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We deal with the front beam of the Gazelle - repair or change to a new one?

We deal with the front beam of the Gazelle - repair or change to a new one?
Light trucks of the Gorky Automobile Plant are known not only in Russia, but also in other CIS countries. Debuting in 1994, they are still produced today, having gone through several restylings.

"Gazelle" is known for its cheapness, unpretentiousness in repair, and most importantly, it is able to endure overloads for a long time, thanks to a huge margin of safety. The secret of the domestic car is simple - the design features of the hodovka come from the USSR. At that time, overloads were commonplace.

What foreign-made light commercial vehicles can still endure such treatment as the Gazelle? There is no doubt that, with regard to engines and gearboxes, and overall reliability, foreign cars are better. Yes, only they need to be operated in accordance with the carrying capacity.

Разбираемся с передней балкой «Газели» – чинить или менять на новую?Such a "Gazelle" can be overloaded twice. Photo: Youtube.com

It is necessary to “score” on maintenance and foreign trucks will begin to break down. Getting them back on the line is often expensive, especially "fresh" models. And for the Gazelle, as drivers and their owners joke, spare parts are sold in buckets.

Of course, not everything is so rosy, and the quality of parts for domestic cars is often depressing. But if it is possible to drive the car onto a flyover, then it can be repaired independently using a simple set of tools.

Today we will talk about the front beam of the Gazelle. In general, the suspension of a domestic truck is spring, as in the good old days. Accordingly, the beam is the simplest, cast.

Removed front beam. Photo: Youtube.com

It is difficult to break this knot, except in a serious accident, but working out here happens. As a rule, in the front beam you have to change the pivots that connect this part to the steering knuckles. If the assembly is initially of high quality, and the owner of the car services it, then a noticeable backlash appears on average at around 100 kilometers.

Suspension maintenance mainly consists of spraying (lubricating) moving joints. If this is not done, then the pivots will have to be changed after 20 thousand km. This occupation, for all its simplicity at first glance, is quite laborious, dirty and requiring physical strength.

Pivots and features of their replacement

If, during the diagnosis of the Gazelle front suspension, backlashes are found at the junctions of the beam and steering knuckles, the car needs repair. If the case is not running, then a simple replacement of the pivots is enough.

Some Gazelle owners, who usually use them for their household needs, recommend new-style repair kits. They have needle bearings instead of bronze bushings.

Remkomplekt for replacement of pivots. Photo: Youtube.com

On the one hand, the use of such a kit simplifies further beam repairs. No need to agonize over knocking out bronze bushings and then reaming them out for new ones... Needle bearings are easy to insert and remove, just need to be lubricated.

But for the workers of the Gazelles, who are on the line every day, such “tuning” is not suitable. The bushings will last up to 100 thousand kilometers, subject to injection. Needle bearings - usually 20. They simply destroy the kingpin, whose hardness is not enough.

The next nuance is that if the truck was not looked after, that is, the suspension was not lubricated, then it may not be possible to knock out the pivots. You will have to remove the front beam completely, press out or heat intractable parts. Often, the problem is aggravated by "stuck" nuts - they have to be cut off with a "grinder".

Self-replacement of pivots

Many Gazelle owners prefer to repair cars with their own hands. If the front suspension has been serviced, then the kingpins can be replaced without removing the beam.

An interesting way to hang the front of the car. Photo: Youtube.com

It is advisable to find a suitable pit, overpass or lift. This is not necessary, but then there will be room for action. Some use metal goats specially welded for this purpose, and the car is thrown onto it with an ordinary loader.

If you have to work without a pit or overpass, then the front end should be raised on jacks and put on props. Then the wheels and calipers are removed. Do not forget about the dismantling of the rods.

Further actions depend on the state of the connections. If the suspension was regularly injected, then the pivots will most likely be knocked out. Sometimes heating with a gas lamp helps. After removing the kingpin, the steering knuckles are removed. Now you need to knock out bronze bushings from them.

It is best to clamp the part in a vise. You can do without them, but it is difficult and traumatic, plus there is the possibility of damaging the mounting hole.

Wheels are removed first. Photo: Youtube.com

Most often, the bushings are knocked out with a powerful screwdriver - they bend the edges, and then use a suitable fixture. On the prepared and cleaned place you need to put new parts. It is recommended to drive them through a special spacer so as not to damage them.

Next, we go through a 25 mm sweep. So the bushings are prepared (drilled) for the installation of repair pivots. In the process of work, the main thing is not to overdo it. Otherwise, the part will not fit tightly and everything will have to be redone after several thousand kilometers.

During operation, the reamer must be lubricated with machine oil, and all chips must be removed.

After installing the bushings, it remains only to return the steering knuckles to their place, drive in the pivots, connect the rods, calipers and wheels.
In general, all the work is simple in words, but many nuances can arise in the course of its implementation.

Steering rods are relatively easy to remove with a special tool. Photo: Youtube.com

If you cannot knock out the pivots without removing the beam, you will have to dismantle it. To do this, unscrew more shock absorbers and tie rod with a lever. The work of knocking out the pivots with the front beam removed will be easier.

Checking backlash

Before you begin to repair the suspension, you need to diagnose it. You can do this both independently and at the service station. It is better to turn to professionals - it is inexpensive, plus they will immediately diagnose the entire suspension.

There are a number of indirect signs by which an experienced driver can determine the need for beam repair:

✅ The tire tread on the front axle starts to wear unevenly
✅ Knocks appear in the suspension
✅ Driving becomes not as clear as before

If it is possible to hang the front of the Gazelle, then it is not difficult to determine the wear of the pivots or the beam itself. It is enough to try to move the wheel in a vertical plane back and forth. If a play of more than 2 mm is visible, then measures must be taken.

Of course, the cars of the Gorky plant are able to drive for a long time even with a broken front suspension. Sooner or later, this attitude will lead to an accident.

Suspension care

In order for the front beam to nurse at least 100 km, like the pivots in it, it needs to be injected every 000 km, and this should be done diligently, without missing a single knot. Unfortunately, modern drivers often neglect this procedure.

There is not much lubricant. Photo: Youtube.com

How exactly to lubricate the pivot joints - there is no consensus here. You can use thick oil or lithol. The last grease is better - it stays in the joints longer.

What to do if a beam is broken

If the front suspension is not serviced for a long time, then replacing the pivots may not solve the problem. It happens that it breaks the beam itself, or rather, the holes in it. It is not always necessary to look for a new part.

You can try to bore the beams under the bushings. Someone is trying to fix the situation by welding. All this can help, but usually thousands per 15-20 km, no more.

Should I buy a new front beam for the Gazelle? See what the situation is. If you can get away with replacing the pivots, that's the best thing to do. New beams, unfortunately, do not always differ in quality.

The bushings must be hammered in carefully. Photo: Youtube.com

Finding a good part is a lottery, some of them are made in garage conditions from poorly tempered steel. Experts recommend looking for used front beams from Gazelles until 1999. They are hardened and very rarely broken.

From the same repairmen, you can learn interesting statistics on the operation of "non-native" front beams. Often they have to be changed along with the pivots - raw steel, nothing can be done.

Repairing the front beam of the Gazelle is a simple matter. And in order to do this as rarely as possible, you need to periodically inject the suspension. Unfortunately, buying a new beam is not a panacea, but rather a lottery.


Photos used: https://youtube.com

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