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Tech Talk => Chassis => Dodge => Topic started by: HeavyHaulTrucker on November 26, 2008, 11:26 PM

Title: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: HeavyHaulTrucker on November 26, 2008, 11:26 PM
Sent: 12/18/2004 10:31 PM

Dodge M300 Steering Spindle Replacement
I recently had the misfortune to break a spindle on my 1977 Winnebago D21 Brave.  I thought that I would share the lessons I learned with the rest of the group.
Since this part cannot be found in any of the parts houses, finding a replacement turned out to be a chore.  It turns out that, at least prior to 1977, the M300 used the same spindles on several different axles.  The axles were changed to accomodate varying frame/ spring widths over the years, but the spindle was the same even between drum brake and disc brake versions of the M300 axles.  I ended up finding an entire drum brake axle from a 1970 Champion 20' coach in a salvage yard that filled the need.
Tearing down your old spindle is not really difficult -- it just takes time and a large sledge hammer.  An air impact also helps a great deal.  I will use a broken disc brake spindle and a drum brake donor axle in this example, but the process is even simpler with a drum brake to drum brake spindle replacement.  I will also touch on this toward the end.
After you have the axle raised and firmly blocked up (you will be crawling under it, so this is an absolute necessity), with the tire, wheel and hub/ brake rotor removed, you remove the disc brake caliper and set it aside out of the way.  On top of the leaf spring is a good location.  You then use a 3/4" socket & box end wrench to remove the 3 bolts that hold the caliper mount and the dust shield onto the spindle.  Two of these bolts go through the spindle plate with nuts on the back; one of them actually screws into the spindle plate.
Remove the cotter keys from the large nut on the back of the spindle, the tie rod end, and the drag link; you will be removing these nuts later.  If you have a large impact socket, such as a 1-1/4" socket, use your air impact to remove the large nut from the end of the steering arm that goes through the back of the spindle.  Before you get it all the way off, use a 3 to 5 lb sledge hammer to pound the arm out of the spindle -- leaving the nut on the first 5 or so threads protects the threads so you can get the nut back on later!  Now, remove the tie rod end from the crook of the steering arm and drop it to the floor.  Unbolt the drag link and have a helper turn the steering wheel to the left until you can drop the drag link.
The kingpin is locked in place by a 3/8" pin that goes through the spindle at about the two o'clock position when looking at the hole where the steering arm used to be.  If your spindle runs true to form, the back end of the pin (which normally has a 1/2" nut on it) has broken off and fallen out.  On the back side, you will see a 3/8" hole where this used to be, or a 1/2" nut if it is still there.  You need to pound this pin out.  Either way, after you get into the spindle you will need a hardened steel punch -- but I have found that a 3" long 3/8" bolt works great.  With all of the rust, it will take a pretty good swing to knock this pin out -- just be careful not to hit the top or bottom forks of the steering knuckle.  I have found that it is best to turn the spindle to point toward the front -- then you can get a good, unobstructed swing at it.
The top and bottom of the kingpin hole is sealed with a metal plug, similar to a metal expansion plug.  The best way to take the top one out is with a slide hammer such as is used in body & fender work.  Drill a small hole in the top cap, screw the slide hammer into the hole, and yank the plug out.  Make sure you aren't above the work, if you want to keep your teeth!  Once you have the top plug out, use a 1/2" drive extension (one that you don't mind converting to a punch) to pound the kingpin through the axle and spindle.  Once the bottom plug falls out, the kingpin will come out easier -- it doesn't take a whole lot of pounding or force, usually.  Just make sure that you mark one end of the kingpin (unless you are not going to re-use them), because they only go in one direction.
Once the kingpin is out, pull the spindle toward you to get it out of the knuckle -- make sure you hold the thrust bearing so that it does not fall.  It is between the top of the spindle and the bottom of the upper fork of the steering knuckle.  Sometimes, you can re-use the thrust bearing if it is not compressed or worn too badly.  They are of very simple design on our Winnies, and can often be cleaned well and put back together with grease between the plates -- they are just two half-shells with a copper bearing plate sandwiched between two steel plates inside.
