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Submitted By: halvorja
Date: October 16, 2008, 07:04:19 PM
Views: 10368

MileMarker Part-time Conversion - Jake Halvorson (halvorja)

For those who ask why one would do such a thing, here are my reasons:

1. It's my truck.

2. I'm installing a Gear Vendors overdrive which only works with 2wd vehicles.

3. Gas savings along with less moving parts.

4. I can stick with my 5x4.5 bolt pattern so no new wheels are needed.

5. I get bored easily and need something to do.

Tools recommended other than regular set

Shop press
Ball joint press
Ball joint socket
Hub puller
Dial indicator/caliper

Extra parts I'll be installing as well (recommended)

Ball Joints

Alright, first thing you need to learn is patience. Enjoy your install.

This conversion took place over multiple days just so I wouldn't get annoyed with the thing.
I continued to drive the truck during these times since I did some prep, the hubs, and the transfer case at different times.

The second thing you need to learn is to use the right tool. If you don't have
a shop press, then go out and get one!! This is the best invention for the DIY mechanic.

Here are the parts from the MileMarker kit for doing one wheel.

As you can see, I will be using a brand new rotor. The lugnuts are pressed into the rotor and hub plate. The nice part about buying new rotors is that you can do this work and not have your truck down for any period of time.

I recommend anti-sieze anytime you are putting two pieces of metal together and may want them apart after a few years. The stuff is cheap and a tube lasts a very long time.

Dab some anti-sieze onto the rotor where the hub plate will make contact and smear it around with a towel.

Place the hub plate onto the rotor and line up the holes. You should move the hub plate around a little to make sure the anti-sieze is evenly distributed.

Here's my shop press. I bought it the day I started this install.

Turn the rotor/hub plate upside down and place them in the press. Make sure the hub plate doesn't fall off.

Smear anti-sieze onto all lugnuts where they will make contact with the rotor and hub plate.

Put a lugnut into one of the five holes. I recommend putting a second lugnut into another hole to keep the holes lined up.

As you press down onto the lugnut, you will feel when it bottoms out. Use a light touch here. You don't want to accidentally destroy the rotor by bending or breaking it.

Here's the first lugnut pressed into place.

Once all five lugnuts are installed, remove the assembly from the press.

Here's the finished product.


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This picture will give you an idea of what the assembly looks like with the lockout in place. This lockout should not be installed at this time. I simply placed it on there to check for fit.

Here's where the real work begins. I snapped a before pic for reference.

I would recommend getting that hub nut loose before jacking the truck.

Remove the cotter pin from the hub nut.

You can now try to loosen the hub by hand. I couldn't get it loose, even with this enormous ratchet. At this point, I know some people would begin hammering away at the end of a ratchet like this; however, I have a better solution.

Let your jack do the work. Easy as pie. You may also want to loosen the lug nuts at this point.

With the hub nut loose, jack up the truck. I decided to lift the frame, but you could also put a couple of jacks under the axle as well. I find that by jacking up the frame, you end up with more room to remove the tie rod end since the leaf spring assembly is no longer flat.

Remove the wheel.

Remove the caliper. DO NOT allow the caliper to hang by the brake hose. I used a tie-down and hung the caliper from the shock mount. You will be able to see this in later pics.

Remove the hub nut.

I rented a hub puller so that I could remove the rotor without taking the hub with it. This makes it a lot easier. You could loosen the 12-point bolts and pull off the whole assembly instead of using a hub puller, however.

Another picture of the hub puller.

Ok, hub puller... Enough pics of you. Get to work.

Here, you can see the hub puller has pulled the rotor right off the hub.

The back of the rotor along with some of the bearing assembly. I simply dug out the rest of the bearings in the spindle with my fingers and a flat-bladed screwdriver. Be very careful not to nick the spindle (or the bearing if you are reusing them).

You can see the hub, along with the rear seal inside the spindle.

Remove the bolts from the hub. Don't even attempt to use a 6-point socket on these things. 12-point only.

Hub removed. You may have to fight a little with this hub since there is silicone under there. A soft mallet will help you here.

Time to remove that rear seal and axle shaft. To remove the rear seal, use a punch or screwdriver to tap all around the back of the seal until it starts coming forward and completely loosens. Then, you can just pull it out. The shaft itself just pulls out. Support it as you remove it so that you don't damage the shaft seal (which is inside the axle) or the shaft itself.

Spindle with axle shaft and rear seal removed.


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Here's the axle shaft. The passenger side is much shorter than this one. When removing/handling/installing the shaft, be careful with the ends. You definitely do not want to damage them.

Remove the dust shield from the spindle.

Here's the part of the how-to where things start to become difficult. You will see me attempt to remove the steering arm and realize it isn't going to happen. You will also see me destroy a brand new Snap-On ball joint removal socket because I used it incorrectly. Watch for my mistakes and learn from them!!

I am loosening the steering arm nuts in a vain attempt to remove the spindle from the steering arm.

Here's a tip when removing rusted/dirty nuts. Loosen the nuts a few threads, then tighten then back up. This will have pushed out all the dirt and rust from the threads and you can clean them with a wire brush (orange thing in pic). Continue to repeat the process until the nuts are off. If you don't do this, you risk ruining the threads or breaking a bolt. At this point, I realized that the steering arm wasn't coming off. I used MAPP gas and a lot of PB Blaster and I could only get one conical washer to come out. I decided to change my course of action.

Loosen the tie-rod end. Now would be a good time to replace it. I did this after part-time conversion was complete.

Since the steering arm wouldn't come off, I needed to get one of the drag link ends loose. The drag link end at the pitman arm was on there pretty good so that was out of the question.

