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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to all! I haven't posted since Forever, but see many familiar names still around. My 2001 F350 4x4 SRW CC has pretty much been fairly maintenance-free outside of a few very early failures (CPS and Auto TRANSMISSION before 7K). I don't run tires over 32.5 inches in diameter, and have always maintained stock offset rims, so this may have helped a lot on keeping the wear down in the front end.

It now has 268,000 on it, and all was pretty I thought. Both my original wheel hubs started making a bit of road noise starting 3-4 weeks ago, but the steering was still stable. Then coming up the hill about 10 days ago, the left wheel hub went metal-on-metal with a nasty squeal, as I applied the brake to slow down. I can't complain too much. I was approaching my driveway which, fortunately, was only about 30 feet further. Next morning, I tore down the entire front suspension, except for leaving the leaf springs and front axle housing for "jacked" support. EVERYTHING else, except for the axle shafts &housing, spindles, adjusting sleeves, steering stabilizer bracket and caliper-piston heat shields, were chucked into the recycle bin. I'm posting to thank everyone here for the excellent information and help on some of the unfamiliar items that were encountered, and to add some of my own experiences with the parts and services that I had purchased. Where to start:

1. Brake piston heat shields - I've always reused them over the three brake jobs that were done, but never knew what they were for. Thanks to an thorough explanation by FMTVRT, including the specification highlights, I understand perfectly now and will probably continue to use them....even if I'm never going to get close to pushing the old specification's limits.
2. Ball Joints - Two lessons here. One is that I'll never let anyone else press them in again. Never had anyone do this on any other vehicles for me, because I had the adapters for smaller applications. Anyway, the alignment shop obviously didn't have the right tools either, because they messed up (at least) the upper joints. I didn't notice this until the spindles were put on. Closer examination revealed that they had seated them using the stem, and not the collar section. Also, the upper seals were binding on the bottom of the camber bushing when installed. These were Spicer Life ball joints, which were about as close to OE as you can get. Anyway, I took off the spindles off immediately (had absolutely NO resistance/initial stiffness at all, not even a little, which they had out-of-the-box), and replaced with Ford parts. This brings me to lesson #2: Getting the right tools/cups for the complete job. Could not find complete information on the sites, except to say that even the updated items from OTC did not handle the uppers completely. Well, after NOT getting the right information from OTC support we used a different approach. You can only do this indirectly from the internet search engines, because you can't find it on the first pass at the OTC website. I pulled the instruction for both the basic Ball Joint Kit, and the Updated add-on kit. They list the necessary pieces and cups in the supplemental updated kit, and reference the "missing" pieces needed as "Previously Released Receiving (or Installing) Cup". So IF you wanted to buy the parts to do this completely, you could buy the individual Cups and Joint Press as the cheapest "official tool" route. The route I went, to cut the delivery time down, was to purchase OTC-7249 (basic kit which 3 (but only ONE of the needed) cups (305227) and the Joint Press, the OTC-6731, which contains 3 of the needed cups (38355A, 531739 & 204508A), and finally the elusive 38354 and 222305 cups. This route will be between 200-300 bucks. You could do it cheaper by simply buying the Press (unless you already have one) and making your own pieces from the cup dimensions that are also buried elsewhere in the sites (which I really didn't have the time for this round). This should handle virtually all F250/F350 4x4 (and 2WD) applications for 99-04, and supposedly a lot of others, but I can only vouch for mine at this time. One last note on the tools if you purchase them: Get the larger 6736 "C" Press frame and the 6730 adapter, and you can use all the cups above, and also use it to press out the U-joints on the front axle and shafts. That was really a more useful purchase for me, since I've had to replace the U-joints in my drive shafts more frequently. Saved a HECK of a lot of pounding and various sockets, that the old way messed up.
3. All new parts (sans the ruined Spicer parts) were Ford/MC. I have a client that receives a discount on the Dealer parts that his collective auto collision repair businesses negotiate with the myriad of dealerships. It is hard to believe from looking at Ford's retail prices, but much of the items (tie rods, pitman arms, calipers, hubs, etc) were actually close or cheaper than other discounted on-line products. This also had the benefit of being VIN specific, and I could pick up the parts at one of the shops the next (or often the same) day. VIN specific helped a lot, especially where my truck's manufacture date split hairs on assembly dates. Except for the Ball Joints and Track Bar, all steering parts/ends had zerk fittings. I don't know if I was the exception, but the original , sealed ball joints still had not exceed the .030 axial play allowed when I disassembled the front end. Hopefully I can get a repeat performance on that aspect this time around. I would have gone with Moog, Spicer and Timken if I wasn't able to get the parts direct at a reasonable cost. That's what I usually use in other projects.
Cleanup, prep and painting on the items that were retained, and some of the new parts, probably took a lot longer than most of the assembly. In fact, it did. Since I'm in CA, road salt and rust is not the nightmare that many of you have to deal with (for months on end no less). Still, 15 years of sun and fun makes it look a bit long in the tooth. And it will help me to remember exactly what I have replaced.
I plan on rebuilding the rest of the truck in the not-to-distant future. After looking at what a new F350 costs, equally equipped. I think that there is a great deal of value to retaining and rebuilding this truck. I estimate that I would come out 25-28K ahead by doing so. That would include the interior (in leather), upgrading the GPS and Sound, Paint and all mechanicals/subsystems. Besides, I don't really want to deal with the newer Aluminum bodies just yet. The client I mentioned earlier, and his associates, are having a lot of crack and repair issues with them in these earlier stages.

Again, thank you for all the great information and experiences (and pics) that you have all contributed to this site, and to my recent project's success. Sorry for the long post!
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