GM Astro/Safari 1985-1996 Repair Guide

Knuckle and Spindle

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1 and 2



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the steering knuckle mounting



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Use a suitable steering linkage puller to disconnect the tie rod end from the knuckle

The following procedure requires the use of the GM Tie Rod End Puller tool J-6627 or equivalent, and the GM Ball Joint Remover tool No. J-23742 or equivalent.

  1. Raise and support the front of the vehicle on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheels.
  4.  

When supporting the vehicle on jackstands, DO NOT place the jackstands directly under the lower control arms for the vehicle may slip off the jackstands during the steering knuckle removal.

  1. Remove the brake caliper from the steering knuckle and support it on a wire.
  2.  
  3. Remove the grease cup, the cotter pin, the castle nut and the hub assembly.
  4.  
  5. Remove the splash shield-to-steering knuckle bolts and the shield.
  6.  

When removing the splash shield on late-model vehicles equipped with ABS, be sure to disconnect the speed sensor wiring and to treat the shield like an electrical component (Don't submerge it in solvent or anything which could damage the speed sensor assembly.

  1. At the tie rod end-to-steering knuckle stud, remove the cotter pin and the nut. Using the GM Tie Rod End Puller tool J-6627 or equivalent, separate the tie rod end from the steering knuckle.
  2.  
  3. From the upper and lower ball joint studs, remove the cotter pins and the nuts.
  4.  
  5. Place a floor jack under the spring seat of the lower control arm and support the arm.
  6.  
  7. Using the GM Ball Joint Remover tool No. J-23742 or equivalent, separate the upper ball joint from the steering knuckle.
  8.  
  9. Carefully raise the upper control arm just sufficiently to separate it from the steering knuckle.
  10.  
  11. Using the GM Ball Joint Remover tool No. J-23742 or equivalent, separate the lower ball joint from the steering knuckle, then lift the steering knuckle from the lower control arm.
  12.  
  13. Clean and inspect the steering knuckle and spindle for signs of wear or damage; if necessary, replace the steering knuckle.
  14.  

To install:
  1. Position the steering knuckle onto the lower ball joint stud, then lift the upper control arm to insert the upper ball joint stud into the steering knuckle.
  2.  
  3. Tighten the upper ball joint-to-steering knuckle nut to 52 ft. lbs. (70 Nm) for 1985-87 vehicles, or to 65 ft. lbs. (85 Nm) on 1988-96 vehicles.
  4.  
  5. Tighten the lower ball joint-to-steering knuckle nut to 81 ft. lbs. (110 Nm) for 1985-92 vehicles, or to 90 ft. lbs. (125 Nm) on 1993-96 vehicles.
  6.  
  7. Install new cotter pins to the ball joint studs.
  8.  

When installing the cotter pin through a ball joint stud and nut, if the hole is not clear, always tighten the castle nut additionally to expose the cotter pin hole. NEVER loosen the nut for alignment.

  1. Remove the floor jack from under the lower control arm.
  2.  
  3. As necessary, lubricate the ball joints using a grease gun.
  4.  
  5. Install the tie rod end to the steering knuckle.
  6.  
  7. Install the splash shield, then tighten the shield-to-steering knuckle bolts to 10 ft. lbs. or 120 inch lbs. (14 Nm).
  8.  
  9. Install the hub and bearing assembly (along with the brake caliper), then adjust the wheel bearings. For details, please refer to General Information & Maintenance of this guide.
  10.  
  11. Remove the jackstands and lower the vehicle.
  12.  
  13. Before attempting to move the vehicle, pump the brake pedal slowly until a firm pedal is felt (this will seat the brake pads).
  14.  
  15. Check and adjust the front end alignment, as necessary.
  16.  

 
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