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Has anyone had any reason to rebuild the center link in their Buick? Broken springs?  Loose steering? 

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I rebuilt mine, it was pretty warranted. The cups wear after a while and can make the idler arm and pitman arm ball socket a little loose. At least, mine had some slop. When you take it apart, there is a center spacer in there that is used to space the cups from left to right. Mine was just a solid mass of old grease that needed a punch to break out. It couldn't hurt, and the kit isn't expensive. 

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Thanks.  The manual does not have much about other then torque on the caps, etc.  But I suspect these internal parts wear. In one case I read a spring was broken.  I did purchase the kit. Looking for tips like yours about hardened grease and such. 

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Even if there are no worn or broken parts, clean all of the old grease from all parts.  The residual clay packed in will  stop new grease from reaching the parts and if there is any old grease, new grease will be incompatible and turn to liquid making a mess.  I use a black grease on these parts that I painted black just for cosmetics.

(probably the nastiest job on a Buick)

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I have seen the springs inside break apart.  Between that and a good cleaning, you will want to get it all apart and gone through.

 

I had damaged threads on mine and got a tap to fix that.  If you need to borrow it, let me know.

 

I am pretty sure the '54 manual specifies the proper torque for the threaded end plugs.

 

Check your idler arm as well.  I have found that to wear out rather quickly.

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I haven't had much trouble with the cups, but a few pitman arm balls have been egg shaped from wear. It is best to drop the link and clean it thoroughly when you get a car with one. They usually have old grease and a poor seal. The grease gets impregnated with dirt and grinds the ball away. They are hard to get a good seal on, but easy to drop and fill with clean grease every year or two.... when you flush the brake fluid.

Bernie

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18 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

  I did purchase the kit.

Let us know what is in the kit and if the new cups look different than the old ones.  My 51 F-1 truck was shimmying real bad; I found some broken springs, egg shaped balls and deep cups (the new ones were barely a dimple when compared).  Every thing else on that vehicle was worn as badly (old rural telephone company truck).

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If your balls are worn, where would you source new ones?

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... so can anyone tell us all what should the best kit be composed of and where would one get that best most complete kit  ?

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I think all the kits are the same, I got mine from CARS.

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2 minutes ago, buick man said:

... so can anyone tell us all what should the best kit be composed of and where would one get that best most complete kit  ?

 

I purchased my kit from CARS as well.  It looks very complete.   It does come with some instructions. 

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20 hours ago, old-tank said:

Let us know what is in the kit and if the new cups look different than the old ones.  My 51 F-1 truck was shimmying real bad; I found some broken springs, egg shaped balls and deep cups (the new ones were barely a dimple when compared).  Every thing else on that vehicle was worn as badly (old rural telephone company truck).

 

I will take pictures and post.  It may be a while before I get to it.    I do not suspect to see much wear at all.  But, I feel it is prudent to open it up for a look as one never really knows after 60+ years in service. 

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Pretty straight forward if messy job. There's a number of different parts, springs, spacers, cups etc that fit in a definite place and order that the book doesn't illustrate very well. Take notes or whatever to get it back together correctly................Bob

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7 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

Pretty straight forward if messy job. There's a number of different parts, springs, spacers, cups etc that fit in a definite place and order that the book doesn't illustrate very well. Take notes or whatever to get it back together correctly................Bob

 

 

I like a good puzzle. :) 

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Over the past 30 years or so I have purchased "kits" from hobby type vendors. I wouldn't anymore. What I received was in plain brown boxes and of unknown origin. I have had the supplied ball joint nuts so poorly machined they slid over the threads. I had to reuse my old nuts. I believe they came from caches of unsold aftermarket warehouse stock.

 

A couple of years ago I assembled the parts to rebuild my '48 Packard front suspension by listing the MOOG part numbers and doing a running search for the part number on Ebay. I also watched for OEM parts when I could identify them. I ended up with high quality parts at a pretty reasonable price. It is a patience thing.

I remember I bought an NOS pitman arm with a new ball for less than $20. And I was willing to pay a premium for better parts.

 

If you do order a kit, ask for the brand name on the box. If they can't tell you think twice.

 

A good machine shop can build up a pitman arm ball or turn a new one in a couple of hours. It might cost $200 for the labor, but I bet you will keep it lubed.

Bernie

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To that end, I inquired about the origin of the parts on a "front end kit" on eBay.  The answer was, "We purchase from multiple suppliers for most parts we sell, I can not tell which part in the bin came from who."

 

I passed.

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Posted (edited)

Knock on wood, many of the parts I have replaced with after market offerings have worked well.  But, there is always that first when a replacement part does not work!   

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)

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