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Old 06-27-2011, 09:06 PM
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antiswaybars

I have a 32 chevy sedan with a 4" overstock dropped axle. My problem is front end wandering from side to side going down highway. Steering is tight, no play in steering box. I am wondering if anybody has any suggestions to cure this. Also would an anti sway bar help cure this? Thanks.

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Old 06-27-2011, 09:44 PM
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Do you have a panhard bar installed on your front axle? If not, that would be a great place to start.

Andy
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:08 PM
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panhard bar

I do not have a panhard bar. Does it hook from either side of the frame to the axle in the middle?
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:15 PM
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A sway (anti roll)bar really wouldn't help any way. Their purpose is to limit/control body roll in a turn or sudden direction change.

Front end alignment settings can have a big impact on wandering.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:10 PM
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The panhard bar attaches as you stated, to the frame on one side, and to the axle on the opposite side. It should be as long as possible to reduce lateral axle movement with suspension travel. There are many kits available.

The addition of a panhard will greatly reduce the sideways movement of the axle likely eliminating the wandering your are experiencing.

Andy
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:30 PM
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panhardbars

So does that mean I need to drill a hole through the axle to bolt to it? Thanks.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:01 PM
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front suspension design

Do you have the 2 parallel spring front end ? you might need more front end castor, they make wedges that fit between the spring and axle to align the front ends. changing tire size or wheel offset can also cause wander. A steering stabilizer (horizontal type shock absorber) usually helps. you see them on jacked up 4 X 4 's with big tires. also old VW bugs used a small one.. also some trucks came stock with one. If the spring shackles and spring eye bushings and bolts are in good shape you should not need a panard bar with the 2 parallel spring front end. a Ford type suspension with a single spring allows the front end to rock sireways on the shackles , especially when the longer lowering shackles were used , a panard bar helps them.

Last edited by timothale; 06-29-2011 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:14 PM
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http://www.speedwaymotors.com/Front-...Bars,2209.html

This link shows a traditional style panhard for an early Ford. There are many styles and mounting types available. If you could post a photo of your front suspension we would have a better idea of what you are working with.

Andy
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:37 AM
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The solid axle is the most simple form of suspension and should IF ALIGNED properly drive straight as an arrow.

First thing to look for is if you are getting "bump steer". (Click here for explaination)
The link provided is discussing a RAISED car but lowering it does exactly the same thing. If the drag link (the link from your steering box pitman arm to the spindle) goes in a different arch than the link holding the axle which is in your case the leaf spring, then you could be getting bump steer. This is VERY common with lowered or raised cars.

If all that is good, then simple wheel alignment could be the whole problem. Not enough caster is a big one for wandering. This diagram is for an independent front end and not a solid axle but the same principle applies.
The more caster the more it wants to go straight. The less caster makes the front tires "bite" when you turn and help it want to bite and turn more. Think about your bicycle, with the front forks turned around backwards you have negative caster and it wanders if you take your hands off the handlebars. It will turn VERY quickly and you can turn a tighter circle. The land speed record cars will have 18 degrees caster while an auto cross BMW 3 series will have just a degree at most so it will bite and turn the corners.



Often when a car is lowered caster gets effected.

Toe in or toe out can also affect how the car tracks.


I just had a little Dodge Neon hot rod in the shop and it drove like a friggin go-cart, the steering was so positive just a little touch of the wheel it would dart one way or the other. It was within specs but on the outer edges of the specs nearing a "toe out". We brought the toe in to the inner edges of the specs and wham, that go-cart feeling was gone.

So just alignment maybe your only problem.

Brian
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:33 AM
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By the way you can adjust the caster with shims.

What steering box are you running?

Brian
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:09 PM
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I have found that most of the time when a car with a straight axle wanders it's either the caster settings or the steering box is not centered.. (you said the steering box is tight, so I'll assume it's properly adjusted) All modern steering boxes have a "high" spot in the sector shaft, so that the steering box has absolutely no play when it's in the straight ahead position. It's easy to check to see if the box is centered.. Set the wheels in the straight ahead position, remove the drag link from the pitman arm. Turn the steering wheel from lock to lock, counting the turns and marking the position of the wheel at each stop. I use a piece of masking tape on the column and another on the steering wheel adapter and make matchmarks. Then carefully turn the wheel back exactly half the amount of turns. You should feel the box get slightly tighter when it is centered. There is about 10 degrees either way from the centered position where it is tight. Once you have the box centered, adjust the drag link so that the wheels are straight ahead when the box is centered.

This should be checked before any caster change is done, as no amount of caster will fix the wandering an uncentered box will cause.

Later, Mikey
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Old 07-01-2011, 11:52 AM
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If your kinpin angle is not negative enough you'll wander all over the road. Kingpins should be set around 5-7 degrees negative to eliminate the problem you have. Less than that and they'll wander all over.
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Old 07-01-2011, 11:58 AM
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positive castor and toe in will solve your problem. check your settings. castor will center the steering and make the car track straight. toe out will make the car wander, with toe in once again the car will track straight. on my drag car i run 6 degrees castor and 1/8th toe in, it goes straight down the track with no steering input, thus i can concentrate on shifting. it takes effort to actually turn the car with positive castor...
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techron
positive castor and toe in will solve your problem. check your settings. castor will center the steering and make the car track straight. toe out will make the car wander, with toe in once again the car will track straight. on my drag car i run 6 degrees castor and 1/8th toe in, it goes straight down the track with no steering input, thus i can concentrate on shifting. it takes effort to actually turn the car with positive castor...
Yep, my Austin gasser is 7 degrees castor and 1/8" toe in. Drives straight at all speeds.
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:46 PM
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wandering

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I do have the paralell leaf springs. I put on a Unisteer cross steering for a ford and I know it is not for a chevy but I made it work anyway with a fabricated bracket even though Unisteer said it would not work but does. So now I have cross steer which is where the wandering started. I did not have any castor angle. Today I installed 5 degree castor shims to the negative. After I get it put back together I will set the toe in at 1/8 negative and then see how it steers before I put a panhard bar on. Thanks
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