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How to: Swap Your Spindles

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:39 PM   #1
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How to: Swap Your Spindles

SO.....


I took all these pictures about a year ago when I had to replace a spindle that was bent. Since then I have redone my suspension so these pictures are no longer a reflection of my truck, but they still apply.

Anyone who has a bent spindle or wants to swap out for some gusseted spindles will need to do this. It is not hard to do, but can be frustrating.


I am not a mechanic, I am not telling you to do this, I am not telling you this is the BEST way to do it. I am simply saying what I did.



Here is a list of the tools that I used:

17 mm wrench to remove the hub from the spindle.
35 mm socket for axle nut
Needle nose pliers for axle nut retainer and tie rod end castle nut
17 mm socket for tie rod end castle nut and brake caliper
19 mm socket for bottom of spindle where LCA bolts on
Flat head screw driver
Rubber mallet
Ball pien hammer or generic bfh
Whatever you need to disconnect uca. I now have Downsouth Motorsports UCA's which use 21mm socket for top and 22mm for bottom. Remember you will need a wrench for the nut if you are installing gussets.

I went to sears and bought everything I used and tossed it in a bag to keep in the truck. Now Everytime I work on the truck I'll go buy all the tools I needed so I don't need to worry if I ever break down on the trail.


-First you will need to Jack up the front of your truck and set it securely on jack stands. It is also a good idea to chalk the rear wheels. I also used a floor jack to keep the lower control arm from dropping down too far.

-Next you will need to remove the wheel. It is easier if you loosen the lug nuts while the tires are still on the ground, but if you get to this point and realize you can't get the lug nuts off, have someone press the brakes while you loosen them.

-At this point, you should see something similar to this. At this time I still had stock UCA's and was still using the sway bar.



-Now you need to use a flat head screw driver and a hammer to pry the cap off of the hub so you can get to the axle nut (4x4's only I'm guessing? never worked on a pre runner)



-Then you need to remove the cotter pin and castle nut retainer. Needle nose pliers work well.





-Now can have someone step on the brakes so you can loosen the nut. You will need a 35mm socket. I tried doing it by myself with a large pry bar, but it kept slipping.



-Then you can un bolt the brake caliper. Two 17mm bolts hold it on from the back. Don't forget to unbolt the brake line brackets and ABS sensor. 12mm and 10mm sockets will be needed. Make sure to secure the brake caliper to avoid problems with your brake lines. A rope can be used to tie it up out of the way.

-Now hit the brake rotor with a rubber mallet and it should come off.



-At this point you will need to grab a 17mm wrench and get to work on the 4 bolts that hold the hub to the spindle.





-Then you can go ahead and loosen up:
-The sway bar link (if you still have it)(not sure what size nut)
-The tie rod end. Should be 17mm. Will also need to remove the cotter pin.
-The lower ball joint where it bolts to the spindle. Two 19mm bolts.
-The upper control arm nut. Not sure what the stock UCA size is.

Once all the nuts are loose, go ahead and remove them. Just easier to get everything loose first while the spindle is still held in place.

-Now that you have the spindle out, you will need to remove the ring for the axle bearing and install it on the new spindle. It is thin metal so be careful. Definitely recommend spraying pb blaster or similar on it first. Then use a flat head screw driver and very carefully tap it with a hammer and twist it to pop it off. Do this all the way around it to avoid tweaking it too much on one side.



To install it in the new spindle I just applied some grease and then carefully tapped it with a hammer all around the ring until it sat all the way down. If yours isn't going in easily, try anything you have lying around that can fit inside the ring to avoid bending it.




-Now you are ready to put it all back together!

-Start by bolting it back to the UCA to hold it up. Don't forget to slide the axle through the opening in the spindle.

-Now you can go ahead and line up all the other bolts. LCA, Sway Bar, Tie rod end.



-Then you can have fun with that 17mm wrench again. Don't forget to put the brake dust guard back in place too.

-Then re install the brake rotor, caliper, and brake line brackets/ABS sensor, followed by the axle nut. Again, I suggest having someone step on the brake to allow you to tighten the nut.



-Then use a hammer to tap that cap back into place.



-If I've forgotten anything, please let me know and I'll update this.





-Here's why I had to swap out a spindle. I slid on some black ice and hit a guard rail. It bent the spindle enough that my tire was cocked at such an angle that it was only running on the inside edge. In less than 500 miles that tire was completely thread bare on the inside edge. Here is the bent spindle (on top) compared to the new spindle (on bottom).



Since then I have swapped out both the driver and passenger side spindles for spindles with Total Chaos Spindle Gussets welded to them. Here's what they look like.

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Old 02-13-2012, 10:30 PM   #2
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nice write up>>>
rep to you sir
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:03 AM   #3
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nice write up>>>
rep to you sir
why thank you sir! rep back at ya!
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by PSU Taco85 View Post
Sweet, I will be doing this whenever I finally get my gussets welded on, +rep for u bud
Thanks bud! Rep for u as well!
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by brutalguyracing View Post
nice write up>>>
rep to you sir
well done .thanks.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by HonoluluTaco View Post
That was helpful, doing it on a Prerunner should be even easier, brakes were my concern but I've got your tool list, I'm confident, thanks!
Yeah it's not bad at all. Always helps to see someone else do it before you have to do it yourself lol. And spray all the bolts with pb blaster or similar to make it easier to get everything apart.

I do everything on my truck with hand tools so I have less risk of stripping something and also so I know I can do it on a trail in an emergency with the basic set of tools I have in the truck.

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well done .thanks.
Thanks!
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:14 AM   #8
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nice write up>>>
rep to you sir
so nice .
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:21 AM   #10
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wow holy shit! this got stickied!!?? I feel so helpful!!
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:05 PM   #11
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Is this different from a 2wd? I tried using this today and its not the same. It is weird.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Manwithoutaplan View Post
^ every thing is pretty much the same except the big nut for the cv.
this, wtf nick. I thought you were going to call me if you ran into trouble? LOL
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:16 AM   #14
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this, wtf nick. I thought you were going to call me if you ran into trouble? LOL
I thought you didn't want to help!
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:46 AM   #15
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this, wtf nick. I thought you were going to call me if you ran into trouble? LOL
Paden is to Gnar for everybody plus he only likes working on engage stuff
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:38 AM   #16
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I honestly could not find the bolts on the rotor.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:38 AM   #17
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I honestly could not find the bolts on the rotor.
... What bolts on the rotor?
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:11 PM   #18
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... What bolts on the rotor?
I don't know man
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:01 PM   #19
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I don't know man
Then wtf are you talking about? Did the write up say anything about bolts on the rotors? Or did you see a picture that makes you think there are? Are you talking about the blue spidertrax wheel spacer in one of the pics?

I'm trying to help you but you aren't giving me much to go on..
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