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Dial Indicators - how useful?

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GranTorinoSport View Drop Down
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    Posted: 20-May-2015 at 5:40AM
So as part of my brake repair work on my 66 Chrysler 300, I am replacing the rear wheel bearings. Unlike the Ford and GM family of cars, Chryslers have separately lubed rear wheel bearings (using bearing grease, separated from the axle lubricant by a seal in the tube). Furthermore, they require an adjustment of like 0.03" of end play on the RH side, and there is an adjustment "thing" which may or may not be serviceable on my axle.

Obviously the only legitimate way to measure the end play would be to get a dial indicator set. I'm ok with that, provided it has additional future use.

I never use the micrometers I have. I do use the digital calipers quite a bit though.

Torn on the dial indicator. Wanted to hear others opinions & uses for them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aquartlow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2015 at 7:03AM
  I have used my magnetic based dial indicator for checking rotor "run-out", setting backlash on rear axle gears, degreeing camshafts, checking crankshaft/camshaft thrust endplay, camshaft "events" and etc. Although not something that is used everyday, but in certain situations it is a very handy tool when accuracy is paramount.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2015 at 10:22AM
Unless you have another way to measure axle end play...   best to bite the bullet if you need it.
This is one of those places where tolerances are critical, and a new "correct" axle is about a zillion dollars if something goes wrong, (not to mention safety hazards of a failure while moving)
out of curiousity, do you have the studs, of does it still use bolts to hold on the rear wheel?
The above post should be read in a "Grumpy Old Man" voice.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GranTorinoSport Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2015 at 11:11AM
The axle housing flange has studs in it - it is a Chrysler 8 3/4 inch rear (not sure if they were all that way or not). It uses self locking nuts to hold the axle/bearing/seal/cover assembly onto the axle housing flange.

I had considered getting new self locking nuts as well.

On the passenger side (only) apparently there is the "adjustment" mechanism for end play. I have not disassembled that side yet to see what that means. I have seen a photo of one - it is just an unremarkable piece of angled metal, so this should be a treat.

I felt very strongly about replacing the bearings. It has 190,000 miles on it and to my knowledge they were never greased (there is not a requirement as far as I can tell). When I got one shaft out, the bearing was still intact, but I can only explain the lubricant left behind as a "black goo". It was neither rear axle lubricant, grease or a mixture of both. Probably could have been used as a prop in a horror flick.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2015 at 1:48PM
X2 on what todd and randy said! if they have 190,000 miles on them i'd probably replace them. also most of those old chryslers had left hand thread lug nuts on the left front and rear wheels and right hand threads on the right side wheels FYI (unless someone has changed them to all RH thread)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2015 at 3:14PM
The first time I tried to take a back wheel off an old Chrysler, I thought I broke the car... the wheel was held on with bolts instead of studs and lug nuts. My shop teacher got a good laugh out of our reaction.

Edited by Big Bird - 20-May-2015 at 3:14PM
The above post should be read in a "Grumpy Old Man" voice.
Almost forgot: "Get off my lawn!!!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bata747-8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2015 at 3:20PM
Yes, it still has LH threads. The car is basically unmodified from new. I added Mopar electronic ignition, but it still sports front drums and single reservoir master cylinder (of which I am completely replacing along with lines etc)

I need to start a progress thread on this.

Found a good dial indicator, Fowler. U.S. made, a little pricey but U.S. made.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2015 at 5:18PM
i've heard of them, i think they are decent
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GranTorinoSport Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2015 at 7:37AM
So I received the Fowler dial indicator set today from Amazon that I ordered.

First off the bat, I noticed it was actually made in China:





The set looked nice. It had a heavy magnetic base and was nicely laid out in the case.



Then I took the dial indicator itself out… It does not line up on zero:



There is an adjustment of the dial face but it is not even close. No manual came with the set, and fowler, who has a great website, does not have any manuals for their dial indicators available. 

It seems pretty ghetto that brand new the indicator is way off and there is no conceivable way to correct the issue. 

