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My yearly inspection came due on my truck. As I always do I did my own inspection so that the best surprise is no surprise. The truck needed lower ball joints, an idler arm, and the parking brake was not holding.

The idler arm and ball joints were both fairly straight forward repairs and required approximately an hour per side. The parking brake was another matter all together.

The rear dust shields rotted out from our fine Western New York winters. To replace them the axles have to be removed. Of course the bolts on the pumpkin needed to be cleaned up just to undo them. Got the cover off and dropped the lube into a screen covered pan so I could check it for metal since I was there. The truck is a 4x4 and I now I know it does not have limited slip, but the differential is in great shape!

The truck has rear disc brakes with the parking brakes inside drums built into the rotors. With the backer plates rotted off the drums were shot and the rotor portion was not all that great either, even though the brakes worked fine.

Bought new backers, dealer item only, new drum/disc rotors, ceramic pads, new slide pins and high temp lube. Then proceeded to install the parking brake shoe on each side. They did not fit! No way no how could I get the drums over the shoes. The brake is a single shoe they that spreads when the actuator pushes on the ends. I got that all free and adjusted to fully closed, and the shoes were still to big.

At this point I pulled them back off and tried them in the drums, they fit. My options were to cut the drums to to fit the shoes when they were spread to fit over the actuators or grind back the ends of the shoes. I choose the later!

By removing .0020 on each end of the shoes I have a nicely working parking brake. I also have a fully serviced differential, new lube, new axle seals and it should last as long as I own the truck before the backers rot out again.

The new front end parts made a huge difference in drive ability . Steering is a bunch tighter and rough road is less noticeable. I also put my summer tires on.

One more note. The new ball joint on the left hand side had no issues, but on the right hand side the grease fitting was too close to the edge of the hole in the A-arm. I could not get the grease gun on it. I bought a set of diamond cutters for the Dremel tool. They are made by Forney, cost me $13.00 for the set of 20 and I am impressed with them. I enlarged the hole with one and it held up. The diamonds stayed on it.
 

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Follow up!
The truck sure does drive a lot nicer. After the new front end parts I also decided to change the pitman arm. Going to do that today.

Since I bought this truck the (ABS) light has been on. The red warning light came on after the last ball joint was replaced and I could not get it to go out. On the right hand hub the wires were cut, and I noticed the left hand hub was spitting rust. Decided to replace them both even though they cost me $125.00 per side. Research told me that if one speed sensor was not working the computer will compensate and only turn on the (ABS) light, if the second one goes bad the brake warning comes on.

Now I am driving a vehicle that does not have any warning lights on, almost seems strange! My wife tells me that the truck is now stealth, the dogs are fooled and do not bark when I pull in the driveway. Very very quiet. When you drive a vehicle daily I guess you get used to the gradually evolving changes in the sound as parts wear out!

I am also tracking my gas mileage to see if it has improved. This freshen up may have a pay back!
 
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