After much anticipation, planning and worry, I got new axles under Betty yesterday. Like others, I spent far more time doing all of this than the actual project. I had about a 120 mile trip to the shop where the axles were being delivered, so I was up and on the road early so I would have enough time to get the old ones off and everything ready in anticipation of the noon delivery promised by the trucking company.
Right after I ordered the axles, I started soaking everything with PB Blaster about once a week. It took about four weeks for them to arrive so by the time the impact wrench was felt, I was totally delighted at how easy the nuts came off. Getting the axles loose from the frame was another story! It took a Purdue Mechanical Engineer with a sledge and a 4x4, beating on the hubs for a minute or two to convince them to succumb to gravity. But succumb they did, and sure enough right at 11:30 the Yellow Truck pulled in and the forklift gently laid the pallet right at Betty's side.
After a bit of head scratching as to which was up and what was down, I got the shocks on right (they're yellow, btw
) and on to the floor jack and up into the notch the axles went - all the while with me admiring the fit and finish of the final product. I am truly amazed at the close tolerances to which they were manufactured. And the notched frame on the trailer finally let me understand why I didn't need to worry about tracking out of line. Only one way for those babies to go in there and the alignment was figured long ago by an M.E., maybe from Purdue? That also made it easy to align the holes for the bolts.
So all that was left was to hook up the brakes, put the wheels back on, adjust the brakes and head for home - stopping at the requisite points to check the torque on the lug nuts. The ride back was much smoother than the ride up, making it obvious that I'd done the right thing. All in all a good day, no, make that a great day, being home and having a cold one by 7 pm.
Oh, and I got new tires for Betty the day before. Yass, yass, the P.O. went so far as to remount the tires with the weather cracks to the inside as well as smear the outside with brake fluid or something so they'd look just fine. More about this bottom-feeder later....he's still out there and peddling AS on ebay. I wonder, is there a thread called "Stupid P.O. Tricks"?
A big thank you to Colin Hyde for a great product and timely service. And a special thank you to my good buddy Steve (the a fore mentioned Purdue M.E., whose motto is "Have 4x4, will travel") for his expertise, strength and the use of his shop. Now I'm loading Betty with all the essentials and up to the North Woods she, Buster the Wonderdog and I shall soon go. I'll post some pics of our wilderness haunt in a few weeks. Until then, safe travels everyone.