solid axle steering set up question
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Thread: solid axle steering set up question

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tuske427's Avatar
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    solid axle steering set up question

    OK, I'm running into a bit of a conundrum with my '55 Gasser steering set up, the situation is this:

    - shackles are in the front (stock '57 chevy truck axle/ shackles)
    - I want power steering (I intend to use a hydroboost unit for the brakes, and will need a PS pump anyway)
    - I want a reasonably quick steering ratio (under 4 turns lock to lock)

    The (speedway) steering arms I have are currently set up for a rear steer, but with a rear steer everything I'm finding in my local junkyards is for a front steer vehicle, and to reverse the pitman arm, regardless if it's back to front, or front to back, won't fit my car. It puts the gearbox way down and low in the back and will make connecting to my steering wheel column extremely difficult. I've tried 2 boxes and this is the result. I'd also like to avoid spending 5-800$ for a "new" box. With this in mind it seems I have 2 options:

    option 1- find a suitable used power steering box that meets the above criteria that would mount in front of my axle but work for a rear steer vehicle. so the pitman arm would point towards the back of the box. This would mean buying a third box for this car, as the first two I'm not able to make work. Probably my preferred option, and less work than option 2.

    option 2- revise the steering to front steer. If I do this I can use the gearbox I have (Saginaw from 90's jeep), but then I will likely eliminate any ackerman angle I have now, and it puts the steering on the same side as the shackles. I have read mixed opinions on doing this, so I'm not sure.

    Am I missing something? Input appreciated.

    Thanks!
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    Long Live the Muscle Car
    @Tuske427

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Road Angels's Avatar
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    Have you measured the ackerman with those arms...I found that it was really poor and went with different arms...also depending on what box you use you have the option of going to a dropped arm on the box...4x4 sites are a good place to shop for some things just watch out for price rip offs... I believe that the arms you have on there now are for bottom use and throw the ackerman off even more when mounted that way...I switched to these but are for ford spindles these put the ackerman back into close spec. and can go top or bottom if you have the clearance...but you do lose the 1" rise being center bolted
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails truch 002.jpg   truch 003.jpg  
    Last edited by Road Angels; 07-07-2019 at 03:37 AM.
    Lash

  4. #3
    Administrator 1946Austin's Avatar
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    It's pretty simple fix. Mount the tie rod and arms off the bottom spindle holes to the back side of the axle. Then mount a steering arm off the top side spindle holes pointed forwards to connect your drag link to. This is the method I've used on every front side steer axle I've ever done. I just bought an extra pair of steering brackets from Speedway to do this on my '39 build. Speedway only sells them as pairs so you're stuck buying a pair, and using whichever one works best on the top right side.
    Vall

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Tuske427's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys, for the fast replies! I'll reply to each specifically below

    Quote Originally Posted by Road Angels View Post
    Have you measured the ackerman with those arms...I found that it was really poor and went with different arms...also depending on what box you use you have the option of going to a dropped arm on the box...4x4 sites are a good place to shop for some things just watch out for price rip offs... I believe that the arms you have on there now are for bottom use and throw the ackerman off even more when mounted that way...I switched to these but are for ford spindles these put the ackerman back into close spec. and can go top or bottom if you have the clearance...but you do lose the 1" rise being center bolted

    I did, by running a string from the pivot point of the spindle to the back axle and the steering arm hole ran straight through the string. However, my caster is too extreme at the moment and I have on order some lesser aggressive shims to bring the caster back to 7-8 degrees. Right now it's closer to 11. I'll recheck it once I have shims on there that closer represent my final caster as that may have affected my results. I can easily cut/ reweld these as needed to adjust. The steering box I picked up Friday is from a '95 Grand Cherokee 4x4 and has a dropped pitman arm.

    Good to know that I may have the arms mounted wrong, thank you for pointing that out. Didn't realize that it mattered.


