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Bruiser! 78 620 KC project


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When I first lowered the truck, I was pretty sure it looked like it had some toe-out.  It didn't drive bad though and I only drive it occasionally and even when I take it to work, the commute is short so I wasn't too worried.  Jeff has a set of alignment plates I had used before so I borrowed them and just set them aside for "when I had a spare moment".   Well, one of my friends suddenly needed help moving his entire home and shop from Seattle to Tacoma so over the last 2 months, I have made a couple dozen trips from Lynnwood to Seattle and back and a few more from Seattle to Tacoma and back.  Not only did this pile on the mileage, it also took every bit of free time I had.  


Well we have the move mostly complete so last weekend I stayed home and one of the catch up jobs I had was to look at the alignment.


Here's the alignment kit.  Super quick and simple.  One plate for each wheel and two tape measures.




The plates have notches to hook in the tapes on one side and then you read the measurements on the other.




Rear - 59 1/4"




Front - 60 1/2"




That's a lot of toe out folks! 


And the penalty for delaying this important step?  One destroyed pair of front tires.  :no:




Live and learn...


Post alignment maybe 1/16" toe in.



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I need to borrow those plates :D

Those are so nice to have.


Carter you need so grease plates under the tires too, makes it much easier. Just put grease between 2 pieces of sheet metal and you can turn the wheel straight and adjust from there.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Bored one night and found a couple more rims that would work.


Takechi Project - Racing Heart.  I've never been a fan of the 4 spoke but the 5 spoke is really nice!



August Racing Feroce.  These could grow on me.  A little too modern maybe but I'm leaving the door open.



Finding pictures on the internet is easy.  Finding actual rims is not.  I have two rim importer/sales guys looking.  I may have to give up on 15".  Not looking likely.

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Short story


Drove by this all winter in front of a guys house.  Never saw a for sale sign but was always curious.




Once the weather broke, the sign appeared.  I called and found that the guy's house it is at is not the owner but he said drop by after work.  So I stopped by, checked it out (looking at the drive train for Bruiser) and all looked good 'till I pulled the dip stick to find grey foamy goo.  Said at that point, the only thing that might be worth anything is the 5spd.  He said 'Make an offer.  What's the tranny worth?" I said maybe $100-$150.  He called the owner and asked "would you take $150?"  Owner apparently had to think about it because he hung up with little further conversation.  A coupe minutes later he called back and the guy looks at me and says "he'll take it".  He'll be here in 5 minutes.  Well I hadn't really made an offer but okay.  

Turns out I was helping both of them out by getting it out of their hands.  I went home and ate dinner while they hooked up the trailer and a few moments later, I had a Z31 in my driveway.








I have the drive-train pulled now and have parted out about half the raining parts off the car.  Who knows if I'll use a single bolt from it but it's paid for itself a couple times over already and worse case I have a spare VG and 5spd in my garage.

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Drove the truck.

it was making some noises.  Sounded like maybe exhaust loose or rattling against something.


I jacked up the truck and crawled underneath but there was no give in the exhaust.  I did notice it was up tight against one of the crossmembers though (with matching speed bump scrapes underneath) so I figured that was it. 




But before going to grab a crow bar to help get some space back, I figured I'd check the driveshaft just in case a U-joint was bad or something.


Good thing I did!






Looks like I get to learn how to replace a carrier bearing/isolator.



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I removed the driveshaft on Monday.




This is where the front and rear portions connect.  It needs to be split to get to the bearing.




Next step is to remove the flange.  It is held in place by a big nut with an integrated crimp collar. 




In an effort to un-crimp the collar, I first broke the tip off a pair of needle nose pliers before bending a screwdriver back and forth and giving up.  It looked like the ramp would "automatically" push the crimp out as the nut was un-threaded so I just went straight to the impact wrench at that point.  That presented no problem at all for the wrench.




Next I used a gear puller to get the flange off of the splined shaft.




It put up very little fight and may have been able to be removed with a dead blow hammer but this was more fun.




At that point I stopped as I figured I needed a press or a bearing puller to do the next step.

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Tuesday after work, I took the front driveshaft assembly to the shop and set it upright in an arbor press with 2 piece collar supporting the bearing flange.




This made easy work of separating the bearing from the shaft.




Here is the new bearing assembly vs what's left of the old.




Next I applied a little anti-seize to the shaft, re-set the drive line in the press, and used a steel pipe to press on the inner bearing race.




Again, little effort was required but it was nice having the right tools available.


Here is the assembly pressed on ready for the next step.



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Last night, I put the collar back on, torqued down the nut, and re-crimped it (note that clocking was slightly different due to different heights of the old bearing vs the new)




It actually took a few tries to get the torque right.  It was very easy to over due it and even though it is not a tapered bearing, applying too much squeeze translated into drag in the bearing assembly.  It is not supporting any axial load so I'm not concerned if it is too loose but too tight would certainly be bad.


Both halves back together.




Then I had to undo the support ring on top of the crossemember and remove what was left of the old support bearing flange.




And finally - everything back in place and buttoned up.  Not a bad job.  Certainly much easier than I was expecting.



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While under the truck I noticed my exhaust is "vented" and in need of replacement. 




The muffler had similar perforations.  Lighter = faster right?!


Where do you lowered 620 guys run your exhaust?  There isn't much room under the torsion rod crossmember.

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One last look around before lowering the back of the truck off the jackstands I see this up front:




Its under the steering box.  Remember I noticed it dripping a few months ago.  I assumed a slow drip.  Nothing like this!  (that puddle is only 3 days accumulation)




Can the seal be replaced in situ?  If I just drop the pitman arm can I pull the seal and replace right there in the truck?


Will a pickle fork work for removing the arm or do I need a dedicated "pitman arm puller"?


Jeff recommended "application of heat" but looking at how much oil is coating the bottom of the truck - It's currently a rolling fire hazard so It would need a good scrub before that was an option.



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Some come off with persuasion. It has been a long time, but I think I have a puller you can use. Parts stores would be another source for a pitman arm tool. Picked forks may damage the splines on the steering box shaft.

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Where do you lowered 620 guys run your exhaust?  There isn't much room under the torsion rod crossmember.


1 3/4" can be ovalled to fit through the torsion bar cross member but it is a tight spot. I had my old black truck done that way.


I have been debating tacking a tube to the cross member and using flexible couplers to move it above the cross member on the red truck



You will need the smaller pitman arm puller. Once you have it on the arm and torqued tight you can hit the arm at the splined area like you would to pop a tie-rod end loose like Q-tip suggested. 

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