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should I have my center link rebuilt??


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I am rebuilding the front suspension on my '63 and was wondering how to tell if I need to have my center link rebuilt.  There is no play in the swivel points, so I'm not sure if it is necessary to spend the money and time to send it off for rebuild.  Pretty much everything under the car was shot and needed to be replaced, so I expected the center link would be shot as well.  It is easy enough to take back off if needed, just not sure what condition it needs to be in before rebuild is necessary.  

Thanks! 

-Adrian-

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Sometimes its hard to detect wear with the centerlink off the car because you can't put as much "load" on the joints vs when its in the car and you are checking by trying to turn the wheels back and forth with engine off. Of course if there is excessive wear you will see it no matter what. 

 

Just like a driveshaft, I do not automatically rebuild these unless inspection justifies it in the context (my opinion) that an original part in good condition may be better and/or outlast a rebuild assuming the car will see pampered limited service as most hobby cars do.

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Hi Adrian,

Jason is right, IMO, and not only because we JZs stick together. I did a forum post a week or so ago about replacing the centerlink on my '63. My mechanic had me in the car up on the lift moving the steering wheel side to side as fast and sharply as I could while he was down there inspecting things. He also had me do the same routine with the engine on (brave soul!). Rare Parts was recommended by a few regulars on this forum --  but RP first needs your core or a usable one to rebuild if you decide to do so. I should be getting my CL back later this week or early next (fingers crossed) so I'll keep any interested forum members posted. Idler arm and front strut bushings are also being replaced so I think I got off easy, all things considered.

 

  

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Much like the ongoing saga of the QR steering box, one suspects that the value in a rebuild is in the information rather than the work.  In theory, rebuilding should be fairly straightforward: remove the caps, knock out the stud, replace the socket (and stud if worn), then reassemble.  The hard part would be finding the needed parts.  One might start by guessing that the stud is the same at those used on the tie rod ends (same taper and thread).  If that proves to be correct, it's a matter of finding a socket that will fit the empty hole in the centerlink.  One might guess (hope?) that the guts of a tie rod end could be the same as the guts of each joint in the centerlink.  If that's the case, maybe one can find a new a new tie rod end which can be cannibalized to get the needed parts.  

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30 minutes ago, KongaMan said:

The hard part would be finding the needed parts. 

 

Yes, that would be my question: Where does RP get the 'guts' they use to rebuild one's center link core?  The tie rod end theory seems plausible...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Typically you'll first notice worn steering linkage while driving the car as you will find the need to correct often  to stay centered in your lane. With wheels on ground (engine off) have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth repeatedly changing direction just when they feel resistance. Lay under car in front watching for slop in each joint. It may help to have the front end on ramps. Everything should move together from the steering box to the tires. There will always be a small amount of steering wheel movement before the tires move. Not sure how much is normal. Maybe 3 inches in rotation watching a point on the steering wheel rim. Another test mainly for the tie rods you can jack one wheel at a time off ground and have friend do a push-pull action on wheel left to right while watching the joints for play. There should be no movement of wheel in this test assuming the person is not pushing and pulling so hard the opposite wheel on ground is moving. 

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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                There is only one good way to test a center link or tie rods or idler arm.......it is what we call in my shop the

"GORILLA" test. You have to have long arms to do it, thus the name Gorilla. What I do is with the car on a lift or jacked up on jack stands

with both wheels off the ground, grab one front tire  with your right hand and the other with your left hand and try to move them  first both in

then try to move them both out at the same time. Do this back and forth and you can detect the slightest play in the idler arm, tie rods and center link,

that you might not detect any other way. You can't see a bad center link, idler arm or tie rod with the other methods unless they are very very loose. If everything is tight, you won't be able to move the wheels in or out. If you can move them in or out, watch the

tie rods and idler arm and center link while you do it and you will see the part flopping around. To test your ball joints, you need two

people,,,,,,,,,,,,First , put a floor jack under the lower control arm and jack the wheel up off the ground about 3 inches. Then while an assistant watches the lower ball joint with a flash light, take a long pry bar and stick it under the tread of the tire and pry straight up. If the ball joint is bad your assistant will see the pin of the ball joint go up and down independent of the ball, and you will feel the movement when you are prying up and down on it.. Checking the upper ball joints is tricky. If they are pretty loose you will see

them move when you grab the top[ of the tire with the wheel jacked up off the ground by the lower control arm and try to move the top of the tire in and out, but if it only a little loose you probably won't be able to tell for sure. One good rule of thumb is never run a ball joint more than 100,000 miles even if it checks to be tight, because the pin can snap off due to metal fatigue.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)
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