"Brakes, Starters, & King Pins"
The fall weather here in Georgia is great! Still in the mid 70s...it's the perfect time to drive the old cars. It had been several months since we had driven our '64 Vette, but when I got in, it started right up and ran great. But upon stopping, the front wheels pulled hard to the right. The front breaks were the only thing on the car that hadn't been replaced. The '64 still had all drum brakes, so we pulled both front drums for inspection. The wheel cylinders were fine. Then, we discovered the least part of the problem. The brake shoes were on wrong! The right side had two short shoes and the left side had two long shoes! They had worn in an irregular pattern, and the drums were now out of round. We disassembled everything, cleaning, painting, and replacing the old brake shoes. The drums had never been turned, so we had plenty of metal as they were turned back into round. We used a die grinder with wire brush to clean inside and out. The shoes were then installed (short shoe to front, long to rear), then cleaned and reinstalled the self-adjusters on the side toward the rear of the car. Then the drums were put on and turned so the adjuster hole was turned toward the bottom to adjust. With the adjustments made, we put on the wheels and went out for a test drive. Excellent! Stopping smooth and straight. Man, these cars are fun to drive! Back to the shop and on to the next project...
Our '46 Chevy Panel Truck has been with us now for over 10 years now. It was a complete restoration and is our mascot driver, so, we needed to start quick and go. Lately, it has been slow to start when it gets hot. Since it has heavy cables and a new battery, we suspected the starter. An amp test was done at the starter. And we did the headlight test indicated in our shop manual (turn on the headlights, start the truck and if the lights dull to a reddish glow, this indicates a starter problem). A basic test but it works. The starter had already been rebuilt, and had only about 100 miles since it had been put on. It needed everything: armature turned, brushes, wires, and switch.
The book calls for 3/16" pinion clearance, so this was set. We even put on a new Delco tag! When we put it on, it started right up. We test started ten times, and every start was strong. Our battery is an OEM Delco tar top that provides plenty of reserve cranking power. These batteries have vented caps and it is a good idea not to over-fill or they might spray acid through the caps into nicely detailed engine compartment. We also cover the metal plates on top with rubber, so that they won't short out, since ours is an under-floorboard mounting. With the starter problem fixed, we moved to a steering vibration, which seemed to be coming from the right front wheel. After jacking up the truck and securing with jack stands, we rocked the front wheels top to bottom and watched the king pins. They were worn out. We got a new Federal Mogul set # K354 for 1941-46 Chevy 1/2 ton, and began rebuilding the king pins in this order: 1. Remove wheel
2. Remove brake drum (pull cotter pin and front bearing)
3. Remove (4) backing plate bolts, leaving brake shoes on plate and brake hose connected, push back out of the way (don't let hang by brake hose)
4. Pull King Pin Keeper Bolt (center one), remove nut, tap out bolt.
5. Remove top and bottom caps by tapping king pin up and down. When they are removed, tap out king pin. If shimmed, make note. You might have to re-shim (we didn't)
6. Axle and spindle are separated. Clean for reassembly
7. Put Spindle in place with new bushings in spindle. With bottom bearing in place (no King Pin), check for tightness (if loose, shim it).
8. Put in King Pin in bottom, tap UP (if you tap down, the bottom bushing will come out) Pins are slightly tapered. Be sure to turn King Pin groove to back to align with keeper bolt. For top and bottom caps, tap on tap on using a socket smaller than cap size and it will snap cap into place.
9. Put on backing plate with 4 bolts.
10. Re-grease King Pins with grease gun.
11. Put on brake drum with new cotter pin
12. Put on wheel
13. Check for alignment
See you next month...Keep 'em driving!