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Thread: putting king pin back in lower control arm

  1. #1
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    putting king pin back in lower control arm

    I'm putting the front end back together and I'll tighten up the upper control arm to frame with king pin on, then install lower control arm and the king pin does not line up with the lower arm, off 3/8 inch. Should the upper and lower control arm be put on loose and then install the king pin in the lower arm and then tighten up the control arms

  2. #2
    Silver Hawk Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Often, the upper & lower arms do not line up perfectly, after rebuild of a Stude front suspension. I have seen factory installed shims, and have seen frames cracked and/or tweaked to where anything like perfect alignment was near impossible. I have found, as long as it can be tugged into place by hand, it will settle in later as the rubber bushings allow for shifting and eventual self alignment. Not saying its ideal, just saying its often the case. The front end of my 62GT has never lined up perfectly, after any of the 2-3 times I rebuilt it. But after 300,000+ miles, I have learned it will settle in later by itself. I only have to rotate the tires every 15,000-20,000, so everything is close enough for me.

    So I guess it depends on how badly misaligned yours is, whether its an issue or not.
    Last edited by JoeHall; 04-20-2017 at 05:54 PM.

  3. #3
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    Joe is on track! i have done plenty of front end rebuilds and if they came together in alignment i would probably faint! leave everything loose and pry into place and start king pin in knuckle support,sometimes you have to tap support to get upright to start exactly right.as its keyed. Luck Doofus

  4. #4
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    Sorry to hijack your thread....

    I have all the parts in hand to do a front suspension rebuild on my 59 Lark.

    Will I need to ream the kingpin bushings when the time comes to assemble?

    How long should I expect to allow for doing this for a first-time A-Frame Coil spring suspension rebuild? I've never done one of these before, only 4WD front and rear suspensions.

    I will be pulling this apart, as I know it has NEVER been apart, as I have owned it for 36 years.

    Any other suggestions are appreciated.
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  5. #5
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    No reaming required. time depends on experience level and dexterity. Luck Dppfus

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by doofus View Post
    No reaming required. time depends on experience level and dexterity. Luck Dppfus
    Absolutely correct. If you don't have a service manual, get one. There are also several posts about pressing/installing the bushings into the A-arms. Lastly, be dang careful removing the coil springs, there is a lot of hurt in them if not handled correctly.

    The assembly/disassembly is pretty straight forward but just needs care and study.

    Good luck, Bob
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  7. #7
    Silver Hawk Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BILT4ME View Post
    Sorry to hijack your thread....

    I have all the parts in hand to do a front suspension rebuild on my 59 Lark.

    Will I need to ream the kingpin bushings when the time comes to assemble?

    How long should I expect to allow for doing this for a first-time A-Frame Coil spring suspension rebuild? I've never done one of these before, only 4WD front and rear suspensions.

    I will be pulling this apart, as I know it has NEVER been apart, as I have owned it for 36 years.

    Any other suggestions are appreciated.
    Since yours has never been torn down before, it will probably take longer to clean up the parts than to do the actual job. Sometimes decades of dirt & grease build up to so bad an air chisel could come in handy.
    Enjoy, but do be careful with those springs. I also recommend to do everything at once, so you do not need to come back later, i.e. new coil springs if it needs them. The MOOG 655 progressives are the best I have found for Stude V8.

  8. #8
    Silver Hawk Member bezhawk's Avatar
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    The first set of bushings I got from SI in the early 80s, I DID have to ream them to fit the king pin. And there were no grease grooves, so getting grease up to the thrust bearings was impossible. Thankfully, they have improved their product, and now fit is factory correct.
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  9. #9
    Silver Hawk Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bezhawk View Post
    The first set of bushings I got from SI in the early 80s, I DID have to ream them to fit the king pin. And there were no grease grooves, so getting grease up to the thrust bearings was impossible. Thankfully, they have improved their product, and now fit is factory correct.
    Excellent point. Bronze bushings without metal backing and without grease grooves are still floating around everywhere. If you cannot find the original type, you can use a hand held hacksaw blade and cut two grooves, 180 degrees across from each other. The ones without grease grooves are usually also without metal backing usually, so be extra careful pressing them in, since they tend to distort easily. If so, it is usually the top edge, which will cause the king pin to be too tight. You can trim that edge carefully with a dull knife blade, then hit is with some sandpaper, wrapped around your fingertip.

    Also, do not use the cork washers/lower grease seals on the bottom. Instead, use an o'ring about the same diameter and thickness. Also, be careful when pressing that lower bearing in. If you push it too far, the cork washer/rubber o'ring will not seal. You want it tight enough to leave a bit of drag. Assemble without the coil spring first, and check the fit of everything. With the coil spring in place, it is difficult to discern anything that is not quite right, which if often the case.

  10. #10
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    That's GREAT information everyone! Thank you!

    I have new springs, rubber isolators, shims, bushings, complete SI kingpin/front end rebuild kit. I have already installed the new center bellcrank unit and new front shocks and tie rods.

    I own coil spring compressors (screw type) and I have done a few MacPherson Struts before, and I know how dangerous those springs can be!

    You're absolutely correct about the time of cleaning up these parts. The Studebaker Self-Preservation system has worked well on this car and it has had about 3/4" thick of oil soaked dirt and gravel stuck to everything on the front half of the car. We lived on a gravel road and so was it's life before me, so it's pretty thick.

    I am PLANNING on having all the parts sand (or bead) blasted after removal so they will be nice and clean and I will paint them with POR-15 or an epoxy primer and rattle can black before reassembly.

    We pulled the engine a year ago to re-seal it and clean out the crud and I'm sure the car lost 100 Lbs on just the first go-around of crud removal. We have driven the car about 7000 miles in the last year and are planning on more. It wore out a set of new tires in the last 2 years due to the horrible misalignment. We're really looking forward to having it driving like it SHOULD be!

    Thanks guys for all your help and suggestions!

    I am planning on making the spreader tool to spread the A-Frames for the correct installation of the kingpins.
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  11. #11
    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Would an automotive machine shop hot tank be better than bead blasting? Won't bead blasting get grit into everything?
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RadioRoy View Post
    Would an automotive machine shop hot tank be better than bead blasting? Won't bead blasting get grit into everything?
    The bead blasting will be on completely disassembled parts, so then I will blow them clean with dry compressed air, then paint. Basically an upper A-Frame, the Lower A-Frame, and the support pins where they attach to the frame. I will NOT bead blast the kingpins themselves, as they are clean/new and I will not risk getting grit in those. I will use brake cleaner to clean those on the exterior and then paint.

    For some reason, the bottom of my car has red paint, white paint, and black paint on the A-Frames, sway bar, rear springs, and rear axle. This was done before I bought it 36 years ago.
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  13. #13
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    Happy scrapping,it's hard to get the crud off with sand blasting,sand bounce's off crud mostly. scrape first and blast residue for best results. enjoy Doofus

  14. #14
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    As Bob says be careful with the springs. In my young and dumb days I used a bottle jack to compress the spring and had the jack slip out of place. It got real ugly, real fast. Spend a few bucks or borrow a spring compressor and you will be good to go with the removal and replacement of the springs
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