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Author Topic: 88 Duke Cradle Drop  (Read 6578 times)

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TopNotch

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88 Duke Cradle Drop
« on: July 23, 2017, 10:49:22 PM »
I need to change the transmission on my 88 duke t-top car, so I need to drop the cradle. This will be the third time I have dropped the cradle on this car, so it's getting to be old hat.
I decided that you guys might like to see pictures of what is required to do this, but I thought of this after doing the work, so these will be "after the fact" pictures. And progress will be slow, as I usually can only work on this on Saturdays, weather permitting.

The first thing you need to do is pull the fuel pump fuse, start the car, and let it run until it dies. This is to relieve the presure in the fuel lines.
Then, starting on the passenger side of the engine compartment, remove the battery and the plastic battery shield, disconnect all ground connections in this area, and disconnect the fuel lines.


Disconnect the connections just aft of the battery, including the wires held on by two nuts below the connector shown in this picture. Put the nuts back on their studs for safe keeping.


Move to the driver side of the engine compartment, and remove the fuel pump and AC relays from the firewall. Put the screws back in their holes for safe keeping.


Remove any ground connections in this area.


Relieve all pressure in the AC system, and remove the AC lines where they connect near the side of the car. Put something over the exposed holes (I used some aluminum HVAC repair tape).


Remove the shift and select cables from the transmission.


Remove the fluid line from the clutch slave, and plug it with something.



Now working in the center area of the engine compartment, remove the coolant hose from the thermostat housing.


Remove the throttle plate from the intake manifold. The little wire going from this to the throttle body can fall out and get lost, so remove it and put it somewhere for safe keeping.


Remove all vacuum lines except the EGR line from the throttle body.


Remove the vacuum line that supplies brake vacuum.


The next area of work is under the car. Jack the car up by the cradle and put it on jack stands under the cradle.
Remove the nuts from the forward cradle bolts, but do not remove the bolts at this time.


Remove the hoses from the passenger side coolant tube. The smaller heater hose may not have to be removed, but it gets in the way of the cradle when it's dropping.


Remove the parking brake cable. On an 88, the parking brake adjustment is in front of the cradle, and the actuation cable goes through a hole in the cradle, so it must be removed. To do this, loosen the adjuster quite a bit, and put a spring compressor on one of the parking brake springs (at the calipers) to give you some slack. It's still not very easy, but easier with all the slack you can get.


Remove the brake lines at each rear wheel and secure them out of the way.


Remove the heat shield that is fastened to the lower fire wall. The AC lines pass between this and the firewall, so it must be removed.


(Not shown) There's a heater hose connected to the underside of the intake manifold. The stock connection for this is a "quick disconnect" connector that tends to corrode and be frozen with age. I had to replace mine with something else long ago. In any case, this hose needs to be removed.

That's all I have for now... more coming later.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 10:39:29 AM by TopNotch »
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TopNotch

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2017, 01:30:42 PM »
I finished getting the cradle out, so here's the picture record...
The next step is to undo the inside-the-car wiring. The bundle coming from inside the car is fastened to the firewall in the engine compartment, so undo the bolt holding it.


Disconnect the connectors on the ECM, and the connectors just below it


Remove the screws holding the ALDL connectgor.


Remove the clip holding the connector on the driver's side...


...and push the wiring with all the connectors you disconnected into the engine compartment. You will probably have to alternate pushing and pulling from the engine side.


Make a dolly to hold the cradle using 2x4's and castors. It should measure 34.5x18" (outside dimensions). The castors should be of a size that will raise it 3.5" off the ground, and should be rated at least 200lbs each. NOTE: The dimensions given are for an 88 cradle. Other years would probably be different.


Jack up the car enough to remove the jack stands, and then lower it onto jack stands placed at the rear of the cradle, so that it is not very far above the ground. Place a sturdy scissors jack at the rear of the cradle, and position the dolly under the cradle as shown.


Remove the jack stands and lower the cradle until it touches and puts some force on the dolly, but not too much. The dolly can hold up the cradle, engine, and transmission, but not the whole car.


