Removed Passenger Side Radius Arm and I-Beam to Replace Bushings, Cannot Figure Out How To Re-Install


STPL

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The radius arm and axel pivot bushings were in need of replacement so I dropped the whole passengers side radius arm and I beam for better access to press the old bushing and sleeve out and replace it with MOOG bushings. For the life of me I cannot figure out how to angle the whole assembly back in where it belongs. The bracket where the axel pivot bushing mounts to is closed off on the bottom so slipping it in from that angle is impossible. If i put that axel pivot bushing in first, the radius arm will be 2 or 3 inches off to the outside of the hole in the bracket. If I mount the radius arm first, there is no angle to get the axel pivot bushing up and over to slide into the bracket.

If anyone has a tutorial, ideas or tips/tricks it would be greatly appreciated! Im pulling my hair out with this one!

Heres the solution I posted down below. Thanks to everyone for their help!

Allright! I took the weekend to wrestle everything back together and heres how I did it. YMMV, this is my method and my experience, Im not a professional mechanic.

Passengers side: A lot of people say you don't need to disconnect everything from the radius arm to get at these bushings, but it sure makes everything easier. I was also replacing the axel pivot bushing at the same time so I needed to completely remove the whole radius arm and I-beam assembly for that. First start out by jacking up the knuckle to relieve some tension and completely remove the sway bar and setting it aside. Disconnect the tie rod end, brake caliper, the top nut on the shock absorber, the nut on the back of the radius arm (1/18 socket) and the axel pivot bolt. As you lower the jack you should be able to maneuver the whole assembly out from under the truck. This might take some wrestling, it wasn't easy. Replace the axel pivot bushing with a balljoint/control arm press kit and fit the new inner bushing onto the radius arm. Now for the re-assembly.

On the passengers side I first tried to place the ibeam axel pivot bushing in position and use a ratchet strap to pull the radius arm into place. That didn't work at all. Maybe I wasn't pulling it right, or pulling it at the right angle, but regardless I was putting a LOT of force on the ratchet strap with the truck on jack stands and was still about an inch and a half short of getting the radius arm up and into the hole in the bracket. That much stress on a truck on jack stands didn't sit well with me and I didn't want to pursue that method any further. So I grabbed some grade 8 hardware from NAPA for $15. You'll need two 1 1/2" long 7/16 bolts with nuts and lock washers.

I got to work with the angle grinder and took bracket off. First grind the heads of the rivets down and either punch them out of the bracket or pry the bracket off the frame. Remove the 4 bolts in the middle of the bracket connecting the passengers side bracket to the drivers side and lastly take off the two remaining bolts holding the bracket to the frame and it should just fall right out. Then grind the rivet stud down flush with the frame and punch it out. I used a large transmission bolt with a pointed end I had laying around and gave it a good few whacks with a sledge hammer.

Next with the axel pivot bushing in place, put the radius arm through the bracket and maneuver it into position on the frame. Put your new hardware through the bracket and hand tighten all bolts. Remember not to torque any bolt to spec until the truck is on the ground and you've rolled it back and forth to let the suspension settle.

The passengers side is MUCH easier. No bracket removal required. Jack the knuckle up the same way you did the passengers side. Remove the axel pivot bolt, the radius arm nut, tie rod end, brake caliper and top nut on the shock absorber. Let the jack down and you should be able to pry the I-beam out of its bracket and the whole assembly should slide out easily. Replace your bushings. Reassemble by starting with the radius arm in the bracket (it might be wise to tape up the threads to prevent damage) and using a pry bar maneuver the I-Beam into position. Bolt it in place to prevent it from falling out. As you jack up the suspension replace the tie rod end, shock absorber nut, caliper and the outer part of the new radius arm bushing. Put the sway bar back on, lower the vehicle and tighten all nuts and bolts to spec.

My advice, plan on grinding the passengers side bracket off. It's a little time consuming but will save you a very large and confusing headache. The drivers side does not need the bracket replaced. Hope this helped! I will try to answer any questions the best I can.
 
