Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wrapping up the front steering

As a brief reminder, a while ago I went 4-wheeling in an automated car wash. It turned out the inner tie rod on the driver's side was completely wasted, allowing for some incredible toe-in under some conditions.

It had just been aligned no less than 2 weeks before that, so I was pretty upset since we had been jumping the truck across water bars on our last offroad trip (best distance - 22' from takeoff to landing - we measured in the wet dirt. Best height - only a couple feet, these 5100s are just 2" shocks after all AND we don't have a cage yet!!).

I was thinking stock replacements. Then it hit me - I'm only throwing more go-fast hardware at this truck, take the $300+ and put it towards some real good offroad parts.

Some guy had a used TC heim kit for sale, but didn't have the reinforcing tabs to go with. Since this was going to be on here long term, I wasn't a fan of used parts either.

ORW had my TC kit to me 2 weeks after ordering it. I got some other toys while I was at it (more when I get those installed!).

Two weekends ago I planned to do my Total Chaos heim steering upgrade.

I *strongly* recommend a tie-rod puller. I have always used pickle forks, and since I didn't care about the boots on the old tie-rods, got to town on it. No way, not even close. With the tie rod puller, it took 3-4 turns to get them to pop out, and I was putting some muscle into them. The were not willing to come out, and when they did, it was with a "pang!!" as they released.

I got to the point of installing the new parts, then realized my 5/8 drill bit was not in its home. By then, everyone in a 20 mile radius who had a 5/8" drill bit was closed, and everyone else only had up to 1/2".  Sure, I could use my 5/8" mill bit... except I haven't replaced my mill yet... D'oh! I wasn't willing to do an hour round-trip for a drill bit at 8pm at night.

That left my truck looking like this.

This weekend was it!

Then, Friday night at 10:30p, I learned we had some critical work activities starting at 8AM on Saturday. OK

So Sunday... Err, no, 6pm Saturday saw us going into Sunday.

So Monday, which is a holiday for us...

I installed my TC idler arm. Man that's a nice piece.

I did have to grind one weld away from a bolt hole (bottom hole on the arm in this shot), but I sent pics to TC and they're going to check their other arms. Mad Props to the TC guys. They are very nice over there and assumed I DID have a problem, not that I was mistaken. Usually the guy on the other end tries to explain to you in simple terms that you're an idiot, and finally recants after getting the pics. Probably because most of the time, that's the case. :lof:

Then it was onto the heim tie rods

I didn't weld the braces on yet (makes the arm-side double-shear) as my welder is all the way in the back of the garage and I wasn't pulling the arms off and certainly didn't have the right extension cord to do it in the driveway. My garage is as far away from the breaker box as it can be and the wiring used is borderline for my power-tools. For heavy welding work, I usually take the welder to the other side of the house and do my welding there, with much better results.

The install is pretty straight-forward if you have a 5/8 drill bit. Harbor Freight had one since mine went the way of loaned out tools. LOL

Here's the beef installed (yes I also didn't have any black paint. Sigh.)

No more worries about my steering doing bad things on landings OR in carwashes! ;-)

Next up, more work on the rear!

Eric D
87 4Runner Turbo!