1981 Jeep CJ7 Restoration - 2020.03.29

The next step was to attach the completed steering knuckles to the front axle yokes. At first glance this seemed pretty straightforward, but there was more involved than I thought - not by much though. Again, the ball joint press turned out to be a critical tool. In order to put enough load on the lower ball joint, the press is needed to pull it up into the lower end of the yoke to keep the ball joint from spinning to apply the required 85 lb-ft of torque to secure the lower ball joint. Without the press, the lower ball joint would just spin while trying to tighten the retaining nut.

Securing the lower ball joints to the axle yoke.

For the upper ball joints, things are slightly more involved. I believe the upper ball joints needed to be tightened to 100 lb-ft, which I did, but then I noticed that the steering knuckles would not move at all. I know new ball joints are stiff, but this seemed problematic. I had to use a rubber mallet to get them to move.

Well, it turns out that I missed a step, which was to torque the castle sleeves to 50 lb-ft first to load the upper ball joint, before torquing to 100 lb-ft. So, I undid the upper ball joint nut and started over. Everything went swimmingly and I got the knuckles installed correctly.

Upper ball joint attached to the yoke.

Here is a shot of the finished product. Now we're ready to install the axle shafts and everything else that follows.

Knuckles installed on the axle housing/yokes.


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