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misterp

How-To: Install Drop-Front Spindles

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Let me begin by thanking rice750sxi for posting his thread a year-and-a-half ago of the McGaughy's spindle install on his SS; that posting can be found here if you want more pics and perspective on doing this project. There is also a Collection of Lowering Notes and Best Practices pinned in the Suspension forum.

 

Shown here is the install of the McGaughy's deluxe front drop-spindle lowering kit, but these instructions will be similar for other brands of lowering spindles as well. In addition, these instructions are very useful for doing your own major front-end work, like replacing bushings, ball joints, or tie-rod ends.

 

Before beginning, you will need proper tools -

1) 1/2" breaker bar and metric impact or deep sockets;

2) complete set of metric combination wrenches;

3) 36mm deep socket (for axle nut);

4) T-55 Torx socket (for brake caliper pins);

5) assortment of allen wrenches;

6) heavy sledge hammer (5-lb minimum);

7) grinder or hacksaw, and metal file;

8) assorted common automotive hand tools (pliers, screwdrivers, etc);

9) bottle jack and approved jack stands.

 

I also prepared days ahead by painting the spindles with black engine enamel and baking in the oven at 150-degrees, as well as installing the upper wheel hub stud supplied in the kit.

 

When following these instructions, it is generally most efficient to do both sides at the same time. An intermediate-level mechanic can accomplish this job with the tools shown in 4-5 hours; novice mechanics should not require more than a whole day.

 

The torsion-bar front-end is much safer to work with than a coil spring suspension, as unloading the suspension by raising the vehicle will relieve all tension from the springs; on the contrary, when working on a coil-spring front-end be sure to use a coil spring compressor to safely contain the force of springs under pressure - many have been seriously injured by mishandling coil springs.

 

1-stands.jpg

 

2-dustcap.jpg

 

3-axlenut.jpg

 

4-flange.jpg

 

(continued...)

Edited by Mr. P.

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5-halfshaft.jpg

 

6-pins.jpg

 

7-pistons.jpg

 

8-pads.jpg

 

(continued...)

Edited by Mr. P.

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9-absbolt.jpg

 

10-tierod.jpg

 

11-hubbolts.jpg

 

12-hub.jpg

 

(continued...)

Edited by Mr. P.

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13-balljoints.jpg

 

14-hammer.jpg

 

15-lower.jpg

 

16-upper.jpg

 

(continued...)

Edited by Mr. P.

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17-balljoints.jpg

 

18-grind.jpg

 

19-assemble.jpg

 

FORGOTTEN STEP - This is a good time to grease the ball joints and tie-rod ends with a grease gun, as these components are easily accessible.

 

20-bumper.jpg

 

(continued...)

Edited by Mr. P.

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21-clearance.jpg

 

After the truck is back on the ground, drive it immediately to a qualified alignment shop as the camber will be way out of spec.

 

Check torque of lug nuts after 50-miles.

 

Check torque of all fastners at 1000-miles. And don't forget to grease ball joints and steering/tie-rod ends each oil change.

 

Mr. P. :)

Edited by Mr. P.

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Looks like you went about that the hard way but got it done either way.

Suggest some shortcuts :dunno:

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Thanks Mr. P!!!...It is really cool of you to take the time to post your experiences...I have been working on cars for years and love to get the 'heads up' on things before I actually do them myself......If I ever cross paths with you, I am buying! :cheers: Thanks again!

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Looks like you went about that the hard way but got it done either way.

Suggest some shortcuts :dunno:

Start by removing the brake line bracket at the top of the spindle and then unclip the wheel sensor wire from the upper A-arm and unplug it from the connection at the frame. Then remove the two I belive 18MM bolts that hold the calipers there is no need to remove the pins. Then remove the cover and the half shaft nut. Remove the steering arm at the spindle,the lower shock mount, and sway bar. Then remove upper and lower balljoints and the spindle will damn near fall off without removing the halfshaft. Once you have the spindle off then remove the 15mm hub bolts and transfer the hub to the new spindle this is very fast because you can get them off with an impact and then reinstall with an impact. Also on the back side of the spindle you will notice where the upper and lower balljoints go through there is some extra material there kind of a square pad these are meant for hammering on, turn the spindle one way or the other since the steering is disconnected and hit this area with a 5-10lb sledge and the shock will usually knock it lose in a few whacks if not sooner.

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Looks like you went about that the hard way but got it done either way.

Suggest some shortcuts :dunno:

Start by removing the brake line bracket at the top of the spindle and then unclip the wheel sensor wire from the upper A-arm and unplug it from the connection at the frame. Then remove the two I belive 18MM bolts that hold the calipers there is no need to remove the pins. Then remove the cover and the half shaft nut. Remove the steering arm at the spindle,the lower shock mount, and sway bar. Then remove upper and lower balljoints and the spindle will damn near fall off without removing the halfshaft. Once you have the spindle off then remove the 15mm hub bolts and transfer the hub to the new spindle this is very fast because you can get them off with an impact and then reinstall with an impact. Also on the back side of the spindle you will notice where the upper and lower balljoints go through there is some extra material there kind of a square pad these are meant for hammering on, turn the spindle one way or the other since the steering is disconnected and hit this area with a 5-10lb sledge and the shock will usually knock it lose in a few whacks if not sooner.

Thanks Jon - will definitely give your way a try next time.

 

Mr. P.

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Looks like you went about that the hard way but got it done either way.

Suggest some shortcuts :dunno:

Start by removing the brake line bracket at the top of the spindle and then unclip the wheel sensor wire from the upper A-arm and unplug it from the connection at the frame. Then remove the two I belive 18MM bolts that hold the calipers there is no need to remove the pins. Then remove the cover and the half shaft nut. Remove the steering arm at the spindle,the lower shock mount, and sway bar. Then remove upper and lower balljoints and the spindle will damn near fall off without removing the halfshaft. Once you have the spindle off then remove the 15mm hub bolts and transfer the hub to the new spindle this is very fast because you can get them off with an impact and then reinstall with an impact. Also on the back side of the spindle you will notice where the upper and lower balljoints go through there is some extra material there kind of a square pad these are meant for hammering on, turn the spindle one way or the other since the steering is disconnected and hit this area with a 5-10lb sledge and the shock will usually knock it lose in a few whacks if not sooner.

Thanks Jon - will definitely give your way a try next time.

 

Mr. P.

Just so you know I was in no way putting down the way you did it because the outcome is still the same. I just happen to know a few shortcuts because there was a time when I was doing this about twice a day for about a week on my truck trying to get a set of spindles that actually fit. Also with the AWD I knew the halfshaft didn't need to be removed because it's just like installing lift spindles on an HD and I have only done countless lifts on HD's when I worked at a "drop shop" :confused: DONT ASK :dunno:

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Thanks Mr. P!!!...It is really cool of you to take the time to post your experiences...I have been working on cars for years and love to get the 'heads up' on things before I actually do them myself......If I ever cross paths with you, I am buying! :cheers:  Thanks again!

misterp is a super nice guy, and really knows his stuff. Nice work. :thumbs:

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misterp is a super nice guy, and really knows his stuff. Nice work.  :thumbs:

Well thanks, but Jon is right, there are a couple things I could have done a bit easier if I'd a used my head :banghead: But removing the half-shaft and hub assembly while the spindle was still on the truck, I had to do it that way as I do not have an impact wrench that strong (I needed the leverage).

 

Mr. P.

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