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need help fast! broken steering knuckle


tomranger

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so the other day i was driving and felt something pop, turns out it was the upper tab on the passenger side steering knuckle that holds the inner brake pad in place, snapped clean off. fabricated a new tab, welded it in place. a few miles later snapped off again and lost all brakes, almost crashing in the process. at this point i believe i need an entirely knew knuckle for that side? anyone know where to find this? or have one for sale?? this is my only vehicle, as of now have no way to get to work or anywhere so any help is greatly appreciated! I am located in CT and am willing to pay for a fix!

can anyone confirm if the knuckle is made of cast iron or cast steel please?

i added a picture showing the tab that snapped off. I DO NOT have the tab, i attempted to fabricate and weld one out of steel but the weld did not hold at all. Should i consider trying to MIG weld again with a wire that is specifically for use with cast iron? would brazing be a better option? i would prefer to not have to take the entire knuckle off, considering the labor that would require (ball joints, etc..) but i already almost crashed once due to a bad weld failing. any help is greatly appreciated! this is my daily driver!
 

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alwaysFlOoReD

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I believe the knuckle is cast iron. Special rods and technique needed to weld successfully. Oxy/acet and brazing rod might get you going until you get a new knuckle.
 

tomranger

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I believe the knuckle is cast iron. Special rods and technique needed to weld successfully. Oxy/acet and brazing rod might get you going until you get a new knuckle.
thanks for the response, we were also debating if the knuckle was cast, but cleaning and dropping a bead on a different part of the knuckle seemed to work, but i guess not. unfortunately i know absolutely zero about brazing.
 

pjtoledo

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do you think it would be helpful if your location was known?
 

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I believe the knuckle is cast iron. Special rods and technique needed to weld successfully. Oxy/acet and brazing rod might get you going until you get a new knuckle.
the tab that broke off is fairly small, do you think it would be better to just make the tab out of the brazing rod, or to fabricate and weld a new tab? what type of metal would work best with the cast iron and brazing rod if i do make another tab?
 

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Try Car-part.com

They can sometimes put you in contact with places that have those parts. Also don't discount your local "Pick and Pull" parts yards. I've been out our two local yards so much with this Explorer project they are considering charging me rent.

S-
 

tomranger

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Try Car-part.com

They can sometimes put you in contact with places that have those parts. Also don't discount your local "Pick and Pull" parts yards. I've been out our two local yards so much with this Explorer project they are considering charging me rent.

S-
thanks i will definitely try that
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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I can't help much more than I already did. { I'm a self taught welder with not much experience with cast.} Welding to cast is tricky because of thermal expansion characteristics and the metal structure itself, cast has a larger grain that promotes cracking. Not thinking I tried welding some 1/4" plate to a large brake drum. After it cooled a little it went POP as the cast cracked along the weld joint. Brazing is a little more forgiving as it will "move" a little. IMO I don't think filling with brazing rod would work for long, it is too soft. But brazing a piece in would work better because the piece is hard enough to take loads, the brazing is acting like a glue. Personally, I'd use whatever I had handy, bearing in mind that it needs replacement asap.

I think the wrecking yard would be cheapest, then parts places, then Ford.
 
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alwaysFlOoReD

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You could also temporarily disconnect the line and plug it off. But not with a stick or bandaid....use a properly sized plug that is threaded for the line.

Edit for a little story; I once bought a parts car that had the front brake lines cut and clamped shut with vice grips. The original owner had drove it until the rotors were worn thru to the ribs and this was his fix. The brake master still held fluid for the front so that seemed to work....
 
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tomranger

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I can't help much more than I already did. { I'm a self taught welder with not much experience with cast.} Welding to cast is tricky because of thermal expansion characteristics and the metal structure itself, cast has a larger grain that promotes cracking. Not thinking I tried welding some 1/4" plate to a large brake drum. After it cooled a little it went POP as the cast cracked along the weld joint. Brazing is a little more forgiving as it will "move" a little. IMO I don't think filling with brazing rod would work for long, it is too soft. But brazing a piece in would work better because the piece is hard enough to take loads, the brazing is acting like a glue. Personally, I'd use whatever I had handy, bearing in mind that it needs replacement asap.

I think the wrecking yard would be cheapest, then parts places, then Ford.
thanks man i really appreciate it, it looks like i'm going to have to replace the whole knuckle unfortunately, which sucks because the truck is a total beater and not worth much to begin with. i'm really broke and trying to spend as little as possible. is it possible to reuse the old ball joints if i don't damage them pressing them out?
 

tomranger

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You could also temporarily disconnect the line and plug it off. But not with a stick or bandaid....use a properly sized plug that is threaded for the line.

Edit for a little story; I once bought a parts car that had the front brake lines cut and clamped shut with vice grips. The original owner had drove it until the rotors were worn thru to the ribs and this was his fix. The brake master still held fluid for the front so that seemed to work....
where would be the best place to plug the line for now? the caliper? the splitter box? its the front passenger side
 

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thanks man i really appreciate it, it looks like i'm going to have to replace the whole knuckle unfortunately, which sucks because the truck is a total beater and not worth much to begin with. i'm really broke and trying to spend as little as possible. is it possible to reuse the old ball joints if i don't damage them pressing them out?
The ball joints are on the knuckle itself. With a little luck, the new knuckle you get from a wrecker might also have good ball joints in it, so you'd just swap one knuckle for the other.
If not, then yes it is also possible to swap the ball joints out if yours are still good.

Yes, replacing the knuckle is the only safe way to handle this.
 

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not to put too sharp an edge on it, keep in mind your safety, as of those around you. My thought replace the part.
 

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not to put too sharp an edge on it, keep in mind your safety, as of those around you. My thought replace the part.

Totally agree. Pick and Pull type shops should be able to help. If the yard has several to pick from? Grab one with decent ball joints :icon_thumby:

But please, even though the truck is a beater. We like the members here to be safe. Nice thing about a pick and pull. You can take your time on pulling the thing apart, and learn how it goes together.

Or if you have someone that can give you a ride there with your tools? Remove yours first and keep track of the tools you used. You will need a BFH without question! (Big Flippen Hammer) I've had great luck knocking ball joints free using the port-a-banger. (Hint: Do not hit the joint itself! Hit what the joint goes though! That normally breaks 'em free)

Please be safe!!

S-
 


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