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D44 knuckle pre-load

levib1

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Dec 7, 2016
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I am working on installing Duff Monster Disc kit for Dana 44. I’ve followed instructions and have torqued bottom knuckle ball joint nut 80 foot pounds. Then I installed the upper piece that controls preload and have adjusted it to get 25 lbs pull.

Everything went together fine for the drivers side. The passenger side is where the issue is.

Same steps, but after torquing the bottom nut to 80, the knuckle is already at 35 lbs of pull, before installing the top internal piece. I’ve moved knuckle back and forth many times, hoping it would ’settle’ in, no luck. I’ve even loosened the lower nut, but that makes no difference.

Can’t remove the knuckle at this point so not sure how to proceed.
 

DirtDonk

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Is it a greasable (agreeable?🙄) ball joint? If so put some grease in it and see if that changes things.
Otherwise I would just say go ahead and finish the installation with the top components to see if that changes the pressure.

If not then it’s still only a couple of extra steps to remove. Why are you saying you can’t remove the knuckle at this point? What’s it doing?
If it’s because loosening the nut causes the stud to spin, then you just need to apply some upper pressure from underneath with the floor jack.
 
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levib1

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It is greaseable. First I will remove and start over. Ordered a ball joint separator - it will be here next Sunday.

I'll update after that.

Thanks for the reply.
 

EPB72

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It is greaseable. First I will remove and start over. Ordered a ball joint separator - it will be here next Sunday.

I'll update after that.

Thanks for the reply.
No need for a ball joint separator in fact it will probably damage the grease boot anyways..

just loosen ball joint nuts to where there on a turn or so..then use a deadblow or small sldge hammer and give the side of inner C a good wack. and you should see the ball joint stud drop out probably won't take much since this seems to be all new parts just installed..
 

DirtDonk

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And for the record, the listed specification in all of my old books is "Less than 26 lbs" so while you don't have to match the 25lb number exactly (but it's cool when you do and when both sides match) anything below 26 is good to go.
I feel that I remember one spec giving a minimum, "should not go lower than" number as well. I like that idea because I think there is a point where they can be too loose, but I have not been able to find any reference to that in years. Maybe it was a Ford factory book, maybe it was the big Chilton's hard-back book. Or maybe I was dreaming it...
But I'll keep looking anyway.

None of that is too important at this point though, as you're well above that and as you are trying, definitely need to bring it down a bit.
Just wanted to relate that so that if your new setup ends up at 20 or something less than your other 25, it's not a problem.

Paul
 

Rustytruck

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are your upper and lower ball joints matching? Part numbers and manufacturers the same
 
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levib1

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Have been out of town - Friday will get to work on it. Will post after that.
thanks for all the input.
 
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levib1

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Alright - finally had an opportunity to work.

I've greased the ball joint and still getting approx. 35 lb pull to move the knuckle.

Do we think it's OK and go ahead and assemble? I don't want to disassemble, as I think that will ruin the ball joint.

This is before I've tightened the bottom nut. Haven't even spun the pre-load internal piece (have spun it just enough so it's below the top of the attachment point, if that makes sense. That way I can tighten the castle nut)

Any thoughts?
 

DirtDonk

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Yes. Finish it!
So you're still checking before it's fully assembled? Then you might be over-thinking it and giving yourself a false reading. Only "might" but it's still a good enough chance that you should follow through with the full procedure before bothering to check pull-torque.

Since the measurement is taken AFTER the full assembly, and I'm not sure how many people have ever tested it before the final assembly, you may have nothing to compare with here and may be fighting yourself for no reason. So put the final torques on both upper and lower and check it then. Period...
If you want to keep it easier, even though it guarantees you will need to remove it again, install the knuckle without the axle shaft first. Then removing it is just a matter of the two nuts and sleeve.

You do not have to ruin a ball joint to remove the knuckle. Never have, never will. Yes, if you use a pickle fork you're going to very likely bugger the rubber boot, but nobody uses pickle forks on new installs. Just undo some things and the knuckle falls right back out. Hopefully not on your big toe!

So to reiterate... Measure again after you torque the sleeve and the upper and lower nuts. Like the book says.
After that, we'll have a comparison of before and after so we'll know from now on.:);)

Paul
 
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levib1

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Well, I completed the installation. Torqued bottom ball joint nut to 70, castle nut to 100.

Could hardly move the knuckle. Far more than the initial 35 lbs force it took to move. Knuckles greased. Not sure what the issue might be? Could the ball joint be bad?

I intend to inquire with Duff to see if they have any ideas.

The driver side assembly complete. The force to move the knuckle remains at 25 lbs... Not sure what the issue is.

Thanks for all the advice.
 
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levib1

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I forgot to mention that after fully assembled and tested (couldn't move knuckle), I was able to get the knuckle removed from the axle housing.

I guess I could reassemble, but just don't see why it would be any different?
 

