K-Member Removal At The Boneyard

MBigDaddyM

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Greetings all, I am wanting to put the FJM Body K-Member under my 69 Dodge 1/2 ton and found a 5th Ave at one of the local self service yards. The yard only allows battery operated power tools and all mine are corded. Can this be done with out power tools? I've seen the posts that say drill a hole and soak the K-Member bolts, I don't have weeks to do this. Also what size are the K-Member bolts? The upper control arms will get stuck on the frame on the way out? Is there anyway around this, like with a prybar? How plausible is a boneyard pick and what all of you recommend? -BD
 

Mikes5thAve

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Its going to depend on how rusty everything is. I got the independent rear suspension assembly out of a clean car before and it was no big deal.
It'll add more work if the engine is still in it.
 

Duke5A

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Greetings all, I am wanting to put the FJM Body K-Member under my 69 Dodge 1/2 ton and found a 5th Ave at one of the local self service yards. The yard only allows battery operated power tools and all mine are corded. Can this be done with out power tools? I've seen the posts that say drill a hole and soak the K-Member bolts, I don't have weeks to do this. Also what size are the K-Member bolts? The upper control arms will get stuck on the frame on the way out? Is there anyway around this, like with a prybar? How plausible is a boneyard pick and what all of you recommend? -BD

Yes, you need to split the upper ball joint or it'll all get hung-up on frame rail. You'll also need to separate the steering box from the rag joint. The motor will have to be suspended some how too. Maybe take the hood off and use that mobile engine hoist that has a chain fall you typically see at those pick 'n pull yards.

I don't know what size the K member bolts are, but this entire thing is doable with just hand tools. Bring a breaker bar along with a cheater pipe.

The biggest PITA is going to be splitting the upper ball joint without an air hammer. I suppose you could unbolt the upper control arm from the K and let it hang the ball joint still attached. Just be sure to pull the rotors off the lessen the weight.
 

80mirada

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I would unbolt the shocks at the top and unbolt the upper control arm mounts from the cross member. Also make sure to unload the torsion bars.
 

BudW

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I would agree with @Mikes5thAve, it depends on how rusty things are.
With that said, F-bodies tend to be more rusty than M or J-bodies. The last few years of M's hardly have any rust (except for the rust belt states). My '86 Fifth Ave has sat outside every day of its life and doesn't have a single rust bubble on it - well, let me rephrase that. I do have some surface rust from where the paint de-laminated - but getting off topic now.

About 15 (or so) years ago, I removed the powertrain, K-frame and suspension from a car ('84 Gran Fury police) in the middle of nowhere on a trailer, without the use of anything but battery and hand operated tools - so it can (and has) been done. I didn't even have access to a cherry picker at this location. The car was intact at the time (still on all 4 tires) but on a trailer. This is what I did, going by memory - but steps might be out of order (hey, it was 15 years ago...):
I removed the steering column (Three bolts to firewall, two nuts to dash and either 2 bolts if disconnecting the rubber donut (by booster - which has little access by the way). Disconnect the shifter rod from column first, which is also not an easy job (yellow arrow, below). Removing the roll pin from steering gear shaft might be easier than messing with the donut (orange circle, below). For the roll pin, I went to hardware store and bought a long metal round bar 5/16" (7.5mm) in diameter and three foot long (1m). I then drilled a hole into a broken hammer handle I had (about 4" long) to make a tool to drive the roll pin out with. Note: try to stop before the roll pin exits the collar. The pin needs to be driven out about 2/3rds of the way. Otherwise that roll pin disappears, never to be seen from again. You might need the steering column and intermediate steering shaft to adapt to your pickup, maybe.
20210528_111339.jpg


Disconnect the speedometer cable from back of speedometer. Push out the firewall grommet and push the speedometer cable out and into the engine compartment.

Raise car (using jack stands) to remove the propeller shaft, the shifter linkage (transmission and frame rail). Cut the exhaust around or after the transmission somewhere (it is SO much easier to work with the exhaust after engine is removed from vehicle). The shifter linkage and propeller shaft may or might not be needed for you. If you have a spare propeller shaft yoke, stick it into the transmission now. It will prevent loss of ATF after removal.

If engine is still in car, remove the fan shroud and cooling fan. If you are saving the radiator and/or fan, I might recommend placing a piece of cardboard between the radiator/fan blade to prevent damage. It is best to remove the fan shroud and fan blade together - and yes, it not an easy job - but less likely to damage the radiator and/or fan blade if you don't do it this way. Note: removing the upper radiator hose first does make this task easier.
The way I do it, is unbolt the shroud but leave one upper screw somewhat in place. Place cardboard between the radiator and should. Unbolt the fan blade using an 1/2 inch combination end wrench (using the closed end) and a long screwdriver in other hand between another bolt and fan hub to keep the pulley from rotating. Once all four bolts are loose, then remove the bolts. The drive belt(s) do not need to be loosened first.

With fan and shroud out of the way, disconnect the transmission cooler hoses or line nuts (depending on year car you are working on). I prefer to replace the cooler hoses (if present) because those hoses are bad about leaking over time, - so in this case, I will get four 5/16" short bolts ready, cut the hose about mid way, and insert two bolts into both ends of each cut hose. That will significantly slow down what could be a massive ATF leak.