Remove the engine side bolt of the dog bone, and swing it up out of the way.


Remove the strut nuts.


Remove all the cradle bolts. You had already removed the nuts from the front bolts earlier, so it's just a matter of pushing them out. If they won't go easily, turn them with a socket wrench while pushing the other end with your finger. After a bit of this, they should pull right out.


Now comes the fun part -- lifting the car. Some people lift it by the deck lid latch, but that's a BAD idea. The best way is to remove the bumper cover and lift it by the bumper. There was a single hole in my bumper just to the right of center where I could put a hook, but no hole on the left side, so the first time I did this, I made a hole. Lift the car a little bit at a time, checking for snagged wires, etc., as you go.


Lower the car onto a 4x4 and jack stands placed just forward of where the cradle attaches.


Roll the cradle out from under the car, going through a wheel well, and then back it behind the car, where you can work on it.


I invariably make some kind of boo-boo when I do this. This time I forgot to detach the inner splash shields from the cradle, and the holes were ripped. Oh, well, I can either staple them or get new ones from Rodney.


The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.

Roger

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2017, 09:00:53 PM »
Don't forget the obligatory photo of 'standing in the engine bay'.  ;D
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TopNotch

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 08:58:55 PM »
This past weekend I swapped transmissions on the cradle. I only have two pictures to share. The first one shows the jack I placed under the engine, because the transmission mounts normally hold up the back of the engine. And I also wedged a small board between the front of the oil pan and the cradle, because the engine will try to flop over without the transmission mounts.


The other picture shows how I secured the clutch arm when I installed the "new" transmission. If the arm is accidentally pushed forward while you're working, the wire clips that hold the throw out bearing to the fork will come off. Then you have to back out and start all over.
And no,  I didn't paint the transmission red.  It came that way. And yes, I know the bolt in the clutch arm is missing. I will get the one from the old transmission.

The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.

Raydar

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 09:53:19 PM »
Thanks for sharing.
Where did your replacement trans come from?
"Some mornings, it's almost not worth gnawing through the restraints."

TopNotch

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2017, 10:53:25 PM »
Thanks for sharing.
Where did your replacement trans come from?
Tha Driver
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TopNotch

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2017, 12:10:46 PM »
I forgot to mention that while I had the transmission off, I put in a new clutch kit. The disk in my old clutch was getting very thin.
The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.

GTRS Fiero

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2017, 06:22:18 PM »
Is this about ready to go back together?

TopNotch

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2017, 06:33:29 PM »
Hopefully this weekend.
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GTRS Fiero

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2017, 06:36:39 PM »
This will look interesting, having a yellow car, with a chrome valve cover on the engine, and a red transmission.

TopNotch

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2017, 08:49:08 PM »
This will look interesting, having a yellow car, with a chrome valve cover on the engine, and a red transmission.
It's actually a polished aluminum valve cover. It's a SD4 valve cover.
I have seen a car with one that was chromed, though. Very nice. If it wasn't so expensive, I'd get mine chromed.
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GTRS Fiero

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2017, 10:28:10 PM »
I wonder how hard it is to chrome aluminum.  I had some fun welding an aluminum canoe.  I bought a rental canoe that'd been wrapped around a tree.  This canoe had a 2" keel.  Huge, compared to what I was used to.  I straightened the canoe out, welded it, and replaced rivets as needed.  Not a pretty welding job with an arc welder.  It was a pain.  A friend came over with a mig welder and finished the job.  His welding was fast and looked much better than mine.  I think an arc welder does not work on aluminum.

I have been told that it's possible to power-coat stainless steel, so maybe aluminum isn't so bad for chroming.

TopNotch

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2017, 10:52:48 PM »
Aluminum can be brazed with this. I have some -- it actually works.
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Roger

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2017, 05:03:47 AM »
I forgot to mention that while I had the transmission off, I put in a new clutch kit. The disk in my old clutch was getting very thin.
What brand clutch did you use?
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TopNotch

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Re: 88 Duke Cradle Drop
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2017, 08:24:54 AM »
What brand clutch did you use?
Luk OEM type.
The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.