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bofusmosby

'37 Pontiac Bad King Pin Bushings

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Well, to those who have been following my various questions, here goes another one. While replacing the front wheel cylinders, I noticed that I have a lot of play on the right (passenger) side in the king pin bushings. I have been reading up on this, and the shop manual I have doesn't go into great detail on this job. From what I have read, there are some special tools I need to accomplish this task. Is this true? Is this a job that I should attempt myself? I see on Ebay, I can order a set of the king pins with all the bushings for $60. That doesn't sound that bad, but I am debating wether I should even attempt this. I guess I could always order the parts and have someone else do the replacement. You know, remove the assembly, take it to a shop (if I can find one) and maybe they could remove the old bushings and install the new ones.

What do you guys think? I trust your opinions on this. I await your feed-back.

Thank you!

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If these are like all the other king pins I've saw; you can take a flat drift and drive the pin that holds the king pin further in thus taking out the free play. Then tighten the nut { it's usually long } that is on the other side. This will only work if the king pin bushings are not worn too far. If you have to replace the bushings, they will probably have to be pressed into the spindle and reamed to proper size. This would be the part for the machine shop unless you have these tools. The disassembly and reassembly is not a big deal.

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Your getting into an area that is a little more then a backyard repair.

Kingpins are usually done in a front-end shop. Tools necessary, include a press to remove the king pins from the axel, and an adjustable reamer for the bushings.

If you conceder your self lucky and find out that you don’t need the press, but then you may need a new axel as the hole in the axel will some times wear out due to movement that should not be there.

After the kingpins are installed, you will have to have the front-end aligned on special machines and they may have to bend your axel to get it straight.

It should be done though as it affects the tire wear and the overall handling of the car.

You will also may need at this time, new tie rod ends and a steering box adjustment.

This is an area that needs professional expertise, at least for advice on what you can do.

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Thank you for your responses. After doing more reading on the subject, I see that not only am I not qualified, but I also lack the needed tools to do this job. One question though,,, as far as the front end alignment goes, will this have to be a specialty shop (specializing in old cars) to do this, or will most front-end alignment shops be able to do this?

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Quote "One question though,,, as far as the front end alignment goes, will this have to be a specialty shop (specializing in old cars) "

In my experience, you will have to go to a shop that has experience in older cars. Ask first before you make an appointment.

As with most trades, there is a lot more to it than what you read in the manuals. Especially when the “book” doesn’t work!

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Hi jim,i had a similar problem on my 37 caddy,very similar style front end.what i had was a worn support,this is the peice that goes from the upper and lower control arm,the steering knuckle or spindle attach to it,the kingpin goes through it,what happened was the hole was worn,propably from the pin being loose?,these are not easily repaired and replacement is required,they do pop up in ebay from time to time,you might be able to drive the pin in further and take up some of the slack,i havent replaced mine yet so i cant tell you how big a job it will be,but be prepared to replace some other parts as well?if it is the bushings in the knucke that are bad,you could take the assembly to a shop and have them installed and reamed,the support peice does not have any bushings in it,as for alignment,look for a man who has a lot of experience,look for an old guy with grey or no hair?.these cars are quite easy to do. HTH Harvey b

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Jim, see if you can find a shop with an experienced front end guy that does mostly trucks. Compared to the modern car the old system is more truck-like and they would likely be better equipped. Good luck, Todd

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Thanks guys. I checked with a shop that works mostly on older cars, and he told me that if I supply the parts, he'll charge me (per side) somewhere between $75-$100 in labor. That doesn't sound too bad. I just hope that its the bushing, and nothing else. I'll order the king pin kit tonight. $60 is not a bad price. Even though the drivers side is good and tight, do you think I should have him do both sides?

I asked him if he knew of anyone local that could do a front-end alignment on my car, and he couldn't think of anyone.

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Although I'm no expert in the 49 years I've been working on antique cars I've yet to see this "Magic Button" you smack with a hammer and turn a nut and the front end slop goes away! If hitting this locking pin tightens up your kingpin, there are only two possibilities. 1. The last mechanic failed to tighten it or 2. The part it goes in is so badly worn that it either needs replacement or to be reamed out and an oversize kingpin fitted to restore factory specs.

Replace both pins, they most likely have the same mileage, it's just the inside wheel usually has the smoothest ride, while the outside encounters all the worst the roadside has to offer.

