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1954 Buick Forum - the 54 Buick Highway

Front End Kits - Deluxe or Standard?


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My king pins are shot. I've been putting off pulling the front end apart for a while, but the time is near.  My plan is to replace all outer pins and inner bushings on the control arms while the spindles and knuckles are out. I've been looking at the kits available from the usual sellers, but haven't made a purchase yet. Looks like the difference between deluxe and standard is that the deluxe kit comes with complete upper and lower inner shafts with new bushings on them while the standard only has the replacement bushings for those shafts. I'd prefer to save a little money and go with the standard kit, as I'd rather throw that money at any number of other items on my to-do list. However... should I end up needing shafts, it's more expensive to buy the standard kit and then have to purchase inner shafts separately than it would be to buy the deluxe kit. On a visual inspection with everything still on the vehicle, I don't see any obvious signs of shafts being bent or damaged in any way.  Is there any way to determine if inner shaft replacement is required prior to disassembling? 

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  • 2 months later...

I received my deluxe kit today and plan to tackle this within the next few weeks. The manual makes it seem pretty easy to get the upper control arms out by removing the generator and motor mount bolts then jacking the motor up just high enough to remove the two bolts that hold the inner shaft to the frame. It looks pretty tight in there on both sides with the battery tray, inner fenders, upper shock mounts, fuel line, etc.  Does any of that stuff need to be removed to get the control arm out? It seems like at least the battery tray would need to come out to get by the shock mount on that side. 

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Battery tray can't be removed.  It is integral with the inner fender.  Maybe loosen the engine mounts at the bottom and lift the engine up a bit.  Otherwise it is a matter of grunt, grease and banged up knuckles.  Have fun!

Be sure to inspect the innards of the steering intermediate rod for broken springs.   You can find those on Ebay. 7 If you bugger up the threads, I have a tap you can borrow.

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The passenger side looks fairly easy to get out, but I'm not seeing exactly how the driver side comes out. The lower edge of the inner fender sits only about 1/4" off of that upper shock mount dome. The bottom edge of the inner fender has a little give when I hook a finger under it and give it a tug. My inclination is to pull the bottom edge far enough away from the dome to slip the shaft between them and over the dome, and then slide it out from the side under the fender. Am I on the right track or is there some other way you're supposed to twist and contort that control arm around to get it out of there? I don't want to damage something else under there and create any more work for myself.

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Battery tray can't be removed.  It is integral with the inner fender.  Maybe loosen the engine mounts at the bottom and lift the engine up a bit.  Otherwise it is a matter of grunt, grease and banged up knuckles.  Have fun!

Be sure to inspect the innards of the steering intermediate rod for broken springs.   You can find those on Ebay.  If you bugger up the threads, I have a tap you can borrow.

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I wondered that myself. I haven't tried anything yet. Just trying to wrap my mind around how it comes apart before I dig in. Probably going to be a thanksgiving weekend project. The manual doesn't get into any specifics as far as the order of disassembly, but it's implied that it comes out as an assembly. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Did the passenger side this weekend. It went reasonably well. I'm glad I followed Willie's advice and got the deluxe kit, because everything had significant wear. The king pin was the easy part of the job. Getting some of the bushings in/out of the control arms and knuckle was the tough part.

The lower outer pin was a bit troublesome as well. There's a good thread over on AACA that covered this so I was somewhat prepared. The head on the bushing thru the lower knuckle was much thicker than the one I took out, so I cut it down.  Also, the threads were not cut all the way to the head of the pin, leaving a bit of a shoulder, so I had to come up with a washer to fill the gap since I don't have a die big enough to cut that thread and that's a hardened pin anyway. I'll probably revisit that as I'd rather have the extra thread and a half on the nut side.

Everything feels good and solid now. I'm anxious to get the other side done and take it for a spin.

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Mystery solved. Driver side upper control arm can be removed without removing inner fender, etc. It came out pretty easily actually. I removed the grease zerk from both ends, took the inner shaft mounting bolts out. Once it was free, I rotated it about 45 degrees so the outer pin side of the arm toward the rear of the car, then working from the wheel well, I pushed the inner fender away from the upper shock mount and slipped the control arm up over the dome and out.

The issue I ran into today was that I could not drive the king pin out of the knuckle. It seems to be seized. The lock pin was more difficult to remove than the other side, but I eventually got it out with an air hammer. The king pin won't budge though. Beating on it with a big hammer wasn't having any affect, so I ended up removing the knuckle with the spindle still attached and put it in our press, but was still unable to get it moving. Going to soak it overnight and see if I can get it moving tomorrow, or seek out a bigger press than the one we have at work.

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Got it free this morning. I let it soak overnight in a 50/50 mix of ATF and acetone, then put it back in the 20 ton press and it popped loose without too much fuss. I'm scared of heating suspension components. I've always been told not to do it. 

Pressed in the new bushings and reamed them to fit, then put everything back together. It's back on the ground now, but I've got to go find some o-rings for the grease caps, before I take it for a spin and see how close alignment is.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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