side. The shorter set of bolts go on the driver's (left) side of the coach so they won't interfere with the final drive housing. Thread the bolts in by hand to avoid cross threading.

Wedge a crowbar between the wheel studs and the ground to keep the shaft from turning. Apply loctite to the inner CV joint bolts and torque them to 55-58 ft lbs. (The manual states these should be torqued to 75 ft-lbs and replaced with new ones if they are removed. However, that exceeds the recommended torque for ASTM Grade A574 bolts, which are stronger than Grade 8.) A long socket extension helps. Turn the axle as needed to access the bolt heads; a helper to work the crowbar is useful here.

Place the big washer on the axle shaft. Install and securely tighten the new axle nut, but do not torque. It's easier to torque later when the weight of the coach is on the wheels.

If it's not already installed, align the holes in the wheel spacer over the studs on the rotor and guide it into place. Use the 8 nuts provided in the kit to hold it on. Torque the nuts to 120 ft-lbs. If the spacer was installed previously, check the torque of the nuts. Remove the crowbar.

Torque the new upper ball joint nut to 40 ft-lbs. You'll need a really short socket to get between the nut and the CV boot. Do not try to re-use the old nut on the new ball joint.

Note: I couldn't find any way to move the CV joint enough to make this any easier and couldn't fit a 1/2" torque wrench and regular socket. I ended up using a regular 3/8" socket wrench. Since the tie rod end nuts require about the same torque, I used them as a reference to feel the force needed on the 3/8" wrench.

Install the cotter pin in the upper ball joint stud and bend the ends of the pin so that it can't damage the outer CV boot. It may be difficult to insert the pin due to the thickness of the knuckle eye. Try curving the cotter pin to get it through the hole. Do not back off the nut to install the cotter pin.

Torque the lower ball joint nut to 100 ft lbs. Install the new cotter pin and fold back the ends. Do not back off the nut to install pin.

Use a grease gun to lubricate the upper and lower ball joints through their grease fittings.

Note: If you have trouble getting grease into them, remove and inspect the grease fitting. It may be too long and running into the interior joint or just installed too tightly. Back it off and try again.

© Copyright 2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016 K. Bradley

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Extra Parts
Getting Started
Remove the Middle Parts
Upper A-Arms
Lower A-Arms
Knuckles and Axles
Tie Rods and Shocks
Almost Done
Notes:A-Arm Reinforcement
Notes:Separating Ball Joints
Notes:Kit Parts List