Howard Dennis

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My experience of many years is to "JURY RIG" only to get you home after a break down along the road. Once home correct the problem , take the king pins out repair the damage done,according to standard machine shop procedures.On a old car I don't think you will have to be concerned about it again during your lifetime/ownership. Not only will you be safer on the road, the rest of us will be safer when we meet you. Bob's two cents

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OK, here's an update on my plans. I spoke to a man that has been doing nothing but front end work for over 30 years. He quoted me a price of $400 for both sides if I furnish the parts. He said that would also include a front-end alignment. He also said that if he should find anything else wrong, then he would let me know what it needs so I can obtain and replace the bad parts, THEN he would do the front-end alignment. Well, I feel a person gets what they pay for. I want to make sure that the repair is done right, and this guy really seems to know what he is doing.

I have ordered the king pin set, and I should get it later this week, or sometime next week. I also need to order the outer front-wheel bearings, so when the guy does this work, he can just go ahead and install the new bearings. Afterall, the bearings will have to be removed anyway.

Thank you for all your feed-back on this. This is a constant learning experience for me for sure. With the help you guys have been giving me, I can't loose!

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I'm new to the site and have already found lots of helpful discussions that apply to my 1963 F-100. I've had the truck for 20-plus years- the first ten as a daily driver and the last ten years it's been sitting, waiting for me to get sober. I've been sober for over four years now and have begun restoring the truck, along with my sanity.

As with anything, except maybe wine, the longer it sits, the tougher it'll be to fix (drink).

Everything in the truck has been rusted together for ten years and looks pretty bad. I started bleeding the brakes and that lead to replacing lines, hoses, and cylinders so far. I guess once I get the wheels off, I'll figure out if I need drums, shoes, bearings, etc.

I parked the truck in the garage in 2000 because the king-pin bushings were wearing out, maybe right into the spindle arm/ I-beam. If I'm careful, I'll get the drums off without cracking them, but we'll see. Hopefully enough heat and penetrating oil with a homemade puller will get them off safely. That stuff isn't that big of a deal compared to what I expect to find with the spindle arms (king-pin bushings) and axle (I-beam).

Edited by wagary
punctuation (see edit history)

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Hey, I've never repaired king-pins myself, but I'm going to try on my '63 F-100. I'm a disabled Gulf-war vet/ aircraft mechanic, so how hard could it be? (Laughs)

Worst case scenarios clearly point to the best solution.

Even if the spindle bolt has worn clear through the old bushing and into the axle, there may still be room in the axle to sleeve it for a new bushing. (Let's hope it doesn't come to that last ditch option, before replacing the entire axle.) I've found that trying the quick easy fixes in life are at least good for a learning experience. Like with the brakes, I hoped I could just bleed them and they'd be good to go, but after much screwing around with rusted/stripped bleeders and fittings, I've already replaced 50% of the braking sytem. That's good insurance for the conscience, plus it's easier. Sometimes it's cheaper and easier to do things right! Who would've thought?

I'll keep you posted on wheel/drum/hub removal efforts. I can hardly wait to see what lurks within...

Anybody have tips removing on the spindle arms? The book makes it look easy, but the real world is full of surprises isn't it?

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Does the Pontiac have a axle or IFS ? but either way is not a very hard job to do,the hardest part is getting the old pins out and usually falls togather. So far I only had to ream the bushings on Fords as my 37 Chevy p/u did not need to be reamed,the bushings in the spindles just drive out and new ones driven in and can be done on a saturday morning with simple had tools.

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Jeff, I was told that this would be a job for a machine shop. Well, truth be told, I still haven't done them yet. However, my step-son-in-law (a mechanic) said that he could do them with no problem. So, I'll let him tackle the job. Money has really been tight lately, so most things are on hold.

wagary, good luch with yours, and be sure and let us know how it goes. Also, welcome to the forum!

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Unless your king pins are full of needle bearings, I think it is a job that can be handled by a do-it-yourselfer quite easily. Here is a link to a thread I posted on doing my 1940 Packard. Scroll down to post #28, where I get into the king pin replacement.

Packard Motor Car Information - Peterson's 1940 Packard [Packard Forums - Project Blogs]

Pressing in the new bushings and reaming them are the only things you'd need to have done professionally if you don't have the right equipment or tools.

Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)

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Pressing the bushings in and reaming them is 90% of the job. I recommend removing the axle or king pin assembly and taking it to an auto machine shop for removal of the old pins and bushings and installing the new ones. They can do the job in under an hour using a hydraulic press and Sunnen hone and get a perfect fit. Much easier and better than doing it at home, and the cost is small for what you get.