If you are changing spindles and re-using your kingpin, then you will need to clean the kingpin and thrust bearing well.  I use gasoline (working outside in good ventilation) because it disolves any other petroleum product like grease immediately.  If you are going to re-use the thrust bearing, take the shell apart and remove the bearing plates; clean them well and dry them throroughly.  When you put them back together, use your finger to spread a thin layer of grease on the inside of the shells and on both sides of each bearing plate.  The two steel plates go into the shells first (one in each shell), and the copper one goes in the middle when you put the two halves together.  Press the two halves together firmly, and clean off any grease that squirts out.
Once you have everything cleaned up well, you can start putting it back together.  Believe me, it is alot easier than getting it apart! 
The spindle is slightly offset at the kingpin hole, and the top of it will be cut deeper -- this rounded shoulder is where the thrust bearing goes.  Set it on top of the spindle and slide the whole works back in between the forks of the steering knuckle; you may need to use shims on the bottom to make it a snug fit -- you don't want very much, if any, up/down play here.  Once you have it roughly in line, take your kingpin and start it into the hole; make sure the notch in the middle of the kingpin is pointed away from the spindle, so that the lock pin will go in.  You may need to start it with a few smacks of a hammer, but don't get too rough.  You don't want to mushroom the top of the pin!  Once it is started well, you will notice that it won't take much of a tap to drive it it -- use little taps until it is through the thrust bearing and well into the spindle.  If you used shims, you may have to slide them a minute amount to line them up -- hopefully, you did this when you put them in, because it can be a bi**h to do at this point.  Once you have the kingpin into the bottom fork, slow down on your tapping -- you want to stop when the top of the kingpin is even with the top of the upper fork.
Now, take your lock pin (new or used) and position it in the lock hole on the front side of the spindle.  Tap it gently into place as you gently tap on the top of the kingpin to set it into place.  Once the lock pin has gone in far enough to lock the kingpin, take your punch and finish setting it into place firmly.  If you are using a new pin, start the nut on the backside and tighten it down -- don't get too excited with it though, because they are easy to wring off if you tighten them too much.  Once you have the kingpin locked into place, take your top & bottom seal caps and tap them into place -- they should be flush with the top & bottom of the knuckle forks.  Now is a good time to grease the kingpin -- one grease fitting on each knuckle fork, right on the backside.  Pump the grease gun until you see grease come out of the BOTTOM of the thrust bearing and out of the joint where the spindle & lower knuckle fork meet, then wipe them off a bit.  There, that wasn't so bad, was it?  Your new spindle and/ or new kingpin is in! 
If you used a spindle from a drum brake axle, you will need to tap the top left hole on the spindle to accept the shortest mounting bolt -- this is the only one that does not have a nut for the back.  Once you have it tapped, you can start putting everything back the way you found it.  That is the only difference between the two types of axles -- that the one hole has to be tapped.
Drum Brake To Drum Brake Spindle Replacement
This is the easiest one.  Simply tear down your spindle, tear down the donor axle's spindle, clean everything up well, and make the swap.  In fact, if you have managed to find a donor axle on which the brake assembly is in good condition, you can do the swap without even removing the brake backing plate from the replacement spindle!
I hope that this makes this job easier for those of you who either choose to do it -- or are forced to do it like I was!
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: DaveVA78Chieftain on April 24, 2011, 10:00 PM
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: wacko on April 26, 2011, 07:20 PM
Great post. Keep the pictures coming
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: DaveVA78Chieftain on April 27, 2011, 02:30 PM
Mother nature had her way Monday (Rain).  Went up to help Mark move his rig to his house on Tuesday.   Hope to drive the steering arm out of the knuckle and then drive the king pin out of the drivers side tonight.  You can see the steering arm in Figure 7 (sort of a Y shape).  One arm of the Y attaches to the steering knuckle, the other to the pitman arm on the steeering box.  The base of the Y connects to the drag link (grease covered ball joint in Figure 7)   I did not want to beat directly on the steering arm castle nut (figure 6) with a 4lb sledge hammer so I bought a inexpensive 1 1/2" - 3/4" drive socket to beat on in order to spread the force over the face of the castle nut.  Mother nature is not being kind lately though (threating more rain tonight).

Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: Gary Eddy on May 25, 2011, 08:04 PM
I really enjoy a professionals info.
I have a 1969 D18 M300 318 727
Need source for P/N  of King pin set and drag link
Rig in shop and unable at this to find parts/numbers
Thank you for anything you can provide.

Gary Eddy
sampsoncorp (AT) hotmail DOT com
651 ** 20 8 -- 65 -43
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: DaveVA78Chieftain on May 25, 2011, 10:26 PM
Dodge P/N for 69-77 M300 is 2275522
Some places (like Stemco) say OEM P/N was 2275521 however NAPA crosses 2275521 to the M375 axle.  For M300 (4000/4500lb axle) you want the .936" diameter pin.  The M375 (5000lb axle) used a 1.21" diameter pin

NAPA ( (
2621452 (Nylon Bushing, no reaming required)
2621417 (Metal Bushing; Reaming required)

Stemco Kaiser ( (; See top of page 3)

I used the NAPA nylon bushing kit
The Stemco Qwik Kit uses a special steel bushing that does not require reaming.

P.S.  I am just your garden variety backyard mechanic.

Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: Froggy1936 on May 26, 2011, 10:34 AM
FYI  the correct name (spelling) for the grease fittings is ZERK not ZERT  otherwise very good info  P.S. if you get a kit with metal bushings  (Bronze)   you will have to have a reamer to fit them  unless they are the special steel ones you can tell by trying the bushings on the king pin  Frank
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: lip on September 30, 2012, 01:47 PM
Hi all together,

fist of all, thanks a lot to Dave for this great tutorial.

I have to do exactly the same work now on my '76 Brave with the M400 Chassis. The NAPA Part # mentioned above shows the King pin set which looks not really fitting. I need the pin with three cut-outs. Can anybody give me a part number for the king pin set I need?

Thanks a lot and best regards from Germany!

Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: lip on October 05, 2012, 12:01 PM
meanwhile I'm in contact with Geoff from
He has the required parts for that work plus all brake parts for our rigs.  :)clap
Thanks again!

Best regards from Germany
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: DaveVA78Chieftain on October 30, 2012, 08:27 PM
Hope it all worked out for you Lloyd.  I have normally been able to find almost all my parts through NAPA.  As I indicated in my writeup (at picture of new kingpin), I used NAPA P/N 262-1565 for my larger M400 axle

I almost always start with the original Dodge P/N and then use the P/N X-ref function to locate the aftermarket P/N.
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: lip on November 25, 2012, 06:06 PM
Hi all,
yes, it all worked out very well. The kit had the bronze bushings which had to be fitted with a reamer... All in all it was a 4 hour job without any complications. The pins went out easily. Steering is much more direct now and makes no ugly sounds anymore...  :D

Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: Brownfamily on September 06, 2014, 01:39 PM
Great info thanks! I have a wandering drive so still trying to find out whats up. It only has 30k miles on it so should not be that loosed so have to detective work to do.  i?? 

Going to try first the tightening up of the steering gear as someone describes in this forum. Looks promising but we'll see.

I did find a re manufactured steering box on Napa for only $100, so was wondering if that would really work or if it wont fit, not that i need one yet.

Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: Oz on September 06, 2014, 07:36 PM
The adjustment would be this topic,2092.msg3079.html#msg3079

Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: DaveVA78Chieftain on September 06, 2014, 07:38 PM
Just a reminder:  King pins have zert fittings (top and bottom) and have to be greased at least yearly.

Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: Gearhead88 on March 12, 2017, 10:00 AM

Good write up and pictures of a project that many would be intimidated to take on .

I'm just now starting to discover how much depth there is on this forum , both in content and the capabilities of the members.
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: M & J on March 12, 2017, 11:08 AM
Theres even more available if you have a full membership. Best $5 you could spend for a years worth.
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: roma on July 26, 2017, 01:43 PM
Hello, I have a left kingpin with to much wear.
It is a m 375 chassis  from late 72 with 5000 lbs front axle.

Can anyone give me the right part numbers and where I can order them ,because in Europe it is not to find.
I see some articals with napa numbers but they make no sense to me.

Can anybody help me out with this so I can get the RV road legal again.

Greetings  Roma  from Holland
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: Rickf1985 on July 26, 2017, 05:51 PM
Is it the king pin itself or just the bushings? The bushings should not be too hard to find but the pin may be a tough one. I am sure Dave will jump in on this later this evening. If anyone knows it will be him.
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: roma on July 26, 2017, 11:42 PM
Hopefully it will be the bushings only.
I need them anyway , but I thought to buy the complete set just to be sure.
If I take it apart I have to finish the job so I thought hetter to have all the parts ready then .
Hope someone knows where to order and will be happy with the bushings anyway.

 I ve found the following number 2275521 wich looks  to me the right set  offfered by Stemco Kaiser?.
They offered 3 different type called qwik fit  budget fit and  econo fit.
What is the best choice ? Or easiest to install.

Trough wich supplier I can buy the parts , I  assume stemco is the factory not the shop where I can buy it.

Gr roma
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: Rickf1985 on July 28, 2017, 10:02 AM
I am hoping Dave will chime in on this because he has talked about this before. The only king pin bushings I have worked with are the metal ones and these are plastic or nylon. You do not want to have to deal with the metal ones and reamers and all of that!

I just looked up higher in this thread and it was in this thread that Dave was talking about the bushings. Unfortunately his pictures are gone thanks to Photobucket but the text is there and that may help you.
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: DaveVA78Chieftain on July 28, 2017, 08:49 PM
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: Rickf1985 on July 29, 2017, 07:34 AM
And there you have it, Dave is the man!
Title: Re: Tutorial On Steering Spindle Replacement
Post by: roma on July 30, 2017, 01:29 PM
Thank you guys you helped me out again.
This forum has been of great value for me.
Dave your Dodge site is :)clap :)clap