It is really frustrating for me to not have been able to knock this out but between the heat, my smaller garage, and a few unforseen hiccups (which always happen)... I broke down and took it to a local shop. I just didn't really feel like I was going to manage the upper and lower ball joints - I tried. For the one upper that I did try, I couldn't get itto press out with the 3 arm puller and the pitman arm press - I wasn't in the mood to modify and then potentially not have it work out. The lower seemed easy except that 1 bolt closest to the drivers door stripping out. I think perhaps the Moog kit does not come with longer bolts as there should be for the outer 2 going into the steering knuckle?
So for that, which I'm still a little miffed about but I'll get over it...
I took it to a place on Priest in Tempe called - Yota Pros.
I actually heard from Mike 3 times today with progress updates. Absolutely great customer service. Truly seem like an honest couple of owners who are down to earth guys just trying to do right and still make money, also a really clean looking facility.
Cost = $475 (75 was the alignment) total to install the upper poly bushings on the passenger side, replace both upper ball joints, replace the passenger lower ball joint and fix the bolt on the drivers. I would have argued for a bit lower but I give 'em credit for doing something out of the usual where I'm sure it was a real hour that it probably took to torch out and wire wheel the sleeves that stay in for the upper poly bushings.
Also considering I brought in my own parts so they didn't make anything there. I'll take it. It turns out he was able to break loose the cam bolts without having to do anything major. The benefit of being under the truck with the right tools I think.
Desert rat's hourly was 10 bucks cheaper but they couldn't get to until Friday and I didn't get a total quote from them as my plan was to head out of town this weekend. Now I'm not so I really could have wasted another 2 days of my life with this in my 103 degree garage. No thanks. Glad it's done.
All in all... I'm happy with the work done and the same shop originally quoted 950 in labor for all the original items (shocks, shackles, tie rods and center support) without the alignment. I got about half of what I originally wanted done on my own I guess. I could have figured out the uppers ball joints eventually. The lower was cake except for that bolt stripping out - I think they thought they were going to have to heli-coil that when I discussed it on the phone but then he mentioned just getting a longer bolt in there for it so I think that's what was actually done.
O I really wish my garage had air con, and was big enough to have left it in there taken apart over a few days - hell, 500 is 1/4 the cost of a fair four post lift! I was out of patience and I thought out of time. I also had no further desire to do another upper poly bushing install on the passenger side, that was not fun. The lowers are staying rubber until the next alignment. I will replace the steering rack bushings when the Devil's a$$ leaves AZ.
I think I've got most of my steering shake gone at 65.
The shocks - again - WOW. Love the ride. Feels like a brand new truck, Not too stiff, definitely NOT harsh, but not too soft and steering feels tight and precise, almost too precise from what I'm used to! haha.
I can feel the brake's pulsing a tiny bit. If it isn't one thing it's another. I also think going about a thousand miles on these new tires with a bad alignment might have worn them funky a bit. What do you think? I might throw them on the rear and put the rears up front now.
They mentioned doing the valve cover gaskets, Timing belt and water pump, and rear drums. More stuff I can do myself later when it's cooler. Maybe the front discs are probably due for a turning now that I feel the slight pulse almost 70k miles since the last brake job I did ... or possible warp of the aftermarket crossdrilled rotors put on by the previous owner. Front pads still look new.
My final comment: This is not as Chevy. I will never again assume anything on this truck needs replaced because it has a lot of time/miles on it.