Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Spindles and studs

In my last post, I mentioned the bump steer studs that were left in the spindles. I now feel certain that the reason he left these in is that he couldn't get them out.

Well, they're out. Or more accurately, they're gone. Both were removed destructively. The first one was tough. I tried the standard technique of hitting the spindle with a big hammer and had no success. I then tried hanging a 5-gallon bucket of water from the stud (to get some tension on it) and hitting the spindle with a hammer, with no success. Then I drilled a 3/8" hole from the top clear through the tapered section, to release the pressure on the taper, and tried hitting it some more. No success. Finally I used a Dremel with a cutoff wheel to cut a groove in the stud just below the spindle. I stuck a chisel in the groove and hit it hard with a hammer, and the stud popped out.

On to the left side. Basic techniques again failed. I tried the drill and chisel technique that worked for the first one, with no success. I cut the bottom part of the stud off so I could get an impact socket on the hex section, and tried to break it loose with an impact wrench. The stud sheared off where I had cut the groove. (Note that it was hollow at this point from the drilling!)

With no way to pull on the stud, I started trying to figure out how to push on it. My big sledge (on a punch set in the hole) did nothing. I got a 12-ton hydraulic press from Harbor Freight and tried that, but the remaining portion of the stud above the spindle just crushed, since it was just a thin shell. So I drilled out the top of the stud to 1/2", matching the top part of the spindle hole, and drilling about half way through. Then I flipped it over and hollowed out the bottom part of the stud to just a thin shell of the taper, using a tungsten carbide cutter on a Dremel. Finally I put it back on the press, dropped a 1/2" bolt on top of the remaining portion of the stud, and pushed. Hard.

Sproing! Something popped, and everything moved. I looked around to figure out what happened. And there, on the floor, was a thin-shelled taper. Success! There was an odd odor, too. Not sure what that was about, but I definitely smelled something when it popped out.

The spindle is scratched up good and has a small divot at one edge of the taper hole, but nothing to worry about. Between the drill bits that I dulled, the Dremel cutter, and the hydraulic press, I spent more on this than it would have cost me to get a good used spindle. But I have wanted a press for other things, and the cutter is really good. Wish I hadn't messed up my 1/2" drill bit so much, though.

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