Remove the radiator.
The radiator and fan shroud most likely will not work well for your pickup. The fan blade might (clutch fans perform better and gets better mileage than the straight fans do).

Remove engine hoses (including fuel), wiring harness and throttle cable.

Jack up the front of the car and remove the tension off of both front torsion bars. Keep track of how many turns used to let off the pressure. I think 8 or 10 full turns will do the trick (if I remember correctly). just put this number (turns to loosen) someplace safe. to refer back to. You don't want to take all of the pressure off but enough to aid its removal, later.
When you get ready to use this K-frame, a good start is to have the torsion bar tension as it was in car, then can adjust from there.

Remove the front shock absorbers. If shock studs are rusted badly, then take a deep socket and extension then move the top of the extension sideways to break the studs. It takes a bit of effort but is easier than messing with the nuts. You will be using new shocks, are you not?

Remove the front bumper. If an F or M-body - be careful for those are HEAVY. Avoid removing the fiberglass header panel (M-body) for that can be time consuming without much aid to the K-frame removal. There are four nuts that hold the front bumper onto the bumper shocks. Once front bumper is off, remove both front bumper shocks. The rear most bumper shock bolt can be a tough one.

Get some 4x4's or something bigger than a 2x4. I used a pair of 8 foot long landscape timbers - which are flat on 2 sides and rounded on other two. Drill holes into the wood and bolt into the place of the bumper shocks. Block the rear tires. I then took a 4x4 and placed under the two landscape timbers (two support both) and a floor jack (or whatever) centered under the 4x4. A cherry picker would work well here - if you had one.
Bumper 4x4.png


Loosen all four K-frame to frame bolts a couple of turns. At this point, the front wheels need to be off (if not already done so).

With tension off of the torsion bars, place a floor jack (or something) and place under a control arm to give it some support. Remove the upper control arm adjustment
fasteners. The lower fastener will stay in the frame rail, for now - but be sure to grab those fasteners once brackets are off! With upper control arm off, remove the upper control arm plates - which has four fasteners (7/16"x1" bolts have a 5/8" head) each side, to the K-frame. The control arm plates have to be removed for the frame rail is sandwiched in there.
Repeat for other side.

I used two bottle jacks and a floor jack (under K-frame) for this: unbolt the transmission crossmember. Remove the four K-frame bolts. Raise the car body (leaving K-frame in place). Bolt the upper control arm brackets back onto the K-frame (don't need to be tight). I took normal bolts/nuts and attached the upper control arms onto the brackets.
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Reattach the front tires. Now your k-frame/engine/transmission is ready to move. I took a 2-wheel dolly and was able to pickup the transmission crossmember with the dolly and can pull the assembly around. I could also use the same dolly and put the base between the two torsion bars and could pull the assembly that way, as well - but most of the unsupported weight is on the transmission tail (in other words, it was a huge drag, sic). From there, i could get it onto another trailer using a electric wrench or a come-a-long.

At this point, the front of the car is not that heavy.

Hopefully this will help you.
If your intended victim, err target, already has the engine removed, then a big plus.

BudW


Edit, with engine removed, I could still move the K-frame suspension assembly with the 2-wheel dolly with the fork between the torsion bars. it was pretty easy to move that way wheels the wheels still attached.
 
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MBigDaddyM

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Thanks for the info everyone. I have no desire of the engine and tranny. Just need to get the K-Member out with all associated hardware. I assume the 318 is still in it, but haven't gone to look at it yet. It sounds like I have all the tools to do the job. I'm not against suspending the engine from one of their hoists. -BD
 

MBigDaddyM

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Found a donor (87 5th Avenue) I can buy and take home, but it's been hit in the front end at some point. The car has been rebuilt and has a rebuilt title. I don't see any cracks on the underside of the K member or unusual wear on the tires. Can't see much of the top side as the engine (318) is still in the car. Thoughts? -BD
 
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BudW

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It is hard to damage the K-frame (unless major rust is an issue) on these cars - even in a front end collision - UNLESS the K made direct contact with something hard (like a curb or a bridge). The rubber mounts have a lot of give in them. If you don't see any impact marks on the K-frame, then I suspect it may be fine. Cracks will be harder to find until off of car and cleaned thoroughly.

The torsion bars are offset on the K-frame - so looking at it will make you think it might be bent or twisted - but that is an illusion.
I will recommend reinforcing all of the welds and even reinforcing the K-frame before installing it - if you plan on stressing it much (road race, heavy hauling, hydraulic suspension, and so forth). If normal daily driving or to car shows, then you should be fine.

If you can adapt some kind of solid mounts (iron, aluminum or polyurethane) between the K-frame and frame, it will make the vehicle handle a lot better over the existing rubber mounts.

On a side note: if you do get the car, there might be others here interested in other parts of the car - so you might have the chance to recoup part of the cost of the car purchase, maybe.

If you are using a stock small block in your pickup, the A999 transmission from the Fifth Ave might be a good choice for you. The lockup converter will give better fuel mileage and the lower first gear will give you a lot better feel on performance (over the existing A904 or A727, if it is currently an automatic).
BudW
 

MBigDaddyM

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I bought a car it's in the parts for sale section under "Parting 86 Chrysler Fifth Avenue"
 
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