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This is the exact reason a lot of mechanic shops grind off the heads of the radius arm bracket rivets and drive them out. The radius arm bracket can then be bolted back on to the frame with grade 8 hardware.
 

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Please post pictures, I just received my whole front end kit.
 

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Thanks for the link, that was the first section I checked out. All i see in that sections is a schematic about how the assembly fits onto the frame, there isn't anything detailing how to install it back on the frame.

This is the exact reason a lot of mechanic shops grind off the heads of the radius arm bracket rivets and drive them out. The radius arm bracket can then be bolted back on to the frame with grade 8 hardware.
Is that my only option? I feel like since I took it out without removing the bracket I should be able to get it back in. If i have to grind the rivets and bolt it back in does anyone sell a replacement hardware kit? Ill start looking around incase I have to go down that road.

Please post pictures, I just received my whole front end kit.
Unfortunately I'm away from the truck until the weekend, but there isn't much to take pictures of. Right now I just have the radius arm and I-Beam sitting on the ground.
 

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I've done this a few times, and all I really have to say is, its a pain. You gotta play with it, and force things, and it's not easy.
 

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Make sure you have the truck high enough on jack stands so that the parts can drop far enough to give you the clearance you need. It will take a bit of prying and wiggling and forcing.
 

STPL

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I've done this a few times, and all I really have to say is, its a pain. You gotta play with it, and force things, and it's not easy.
Make sure you have the truck high enough on jack stands so that the parts can drop far enough to give you the clearance you need. It will take a bit of prying and wiggling and forcing.
Which side do you recommend putting in first? Im thinking putting the axel pivot in and using a come along to get the radius arm through the hole might be the best. I'm trying my hardest to not have to grind off the rivets and remove the entire radius bracket.
 

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I tried it both ways. Don't remember which one worked better. I seem to remember that if you get the radius arm first and just barely start the nut to hold it. Then you can jack the axle beam into position and use a pry bar to align the holes to get the bolt through. But I won't guarantee that.
 

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I tried it both ways. Don't remember which one worked better. I seem to remember that if you get the radius arm first and just barely start the nut to hold it. Then you can jack the axle beam into position and use a pry bar to align the holes to get the bolt through. But I won't guarantee that.
ooooohhh that sounds promising. Im going to use a ratchet strap/prybar combo this weekend and see how far that's going to get me. If not I'm going to have to resort to grinding the rivets off and removing the bracket.
 

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Remember... They didn’t do any grinding of rivets to install it on the assembly line. There has to be a way.
 

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I tried it both ways. Don't remember which one worked better. I seem to remember that if you get the radius arm first and just barely start the nut to hold it. Then you can jack the axle beam into position and use a pry bar to align the holes to get the bolt through. But I won't guarantee that.
I think that's the easiest way I have ever found.

Remember... They didn’t do any grinding of rivets to install it on the assembly line. There has to be a way.
They also didn't have a body or engine on the frame yet. There is also no guarantee that those brackets weren't installed with the radius arms already in them. That's how I did it last time.
 

STPL

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Remember... They didn’t do any grinding of rivets to install it on the assembly line. There has to be a way.
That's my line of thinking! I got it out with the brackets on, there HAS to be a way to get it back on.

I think that's the easiest way I have ever found.



They also didn't have a body or engine on the frame yet. There is also no guarantee that those brackets weren't installed with the radius arms already in them. That's how I did it last time.
That's also true, but I'm reserving one more attempt with a ratchet strap and then I'm resorting to grinding the brackets off.
 

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Grinding the heads of the rivets off and punching them out with an air hammer isn't as bad as it sounds. Plus if you ever decide to do a lift kit in the future, this makes it a lot easier to do so.

I wondered about installing the parts separately myself. First install the beam and insert the bolt to hold it in it's pivot, then install the radius arm and bushings into their bracket, then install the large bolt that joins them together last.. It works well in my head, but we all know how that can end up.
 

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I've done this a few times, and all I really have to say is, its a pain. You gotta play with it, and force things, and it's not easy.
sounds like my HS Prom date :rolleyes:
 


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