DirtDonk

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Would not think so either. What is spinning (or not in your case) are the main body of the ball joints only. The tapered studs are held tightly and immobile in their tapered holes, which is normal. Only the internal ball-and-socket assembly (the ball joint itself) is what does the pivoting.
I would think that the only things that could cause one or both to bind would be:
1. too much compression force or too much extension force on the ball joints themselves.
2. A deformity in the yoke (the “C”). (Related to number 1).
3. Too much preload on the sleeve. (Separate but Also possibly related to #1.)
4. Or a defective joint.

You greased them so should not be that. And lack of grease probably wouldn’t have contributed to a full jam up anyway. Tight, sure. But locked up? Would not think so.

When you peek up under the upper joint, can you see the bottom threads of the adjusting sleeve? Is it up inside the hole, or extended down and out?
 

EPB72

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Well, I completed the installation. Torqued bottom ball joint nut to 70, castle nut to 100.

Could hardly move the knuckle. Far more than the initial 35 lbs force it took to move. Knuckles greased. Not sure what the issue might be? Could the ball joint be bad?

I intend to inquire with Duff to see if they have any ideas.

The driver side assembly complete. The force to move the knuckle remains at 25 lbs... Not sure what the issue is.

Thanks for all the advice.
Well, I completed the installation. Torqued bottom ball joint nut to 70, castle nut to 100.

What about the sleeve what was that torqued to??

this is what I do with good results {just did 2 sets last Wednsday}

sleeve partia;ly installed in knuckle
torque lower 80FtLbs.
torque sleeve to 40FtLbs, 45 if you want a little less effort when done.....but when doing this only torque once and stop don't go back for a second click;;;
torque upper ball joint nut to 80FTLbs then tighten to line up for cotter pin...

It is possible to damage the ball joint when pressing into knuckle if someone is using the incorrect install cup...been there before on a f350
 

mpboxer

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I assembled mine this weekend. Like OP driver side was perfect. Repeated same steps for passenger side and I have 35 - 40lbs pull. Steps performed:

1) Torque bottom nut to 90lb
2) Insert top sleeve and start torque at 20lbs increasing gradually until I get 25lbs pull
3) Torque top nut to 100lbs (had to go a little more to line up cotter pin)
4) Now I have 35 - 40 lbs pull

Since preload was already set with adjuster sleeve is this still too much final pull? Will ball joints wear faster?

Thanks,
Mike EC4687F3-4905-4E09-AC7E-C7C2BBBD58F2.jpeg
 

DirtDonk

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Are you saying you torqued the sleeve to 20 pounds? Or are you saying you torqued it until the pull on the arm was 20 pounds and then you kept tightening the sleeve until the pull was 25?

There is a torque value for the sleeve itself but you don’t check the pull value until the final tightening of the top nut.
If it’s too tight (like yours is now) then I would first try loosening the sleeve to see if that loosens up the final pull weight. Basically starting over and putting less pre-load on the sleeve.

Remember 25 pounds pull is not the ultimate and only goal. The goal per the book is “less than 26 pounds“ and says nothing about an exact value.
The only exact values are the individual starting torques. But the sleeve is adjustable for a reason and so I would start with trying different values on the sleeve.
 

mpboxer

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Are you saying you torqued the sleeve to 20 pounds? Or are you saying you torqued it until the pull on the arm was 20 pounds and then you kept tightening the sleeve until the pull was 25?

There is a torque value for the sleeve itself but you don’t check the pull value until the final tightening of the top nut.
If it’s too tight (like yours is now) then I would first try loosening the sleeve to see if that loosens up the final pull weight. Basically starting over and putting less pre-load on the sleeve.

Remember 25 pounds pull is not the ultimate and only goal. The goal per the book is “less than 26 pounds“ and says nothing about an exact value.
The only exact values are the individual starting torques. But the sleeve is adjustable for a reason and so I would start with trying different values on the sleeve.
Torqued it until the pull on the arm was 25lbs according to Duff’s Install video


Okay, I’ll try adjusting the sleeve and/or start over. I can just smack out the top ball joint I don’t need to completely remove knuckle right?
 

DirtDonk

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Correct. You might even get lucky and be able to loosen the sleeve because you just put it together. But if not then smack it to loosen the taper. You should not have to remove the whole thing.
 

DirtDonk

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Because you’re experimenting you can probably still adjust it like you did before, just to a lesser value to start with. Then hopefully the final pull after the top nut is torqued will result in a looser pull.

If not then you can try even tighter than you did. But it sounds to me like a looser sleeve results in a looser final pull.

This is all very interesting because in the past just going by the regular steps always ended up in a correct final value. But in recent years I’ve been complaining that torquing the sleeve usually resulted in the sleeve sticking out the bottom of the yoke before it reached final torque.
In fact on several of the most recent installs I could not even achieve the rated torque on the sleeve. So I had to leave it at a lesser value of about 5 pounds below the rating.
Those last comments regarding torque on the sleeve, not the final pull weight.
 

mpboxer

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Correct. You might even get lucky and be able to loosen the sleeve because you just put it together. But if not then smack it to loosen the taper. You should not have to remove the whole thing.
Awesome, thanks Paul. I’ll report back.
 
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