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How To Install a Front End Rebuild Kit

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While I had the front end of my ‘66 C10 apart to change the old springs and shocks out for new lowering springs, I decided to also rebuild the front end with the Front End Rebuild Kit from Speedway Motors. This kit is a great buy at $219.99 and comes with:

  • 2-upper ball joints (bolt in)
  • 2-lower ball joints (press in)
  • 2-inner tie rods
  • 2-outer tie rod ends
  • 2-tie rod adjusting sleeves
  • 1-idler arm

After jacking the front end up, removing the wheels and placing the truck on jack stands, I removed the front springs. To see how the front springs are removed, you can check out my front suspension article in the Toolbox. After that’s done, the upper and lower control arms are easy to remove with two bolts each. Be sure to remember how many alignment shims go behind each one. I then used a ball joint removal tool to press out the lower ball joints.

After I removed the old ball joints, I degreased, power washed and painted. Once the paint dried, I pressed in the new ball joints.

The upper arms were not as easy to remove as the lowers, because the truck still had riveted in ball joints. I did not have an air hammer or a small cut off wheel at the time, so I went to work with my regular grinder. After grinding off all of the rivet heads and unsuccessfully trying to drill them out, I finally gave in and took them to a local shop for removal.

After getting the upper arms back, I cleaned and painted them. The new ball joints drop right in place and are easy to bolt. To avoid tearing the boots, put the bolts through so the nuts end up on top.

The removal and installation of the inner and outer tie rod ends are pretty simple and can be accomplished quickly. After backing off the castle nuts, while leaving them partially on, the ends can be popped out with a pickle fork. When the ends “pop”, the castle nut can be removed as well as the whole unit. Then, place the inner and outer tie rod in the tie rod adjusting sleeve and adjust to the same length as the removed one. Doing this gets you close, so the truck can be driven to the alignment shop.

Once the new rods are put together they can be re-installed with the idler arms. Now everything can be torqued to spec. The truck's steering and suspension feel so much better, and the truck no longer rides like a covered wagon. The project was easily finished in a few hours. I'm glad I spent the money to improve the ride and safety.

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