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Technical 1959 Chevy Truck Suspension, Axle and Brake Project

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 59Apachegail, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. 1oldtimer
    Joined: Aug 21, 2003
    Posts: 7,996

    1oldtimer
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I was just thinking (overthinking), you could use a pipe to inverted 90 deg and kick it up towards the floor (just over the cable). You'll just have to make a "J" and maybe bend the other pipe up to meet it ?.
     
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  2. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Hey Oldtimer,
    Problem is the amount of space, the rigidity of the tube, angle of the bend and the tubing lengths available. There is about 4” from where the stainless ends to where the rear of the combination valve ends. The shortest tube available to match is 12”. Bending the steel tubes after 40 degrees was causing kinks. As a result I had to make 6 - 30ish degree bends total to make the “S”. I think I would have needed 18” of tube to make the “O”. I broke my flair tool trying to work with the stainless.

    I don’t think that brass coupler between the stainless and steel tubes can take anymore tightening. Though it has been dry since the last round. In the end I will replace the whole section before or when I start on the rear axle upgrade.
     
  3. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    I had a second set of original brake line connector hardware. As some know the front “T” block is no longer made. Unless you have one you can not use original size lines without some creativity.
    A0944ECE-6EC3-4594-A8A3-700C76821C27.jpeg
    093AF245-97EE-4C36-B2EE-D2D8AD27047A.jpeg
    D2CA9A7C-D68C-4904-B663-65FFD7878B8F.jpeg
    Just a quick note, those brass gaskets are new ones. Using the old ones will probably cause leaks.
     
    nunattax likes this.
  4. 1oldtimer
    Joined: Aug 21, 2003
    Posts: 7,996

    1oldtimer
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I forgot about the 12" being the shortest line.


    If you need more fittings your welcome to mine.
     
    59Apachegail likes this.
  5. 57tailgater
    Joined: Nov 22, 2008
    Posts: 711

    57tailgater
    Member
    from Georgia

    The banjo fitting has the Weatherhead logo on it. They used to make a little of everything. I used to work for them and it's amazing what all they had for fittings and adapters. I still have one the older aftermarket catalogs somewhere in my stash.
     
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  6. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Thanks Oldtimer,
    Much appreciated!
     
  7. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Very cool info! I always wondered what that was. As a matter of fact all of the fittings have that stamp.
    7C793328-1710-4A29-83FD-7FA24AFEFA74.jpeg
     
  8. 57tailgater
    Joined: Nov 22, 2008
    Posts: 711

    57tailgater
    Member
    from Georgia

    They made a lot for OEM's back in the day. Those are made from extruded brass stock, cut to width then machined. NAPA use to carry an extensive line of theirs (including hose, hose fittings and brake tubing) but I don't know how much any more. They even made the fittings for GTO tripowers of which I have a set of. Keep up the good work.
     
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  9. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    I need to check Napa, I haven’t gone there since the closest one closed. Thank you!
     
  10. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    I checked all my fittings and joints and everything seemed ok. The front bleeders definitely lost a few drops of fluid. Not sure if it was residual from the last bleed. Wiped them down, put the wheels on and got rid on the jack stands. Two hours later months of mess was moved enough to get her out in the sun.
    6FC50ED8-55C6-4238-9168-D5A115B2389C.jpeg
    It was finally shakedown time. The pedal gets halfway down before the brakes start. It still takes a little to stop but they go on nice and smooth. Steering is more responsive and less wander. I was nailing speed bumps. I bounced around in the cab but the truck hardly moved. The springs didn’t bottom on the frame bumpers and I was trying hard. The ride is night and day already. Normally after an hour of bumping around I am in pain but none today.
    CFCD3F88-C971-4D35-BB0D-1C2DA60285E2.jpeg CD22098D-D7F9-49AD-AA57-E9A871836615.jpeg
    I am very happy with the way she rides, brakes still need some work. One last wheel needs to be replaced because there was no access. Check out the difference between the radials and bias plys 6E6E11B6-BEDD-45EE-9D22-B78F438AB2E0.jpeg
     
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  11. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    A few small updates today.
    The radial tire was removed from the 5” rim and mounted on the 8” rim.