Or take the whole vehicle to a good front end shop or truck shop that works on the old vehicles and let them do it.

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I agree that the pressing and reaming of the new bushings are the difficult things to do. It also has a lot to do with having the right equipment. This is the reason why I will be hiring someone to do this for me. That way, it is done one time, and done correctly.

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Hello all,

I have found and ordered replacement wheel cylinders for the '63 F-100, plus I probably have new shoes already and will install them too. My main concern coming up, is to get the left front wheel, hub, cylinder, king-pin, spindle-arm stuff apart from the axle. Did I miss anything there? Basically, if it was meant to rotate in any direction, it needs attention. I also have new shocks I might install, too.

I live in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and this morning the air temperature was maybe eight degrees farenheit. That makes it thirty-eight in the garage, too cold for me today. I better just get some jackstands together and start taking it apart on Friday, I should have more parts arriving and it's going to be over twenty degrees! That makes everything work better.

Thanks for the encouragement so far, I am not deterred by the prospect of needing outside machining work done, yet. So, I'll do what I can do with what I have and what I know, and not be discouraged by what I don't have or know.

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wagary the first thing you need is a good repair manual. The factory sold one to every Ford dealer on earth so there are lots around, they turn up on ebay and at auto flea markets for $20 to $50.

If your king pins are bad take the axle out and take it to an auto machine shop for new pins and bushings. Meanwhile take the backing plates off and rebuild the brakes on your work bench. Put on new flex hoses and all. Kanter sells complete brake kits.

This way you can clean and paint everything and have brand new brakes. Have drums turned if necessary and repack wheel bearings and replace grease seals.

Now you won't have to worry about brakes or steering for 5 to 10 years as long as you grease the front end regularly.

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(This is a longer post, thank you for reading it all.)

Hello again, it's been 4 weeks. I got the jackstands, lifted the truck, removed the tire/wheel and drum on the left side of 1963 F-100. Going further in to repair the king-pin and spindle arm damage. Everything eventually came apart with heat and lube and breaker-bar so that's the good news.

The other news is that upon this further inspection, the lower spindle-bolt (king-pin)bearing was crushed and partially missing, the upper bushing was 25% missing/worn away. That wearing has (maybe) deformed the bore size in the top of the spindle arm. I can't see the bottom spidle arm bushing yet, but I suspect the same kind of wear, only in the opposite direction. (No problem thus far with the axle, it's holding the pin EXTREMELY TIGHT!)

I have elected to add two small grease zircs into the axle to get some lube/penetrating oil in the fit between spindle bolt and axle. I suspect that's a standard press- fit with less than .001 inch clearance. I don't know if that worked yet, but the slicker the better I figure (plus it just looks cool when grease shoots out ON-FIRE from a fitting- damn be careful!)

I don't have any kind of press (besides the bottle jack and floor jack that are lifting and holding the truck up, along with the jack-stands and wood blocks) or port-a-power, and will not be removing the entire axle yet to facilitate the easiest way of removing the stubborn king-pins.

Forty-seven years of neglect plus a press- fit equals tight, tight fit.( I know it would be best to remove the whole axle or use a press some other way to get the pins out, but I'm going to use what I have on hand with what I know from other experiences.)

I'm also drilling into the top of the froze-up king-pin to install some kind of screw and nut I can strike without 'shrooming the head of the pin. (It was getting hopeless trying to hold a punch in there and hit it hard enough. I don't want to somehow mushroom the top of the pin. (If that happens, I'll be forced to clean that ugliness up, before I get the head of the king-pin to slide through the axle.) I just want to get the pin to move for now. I've tried twisting it from the bottom, but I don't think that's done much either yet. That sucker is in there TIGHT!

Here's some questions: I've tried once heating the entire area- the exposed ends of kingpin to dull-red and then the axle, then back to the pin before hammering. I thought it moved, but forgot to scribe a reference line, so I can't be sure.

Is it better to ONLY heat the pin?

Is it better to heat only the axle?

Is it better to heat everything first to get things expanding and hopefully breaking the rust bond, then heating only the axle or only the pin, before driving the pin through?