The drag link end at the steering arm came off pretty easily. The biggest problem I had was with the cotter pins. They were very rusty and weak and I had to use a lot of penetrant, heat, and patience to get the pin out. If you hurry, you risk shearing off the cotter pin and you would have to drill it out.

Here's an example of what to do when the cotter pin is too rusty to remove. I simply cut the metal down to the cotter pin so that I could remove it. These ball joints are being replaced, so it didn't matter that the upper ball joint was destroyed.

A blurry pic of the upper ball joint's castle nut removed. You can see the threaded sleeve underneath. At this point, I removed the nut from the lower ball joint too and soaked both joints with penetrant. While the penetrant went to work, I changed out the u-joint in the axle shaft and installed the hub/rotor assembly.

I'm not going into details about how to remove and install a u-joint. I will say this... Remember to remove the c-clips from the u-joints before attempting to press out the old one. Also, the Milemarker kit comes with brand new outer axle shaft so you don't need the old one. The new shaft does not use the slinger anymore.

Install the front seal onto the hub. Make sure it is flush with the hub and is installed the correct way. Pack the bearings with new grease. If you are reusing the old bearings, you MUST remove all the old grease and pack with new grease. I'm a fan of hand-packing because you can get more grease into the bearings that way. However you do it, just make sure it is done. Then, put the bearings onto the bearing shaft.

Grease the front seal and slide the hub onto the rotor. Put the bearing assembly onto the rotor as well.

Using a piece of steel stock, press the bearing shaft/assembly onto the rotor. Go very slowly and feel for any pressure. I used some WD-40 to make the shaft slippery so it would slide easily. With a 20-ton press, it is easy to apply too much pressure and force the assembly to go in at a slight angle. You will feel it bottom out and the bearing assembly WILL NOT sit flush with the hub plate.

As you can see, the bearing shaft does not sit flush with the hub plate. This is exactly how it is designed.

Slap on a little bit of anti-sieze on the lip.


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Install the cone and bolts. Follow torque settings in the instructions. Remember to alternate in a criss-cross pattern.

Flip the entire assembly over and grease the inner bearing.

Lightly grease the v-block seal and install. Make sure it is installed the right way.

WARNING. DO NOT FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS IN THIS NEXT SECTION. This next part of the how-to is called "not how-to". You must remove the spindle before attempting to remove the threaded sleeve. I did this backwards and paid the price. It is important that you see what I did wrong so that you don't screw up too.

Here's the brand new Snap-On ball joint remover socket. During its first mission, it will be destroyed.

I attempted to remove the threaded sleeve with the ball joint still installed. Hmmm... it didn't want to loosen because the socket kept popping out.

So, I thought I'd be pretty smart and clamp that socket down and use a breaker bar.

Oh yeah, real smart... The socket sheared right in half. I realized that the spindle must be removed first and the threaded sleeve will come out easily. Whoops!

I got out my welder and welded the socket together. It's not what you buy, it's what you buy and rebuild!!

Alright, now you have learned a valuable lesson. You may follow my instructions again.

I rented a ball joint press and pressed out the old ball joints (don't forget to remove the lower ball joint snap ring), then pressed in new ones. I bought the most expensive ball joints that NAPA had so they would last almost forever. Use anti-sieze on the ball joints so that if you need to remove them, it'll be easy. Once the spindle is installed, the upper ball joint grease fitting will need to be removed and plugged after being fully greased.

Thread the threaded sleeve into the upper spindle. Just thread it a little way. Threading it too far will affect the torque settings for the lower ball joint.

Torque the lower ball joint then the threaded sleeve and then the upper ball joint. Don't forget the cotter pin. At this point, remember to re-install the tie-rod end and other parts that you loosened. One tip is to use anti-sieze on the shaft ball joints and also the cotter pin. You'll never have to worry about rust like this again.

Install axle shaft and rear seal. The seal must be installed the correct way and flush with the rear of the spindle.

Install dust shield and apply silicone to spindle.

Grease the rear seal you just installed and install rotor/hub assembly onto spindle. Make sure the grease fitting on the hub is facing forward. Torque down hub bolts through the grease hole using a criss-cross pattern. Install the machine bushing and snap ring. The instructions don't mention anything about greasing this, but I thought it couldn't hurt.

Not pictured is an o-ring that must be lightly greased on the locking hub. Do this, then install the locking hub. Make sure the grease hole is aligned. This will not seat all the way, so you will need to install the wheel and slowly tighten using a criss-cross pattern until the locking hub is fully seated onto the rotor. Remove the wheel.

One thing you will need to do is clearance the caliper bracket. I had to grind down the bracket quite a bit so that it would clear the axle shaft. Install the caliper and brake pads.

Now is the time to grease everything. Most importantly, however, you must grease the wheel bearings. As you do this, watch the rear seal. The Milemarker kit seals so well that you need to put a small screwdriver between the seal and bearing shaft so that the air can escape. Otherwise, the pressure will begin to push out the rear seal. Once the bearings are full of grease (it takes a lot), rotate the rotor a few times and pump more grease into the bearings. Install wheel and torque lug nuts. Make sure the hub is in "lock" and test drive vehicle. Listen for any noises and check for any excessive heat.

After test drive, re-torque lug nuts. A front end alignment is recommended at this point.

You can leave the front hubs in lock and drive around without any problems until you work on the transfer case. This is the big reason why I did the front assemblies first. The other reason is that the big job is over. The transfer case is much easier (as long as you have a dial indicator).

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May 8, 2012, 12:12:21 PMunder any circumstance DONOT not use the HUB puller like in the HOWTO about / for the PROPER way read link below;article=67
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