Tonight I put the steering back together but first…
Wheels! Got the wheels back from the powder coating shop. They look pretty darn good.
Not bad! These look really nice. Now back to our regularly scheduled annoying problems.
OK, so I did a bunch of searching online and I have concluded the service manual is full of crap. In the picture above I have all the socket parts installed except for the spring. There is no fricking way the ball is going to fit.
Here is the proof I was looking for. This is a picture of a drag link off a Willys MB that I found online. Notice that the “slot” is much closer to the end leaving more room for the socket and spring. Screw it, I am putting it together the way I found it. Also I now have no faith in the rebuild kit I got for this thing. I am going to not use any of it except for the seals.
Here is the bellcrank end installed. As the book says I cranked the end plug down tight then backed off one turn.
Here is my idea for tightening the seal around the drag link. The metal retainer is just really soft sheet metal. I squeezed it on by hand but it seemed really loose. So I used a hose clamp to squish it on there. I am not sure this actually helped but it did not hurt.
Here is the steering box end with the cotter pin installed. Every time finish tightening a fastener I am sticking the cotter pin in the hole. I am not spreading them yet just in case I have to take this apart for some reason.
Tie rod time. Here is the drivers side of the long tie rod installed.
And the other end with the link rod attached to it. I will have to be careful to arrange the clamps so they do not hit each other.
Then this happened. I went to install the last zerk and could not get the threads to catch. Gee, I wonder why? Great quality control guys. Really stellar work. I scavenged a functional zerk off one of the old tie rod ends.
Time for a redneck front-end alignment. When I took off the tie rod I measured its length at 42.25 inches from zerk to zerk. So I spun the rod until I got back to that length. That should get my toe-in close. Then I centered the steering box. According to the manual when the hole on the bellcrank is lined up with the center rivet that holds the bellcrank mount on. So I lined that up. Interestingly the steering wheel is about 60 degrees off with the steering gear centered. No biggie, if I have to I will pull the wheel and put it straight.
With the steering gear straight I tightened the link rod until the front wheels were parallel with the leaf springs. That should be good enough for now. I tightened two of the clamps to hold everything in place.
And here is a problem. The cotter pin on the front end of the drag link is hitting the front cross member. I will have to use other holes to get more clearance. By the way the drag link barely clears a bunch of stuff by 1/2″ or or so including the fuel pump. No wonder it is twisted like a pretzel.
Anyway it is getting late and game 7 of the World Series is on tonight so I will finish this up tomorrow.