1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks
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I have all 5 retaining nuts off of my spindle, and I have tried removing the spindle with a rubber mallet on the bearing surface, and a chisel and hammer, in between the spindle and knuckle. It will not budge. Other than having to replace the inner seal (which I was going to replace that and the needle bearing anyway), will applying heat hurt it?
I had to use heat AND a puller. If your rust is bad, you will definitely need a puller. I had to use an "uncomfortable" amount of force on the puller nut, while heating with a rosebud. Just be sure to heat evenly so you don't crack a casting.
I made my puller, you can buy them also. Here's a quick pic of what the puller looks like:
Here is what I do (last one I did btw was 6 weeks ago): PB blast the crap out of it.
its not so much the facing surfaces but also the hole in the knuckle.
then get a railroad spike.
yes a spike. they flow without shattering.
sharpen it into a zombie killing weapon
point it into the edge of the spindle and the brake shield. pound it 2-3 times in each position (12-3-6-9 o clock) with a 3lb hammer.
it will come out, or .... everything explodes and then you don't care. Im kidding about the exploding. It will come out.
Once out, the spindle is a great candidate for the blaster and some well deserved glass bead. Shine her good, remove the ***** and do the same to the knuckle.
you want to replace the stub staft support bearing, aka the spindle bearing as well as the seal (and thrust washers etc). Rock auto has the complete parts list, even a kit I think.
Its a good time to replace the u joints on the axle shaft as well. they get sticky after a decade or so.
side bar: I have done the 'complete front end rebuild' on 3 of my fords. the last was 'new blue' 6+ weeks ago. Took me a month of weekends in a garage struggling to get warm because of the 'polar vortex' (when I was a kid we called em cold snaps, good thing I have new terminology) The parts cost for a full front end rebuild: springs, ties, all bearings, rotors, all *****, all u joints, all shocks, all brake parts, sway bushing etc etc blah blah is about $1000 via rock auto and whomever. And a month of weekends of labor by someone who knows how and has all the required tools. Its a biotch and a labor of love and prolly why these great trucks hit the crusher...granted I go overboard by blasting all the components, painting, coating etc but still....retail the parts will be well over $1500 (more like 2000) and the labor at least 1500. who is going to spend 3000 on a 20 year (or more) truck when it will get 2000 on paper for a trade...or more. The 87-96 f series were the most popular thing ever built in this country and perhaps because of that, no one gave/gives a crap and hence the parts are getting SCARCE as they head to the crusher on their way to china.... when you get tired of them, don't trade, don't take the 500 scrap value....knock it apart and craigslist the parts or ebay them. the last trucks I knocked apart I had people coming out of nowhere for steering columns, front axles, radiator supports, cabs etc. stuff you don't get online or in stores.
I made a puller that's worked really well for me. I cut a hole in a piece of 1/2" thick steel to slide over the spindle. Cutting this hole is the only hard part of the fabrication. I used a milling machine at work, but a hole saw would be a less equipment-intensive (but more labor intensive) alternative. The hole needs to be big enough to go over the spindle but small enough that the spindle nut will seat against it securely.
Slide this over the spindle and put the washer on (the one that goes between the inner spindle nut and the bearings) and put a spindle nut on.
Take a couple of spacers and put them between the back of the plate and the knuckle. They'll actually be against the dust shield and they'll bend it some. But make sure they are against strong, relatively flat surfaces of the knuckle. I cut lengths of 5/8" diameter steel round stock to length, but deep-well impact sockets work too. They need to be long enough to hold the plate far enough from the knuckle that the spindle threads are still showing through the plate, but short enough that the spindle nut will have full thread engagement.
Tighten up the spindle nut to pinch the spacers in place. It might take 3 or 4 hands to hold the spacers in place while tightening the nut.
Then tighten the spindle nut with a wrench. Don't break anything, but get it tight. If you're (really) lucky this will pull the spindle off (but don't hold your breath).
Then take a pretty big hammer and hit the plate right where the spacers are. Whack each spacer a few times, then tighten up the nut again. If the spindle has shifted out at all you'll be able to get a few more degrees on the spindle nut. If you can't move the nut you need to hit it harder.
Keep repeating this tighten / whack cycle until the spindle comes off.
Again, make sure the spacers are solidly against the knuckle. And make sure you don't run the spindle nut to the end of the threads. But this has worked well for me on 4 different rusted front ends now.
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