Got around to installing my front receiver. I bought it from the hitch house in Edmonton for $218. For the quality of it, this is very much worth it (instead of building an uglier version)
I removed the front bumper
Then removed the tow hooks by removing the 3 bolts that hold each one in place.
After using the hitch to mark holes on the bumper, I drilled the 4 extra holes required. Then I put the hitch in place (without the bolts) then I put the tow hooks back in
After that, it was just a matter of putting the bumper back in place and getting the bolts in. Getting the backing plates and nuts on the back was very challenging. Had to bend the tabs on the nuts so I could reach the nuts onto the bolts without actually putting my hand behind the hitch (which is impossible!!)
6 - Then I prepared the links. Here's a pic of everything on. At the frame end, you install the hour-glass bushing then metal sleeve inside it, put the bolt through (with a thick washer between them), then the thin washer (which goes against the frame), then the thick washer and nut on the inside of the frame (the links go on the outside of the frame)
6a - I used a vice to push in the bushing and sleeve
7 - In order to install the links, you need to relocate the e-brake cable hanger on the driver's side of the frame. Here's a pic of the inside of the frame before removing the backing plate of the bolt, and a pic of the outside of the frame with the bolt removed
8 - Next, I installed the links. The bolts go in the same hole that the e-brake hanger bolt was through. Looking at the three holes, there are 2 parrallel to the ground and one a bit higher. The bolt goes into the rear most hole of the two that are parrallel.
Here is the passenger side. After I installed the link, I attached the swaybar to the end of it, leaving ALL of the bolts loose so I could do a final allignment
Here's a pic of the driver's side. I couldn't tell what Hellwig says to do with the hanger, but it makes much more sense to put it on the outside of the link and NOT on the inside against the frame. Once I mounted it, I just bent it a little so the cable was under the frame again
9 - Allign the bar so that the links are vertical and the swaybar has clearance between the hoop on the bar itself and the passenger side of the rear diff.
10 - Tighten everything up (ensure allignment after every bolt is tightened). I did it in this order. The link attachments to the frame, The U-bolts on the shock mounts, the top swaybar bushing mount bolts, and finally, the swaybar to swaybar link connection. Here's a pic
After I finished up the swaybar, I thought I'd quickly tighten up the steering box. Parked, I had a good inch of side to side play in the wheel, so from underneath I reached up, loosened the locking nut (16mm) and tightened the hex nut 2 turns at a time. Each turn was 1/6th of a turn (it's a hex nut after all). Every 2 turns I checked the wheel.
After 9 turns (1.5 rotations total), the hex head got tight. Steering wheel seemed good so I took it for ride.
It was a little too tight so I backed it off one turn. Perfect! So 4/3 turns and the box is like new.
OVERALL driving experience?? The steering feels great, the front suspension is smooth, the rear suspension is strong. However, there is still a little bit of rear steer. It is way better than before, but it's still there.
I wonder if the Load Range D tires play a part in this. I'm going to see if I can find someone to lend me some good tires and see if it makes a diff. If it doesn't, I'll fabricate some links to do a similar job to the radius arms you can buy
Ha, I forgot to post a pic of adjusting the steering box. Laying down under the front of the truck with my feet sticking out the drivers side (in front of the front tire), this was my view. You can see the boxed wrench on the lock nut and the hex wrench in the adjusting bolt
Just finished a 2500km trip with the X. Thing rides great. Still wanders just a bit, but nothing to make it uncomfortable. Can at least steer with one hand and there is nothing unpredictable.
I got just over 16mpg. Not as good as I would have hoped
I think I've got the remaining wander narrowed down to the tires. They are D rated (as mentioned above) and only good for 3100lbs at 65psi. I was running them a touch under 50 and tried raising it to 61lbs. Wow, it actually got rid of quite a bit of the remaining wander. Still a little left.
I think I just need to bite the bullet and swap the tires out. I'm thinking I still want to get a 285 (for the extra diameter) and was planning on some BFG All-terrains. I still like to do a little offroading/gravel/backroad driving so I don't want to go straight road/towing tire.
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