GM 8.5" 10 bolt nightmare.

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Scott Vincent

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Scott
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1974
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K20
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350 B30over
Hey all,

So Iʻm new here, as in just posted an intro before this. And Iʻm a new K20 owner...which is what my question is about. Specifically the GM 10 botl front axle.

Iʻve got it torn down about 85% but am stuck on removing one last ball joint. Itʻs the one thats right by the steering arm. Do I have to remove the steering arm to remove and replace this particular ball joint? Iʻve already removed the three nuts on the arm but havent started whacking at it yet. Iʻm sitting here with 4 new MOOG BJʻs stuck on gettin 1 out. Heeeeellllppp....lol
 

Bextreme04

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Hey all,

So Iʻm new here, as in just posted an intro before this. And Iʻm a new K20 owner...which is what my question is about. Specifically the GM 10 botl front axle.

Iʻve got it torn down about 85% but am stuck on removing one last ball joint. Itʻs the one thats right by the steering arm. Do I have to remove the steering arm to remove and replace this particular ball joint? Iʻve already removed the three nuts on the arm but havent started whacking at it yet. Iʻm sitting here with 4 new MOOG BJʻs stuck on gettin 1 out. Heeeeellllppp....lol
I dont think you need to remove the steering arm. You DO need to remove the hub and spindle though, since the entire knuckle has to go in one direction and the axle will be in the way if you don't. If you end up taking the steering arm off, be aware that under the nut there are cone shaped split pieces that go down into the arm to center it. You will need to soak everything in PB blaster and then whack it in a rocking motion to get the cones to start popping up enough to get it all off.

Make sure you find and follow the correct procedure for replacing the ball joints. You will need a special tool to torque the ball joint sleeve into the knuckle. I believe the procedure is to have that sleeve in there loosely, then torque down the lower ball joint. Then torque the sleeve to a certain amount, then tighten the upper ball joint. This thread says 30ft-lbs for the ball joint and 50 ft-lbs for the sleeve.
https://www.pirate4x4.com/threads/10-bolt-upper-ball-joint-adjusting-sleeve.1853657/
 

Scott Vincent

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1974
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K20
Engine Size
350 B30over
Hey Bextreme04! Thanks for the reply. Pretty much right after I made the posts I found the answer finally though. As much as I wish I didnʻt, I do have to remove the steering arm from the knuckle. I was really hoping for a miracle answer but I pretty much knew when I looked at it. The ball joint wont pass the steering arm for removal without the arm off.

As far as everything you said, Iʻve already done all of that, my hubs, spindles, and axles are completely out with the knuckles separated. It was just this one ball joint I was hoping for a different procedure than what was obvious.

I got new sleeves with the MOOG balljoints Iʻll be putting in so that will all be new. Iʻll use the data from the MOOG site for the torgues on those. For now, Iʻm collecting all my pieces and parts and heading to my buddies to use his parts washer. I need to clean everything and do an inspection to decide what Iʻll reuse and what I wont. Right now itʻs looking like this thing is leading me to say screw it and build a 0 mile unit.
 

Scott Vincent

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K20
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350 B30over
Well, I have an update...with more questions.

I tore that 10 bolt all the way down because 1 side was pretty much open with no locking hub or anything and a spindle rusted to hell. And of course theres the "donʻt trust it without checking it" factor.

Anyhow, before I ask these questions I do want you guys to know that I did research and attempt to find the answers on my own first. Itʻs pretty much the norm for me, especially with this vehicle since alot of this is new to me. Unfortunately, thereʻs alot of conflicting, obscure, or plain blatantly wrong info out there, so I now turn to guys who have done it.

First off...this damn stamp has me confused. I checked three references and none of them explained this hieroglyphic level crap to me. The closest I got scared me because it made me think that WJ was indicating that this was actually a D44 from a jeep. I am absolutely certain that is not the case. This housing has all the tell-tale signs of the 10 bolt from the diff cover layout, to the casting ears below it. I am at a loss what this stamp is telling me.

Secondly, Iʻve gotten my knuckles back on with new ball joints, even though the driverʻs side is having the torque spec issue I've seen in other posts and on other sites. Iʻm still fiddling with it to try to get the sleeve to set up at a proper depth. I think I'll figure that one out, but figured Iʻd mention it in case one of you fellows have a snappy cure for it. I donʻt think itʻs inferior ball joints because I replaced the MOOGʻs I mentioned earlier after seeing and reading some pretty harrowing accounts of how bad they are nowadays. Replaced them with ACDelco Pro/Gold. I torqued the top castle to a nice oggadooga just to hold the bottom from spinning, torqued the bottom to 70 lbs., then torque the adjusting sleeve to the same. The adjusting sleeve is then protruding through the bottom of the hole. Thatʻs the issue.

Thirdly, spindles. I mentioned the passenger side was shot, and it definitely is. My research has consistently shown me spindles with some variations, but all seem to fit the 10 bolt. What do I need to be checking, measuring, ensuring here? They are 6 bolt spindles. Iʻve got to at least replace the passenger side, but have been told that with spindles if you replace 1 side, do them both. Not sure if thatʻs necessary, but I do need to figure out what spindles I need in the first place.

Fourth, Iʻve made what may not be a popular decision to keep the open differential in this front axle, but change to 4.10 ratio. I did a fast wipe with cleaner and shop towels up and down the tubes. Will that be sufficient?

Anyhow I want to thank all of you that answered me earlier with help, and I apologize if some of these are rookie questions that make you roll your eyes. I AM a rookie, so Iʻm being extra cautious and taking extra time to triple and quadruple check everything before I grab the tools and start wrenching.

Iʻve attached pics of the stamp and the axles in the garage. The one in front currently being worked is the 10 bolt front thatʻs going into the truck. The one in the rear is the 14 bolt, also going in the truck, but not yet being rebuilt until the front is completed.

Again, thanks in advance and I hope everyone is having a good weekend!
Scott
 

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mshawn

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There are no rookie question!!!! People are trying to just learn as I did. All this work you are doing will payoff huge, into one beautiful truck , and you did it. I think what brings us all together here is the will to have and love these old truck that are apart of us and our lifestyle. I want to welcome you here and hope you feel at home. Maybe I can help answer some of your question in the future. Good job on tackling the front driveline. Gob bless Brotha!
 

Big Ray

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I plan on a posi for my front. Can't afford a selectable locker lol.
Maybe a Detroit truetrac, if they're cheap enough

You'll be happy with 4.10s. It has lots of grunt, really nice with larger tires. My K5 dd has 4.10s with 33s. Nice combination.
As far as spindles go, never heard that both need changed if one is bad. They operate independently of each other.

Doing it yourself is how we learn. Wish I had the internet when I was coming up. I just pestered the parts guys to death lol!.
 
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Craig Nedrow

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I plan on a posi for my front. Can't afford a selectable locker lol.
Maybe a Detroit truetrac, if they're cheap enough

You'll be happy with 4.10s. It has lots of grunt, really nice with larger tires. My K5 dd has 4.10s with 33s. Nice combination.
As far as spindles go, never heard that both need changed if one is bad. They operate independently of each other.

Doing it yourself is how we learn. Wish I had the internet when I was coming up. I just pestered the parts guys to death lol!.
I used a spartin lunch box locker in my1973 d44. go here foe the info/build. https://www.gmsquarebody.com/threads/1973-k20-front-d44-spartan-locker-install.35594/
 

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