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Old 08-08-2005, 10:24 PM
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Need steering help with my '37 Dodge coupe!

Hi all, glad to have found this board, hope to gain a lot of knowledge. I'm in the planning stages of building a '37 Dodge coupe. I plan on installing a small block mopar motor and a 904 automatic transmission. I also plan on keeping the stock solid front axle with a disc brake upgrade (at least for a while). Needless to say, the threads on the Mustang II failures as well as some general information on early car handling and previous experience with a '37 Chevy coupe have helped me along with my decision.

My problem is this: the stock steering box is quite large and is mounted on the top of the frame rail and looks like it's going to be directly in the way of the exhaust manifold once the engine is mounted. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to what steering box I could swap in that may work with the other stock steering components and give me more engine clearance. I would prefer to keep the stock steering column too, but would be willing to swap steering columns if necessary too. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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Old 08-08-2005, 11:29 PM
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As the Moderator of Suspension - Brakes - Steering
I would like to

WELCOME YOU HERE....

Not having ever owned a Dodge....I cannot answer your question with specifics..BUT feel sure that you will need another column.

I would look at UniSteer.......it is a rack designed to mount towards the front of the engine bay on the left side and use a couple of u-joints to hook to the steering column.



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Old 08-08-2005, 11:44 PM
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Seems to me there was a thread on this very topic several months ago and the fellow was able to completely upgrade his front end using stock components from later dodge pickups..and even mopar rotors fit..Seems that mopar did not change anything much at all on their beam axles until the time they quit making them..

Perhaps a search can unearth that thread if it is still in the database..

In any case if there were pics posted so we could see a bit more about this maybe we could get a better idea of what we are working on..

OMT
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Old 08-10-2005, 06:41 AM
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Having done a few steering conversions, there are a couple of things you need to be looking for in your search for a "sector" replacement. First is the pitman arm. It must be the same length as the one that is on the car. Second, you wil need a sector that can be mounted so that the pitman arm end is very close to the present location and works very close to the same plane. Next, look at the tapered hole in the new set up for the same size/taper. Ideally, they would be the same, but sometimes they can be reworked by reaming larger and installing a machined bushing. I have cut and welded these in the past, but would never recommend this. Last, I would not rule out a rack and pinion set up. Fabricating a dropped cross member for the sole purpose of mounting the rack would not be too difficult nor would finding a rack that would allow you to utilize the original tie rod mounting holes takes care of any geometry problems.

After all of this, One More Time has a very good point as well.

Trees
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Old 08-10-2005, 08:09 AM
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I appreciate the suggestions so far. I'll try to get some pictures up this afternoon and that may clarify my predicament. I did find the thread reference where someone upgraded their front axle with parts from a mid 60's D-100 (?) pickup, but this doesn't seem like it would help my steering problem and it would just help me upgrade to larger drum brakes... The steering setup in these trucks is very different; the box is in front of the axle. With the steering complications and cost of a simple disc brake upgrade I'm actually considering getting a crossmember from Jim Weimer's Rod Garage and using stock Mustang II components with a manual rack and "big" disc brake setup. It seems like this may be a better way to go rather than a tubular lower A-arm setup. I would value any feedback on this option, too, Trees, Deuce, OMT?

Thanks again!
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Old 08-10-2005, 09:29 AM
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One of the ways out of this pridicament is to get a crossmember with the tubular upper and lower a-arms..these use the Strange or Aldan coil overs and rack and pinion and are a good setup...

jimmeyerracing.com has these as well as Art Morrison..and they can be built in the proper track width to fit your car..Both of these guys have been doing this for years and make a good piece..Being a West Coast kind of guy they are convenient to me here..

One can roll his own IFS but that takes a lot of engineering and tinkering to get it right..and one really has to want to do that..

www.borgeson.com can help with a steering bos if that is all you wish to do..and keep the straight axle..

Actually when all is said and done getting the aftermarket crossmember can save a lot of sweat and time..just costs a bit o cash..

