View Full Version : Front Axle: Help! Control-Arm Spreader Tool NOT doing the job on Upper Control Arm (or is it??)

09-22-2017, 10:06 PM
Hi guys,
I'm tired and frustrated; spent a good part of the day trying to get my FIRST king-pin "Pin" and bushings in the upper control arm on my '57 GoldenHawk. I have the Spreader Tool (see photo) from SDC vendor, I have it located exactly where it is shown to be in the Shop Manual (and the only place it will fit). I spread it 0.015", and the spreader stays that gap (and the section of the control arm directly in contact with the spreader of course), but the bushing receiver area tightens in more than it was without the spreader... I've tried to put the tool directly on the welded bushing receivers (where the bushings thread in) to keep that area from moving but there is just not enough room.
I finally decided to go all the way and torque the bushings down, and when I finish and remove the spreader tool (still 0.015 and goes back to "0" to remove), I can barely move the kingpin, it feels like I'm pumping a floor jack with one hand and lifting a heavy car. Both bushings take grease (squirts out one area of the seal), but just doesn't seem right that the BOTTOM of the control arm should collapse in, with the spreader "per factory procedure" and location. I've read about people making their own tools, I'm not capable of that (don't have the equipment to be making bar-stock thickness holes and such). I thought about a bolt with nut to back off and hold the bottom, but that kingpin is in the way of anything. From what I can see, you need to put the spreader where I have it (and the Manual shows it). What am I doing wrong, or AM I? Is this simply how it works originally? And it SHOULD be this stiff right now? If the lower control arm bends like this I won't be able to rotate that little "support", not having the leverage I do with the long kingpin..... Appreciate your feedback. I'm already "making metal slivers" as I torque the bushings in; afraid I'm going to ruin my NOS arms at this rate, if I have to retry much more... Thanks!!

09-22-2017, 11:45 PM
The only thing I can think of that is different from most "rebuilds", is that these are NOS A Arms having Never had the "Threads" cut before, it will/did take serious Torque.

The "A" Arm "bending" in at the bottom is something I do not understand and can't see in the Pic.

09-23-2017, 06:25 AM
Does the king pin move freely? Or does it seem too tight and or bind? If everything is right it should move smooth and free. When I rebuilt my front end, I had a similar problem. What I ended up doing was going a little farther with the spreader tool,maybe .020., been a long time ago..... anyway once I tightened the bushings and released the tool it was much better.

Steve Winzar
09-23-2017, 07:16 AM
Hi Barry. There will be a drag on the parts and that is to be expected. I believe the use of the spreader is twofold (and please, anybody, correct me if I am misguided). One is to prevent the 'ears' of the Control Arms collapsing in toward each other when tightening the bushes with the Pin in place, the other is to ensure the threads on the pins have positive force on the flanks of the threads in service. I think you have done the job and probably not need to worry. So long as you have a range of continuous movement you are in good stead. To be honest I ensured the fifteen thou feeler dragged a bit tight in feel, so so long as you 'spread' - you are good. BTW I replied to your PM you a couple of days ago.

1961 Hawk Body-off Frame rebuild
1962 GT nearly ready for road (unrestored)
1981 Avanti II

09-23-2017, 08:54 AM
The only thing I can think of that is different from most "rebuilds", is that these are NOS A Arms having Never had the "Threads" cut before, it will/did take serious Torque.

The "A" Arm "bending" in at the bottom is something I do not understand and can't see in the Pic.

Thanks all; Rich, the photo is actually just after I loosened the spreader and thought to take a photo, but I doubt it LOOKED any different. I had my measurement point set up where the blue tape is, and that being on the far side from the spreader is where it was actually decreasing in 'gap' when I torqued it up.... even though spreader was steady and holding tight (this time; I put a longer TOP bolt in the spreader to make it less of a triangle; it was slipping on me, with the slant; worked much better being more 'parallel' as shown). So this was about the third or fourth attempt, thus frustration. I guess I'll do the other upper, see if it feels any different, and record the "pull-in" at the bottom this time; I was so disgusted I didn't write it down and forget now, but probably .020 or more?. (while EARS stay spread.) They should have designed a tool to keep the bushing 'female rings" spread, not the U-shape ear inches above them.....
Oh, for what it's worth, I partially pre-threaded the NOS arms by lining up with just the pin and bushings, and an air-tool, to be sure I got them started straight later. That helped a lot, not bad threading them in until they got into last few turns and final torque.