    The sway bar was put into place. There were two sets of spacers that came with the kit a short and a long. Figuring the truck was dropped by three inches I opted for the shorter ones. My concern here is that that bar is very close to the frame.
    669DED91-5075-4777-988A-BBFE2C307610.jpeg FC129A4D-C1C6-485F-B6AC-DBB4E9F4EB30.jpeg
    *sorry for the upside down shots but for some reason no matter how hard I try they won’t flip.

    There are stock holes on the frame so I used them for now. The through frame bolts are not full thread. I have seen others not using spacers. I threw the spacers on for now just to hold it in place.
    A5306E2D-00B0-4EA8-AC35-AA2D021D7223.jpeg 679035F1-CD99-45D7-920B-11C87CBBC625.jpeg

    ***Edit for Learning***
    1) The rear bolts should be as straight up and down as possible. I substituted in the shorter spacers since I am 3” lower than stock.
    2) The sway bar should be as parallel with the ground as possible.
    3) The front sway mounts should be as far away from each other as possible. The further away the more rigid the ride.

    *If I make new holes and move the mounts further apart I would need to add a spacers in front. Otherwise the rear nut on the front mount would be up against the frame.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
    swade41 likes this.
  12. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Jumping back a little...
    I decided to upgrade to a 67 chevy 1/2 ton axle since it is the same width as the original. I can keep the new wheels. It will take the disc brake upgrade. It uses modern axles and carriers and parts are readily available unlike the original.

    67 Suspension mounted underneath so original pads were removed and replacement spring pads need to be welded on. Using a spare original axle the measurements were taken. The spring pads are angled forward 10 degrees. Zero was taken from the flat on the pinion snout.
    D700A0C6-38E1-4771-8DCD-209170E641D8.jpeg
    4F8D5878-3E68-420A-8C7F-0172349AFDF7.jpeg
    The measurements from original spring pad outside edge to inside of axle flange was 6-3/4”. Original spring pads were 1- 3/4” check you spring pad width if you’re doing same operation my new ones are 2”.

    Lastly the axle mounting surface was double checked. Since this is a one man operation I tightened lug nuts around two wrenches and measured the distance in between. 62” on the original 62-1/8” on the newer axle.
    9808EDE4-8899-4F45-A1DF-7EED3E4F5149.jpeg BDD1C403-432F-4334-B75A-DDD48B916071.jpeg
     
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  13. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Finally able to get back at it. I mounted the sway bar in factory frame holes. ***THIS IS COMPLETELY WRONG*** Three washers were required to stand the mount off of the frame. The bolts holding the bushing were hitting the back of the frame and tweaking the mount.
    A634211D-67D9-45F8-862B-971809B01F41.jpeg
    Sadly my chrome springs clamps are not working out. I could probably re-bend them but that will ruin the finish. 2” clamps are too tight and 2-1/4” clamps are too loose.
    E7DFD3E4-0E05-4C45-9EE9-9DB849967AB6.jpeg
    I picked these up off of eBay for $2 each. They had some sharp edges and will require some paint. After a little bit of filing they are ready to be painted and installed.
    6230D668-C9D4-415E-9BD4-5833BBF0B341.jpeg
    Jumping over to the 1967 rear axle. Time to fab up some new brake line clips. The new for me axle’s clips are history. I found this piece of flat stock that is a tiny bit thicker than what is on my original axle. I will cut it to size bend, prep and weld them on. I found replacement ones online but for $3 for a set and $17 for shipping this is a better option.
    01D2F31A-6241-477C-A48E-BF53D69237AB.jpeg
    A little trim, some cutting and bending and done.
    C7B23153-ED3F-4369-89F8-D20773A3A778.jpeg
    54BF8FA1-C5ED-4CFA-97DD-C65B574EF0FE.jpeg
    Not perfect but with a little more prep they will look factory if anyone even notices them.

