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Old 03-10-2020, 12:28 PM   #1
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IFS1200 Refresh.

Some may have seen my other thread fixing the basement rust on my 1999 American Dream. While I was doing this work I decided I needed / wanted to paint the front subframe and suspension. Everything was tight, control arm bushings, shocks, tie rods, drag link, etc. then I got to the dreaded Ball Joints. Using the test procedure in the Spartan manual, my joints had no play above specification BUT, both lower boots were torn as others have had happen. With my coach having 100,000 miles on it and me having no idea if they were original or not, I decided to just replace them. I do everything myself as I find this work pretty easy, and rewarding also. While taking it apart I felt why not just unbolt everything to wire brush, paint, and replace anything necessary with new. Parts are surprisingly affordable, especially when you are doing the work yourself. It also helps that I had the front compartment and wheel opening off for the rust repair. I'm one of these type of people that have just enough OCD to make myself a lot of extra work. I was planning on the suspension rebuild next winter, but I cannot force myself to put the cosmetic body parts back on without fixing the frame rust etc.
So, follow along on how to replace the ball joints etc...if i can do this stuff, literally anyone can. Just have to decide if you're up to it.

First removed the brake drum and hub assembly. The outer wheel bearing nut was 56mm, so I had to buy a new socket. Didn't hurt my feelings much, buying new tools is one of my favorite things in the world.

I have also read how others have added zerk fittings to the ball joints in order to grease them. I have decided Not to do this at this time. I will be inspecting my joints regularly and if the boots fail, I will then install zerks and grease them as needed.

You'll notice in the pics I removed the tie rod(s) assembly. Completely unnecessary, I just did it to clean and paint it.
To be clear, you do not have to remove all this stuff just to do Ball Joints. I go overboard, it is what it is.

I'm replacing:
-All 4 Ball Joints
-New Bilstein Shocks
-Slack Adjusters
-Height Control Valves (I suspect one has a small leak, and they are corroded badly)
-Height Control End Links, the last owner "built" some solid ones that were very sloppy.
-Air Bags, I believe these to be originals, so "while I'm here"..
-Stemco hubs, the plastic view windows in mine are getting pretty cloudy and hard to see through, Heck they are $16 each for the new assemblies.

Just surface rust, looks worse than it is. The frame etc are very solid.
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Bearings are in great shape.
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Then removed the brake shoes, slack adjuster, brake spider, and loosened upper and lower ball joint nuts. My pickle fork was not large enough to fit around the ball joint studs, but a few raps on the control arm flats popped them right out.


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Old 03-10-2020, 12:39 PM   #2
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I could not get the ABS sensor free from the spindle and the wire goes up into the frame out of my reach, so I'm just going to remove the joints outside.
*I cannot take credit for the idea of welding a big nut onto the joint to remove them. That little slice of awesomeness came from others on this site, Mackwrench is one who comes to mind.
I welded the nut to the upper joint and it came out pretty easy with my 1/2 Mac Tools impact. I did the same to the lower joint, but my impact would not budge it, even after installing a little heat. Oh well, I've been wanting a 1" impact off to the store tomorrow and I'll try again with the new submitterer ( is that a word? )..

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Withe everything apart, time to clean the frame and scrape any loose rust, wire brush some, and prepare for the application of POR15.

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Old 03-10-2020, 12:48 PM   #3
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New HCV and End Link, less than $90 for both through Spartan.

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Old 03-10-2020, 01:00 PM   #4
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Random Pics:

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By the way, I had the original airbag out and on the ground in 20 minutes. And that's with my rusty bolts / nuts. Very simple job to replace by yourself.
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Old 03-10-2020, 04:41 PM   #5
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You maybe able to apply a little heat around the ball joint area on spindle and get the joint to turn with your 1/2 impact.

A 1" impact demands a lot of air volume and a large 1/2 or bigger air hose.

Did you let your compressor build up to Max and hit them again with your 1/2" impact?

All of did for installation was clean spindle threads with drill mounted wire wheel brush, add red loctite to new joint threads and was able to run joints in by hand. I then used a large punch/hammer and tightened up as much as I could. They only moved a little bit from where I had them by hand.