    Quote Originally Posted by 1946Austin View Post
    It's pretty simple fix. Mount the tie rod and arms off the bottom spindle holes to the back side of the axle. Then mount a steering arm off the top side spindle holes pointed forwards to connect your drag link to. This is the method I've used on every front side steer axle I've ever done. I just bought an extra pair of steering brackets from Speedway to do this on my '39 build. Speedway only sells them as pairs so you're stuck buying a pair, and using whichever one works best on the top right side.
    I like it, and I can see that working. Do I need to worry about the front steer with the shackles also in front? I'm thinking a panhard bar would help control side to side movement.
    Long Live the Muscle Car
    @Tuske427

  7. #5
    Senior Member Road Angels's Avatar
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    Before you get another arm set check to see if the calipers will mount with the arm on top...you can do like Vall says..and that is what I did on my first axle but I had to grind the shit out of the one arm for steering and would have to bleed the caliper with the arm off...the caliper would not mount in a position for it to clear the arm .do a mock up of all the parts first do not do it the hard way like I did.....................lol
    Lash

  8. #6
    Senior Member Tuske427's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Angels View Post
    Before you get another arm set check to see if the calipers will mount with the arm on top...you can do like Vall says..and that is what I did on my first axle but I had to grind the shit out of the one arm for steering and would have to bleed the caliper with the arm off...the caliper would not mount in a position for it to clear the arm .do a mock up of all the parts first do not do it the hard way like I did.....................lol
    Good advice, thanks! Nothing ordered yet- I only have it "added to cart" and won't pull the plug until after I mock things up. I'd also like to see some front rims on this thing finally.
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  9. #7
    Administrator 1946Austin's Avatar
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    There's no need to cut those arms to adjust Ackerman. Simply make up spacer bushings to go between the spindle holes and the arm to move the end of the arms in or out if needed. I personally have never found enough variance from good angles to ever need to adjust those arms. But on my Austin I had to run front side tie rod, and also front side steering, so I bushed the arms to adjust the end angles.
    Steering on the same side as your shackles wont be an issue unless you used long shackles. With say 3" centers shackles, and polyurethane spring eye bushings it should not move enough to even notice it. I did front side steering and front side shackles on my '63 Falcon with poly bushings, and short shackles. It drove great and I couldn't notice any difference between it and rear side shackles.
    Calipers can be mounted front or back of the spindle. So as long as the bleeders are on top it wont be an issue to move them to where they clear. They can even be mounted upside down if needed, but it requires them to be pulled off and turned upside down to vacuum bleed them. I had to do this on my Austin due to clearance issues, and it worked fine. I plumbed them up and simply held them upside down while I put my vacuum bleeder on them. Then once the air was bled out I turned them over and installed them. Been working great for a decade now. Had a friend who does frontend work for a living notice them right off and told me they were upside down, and can't be bled. Guess he didn't know how to work outside the box, and when I told him what I'd done he had that "duh" look.
    Vall

  10. #8
    Senior Member Tuske427's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1946Austin View Post
    There's no need to cut those arms to adjust Ackerman. Simply make up spacer bushings to go between the spindle holes and the arm to move the end of the arms in or out if needed. I personally have never found enough variance from good angles to ever need to adjust those arms. But on my Austin I had to run front side tie rod, and also front side steering, so I bushed the arms to adjust the end angles.
    Steering on the same side as your shackles wont be an issue unless you used long shackles. With say 3" centers shackles, and polyurethane spring eye bushings it should not move enough to even notice it. I did front side steering and front side shackles on my '63 Falcon with poly bushings, and short shackles. It drove great and I couldn't notice any difference between it and rear side shackles.
    Calipers can be mounted front or back of the spindle. So as long as the bleeders are on top it wont be an issue to move them to where they clear. They can even be mounted upside down if needed, but it requires them to be pulled off and turned upside down to vacuum bleed them. I had to do this on my Austin due to clearance issues, and it worked fine. I plumbed them up and simply held them upside down while I put my vacuum bleeder on them. Then once the air was bled out I turned them over and installed them. Been working great for a decade now. Had a friend who does frontend work for a living notice them right off and told me they were upside down, and can't be bled. Guess he didn't know how to work outside the box, and when I told him what I'd done he had that "duh" look.
    Good to know on the steering/ shackles, thank you. they are 3" in length. Funny you mention the upside down calipers, and yeah, I too have dealt with an upside down caliper- my '67 Firebird came with one when I bought it. Some previous owner had a driver side caliper on the passenger side- the only difference being where the bleeder valve is tapped into the caliper. I had to deal with bleeding it once, and could have drilled and tapped a new one to fix it, but they weren't on the car long enough to bother with.
    Long Live the Muscle Car
    @Tuske427

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