On His Wheels!

posted Sep 10, 2013, 7:13 PM by Sara Imberi
Sunday morning we had one goal: Get KITT back on his wheels.

We started with the driver side.


First we had to locate the bolts for the brake shields. They were easy to find because of my baggie labeling.


Jonathan insisted on cleaning the bolts before installing the brake shields. He cleaned them with the wire wheel and then dropped them in the WD-40 bath.


Jonathan did a test fit on the driver side brake shield, and then got to wondering about the gasket that goes between the brake shield and the knuckle. The service manual lists the gasket with a GM part number. We did not have the gasket, nor was there any evidence there ever was one. Neither of us remember scraping anything off that could have been a gasket either. But since both the service manual and the parts and illustrations book list the gasket, Jonathan decided to check a couple of parts stores to see if anyone has them. We made a quick trip to both O'Reilly's and Advance Auto Parts, but neither of them sell the gasket or showed a listing for one in their computer system. Jonathan decided to just install the brake shields as is, but we need to remember there is no gasket between the front brake shields and the knuckles.


Once home, Jonathan started by wiping the WD-40 off the bolts.


He threaded the bolts onto the brake shield by hand.


Then he tightened the bolts down with a ratchet.


Driver side brake shield is installed!


Jonathan repeated the process for the passenger side front brake shield.


Next up: front rotors. Troy ordered rotors that already had the bearing races pressed in. This made bearing installation easy.


Before Jonathan started with the inner bearing and the grease, he did a test fit of the inner seal. This is going to be the driver side front rotor.



The container says Greek Yogurt, but it is actually grease from Troy. Jonathan first greased the inside drum of the rotor.


Then he packed the inner bearing the way Troy showed him.


He pressed the inner bearing into place.


Then he greased the seal.


"Sara, get these gloves off me." That grease is gross. It even smells gross. We went through a few pairs of nitrile gloves Sunday. 


Troy lent Jonathan this tool to press the seals in. Jonathan used a rubber mallet to tap the seal into place.


Seal is in place. 


Jonathan flipped the rotor over and we started on the front side. I was in charge of opening the boxes of bearings, separating the races from the bearings, and putting the races back in the boxes. It was a very important job.


Packing the outer bearing. The grease smelled great.


The bearing is in place! We're done assembling this rotor. (Want some yogurt/grease?)


To install both the rotors on the spindles, we needed two retaining washers, two nuts, and two dust caps. The baggie marked "front wheel bearings" contained these items: two inner bearings, one outer bearing, one retaining washer, one nut, and one dust cap. That is a problem since this car is named KITT and not GIMP and therefore needs both his front wheels.  


Jonathan decided to go ahead and put the driver side rotor on since we had the hardware for one wheel.


Jonathan lined up the retaining washer. It has a notch on one side and can only go on one way (all car parts should be like this).


Then he hand threaded the nut.


Almost on! I am not really sure why I took this picture. It is a good picture of the driver side front rotor though. : )


Jonathan tightened down the nut while turning the rotor, until he could feel a slight drag. This properly seats the bearings. 


Then he backed off the nut just far enough to insert the cotter pin.


Taa daa! Driver side front rotor with not-so-shiny dust cap!


I made cheesy rotini for lunch and then the search for the missing wheel hardware was on! Jonathan started digging through boxes. All these boxes were clearly labeled by me, and none of them listed "wheel hardware" or anything to that effect.


I told Jonathan instead of completely tearing apart the garage, we should put the back wheels on the car, and give ourselves a chance to think about where the missing hardware could be. We pulled the first tire off the stack, and taa daa! Look what appeared! Our missing hardware! The baggie must have fallen inside the stack of tires.


While I was taking a picture of the missing hardware, Jonathan installed the rear driver side wheel.


I got to put the lug nuts on the wheel, though. Unfortunately I was not smart enough to put my gloves on first, and my fingers got a little chewed up. It was one of those "Oh, I guess I should have my gloves on" moments.


Jonathan rolled the second wheel to the rear passenger side. I put the lug nuts on this wheel too.



Third wheel! This one is going to the front driver side.


Remember all that dirt? 


Jonathan put the front driver side wheel on, dirt and all.


These are the lug nuts. We had 19 of the shorter lug nuts and 1 long lut nut. Guess which was native to KITT's wheels? If you said the long one, you are correct! 1/20 - that is pretty bad.


Jonathan used his impact wrench to tighten all the lug nuts on the three wheels we installed.


Done! KITT has wheels! (Well three, anyway...)


Now onto the fourth and final wheel. First Jonathan cleaned up the dust cap, retaining washer and nut that we found stuck in the stack of tires.


We got the new rotor out of its package.


Jonathan gloved up and got started.


First he greased the seal.


Then he packed the inner bearing with grease. (The grease smelled even worse the second time, if you wanted to know.)


After packing it in grease, Jonathan placed the inner bearing inside the race.


I used Troy's tool and the rubber mallet to press the wheel bearing seal into place. (Actually I pounded it more than pressed it. Jonathan was able to "press" the first one into place. I definitely had to "pound" the second. I am just not strong enough to "press". ;) )


I flipped over the rotor (it's heavier than it looks) and Jonathan packed the outer bearing with grease. Then I sealed the yogurt container and labeled it with masking tape. I was very glad to be finished with the greasy part!


Jonathan slid the rotor onto the spindle and put the retaining washer in place. Then he threaded the nut on by hand.


He tightened it with the ratchet while turning the rotor, until he could feel a slight drag. This properly seats the bearings. 


Here is a picture of one of the original cotter pins next to one of the pins Jonathan used on the rotors. The new cotter pins are shorter than the original, but they worked okay.


Installing the new cotter pin:


Time to put the wheel back on!


All four wheels are on! Now they just need some air. Jonathan used the tire gauge and found out most of the tires had literally no air in them. 0.0 pounds. Hopefully this will be the only time our tire gauge shows a reading of 0.0 psi. It was kind of freaky.


Jonathan used our air compressor to put air in all the tires. He filled the front tires to 34 psi and the rear to 35 psi.


The air compressor is loud so I wore the awesome pink ear muffs my Dad got for me. I love them, and I love my Dad! :)


This is a picture of Jonathan asking me, "Why are you taking a picture of yourself?" (Answer: to show off my pink ear muffs, duh.)


After the tires were all filled, we got out the jack!


Jonathan used the newly-installed subframe connectors as the jacking point for each side. Jonathan said it was so much easier than trying to get the jack to fit under the K-member or the rear axle.


The difference between the height of the passenger side and the height of the driver side would have been too much, so Jonathan had to lower the car down onto the jack stands, sans the wood blocks.


Even doing so, the car was still at quite the angle. Take a look at that tip! It's almost Ski Mode!


Jonathan moved to the passenger side.



He removed the jack stands and lowered the car down all the way on the passenger side.




He's almost down!


Jonathan just had to remove the jack stands from the driver side.



Now he's down!



After fourteen long months, KITT is back on his wheels!



Jonathan put the wheel chocks in place, just in case.


Jonathan talked to Mario on Monday morning to let him know the car is ready whenever he is. Mario said it will be sometime in October.