As you posted, not a terrible job, but one I'm anxious to jump on again, ha-ha

EDIT....I see you did apply some heat...make sure the 1" drive socket will fit though the spindle... it may damage the threads if not careful.

Maybe once you get it to move, then maybe your 1/2" impact will walk it on out
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Old 03-10-2020, 05:05 PM   #6
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..... also note if your new rear air bags have a nylon or metal base, Spartan had a TSB out on rear replacement bags with nylon base. Spartan gave me a part number for the steel plate, but I can't find it.

Supposedly the base will fail on this setup..... although I've see hundreds of semi truck/trailers with same base w/o the plate.

New ones I bought (not from Spartan) were nylon base.
I cut a piece of steel for the bag to sit on... maybe you can see it in picClick image for larger version

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Old 03-10-2020, 05:09 PM   #7
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Oh and here's the picture you'll want to take soon!.... Lol

Any questions/concerns, hit me up!

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Old 03-10-2020, 05:51 PM   #8
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The lower joint is out. I bought a $100 (with coupon) 1" Impact from Harbor Freight. Not the best quality, I know, but it worked !

*Mackwrench, I only have a 3/8" air hose, but 175PSI 19cfm continuous duty IR air compressor.
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Old 03-10-2020, 05:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackwrench View Post
..... also note if your new rear air bags have a nylon or metal base, Spartan had a TSB out on rear replacement bags with nylon base. Spartan gave me a part number for the steel plate, but I can't find it.

Supposedly the base will fail on this setup..... although I've see hundreds of semi truck/trailers with same base w/o the plate.

New ones I bought (not from Spartan) were nylon base.
I cut a piece of steel for the bag to sit on... maybe you can see it in picAttachment 277620

Yes, I've seen the posts on this issue, thanks. The ones I bought have the aluminum base like the original. I had planned to cut out the supports on our CNC Plasma table, but I don't have to.
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meames1 View Post
The lower joint is out. I bought a $100 (with coupon) 1" Impact from Harbor Freight. Not the best quality, I know, but it worked !

*Mackwrench, I only have a 3/8" air hose, but 175PSI 19cfm continuous duty IR air compressor.
hey I work for IR ---Assemble in Campbellsville Ky ! ---Ingersoll-Rand has been here since 1970
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Old 03-11-2020, 03:32 AM   #11
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hey I work for IR ---Assemble in Campbellsville Ky ! ---Ingersoll-Rand has been here since 1970
I've had many compressors over the years come and go. About 5-6 years ago I stepped up and bought the IR Type-30. It's probably the last one I'll ever buy, thing is built like a tank.
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:40 AM   #12
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Reassembly time. I painted the frame, control arms, etc. basically anything with heavy rust with a liberal coat of POR15. Let than dry overnight and then sprayed everything with Rustoleum satin black rust reformer coating. The POR15 is too shiny for my taste even though I used "satin" black. Also by following up with spray paint I was able to get into the nooks and crannies I couldn't with the paint brush.
Installed the new upper and lower ball joints with red locktite. Torqued the upper castle nut to 170lbft and the lower to 330lbft per Spartan specs. Then began installing the other new parts, air bag, HCV, etc. Waiting on shocks to come in, hopefully today and I can wrap this side up. Also bought 2 new brake drums. My original ones were usable but had a pretty good ridge on the outside and some rust. I could have had them turned by our local heavy truck shop, but for a little over $100 each I got new Dayton balanced ones.

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Old 03-13-2020, 03:50 AM   #13
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What a great job.
Congratulations

Thanks for sharing
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:56 PM   #14
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I installed the HCV endlink and adjusted the ride height. I'm not 100% sure this procedure will work, I'll double check the ride height once both sides are done and back together.


First I installed an allen wrench in the alignment hole in the HCV. This "should" be the neutral position on the HCV...will not add or take away air.
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Then measured the distance between shock mounting points and jacked the lower control arm up to make the distance 16 1/8" that Spartan specs.
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Then adjusted the HCV lever until the end link fit. Tightened up both ends of the link, then the HCV arm. Pulled the neutral alignment pin and all set !
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