Brothers Trucks 1963-1972 Front Suspension Rebuild

03/01/2016

Brothers Trucks 1963-1972 Front Suspension Rebuild

03/01/2016

Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your truck on the road. The following pages are step-by-step instructions to rebuild your stock front suspension properly and safely.

Once the truck is supported properly on jack stands and the front wheels are taken off for extra space, remove any cotter pins and loosen (do not remove) all nuts on the rod ends and ball joints. A pickle fork was used to break loose the ball joints and all rod ends.

You will have to remove the coil springs and spindles to do the job. By removing the nuts holding the ball joints in place and removing the shocks we are able to carefully lower the control arm thus making the removal of the spring and spindle possible. Note: we have also removed the calipers so as not to place undue bind on the flexible brake line.

The spring will drop out. Note: there’s a notch that the spring fits into on the lower A-arm when it comes time to re-install.

Here the nut is loosened that holds the main body of the tie rod to the idler arm.

The old tie rods and adjusters are easily removed. Make as exact measurements as you can of the length of these two bars so that you can transfer that measurement to the new setup. This will keep you in the “ballpark” when it comes time to go to the alignment shop.

Install the new components but don’t tighten or lubricate until later.

The new tie rod ends and adjusting sleeves have left and right-hand threads so make sure to do not cross-thread any of them.

The pickle fork is used to remove the idler arm from the idler arm bracket that attaches to the frame. Make sure to check the bracket and frame for any stress cracks or damage to the frame at this point.

The original idler arm was surprisingly easy to remove given the high probability of it being an original component.

The installation of the new idler arm is the opposite of the removal. Note: the rubber bushings between the bracket and tie rod center link.

The upper cross shaft is held to the frame via two bolts and is easily removed. However, the secret lies behind the upper cross shaft.

The upper cross shaft conceals the alignment shims. Don’t mix up the shims! If the shims are to be removed, make sure to tape them together and tag them for proper relocation.

Here is an expanded view of the upper cross shaft and it’s individual components which include threaded cup ends, bushings, and grease fittings.

Note: the upper cross shaft has one side that is flat and one side that is cupped side points out (towards you) when installing. The flat side goes toward the frame.

When installing the greasable fittings, make sure not to overtighten as the mounting threads can be easily stripped or cross-threaded.

The rubber cup must be installed onto the upper cross shaft before the actual end cup can be run through the upper A-arm which then holds the shaft in position.

The upper ball joint is a bolt-in operation. Original ball joints are held in place by rivets. Note: our old ball joints must have been changed at least once before as they were already bolted in. Simply remove the original rivets with an air chisel or grind the tops of them off and hit them out with a punch.

You want the surface cleaned and prepped before installing the new ball upper ball joint.

The new ball joint drops into position. Make sure to get the rubber boot seated properly before tightening the nuts on the bolts.

The lower A-arm required that the old ball joint be pressed out. If you do not have an at-home hydraulic press, go to your local machine shop or auto parts store for installation.

The lower cross shaft rests in the permanently mounted cross shaft saddle (shown). Note: the attachment bolt, this aligns with a single index hole on the cross shaft itself.

The single index hole assures that the lower cross shaft is installed correctly, and ensures alignment and a “permanent” position.

Make sure to lubricate the threaded ends of the cross shaft with grease before installing the positioning caps.

Again, the mounting cups are threaded both on the inside and out. The inside threads capture the cross shaft while the outer threads capture the A-arm.

Well, that about wraps up the “freshening up” of the front suspension. Re-install the spindles, coils, and control arms in the reverse order. Then go back and tighten each lock-nut and install new cotter pins that were needed. Lastly with the truck still in the air, grease all of the new components (ball joints, tie rods, idler arm, upper & lower cross shafts, etc.) Now that the truck is driveable, off to the alignment shop.

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