Installing the One Ton Front End Version II

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Remove the Old Middle Parts

The point here is to remove everything attached to the upper and lower A-arms (aka “Control Arms”). The specific order is not always important, but some ways are easier than others.

Remove the cotter pins from the tie rod end and upper and lower ball joints.

Place a jack under the lower A-arm and raise it to take pressure off the shock absorber. Remove the upper bolt and lower nut and remove the shock.

Note: Removing the shock first makes it easier to work on the brake line connection.

Leave the jack under the lower A-arm.

Position a container under the brake line to catch fluid. Use 3/8" and 5/8" flare wrenches to separate the flexible brake line from the hard brake line. It may be completely rusted in place and you may end up breaking the metal line if you flex it too much. If you don't use flare wrenches, you will almost certainly destroy the fittings. Even with flare wrenches, it can be very difficult.

Note: Vise grips may help keep the flare wrench ends from spreading as you try to remove brake fittings.

Pull the locking tab from the frame support to release the flexible line.

Remove the nut from the upper ball joint stud and pull off the bracket that supports the brake hose. Thread the castle nut back onto the end of the upper ball joint stud.

Disconnect the sway bar link from the lower A-arm.

If you have a tie rod puller, use it to remove the tie rod end from the lower A-arm. If you plan to keep the tie rod, don't use a pickle fork or it will ruin the rubber grease boot. If you don't have a puller, unscrew the tie rod nut until it's flush with the end of the stud. Hold a scrap piece of steel against the end of the stud and use a big hammer to hit the steel. This should pop the tie rod end out of the knuckle eye. Remove the nut and disconnect the tie rod. If you are replacing the tie rods, disconnect the other end and remove the tie rod. If you are not replacing the tie rods, it helps to unbolt them and swing them out of the way.

With the tie rod and sway bar link disconnected, you can now turn the knuckle to more easily get at the caliper bolts. Remove the caliper bolts with a 3/8" hex wrench. Remove any other brackets or cable ties holding the flexible brake line. Slide the caliper off the rotor. If it's stuck, you may need to use a big C-clamp to retract the piston (see manual).

Wedge a big crowbar between the wheel studs and against the ground to keep the axle from turning. Remove the axle nut and washer. Remove the 6 bolts holding the inner CV joint flange to the final drive output shaft. Adjust the crowbar placement as needed so you can turn the axle for easier access. I used a long socket extension so I didn't have to get under the coach. Don't try to remove the axle yet.

Back off the upper ball joint castle nut until it's flush with the end of the stud. Pop loose the ball joint by using a hammer and drift to drive on the spindle, and a big crowbar to pry at the top.

While holding onto the knuckle, remove the castle nut and pull the stud out of the top of the knuckle. Guide the knuckle down so it's hanging from the lower ball joint.

Carefully lift the axle/CV-joint assembly free of the final drive flange and pull it out of the back of the knuckle/hub. An extra set of hands may help here. Set the axle on a padded surface to avoid damaging the CV joint boots if they are to be reused. You do NOT have to remove the output shaft or its support from the right side of the final drive.

Back off the lower ball joint castle nut so it's partly off the end of the ball joint stud. This will keep the pitman puller tool from slipping off the stud. Position the tool arms over the knuckle eye and its threaded rod against the end of the ball joint stud. Using a close fitting (possibly metric) wrench, turn the the puller bolt to apply pressure to the ball joint until it pops free. It takes a lot of force and you may need to also hammer the stud and/or eye. Once the ball stud is loose, remove the tool and the castle nut and lower the knuckle and hub assembly off the stud.

Note: If you still can't remove the lower ball joint, remove the three bolts that hold the disc/hub retainer to the knuckle. The bolts are behind the disc and a little hard to get to, but shouldn't have a lot of torque on them. Slide the disc/hub assembly outward off the knuckle. The manual shows using a slide hammer, but I was able to just slide if off with a gentle tap on the back. This will remove most of the weight from the lower A-arm and make it easier to handle while you're working on the lower ball joint.

If you're replacing your sway bar front frame bushings, now is a good time to do that. (see manual)

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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