    Since my axle pre-dates rear disc brakes on a Chevy truck I need the hose hangers. The ones that came with the kit make my eyes hurt especially when mated with their hose clamp. I cut, bent, drilled and filed and made my own.
    601191D9-0D8F-4DB0-9231-2B1F4823238C.jpeg
    61FFABCD-5A7D-4CA0-8795-F94EDAA05D1A.jpeg
    8FC5BA11-6B2F-42CC-8313-D11060B25686.jpeg
    Still a little more prep until they look better.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
    swade41 likes this.
  14. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    I can now stick a fork in the front sway bar and start focusing on rebuilding the rear axle.
    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/1959-chevy-truck-front-sway-bar-installation.1201537/
    I have been procrastinating on this one for months. The instructions provided were hard to read (the print even downloaded from vendor websites was a washed out screen print).The internet is full of conflicting instructions. It seems like every vendor sells the same sway bar and they all come with the same set of instructions. I came up with my own instructions in hopes it will help someone in the future.

    Quick recap here since I posted full instructions in its own thread.

    There are two factory slotted holes on the rear of either side of the front cross member. It is just about the best location for mounting.
    EBE16A20-EC0B-47C2-BE03-82637F1FA554.jpeg
    I shimmed up the rear mounting bolt with four washers that came with the kit. I got eight thinner washers to put under the bolt and nuts for the bushing mounting bolts. Doing so created just a little more clearance so I could avoid having a huge stack of washers.
    008B9132-C2EA-4D85-91B8-524918EDE897.jpeg
    One shot of the shim I was supposed to used. For me I think it would have put the sway bar at too much of an angle if I used it.
    7542624A-4939-4026-BCAD-05A0404F67E7.jpeg
    This is the final product, I haven’t driven with it yet so I won’t say if I am happy with my work yet.
    3422449F-CE62-4975-9660-99222C2D2213.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
    swade41 likes this.
  15. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Today was some boring progress. The brake hose to hard line bracket welded to the axle was on the passenger side for 1967. It was already bent badly, welds drilled out, a little chiseling and it was free. I flattened it out for now to be prepped and welded to the drivers side.
    98EE6B09-109D-46A6-8B39-22CE69F09ACE.jpeg
    The brake line clips were rusted out so I chiseled and prepped for the new replacements. At the end I hit the axle tube with a file and cleaned all the left over raised areas.
    CB0F5208-5F62-49BD-93CA-94AC97A34E8D.jpeg
    The pumpkin was all grease, after an hour of scraping and two cans of brake cleaner it was ready to eat off of.
    6D15A9BF-E252-4D73-BD15-F7B61849ED78.jpeg
    Next step will be grinding all the rust off, mocking up and welding the new brackets. Only took a year for this axle to get to this point.
     
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  16. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Big day for the axle today. Axle was wire wheeled stripped most of the heavy rust. There was some surface rust left in the “pores”. After leveling and checking multiple times to ensure accuracy it was welding time. Axle was placed level left to right and each end to snout. I measured three different axles and settled on a mid point between 7-3/8” and 7-7/16” from inside axle flange to center of spring perch. Perches marked and tilted to 10 degrees down toward front of axle.
    BD8160B2-1FA5-4706-AB4B-32D759B5883F.jpeg
    49D9EDE0-5947-4D26-BFAF-3656357C5BF5.jpeg
    I tacked it into place, checked again and started running beads. Not pretty welds but I got penetration.

    Next was the chassis to rear rubber hose to hard line bracket. That ended up being 16-1/2” in from inside of axle flange.
    59E1E2EA-CF1B-4034-9D61-2FE93CD98B86.jpeg
    There was some gear oil leak through on the housing to tube welds so I’ll have to figure out what I will do to handle that problem.

