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center/drag link replacement


kaybyrd's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2002
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10-16-02, 07:52 AM   #1  
center/drag link replacement

This is after the fact, but I would like to know what I could have done differently.

I replaced the center link (drag link) on my 79 fullsize Chevy Blazer 4wd. Its design is one long piece connected to the other tie rod and with the adjuster. The other two tie rods are at the left tire.

The center link came loose with no problems, however the steering dampner (shock) would not come loose from the center link. I had replaced it about a year ago with no problems. I couldn't even get it to come loose at the bracket end. I got frustrated (not a good thing where safety while working on my truck is concerned) and tried to beat the thing out of the center link. Long story short I ended up breaking my thumb, but that's beside the point.

It didn't look damaged, the threads were clean, etc. Why could I not get it to come out of the silly hole in the center link? The condition of the tie rods of the center link were a scary sight. No resistance whatsoever. The rolled around like a ball in a computer mouse is suppose to. Is it possible that with the center link able to move so freely in any direction would 'bend' the bolt of the dampener enough to seize it? I also noticed that the center link was slightly bowed.

I did learn from this experience that if you are going to brace a dampener on a jackstand so you can hit a center link downward to break it free, to make sure that you are holding the center link from the top (totally from the top) so that when I does break free it slips from your hand to the ground, not taking your hand down with it! I wear steel toe boots to protect my feet, but it sure didn't protect my hand at that point.

Kay

 
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10-16-02, 10:10 AM   #2  
Joe_F
When I do a front end, I pitch the whole ball of wax. Take it loose from the steering knuckles, and fold it up and pitch it.

1) If the tie rods are gone, the rest is not far behind.

2) Doing that type of work twice is nasty. It's greasy, cold/hot (depending on when you do it) and back breaking work. No thanks .

3) Chances are, as you said if your safety depends on it, it's not worth cheaping out on the cost of parts. I typically stow away money for parts (since I do it myself, my labor is "free").

As you said in another post, planning is everything. A little now saves a lot later on.

When I do the front end in my 79 Trans Am, it will likely be a shell just hanging there. No stone left unturned, it's a lot of work!!!

 
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10-16-02, 11:14 AM   #3  
This was so much easier when we had a second car. Everything I do to this truck has to be completed in one day (actually half a day) or we're out of luck getting anywhere until I get the job done. I plugged a tire yesterday and kept thinking that I should go ahead and redo the brakes while in there, but then again, I didn't know if I could get it done by the time my son had to go to taekwondo. Didn't want to rush it, chance needing more parts, or simply not finishing. I try to wait until I know that a neighbor, my brother in law or husband is home and available.

Kay

 
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10-16-02, 03:04 PM   #4  
Joe_F
I agree. Never rush repairs such as this. You will inherently do them twice or endanger yourself.

I always have an alternate way around, be it another car, "bumming a ride" or the bus.

When in doubt here in NYC, you can always take public transit where you are going. My goal of course is to do all the maintenance a car needs so I don't break down.

I also have access to a spare car or two .

 
kaybyrd's Avatar
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10-16-02, 04:18 PM   #5  
That's probably the only thing I miss about Memphis: buses. We don't have that around here, and only one cab service. They have one cab .

I did have a spare, but when my son moved to Vegas I let him take it with him so he wouldn't have to bum rides all the time.

Kay

 
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