Sadly, I think this will be going back to Amazon. It was $120, far more expensive than many obvious off-shore varieties, but at the time I thought it was a US made product so I was ok with that. 

Not so ok with it anymore.


Edited by GranTorinoSport - 23-May-2015 at 7:38AM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gransport72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2015 at 8:33AM

That dial indicator has a set screw at about the 2 o'clock position, you loosen the knob and you can spin the dial to your zero, as you use a dial indicator on a mounting base it doesn't always go to the same spot, that is why you can turn the dial to zero. It looks like a good setup I don't think it looks defective. I've been an automotive machinist for eight years.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2015 at 12:08PM
scott, jason is right, you rotate the outer glass to line up with zero
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90 S10 BLAZER 4X4 LIFTED
77 CELICA CUSTOM
75 V8 MONZA SUPERCHARGED
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2015 at 1:58PM
Mine has a little knob, like the winder on a watch, that you zero with. The glass has a pointer that you can set at locations to show the max travel for the needle. For measuring runout, for instance.
The above post should be read in a "Grumpy Old Man" voice.
Almost forgot: "Get off my lawn!!!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2015 at 2:11PM
I'm too lazy to go look for mine (dark in the garage and there are spiders),
so I used your picture,  I don't know if yours works the same, but it looks like you have all the same parts.
The above post should be read in a "Grumpy Old Man" voice.
Almost forgot: "Get off my lawn!!!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2015 at 3:04PM
SPIDERS??? Shocked
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90 S10 BLAZER 4X4 LIFTED
77 CELICA CUSTOM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2015 at 4:07PM
Yeah, Spiders. Eight-legged creepy-crawlies.
My old dial gauge is somewhere in my garage. I think I used it last to check runout and backlash on a 3.50 centersection for the thunderbird about 8 years ago. (It's in a 5-gallon pail, still not installed)
The above post should be read in a "Grumpy Old Man" voice.
Almost forgot: "Get off my lawn!!!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2015 at 8:14PM
Originally posted by Big Bird Big Bird wrote:

Yeah, Spiders. Eight-legged creepy-crawlies.
My old dial gauge is somewhere in my garage. I think I used it last to check runout and backlash on a 3.50 centersection for the thunderbird about 8 years ago. (It's in a 5-gallon pail, still not installed)

  !!!
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90 S10 BLAZER 4X4 LIFTED
77 CELICA CUSTOM
75 V8 MONZA SUPERCHARGED
79 COURIER VERT. SLAMMED
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2015 at 8:33PM
these i do not like!!! Black Widow Illustration
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74 VETTE CUSTOM
90 S10 BLAZER 4X4 LIFTED
77 CELICA CUSTOM
75 V8 MONZA SUPERCHARGED
79 COURIER VERT. SLAMMED
75 VEGA V6 5 SPD
70 CHEV C10 P/U
68 MUSTANG FB CONVERSION
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GranTorinoSport Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2015 at 3:26AM
Guys, thank you for the clarification. I decided to keep the set, it is rather nice. I have to admit, I think I was extremely disappointed when it came as a "Made in China" unit and I was hoping/expecting a US made unit. 

I did buy an 18 inch rule from them as well off Amazon. It is US made and quite nice I must add. Too bad all their stuff isn't, but I guess how do you compete with HF selling for for $7.99 or whatever they have them for.

Unless you are making something that competes with a Mitutoyo, which is a whole class in itself.

While many of my projects *turn into* science projects, they are not true science projects that require such a level of precision as a $400+ dial indicator from a Japanese company. 

Maybe someday...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GranTorinoSport Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-June-2015 at 9:53AM
Just a follow-up. I did use the Fowler set I ordered from Amazon, and it did work quite well for the axle shaft bearing adjustment:


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eliteman76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-October-2018 at 6:32AM
I'm late tot he party here but with a dial indicator they have their uses, especially for setting up ring and pinions and checking back lash. And BTW HOW THE HECK did I miss the "tools" section.
 
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