    Next was the brake line clips. These I just welded where the old ones were.
    D3E3AE08-F33A-4DF6-8ABD-3ABDE5A24364.jpeg
    I starting mocking up for caliper hose to hard line bracket but ran out steam. This is where I ended up.
    B8EA9631-7D1C-452C-9879-2CF092B42772.jpeg
    Axle looked good, no more grease or rust and I still had day light. So I had to try the caliper brackets. I had to open all three mounting holes on each side to 7/16” for the bolts to get through. That was enough for today.
    509DDCF1-FE1D-4153-83F0-52179F483599.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2020
  17. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Another big axle day today.
    I was having a hell of a time removing the ring gear. After trial, error and a lot of bad language I made a helper. Using a rim and an axle I put the carrier on. I stuffed a rag in it and was able to get the bolts loose. 95BAF3C9-63BE-4D33-ABF7-B456D1321EC1.jpeg
    The next challenge was to remove the ring gear. That was where my dowel came in handy. In the end the ring was free but was a big waste of time. After removing I found corrosion and thought the teeth look good I don’t want to go through all this and put rusty gears back in.
    7C76550A-0095-4BB9-9A31-24A02F7C9500.jpeg
    Next up was the yoke removal. The nut came off with the help of my trusty impact gun and a 24” adjustable wrench. I bought that wrench as a joke but I’ll never laugh at it again.
    81145B3A-15F4-4AE0-B351-3E5FE2379E2A.jpeg

    I thought I used up my language quota on the ring but the yoke really got the language. No matter how many pieces of wood I threw at that thing it was not budging. A light bulb went off after an hour and I pulled out the steering wheel puller.
    B5565651-6D9C-461C-9636-B1076CBE7328.jpeg
    Lesson learned... 2 minutes later it was off.
    DCA05145-9516-4E52-8340-437148171E5A.jpeg
    I got to pounding more wood and words on the pinion but she was STUCK. After about 30 minutes and two more 2x4s I just threaded the nut on and pounded it out. No carnage and although the nut was a little deformed I may use it to do setup.
    E531C659-03EA-4D14-B2EB-C4DEE5751921.jpeg
    More bad news as the pinion was pretty well corroded.
    B087177A-EF8B-44DE-8C04-1D06A26C5708.jpeg

    Now that I think about it maybe I should have employed the press for pinion removal.
     
    swade41 likes this.
  18. Are you going to buy a new gear ratio ?
     
  19. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Yes I ordered a Richmond 3.73 set and a Detroit locker. I am sacrificing some gear for now but once the 700 is in things will hopefully be better.
     
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  20. That'll be peppy and fun in the city
     
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  21. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    New Carrier, Gear set , Rebuild kit and extra setup bearings arrived. Head bearing from the rebuild kit was too small to fit the pinion. The extra bearings weren’t the same as what was in the rebuild kit. The extra head bearing was way too large for the pinion. They could not understand the idea behind buying setup bearings. They could not find any loose bearings that were matches for what was in kits. I just decided to return all the bearings and figure it out on my own

    After all that I checked out my old stuff. The old bearings were Timkens and the old pinion surface sizes were the same as the new one. If I can find a kit that includes the same Timken bearings with same part numbers I will just use the old ones for setup.

    In case anyone needs the info:
    Pinion head bearing shaft surface 1.440
    Pinion tail bearing shaft surface 1.312
     
  22. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Small victories today, I picked up a cheap bearing remover for my slide hammer. For what ever reason the threads are different so the tool did not fit the slide hammer. For the life of me I couldn’t find 5/8-18 threaded rod or anything else for the new tool to thread to. I figured why not just make a slide hammer.

    I picked up a piece of 24” 5/8-11 threaded rod, two rod nuts, two smaller washers and two larger ones for some rigidity. Total cost was $12 all I needed to do was add my hammer. For those that missed it there was about 16oz of water mixed in with the oil. I had to beat the driver side drum to the point where it cracked to get it off. I was fully expecting a good fight.

    I started without removing the seals, sprayed some PBblaster and beat on the passenger side for a little while. I decided to remove the seal and within 5 pulls the bearing was out. The holes were pretty cruddy. There is a lot of junk on both side so the tubes will need a good cleaning.

    4F696880-3935-4A0C-B07A-112C8095ECB8.jpeg
    Here you can see my crude tool, the real slide and the junk that is a non standard thread sitting at the end of my slide.

    After knocking out the head and tail races the whole axle is stripped. Next up final cleanup, de-rusting and prep.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
    Shadow Creek likes this.
  23. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    After a bunch of aggravation I finally got TWO matching head bearings. It is impossible to buy a rear differential kit for this 12 bolt truck axle with Timken bearings.

    My first kit was all Koyo (yes they own Timken) they said made in Japan. My second set from a different supplier came with Koyo these said made in USA (Second kit was $50 more than the first). At this point I gave up and just bought a full set of Timken everything from eBay.

