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My N/S swivel housing was showing the usual symptoms of leaking between the main seal and chrome ball, added to that there was play in the top railko bush as picked up in the last MOT. I also wanted to remove the free wheeling hubs and check over the brakes on that wheel as during braking the vehicle was pulling to the right indicating that that something was amiss with the N/S brakes. Time to get to work, I duly ordered all the parts I was likely to need and after supporting the vehicle on axle
stands I drained the axle and swivel and removed the 2 track rod ends and road wheel and began stripping down. To remove the FWH (free wheeling hub) I undid the 6 bolts to remove the end cap and then after removing the split pin I undid the round castle nut to remove the main body of it completely. To remove the main hub the large lock nut, lock washer, main nut and thrust washer were removed and the hub pulled clear along with the drum. The outer wheel bearing will now be loose, don’t drop it!
The brake pipe was released and then the brake back plate was released and along with it the stub axle. Pull out the half shaft and undo the six bolts securing the swivel housing to the axle. Place it in a vice or on a bench and release the lock tabs before undoing the four bolts releasing the top railko bush. Do the same with the bottom steering arm and remove the bottom bearing and finally the chrome ball. The swivel housing was then given a good scrub in my trusty parts washer.
Take the new chrome ball and tap in the replacement railko bush, there is a fibre disk which sits in the bottom of this but don't fit it yet. Instead soak it in EP 90 and continue to assemble the chrome ball. The bearing race needs to be knocked in now, keep it square otherwise its a right pig to get in. Once done knock in a new half shaft bearing and your ready for reassembly. Grease up the new top pin, and pack the bottom swivel and half shaft bearings with Lithum high Temp grease. Fit a new ‘O’ ring around
the bottom steering arm pin and bolt it to the housing bottom to a 50 lb torque setting. Knock the lock tabs over and turn the housing the right way up. Put the bottom bearing in place and insert the chrome ball. Fit the small now soaked disc into the Railko bush and put a few shims between the top pin and housing. Bolt this down to 50 lb but do NOT knock the lock tabs over just yet.
Its important that the chrome ball should have a resistance of 8-10 lb. To little and you’ll experience wheel wobble, to much and the steering will be stiff and parts will wear out quicker. Use a set of fishing scales or similar to pull the ball from one side to the other. Once moving the resistance should be measured. To adjust remove or add different thick nesses of shims between the top pin and housing. Its a case of trial and error really but its important to get it set up right.