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Thread: 944 bell crank repair options

  1. #1
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    Default 944 bell crank repair options

    Hello All
    The ball joints on my 944's bell crank are completely worn out. There is up to 1/2" of play in one and 3/8" play in the other. There are no available spares from Cat. To make matters worse it has been repaired before but very poorly. It has been welded before and test drilling confirms it is not cast iron. I am thinking of using a ball joint rod end (like this one) and welding a bolt in the hole the old ball joint was in. The old ball joint had a 15/16" UNF thread so if I go to a 1" bolt it should be as strong as the old one. The amount this machine will be used I doubt the rod end will come loose. Does anyone have a better idea or know where I can source weld in tapered ball joints?

    Also the ball joint tapers at the wheel end of the tie rods have been loose for some time so the holes are elongated. The actual tapered shaft on the ball joints are still fine. I want to fill the holes with weld and drill them out and ream a taper. I think the taper is 10:1 or 5.71 degrees, can anyone confirm the taper Cat uses?

    Regards

    Phil
    D6-5R, D6-4R, D8 15A x 3, 955K Tracked Loader, 944A Wheel Loader, 305CE Excavator, XQE20 Generator

  2. #2
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    If at all possible, I would drill the hole and put a bolt through instead of welding it. I would be afraid of the welded in bolt snapping off at the edge of the weld. I guess if that happens you could drill it out at that time.

    Have you checked aftermarket sources? I donít have a parts book for the 944 but if you want to post the numbers, Iíll look. Our 944 needs the same treatment but the owner doesnít really care that you canít travel in high range high gear. I was able to source the needed joints for my 922b and itís tight now.
    Last edited by ccjersey; 06-03-2020 at 05:31 AM.
    D2-5J's, D6-9U's, D318 and D333 power units, 12E-99E grader, 922B & 944A wheel loaders, D330C generator set, DW20 water tanker and a bunch of Jersey cows to take care of in my spare time

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccjersey View Post
    If at all possible, I would drill the hole and put a bolt through instead of welding it. I would be afraid of the welded in bolt snapping off at the edge of the weld. I guess if that happens you could drill it out at that time.
    Thanks for the reply ccjersey and that is a good point. I will machine up a couple of bushes and weld them in. Then the bolt will not be heat affected.
    Have you checked aftermarket sources? I donít have a parts book for the 944 but if you want to post the numbers, Iíll look. Our 944 needs the same treatment but the owner doesnít really care that you canít travel in high range high gear. I was able to source the needed joints for my 922b and itís tight now.
    Yes but only in Australia and on ebay.
    I would need to replace the entire bell crank assembly to be able to fit new or used OEM ball joints and seats. Bell crank part number is 4K2861. Stud part number is 4K3792. Seat 3K5181, ring 2K5340, spring 2K5335 and the plug 2K5334.

    Regards

    Phil
    D6-5R, D6-4R, D8 15A x 3, 955K Tracked Loader, 944A Wheel Loader, 305CE Excavator, XQE20 Generator

  4. #4
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    Default Truck Components

    Hi Phil,
    ball studs may be the same as Mack, Kenworth etc. TRW may have something but I feel they are car market stuff.
    I would check with a decent truck repair place and see what they offer.

    The bell crank should be cast/forged steel and so would be weldable, as long as it is not going to be used on the Highway, using correct pre/post heat procedures with low hydrogen rods.

    It is a tough one to repair as the wallowed out bell crank bores are part of the ball stud housing as there is no room for a standard ball stud anchor nut to clear the other components.

    Maybe even cut the damaged ball stud hole ends off the bell crank and weld on new sections machined to suit standard ball stud components by using just the ball stud, spring etc--the weld on sections would need to be machined to suit the dimension of the discarded new ball stud casing so that the lock ring, spring, cap etc fit the newly machined replacement ball stud hole--sheesh.

    Trying to recall if we did some this way at The Dealer--way back before welding steer components was outlawed and Highly Illegal now--for good reason if not done correctly.

    A few charts for heavy ball joints :-

    https://www.bareco.com.au/files-tierod-un2

    Cheers,
    Eddie B.

  5. #5
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    Looks like you need a couple of very large suspension ball joints instead of rod ends.

    O in
    I guess the most important part would be to get ones with the tapered stud correctly sized for the tie rod socket and then worry about installing a bushing by welding or otherwise in the bell crank to accept the socket end of the unit.
    D2-5J's, D6-9U's, D318 and D333 power units, 12E-99E grader, 922B & 944A wheel loaders, D330C generator set, DW20 water tanker and a bunch of Jersey cows to take care of in my spare time

  6. #6
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    If youíre looking for a Tie rod end to use the Bareco B5559 JD replacement is listed as 23.6 mm diameter at top/thread area and 26.5 mm at bottom of taper. I havenít seen anything else anywhere that big but I am a bit cautious that those dimensions are a misprint because the JD part number they interchange with seems to be on some pretty small tractors. But I have no personal experience with any of them so maybe thatís really how big the stud is.

