Sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it. 1st off though, let's focus in on the good things that happened Sunday. I reassembled the pinion assembly for my rear end, and I manged to get the torque set darn near perfect. When I went to reinstall the carrier in the housing, I couldn't find the factory match mark for the gear set. On certain gear ratios such as 3.00:1 and 3.50:1, the gearsets are "timed" since they wear on the same tooth every time. If you don't reassemble them to the original marks, there's a possibility of gear whine when assembled. So to prevent this I'll take another real good look at the gears before reassembly. From there it should just be a matter of a tooth contact check and I should be done.
Now the disc brake conversion, that's another story although it does have a happy ending. I figured I'd get ready for this project, so my plan was to get the bearing adaptors installed and bolt on the caliper brackets. Now one thing I will tell you up front is that Classic Performance Parts instructions are sorely lacking. After doing research on this project, the best advice I found was to heat the bearing adapters prior to putting them on the spindle. This should expand them enough to get them into place with some mild encouragement. I made myself a sweet driver out of a piece of 1 1/2" thick wall pipe and a pipe cap. Set the oven in my shop to 450 degrees and put the adaptors in there to heat up. While I was waiting I took advantage and went over the entire spindle with emery cloth to get them nice and clean and eliminate all burrs which the adaptors could hang up on. I also had time to chase the threads on my spindle with a 3/4"-16 die. Man those new spindle nuts sure thread on nice now. I was pretty pleased with the efforts and results so far.
Figuring they had been in the oven long enough, it was now or never. I had my hammer and driver ready, so I took the passenger side adaptor out of the oven with a welding glove. Even with the big heavy glove on that part was H-O-T!!! Slid it on the spindle and used my driver to hopefully get it into position. Started out with light taps and progressed to full on whacks once I realized it wasn't moving like I thought it would. I couldn't get to go any further and that part was cooling off quickly. A few more whacks and I knew I was boned. I thought that maybe I hadn't left the part in the oven long enough. I wouldn't make that mistake again, so I left the driver side in the oven while I figured out what to do. I popped the king pin out, disconnected the tie rod and took the spindle off. I set the spindle up on my 12 ton press and used the homemade driver and I got good movement off of it, but the adapter was still a long way from being flush to the spindle and my press was straining a little out of my comfort zone. At this point I said if it needs to go farther, I'll take it to work and get one of the mechanics to use the 50 ton hydraulic press with the safety cage around it.
Let's do the driver side next, same process, same problems, same solution. I'm still not sure the adaptors are where they need to be but I've done all I can do at home. I call my mechanic buddy Fooch and tell him my tale of woe. He says bring em in and we'll check it out. So at the "meeting of the minds" today, we decided that they are fully seated based on the shape of the original spindle and the fact that the gap is identical on both spindles. So at this point I am declaring them good to go and will continue on.
I also got one of the spindles modified for using this kit. If you keep the upper spindle grease fitting in the stock location there will be an interference problem with the new caliper. The solution is to drill and tap a new hole for the zerk about 45 degrees away from the current location. Then plug the existing hole with a setscrew. Pretty easy process, no major screwups so far. I still have to do the other spindle, then reassemble the front end and start adding new disc brake components. Should be plug and play from here, guess we'll see.