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Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

Tech Talk: King Pin and Spindle Installation for 1937-1941 Ford


When dealing with early Ford spindles, a common mistake is to install them upside down. This results in too much camber. During the installation process, make sure the spindle is turned the correct way and the pin is parallel with the ground. The king pin and bushings are fitted, so they go together smoothly. Parts you’ll find in this kit are bearings, stops, felt washers with caps, and shims.

The first step in assembling the standard king pin set is to put the cap on the king pin, lip facing down, with the felt underneath. Then, slide the king pin through the axle, and slide the bearing onto the king pin, making sure the flush side is facing upward to keep the elements out. After the king pin is properly fitted into the spindle, put the threaded end of the locator into the axle first. If there is some movement in the spindle, shims can be used to tighten it up.

Now, the process can be a little confusing when dealing with the ‘37- ‘41 Deluxe king pin set. Although this set is more complicated and challenging to assemble, the newer technology will allow it to last longer. The first step in assembly is to push out the old bushings and replace them with the new needle bearings. You’ll notice these come in two different sizes. Press the shorter bearing into the spindle first, until it is flush with the bottom. Then, the larger bearing can be placed. Once those are in, you can install the king pin. The locator notch is between a shorter side and a longer side. The longer side will go in first. Install the bearing on the lower portion, then you can insert the king pin. After that, put the bearings in the top side, making sure the smaller one goes in first.

After the first few basic steps, the amount of extra parts can seem a little overwhelming. Never fear! We’re here to help. The deluxe kit comes with caps that go on the top and bottom of each spindle. The top portions of the caps go with the felt washers. Then a grease zerk will lock the cap in and allow you to grease the part. What tends to confuse customers are the O rings. Why do we need these for king pin sets? Well, they work with the smaller caps to seal up the bottom. This holds the cap in place and helps keep unwanted moisture out.

There are so many differences between king pin models from the years 1928 to 1948. They didn’t change every year, but groups of years vary. For example, some models before 1935 had bolt-on steering arms, and models from 1937-1941 had the round back style. Here at Speedway Motors, we stock the 1937-1941 model.

The 1942-48 Ford spindles can be identified by their square shaped flange. On these "square back" spindles, the king pins are installed similarly to the '37-'41 deluxe king pin set. The main difference between the two models is that the ’42-’48 has a longer king pin. Everything will be assembled in the same way, except that the bearings are the same size, so it doesn’t matter which way you install them. Another difference is that the small cap and O ring are almost always going to be placed on the bottom. If there is still some wiggle room after the grease zerk has been screwed in, every kit will come with washers to make sure it’s tight.

If you have any other questions, give us a call and we’d be happy to help you out!

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