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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for some help -- my 78 had a "floppy" front left wheel, which turned out to be two issues: bad upper ball joint, and once I pulled it all apart -- the steering knuckle is worn out at the inner bearing race. Lots of play. The old race can be rattled around in the position it is supposed to be. Yikes. There is no option to buy a new knuckle, they are discontinued parts. So here are my questions: Can I simply grab a Dana front (and the matching rear) from an 87 w250 on craigslist and bolt that junk in? or is there another cheaper solution that doesn't leave me with an axle less no title parts truck on blocks in my yard? I can't be the first person to deal with this, but I couldn't find another thread that matched my issue.
I have definitely opened up a huge can of worms with tearing down this front left assembly. The ball joints are no problem. It looks like the old farmer that had the truck before me tried to get at the upper ball joint, and failed in the process. Probably didn't get the bearings and seals in correctly when putting it back together, and that then wore out the machined portion of the knuckle. It's in pretty rough shape. Not even sure I can get it all back together馃ぃ馃ぃ I want to clone this truck into a power wagon, and I don't want to give up on saving her yet. She's tired and beat, but I love her.
Any advice or help would be deeply appreciated. I am a dodge truck nut, but new to this forum.

Thanks!

Kevin
85 360 RC w 360 auto
78 W200 Adventurer Club Cab 8'bed, 360 4speed
82 RC 318 4 speed trail buggy, roached and fun
16 Rebel
17 Power Wagon
 

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If you want to keep what you have, the knuckle can be welded, or spray welded, and then the bore rebored. Or even sleeved.

Yes, you can swap the whole 87 axle. Need to make sure the diff ratios are the same. You will end up with the CAD design.

What I think is the best alternative, is grab the 87 axle, and swap everything from the Ball joints outward to your axle. Simple, can add new parts, Ratio does not matter, and as strong as you can get with a D44. Just remember to check the drivers side spindle for a spindle bearing. 87 was the change year for the CAD axles as to if they had the bearing or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Super, but I have to plead ignorance on the CAD design-- what is that? I like the idea of getting away from the 78 bearing/hub/knuckle design and swapping from the ball joints out. I was prowling a junk yard today to find anything, but had no luck. Can you elaborate on how I can tell if it is CAD design, regarding the spindle bearing?

Looking at the 78 FSM, I don't have some of the specialty tools to line up the axle while I put the inner bearing on. Was planning on winging it if I go back together with the original knuckle. Still trying to find a competent machine shop that is willing to sleeve the original knuckle. Several that I have spoke to don't seem to want to do it too much.

I seriously appreciate your insights, thanks a ton!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Looking at the craigslist pic of the 87 W250, the front axle has the axle "snout" sticking out of the wheel, as opposed to the flush to the wheel axle end with a nut that my 78 has. Would that be the CAD design you mentioned?
 

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Center axle disconnect- cad.
If you look on the long side axle tube, it has a disconnect that has vacuum lines running to it.
 

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The CAD was used from 85 on. It was/is a way to disconnect the axle from inside the housing. Think of it as internal locking hubs. Many consider it a weakness. It is in the center part of the axle, so using the ball joints outward will get you away from that.

If you did find a shop, you would easily be looking at $300 on up. Most shops charge at least $100 per hour, and I know it would take me at least 5 or 6 hours. So I doubt a shop could do it under 3 hours.

The first pic shows your knuckle setup. The 2nd pic shows the more conventional setup like the 87 axle has. The 3rd shows the CAD center part.




 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great info! Thanks for the pics. I am strongly considering picking up the parts truck to get the goodies. To be clear, my 78 axle will go back in with the 87 knuckle and all? I am struggling to see how that would work, but i am a total ignoramus with this. Looks like i would need to break down my axle at the yoke and put on the 87 axle end to my full length. Now that i type this out, i realize that portion of the 87 is from the ball joints out鈥
 

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Keep in mind if you were to swap in the entire 87 CAD axle you would need to lock the CAD in the engaged position for it to work properly with your NP203 transfer case, assuming that it's still undoctored.

Bucky
 

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Do not be afraid to ask anything. It is tough to comprehend from a pic, unless you are very familiar with the front axle.

You said you changed the ball joint, think of all the parts you pulled off to get to them, thats what you want to swap out for the corresponding parts from the 87.

roughly the parts circled in red on this. This is the 87. I will see if I can find a pic from the 79.

The other parts stay, except parts 1 through 16, which are the CAD stuff. Your 79 will have 17 and 13 as one long axle shaft.

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Here is most of the parts from yours that would be replaced.

 

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basically you need 1981 to 1985 parts [ mainly to get the correct rear axle shafts ] to match the front wheel bolt pattern
 

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basically you need 1981 to 1985 parts [ mainly to get the correct rear axle shafts ] to match the front wheel bolt pattern
Its a W200. You know, real trucks have 8 lugs. Knuckles out is all he needs. ;)
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I really appreciate the info, now i just have to procure the stuff to make it happen. May be a few minutes before i start getting it done, please don鈥檛 be surprised if i pop this thread back up in a few weeks asking some more questions about what it is I have chosen to do with my life馃ぃ. Y鈥檃ll are a valuable resource!!
 

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No problem, many of us have done it. I will soon do it again on a 77 W200. If I remember I will take a lot of pics, and make up a how too.

The brake caliper does not need changed, just hang it out of the way until you have things back together. Otherwise it is everything from the ball joints outward.

The hardest part for most is doing the U-joint to change the axle stub.

Great time to do new ball joints, U-joints, seals.

If you still have the transfercase as full time, do not get locking hubs. If the axle has them, I would look for a set of drive gears (also called pucks), and hub caps to run. With locking hubs you can keep them locked, and be fine, but you have the risk of someone playing around and unlocking them, then the truck can roll away if the parking brake is not applied.
 
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