    After measuring over an over I came up with hard measurements:
    Head Bearing Timken HM89449
    Bearing height 1.124
    Bearing ID 1.438
    Head Bearing Race Timken HM89410
    Bearing Race OD 3.001

    Head Bearing Koyo HM89449-N
    Bearing Height 1.120
    Bearing ID 1.438
    Bearing Race OD 3.000

    There is a .004 difference between Koyo and Timken so that would affect the pinion depth after setup.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
  24. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    It has been a little while but progressing. I toyed with the idea of using a flat piece of steel to gather pinion depth. I was afraid of having a warped or non exact piece. I stumbled upon a Retech pinion depth gauge. It was $37 so hopefully this will work and I saved $400 on a professional grade tool I might only use one time.
    E2097627-4734-4B97-8D34-5F07832ABA8F.jpeg

    I was very confused on how this thing worked. I noticed @rockable used the same tool thanks for the info! You get a number on the pinion head, a number on the tool and another number on the sheet supplied with the tool.

    First you take the number on the pinion head and subtract 4.420 for the GM truck 12 bolt.

    Then you check the depth using the tool.

    You take the number printed on the tool, my case 3.204. Measure the depth from the tools eye to the bottom of the pinion bearing race surface. You compare the numbers and that is your answer on how much shim you need.

    I’ll write up a separate thread for the rebuild of the axle. I doubt the internet needs another thread from a noob building a 12 bolt but at least it may be able to answer the same questions and confusions I had.
     
    rockable likes this.
  25. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,023

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    Were are the work boots... I lost a small toe nail 30 years ago when I dropped a big brake drum on it. I was wearing tennis shoes.. It never grew back... Man did that MFer hurt I was actually crying!!!

    [​IMG]
     
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  26. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Good thing you didn’t notice where I was tearing the second rear diff apart with just my socks on!! :)
     
  27. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    FINALLY! An actual progress update...

    Two weeks ago I finally started to make a setup “head bearing” no amount of sandpaper or dremel rolls were cutting the mustard. Hours wasted so I broke down and got a set of sanding drums.
    79DA0FF5-8158-423E-9C22-5C09B8EA8B9B.jpeg
    Loaded up on my trusty drill and went to work. The bearing in question started at 1.438 and the pinion shaft is 1.440. After about half hour of sanding I tried the fit it got about 1/4 down then got stuck. As I was trying to pop it off it flew a few feet and bounced on the floor a few times. Disaster because now the bearing was all bent. I was so angry I didn’t get a picture and just threw it out.

    Finally this week #2 arrived and after triple checking height I went to work again. This time I chucked up my drums in the press. This bearing started as 1.436, after a good three tries it finally was opened far enough that it slips on and off without issue. At 1.4405 it slid 1/2 way down and required tapping to get it out. At 1.441 it slid 3/4 the way down and required a lot more tapping to get it out. After getting it up to 1.443 it slid nice and easy.
    2DDC6D99-DE69-48F0-89C3-748A045E6ADA.jpeg 6F9F13CD-4752-4E9C-A047-917C660EED19.jpeg
    Few lessons here
    1) If you’re making your own setup bearing use sanding drums and a drill press.
    2) Make sure your up at least 2 thou before testing your bearing
    3) If you do decide to test your bearing do it on a table where your sitting down and make sure your bearing can not escape you.
    4) Cheaper to make a setup bearing than buy, I saved $80 if you don’t count my screw up.

    Now I can start soaking and prepping that housing!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  28. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,381

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Quick report...

    I finally got to take an extended highway trip at legal speeds. The sway bar, suspension and tires really make a huge difference. The ride is much more solid and steady.
     
    guthriesmith, Roothawg and Budget36 like this.
  29. 1oldtimer
    Joined: Aug 21, 2003
    Posts: 7,996

    1oldtimer
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    And stops on a dime.
    Mine will stop on a quarter.........in pennies line up, if I drop an anchor. :D

    Great job on the truck......and watch your head on the hook.
     
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  30. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,681

    treb11
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Now that its too late, tape up the bearing to keep grit out of the rollers.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    59Apachegail likes this.

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