I plan on scribing a line on top of pin (or observing locking-pin notch inside) to look for encouraging movement. Then I'll heat both again to dull-red or as hot as I can with MAPP gas. Then I'll lube it with grease and oil. When it cools again,I'll ONLY heat the exposed pin ends to dull-red and start striking it with a small five pound sledge-hammer. (Remember, I'll be striking the striking nut I installed, just to get it moving.) Once it moves, I plan on removing aforemetioned mickey-mouse stuff, (de-burring the head of pin if necessary) and re-heat the pin only and switch to a three-quarters or half-inch punch and strike with a five pound dead-blow hammer.

Once the pin is out and I have the spindle arm off the truck, I'll measure that bore size without the old bushings in there. As I said, way back at the beginning of this post, I suspect collateral damage to the spindle arm.

My second question is: It looks like there're two pin kits available, standard and over-sized. Does the over-sized kit have a larger diameter bushing to accomodate for the spindle-arm being worn and egg shaped? I think stock sizes are about a one inch bore in the spindle-arm with a one inch bushing pressed to fit. Then those bushings are line-reamed to accomodate the standard diameter king-pin (seven-eighths or so.)

If my standard pin wore through the standard bushings and into the spindle-arm, that's what it looks like I need- larger outer diameter bushings to be sure, but the pins still need to fit through the stock-sized axle.

Or is EVERYTHING oversized in the oversized kit; seals, bearings, pins(spindle-bolts) and bushings and washers? If the spindle-bolt is a larger diameter I'll obviously have to re-size the through-hole in the axle.

Can you tell I've never done this before? So far, it's not a big deal, except those spindle bolts are froze in the axle SUPER tight.

Am I heating it correctly? I don't have an oxy-acetylene set-up and don't want to buy one. I can get anything glowing dull-red with the MAPP/fourth generation gas bottle torch I have, (think Bernzomatic only much hotter) burning MAPP gas instead of propane. I think it burns in this set-up at about 750 degrees to (900 ?) degrees Fahrenheit.

Any thoughts on heating techniques or diameter sizes of replacement king-pin kits would be appreciated.

Oh,thanks so far- and Jim- I do have the factory service manual. Real handy, except they only list Ford code numbered special tools and parts for spindle bolt replacement repairs. Somewhere I did read a fourth place decimal specification, but don't remember where at the time of this post. Right now saying the pins are super tight and two different sized kits of replacement parts will suffice.

Since I don't work at a shop anymore, where am I going to find the correct sized reamer I need? It's about .8790 or so. When I know, I'll specify, but the reamer is going to have to be .750 or larger. I want to buy it online( because I'm disabled and don't get out much in the Minnesota winters here).

Does anyone have any ideas? Oh yeah, it needs to be at least 6.5 inches long to reach through both ends of the spindle arm at the same time- you know, so it is reamed in-line.

Last thing, if this arm is toast, where can I buy another, better one?

Thanks. (Freaking wordy guy aren't I?)

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wagary

I wish I had the answers to your questions, but I have elected to hire someone to do this job for me. One of these days (I keep saying that) I'll have mine done. I got a quote from a garage down the street that he would charge me $75 per side. To me, it is worth not spending time and agravation to have someone else to this. I don't know what other shops would charge for this job, but the quote I got was very reasonable. I must admit though, I just hope the guy knows what he is doing. LOL

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Well good luck Jim, I spent years thinking I'd have someone else do the king-pin job in my truck. It turns out, once I got the truck lifted up safely and high- enough things started moving quickly. First I just wondered if I could get the large diameter nuts and bolts holding the brake carrier plate onto the spindle-it looked hopeless until I started heating them up and I got the first one loose. I was on my way! There's alot of satisfaction in doing a job yourself. Especialy if you've never done that job before.

Did I mention I'm a recovering alcoholic, gulf-war veteran? I spent 15+ years in an alcohol enhanced state of fear and "stuckness" unable to move forward in life. I'm not saying anybody besides me is or has been stuck in life so take what I'm saying lightly.

Have you attempted to remove any of the offending parts involved with the king-pins? I'm not sure, but to me much of these older machines are really simply built. The biggest problem is overcoming the old-age of the parts (and advancing ages of us , the mechanics) because they get stuck in their places so well. Hey start taking something apart until you break it, then you'll know not to break it in that particular way next time. Eventually you'll be able to fix anything! Or know how to break it in more ways than anyone else.

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Just take the axle out and take it to an auto machine shop. Get a king pin kit from the auto parts store (NAPA). If you are not sure if you need the oversize kit take your axle to the shop first and ask them.

The last time I did this the pin kit was $40 and the machine shop charge was $75. They did a better job in 1 hour than I could do in 2 days.

But, to each his own.

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