    Another idea I had and what I would probably do if I had to do something quick and dirty would be to ďpourĒ a bearing cup in the bell crank using molten bronze or a hard babbet around the best ball stud I could come up with. It would certainly not hold up as well as the original but should last a while and take all the slop out. Might even pour it around the existing bering shell if it fits the ball at all well.

    Another idea I had is to retrofit the tie rod and belcrank to use the ball stud and bearing from the outer ends of the tie rods. I believe those are still available as I got an aftermarket set a couple years ago. Iíll try to remember to look tomorrow to see if that is even somewhat of a possibility.
    D2-5J's, D6-9U's, D318 and D333 power units, 12E-99E grader, 922B & 944A wheel loaders, D330C generator set, DW20 water tanker and a bunch of Jersey cows to take care of in my spare time

  7. #7
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    Tie Rod Numbers.jpg
    Hello ccjersey
    Thanks for the ideas and the info. The tie rod ends are not available any more from Cat 4K3597 (Part number not found). I don't think mine are original as they do not have a Cat part number only the part number shown in the above pic.
    Drag Link Length Difference.jpg
    At some stage there has been major mods done to the links and the bell crank. The links shown in the pic should both be the same length. This is the cause of the loader having very bad toe in and also it steered more one way than it did the other way.
    Eddie it is too late for the welding as you can see in the following pictures. Very poor welding too. Don't worry, this old girl will never be on a highway nor even a sealed road, at least not while I own it.
    Bell Crank Weld.jpgBell Crank Ball Socket.jpgBell Crank Weld 2.jpgBall Joint Weld.jpg

    At this stage I am going to go with the ball joint rod ends with a bolt through the bell crank and rod end. I cannot find any suitable ball joint replacement here in Australia. No website that has something that looks suitable lists the thread dimensions. I don't think there is enough clearance to use two outer tie rod ends especially since one tie rod would be overlapping the nut from the other rod end.

    If at a later date I find something more suitable or the rod ends won't stay tight then I can easily change it then. Ideally I would be able to find a press in ball joint of the correct size.

    According to the info I got from Cat about the link the correct taper is 1.5 inches per foot which is 7.15 degrees so I was way out with my measuring

    Thanks for the ideas.

    Regards

    Phil
    D6-5R, D6-4R, D8 15A x 3, 955K Tracked Loader, 944A Wheel Loader, 305CE Excavator, XQE20 Generator

  8. #8
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    Those are really buggered!

    I canít imagine that the spring usually found inside a unit like that wasnít ruined by the heat of welding them in. I expect they didnít last nearly as long as normal.

    What could they have been thinking on the tie rods? Theft prevention? Couldnít go very fast getting away!

    I replaced the ball stud and bearing on one of the tie rod ends a couple years ago. Seems there were some small parts of the assembly I didnít/couldnít get but I put it together as best I could and it steers pretty well. Keeping it in my lane on the highway keeps me busy at top speed but itís possible. Had to make a run just at dark the other night to shove a tree out of the highway after a storm. Thatís the longest drive and the highest speed Iíve taken it up to since I worked on the steering.

    Good luck with the 944, I donít think thereís any way but up from itís present condition!
    Last edited by ccjersey; 06-09-2020 at 09:37 AM.
    D2-5J's, D6-9U's, D318 and D333 power units, 12E-99E grader, 922B & 944A wheel loaders, D330C generator set, DW20 water tanker and a bunch of Jersey cows to take care of in my spare time

  9. #9
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    Default Rose or Heim Joints

    Hi Team,
    I wonder if large Rose/Heim joints in say 3/4" and up sizes would work--not sure if seal boots are available for this size but would be easily replaced and simple to fit with Grade 8 Cat bolts as I am sure longevity would be marginal--cost etc. would be a factor too.

    http://www.mcgillmotorsport.com/3-4-...ce-rod-end-36/

    Cheers,
    Eddie B.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Dungay NSW Australia
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    Default

    Hello All
    Sorry for the late reply. I have fixed the bell crank as best I can given the parts availability. The ball joints had been bored out before so all I had to do was oxy out the old ones and machine a new bush up to take the alternative ball joints.
    So far I have done the following;
    Bored out the bell crank main bore.
    Machined new oversized shaft.
    Removed old ball joints and machined bushes up to retrofit the new rod ends.
    Machined new link bars from the wheels to the bell crank to take the new rod ends (And to reset them to the correct length.)

    I have the following still to do
    Weld up the holes in the hub mounts and re-drill and ream them to the correct taper.
    Inspect the rest of the link bars from the steering box to the bell crank. One has been bent and re-straightened but I think it is now too short.

    Ball Joints.jpgShaft 01.jpgShaft 02.jpg

    I have tensioned the bolts up to as close as I could get to the correct torque for a 1" UNF grade 8 bolt but I expect it will eventually come loose. The tapered ones do

    Regards

    Phil
    D6-5R, D6-4R, D8 15A x 3, 955K Tracked Loader, 944A Wheel Loader, 305CE Excavator, XQE20 Generator

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