Nicholas Fluhart

December 19, 2009

Taylor Welding

Filed under: Day to Day — Nicholas Fluhart @ 1:40 am
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Maintaining strategic alliances with competent local and regional companies is a smart move for any business owner. I’ve been blessed to have a handful of these alliances which have been beneficial to my business. One such example is Chris Taylor, owner of Taylor Welding which specializes in pipeline and related equipment in the oil and gas production and transport industries. We’ve worked together on some projects at my shop as seen below.

We’ve been good friends since childhood and have worked together on several endeavors over the years, so when I received a call for assistance in emergency truck repairs I loaded my tools and headed for Louisiana.

The Truck: The rig we’re working with here is a Ford F-250 6.0 Powerstroke Diesel 4×4 with a dual wheel conversion and suspension upgrades.

When I arrived I was informed the issues were brake failure, loose steering and popping during turns. The truck had to be back in service at a job location as soon as possible. We promptly determined we would need new front brake calipers, pads, rotors, as well as ball joints. It was about 25°F outside so we found a place to get the truck inside. Limited on tools and time, we knew it would be a challenge, nevertheless we immediately got to work…

Getting Started

Removing the Spacer.

A few months back we had installed new axle seals on each side of the front differential, new Warn locking hubs, and new brake pads. The truck had seen many miles of rough off-road service since then, and although the brakes and ball joints were now gone, the axles, seals, and hubs were still in great shape.

Now what we had to do once we removed the wheels was pull the brake calipers, rotors, 4WD locking hubs, front axles, tie rods, and steering knuckles which contain the ball joints.

Pulling the left front axle.


Once everything was removed it was time to install the new components, starting with the ball joints. We were able to place the steering knuckles in the vise on the back of the truck and drive the old ball joints out by first heating the knuckle with an oxyacetylene torch. Lacking a hydraulic press, the only way we could install the new joints was to freeze them and then heat the steering knuckle which enabled a fairly smooth installation. However, to avoid damage to the new joints, we fabricated adapters from a few pieces of pipe that matched the outside diameter of the ball joints.

Once we got the new ball joints in, we installed the steering knuckles, axles, and hubs before installing the new brake rotors and Wagner Thermoquiet calipers. We also took time to replace the thermostat on the engine.

Installing the new thermostat.

Installing the front caliper.

When all the new parts were installed and the brakes were bled, it was time to zip it up. We put the wheels back on and took it for a test drive, albeit about 2:00 AM by this time.

It drove out great and the truck was ready to go back into service. This post made it sound like an easy task, and although it was fairly straightforward, it was quite an undertaking especially considering the circumstances. Plus, we had to make multiple trips to the parts store due to the incompetence of the counter help who gave us the wrong parts. This was definitely not a job for the novice do-it-yourselfer. Overall, it was several hours of hard work, finishing up in the wee hours of the morning, but everything worked out great and we got the job done successfully.

Until next time…


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