One woudl need to communicate directly with his vendor on the end needs and dimensions in order to get the thing made correctly..

Just my thoughts..

OMT
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Old 08-10-2005, 01:17 PM
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Alright, hopefully these pictures will upload. You can see where the steering box is now and the general front end geometry. This started out because I thought I could make the stock stuff work, it's tight, and so am I right now (two teenagers and a 2 year old). The more I think about the project as a whole and the idea of sinking a bunch of money into the stock front end (from $600 to $1000 with a properly designed r&p steering setup and disc brakes) the more I think it may be worth a bit more to just completely update the front suspension. I anticipate traveling a bit in this car and safety as well as driveability and comfort are big priorities. I got caught up with the nostalgia of my dad's '37 Chevy coupe with the solid front axle and all the trips we took when I was a kid 25 years ago... Well, fudge, I'm having problems loading the pics. If anyone wants them, just let me know and I can e-mail them.
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Old 08-11-2005, 02:12 PM
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Another thought that is if you have the hub to hub dimesion and the width of the esiting frame rails then go shopping at the local wrecking yards for a front end that will fit..

Maybe a Mustang II or an S-10 or camaro Nova type..ther is something out there somwhere that would be workable..

Lot of guys do it this way...

OMT
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Old 08-20-2005, 10:35 PM
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OneMoreTime, do you have any direct experience with Jim Meyer Racing? I checked out his website and called them a couple of times and I'm blown away with their engineering, design and construction. It's hard to believe they're so under the radar when you compare what they offer for the dollar compared to some well known kits. This projects is starting to get away from me financially but it's worth doing once and doing right so I think the Jim Meyer kit's what I'm going with. I sold off some stuff (good ol' ebay) and I'm ready to pull the trigger this next week but some real-life testimonial would be nice.
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Old 08-22-2005, 02:10 PM
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As far as the Jim Meyer parts...I have looked at the parts he makes and I would not hesitate if I needed them to order from Jim Meyer..

There are a number of chassis builders that do operate under the radar so to speak as they are small companies..

I do like the idea of using the GM spindles, rotors and calipers as it gives big brakes without the expense of aftermarket pieces needed to put big brakes on MII spindles..

OMT
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Old 09-07-2005, 10:19 PM
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Steering help/IFS

I just wanted to throw my 2 cents in.
I currently have my 1951 Dodge B-3-C pickup at Jim Meyers Rod Garage in Random Lake, WI. I should have it back in about 2 weeks.
I am having the IFS installed (hub to hub) with large disc brakes, 2" drop spindles, power rack & pinion, he is powder coating the suspension parts for me, installing air ride suspension, boxing the front of the frame, installing motor mounts for a 94 Chevy LT1, and tranny mounts for a 4L60E, Installing my supplied Ford 9" rear end out of a 77 Lincoln with disc brakes, matching the lug pattern on that to the front, Installing a triangulated 4-link suspension in the back with air ride.
Pictures will be on my website. I have a blog page for the truck, as well as a photo gallery.

My web page is www.oldtruck.sytes.net.

I have done about 3 months of research on deciding on which way to go. I had thought about sub-framing something in, putting a pacer front end in, a volare front end, and looked at the other large named company suspension items. I can tell you this, I walked through the shop (since I live about 1 hour away) and I was amazed. Perfect welds on the control arms, and seen some of the work that was there. Very neat an organized shop, and very helpful from all the people there. The best part is the price. The total for the project that I have in there right now is less then 5k. And will roll out when it's done. The turn around should be about 3-4 weeks with powder coat and I did not get a chance to schedule it. I just called and said that I was going to drop it off. They told me that there was 1 truck in front of me and I would have to wait an extra week or two, but told me to drop the truck off. The best part of the whole thing for me was seeing a hand built frame there that they did for someone for a 43 Dodge truck, narrowed the rear, universal trans mount, triangulated rear end with a shortened 9" and their front hub to hub kit on this frame. The frame had no cuts. All mandrel bent rectangular tubing with driveshaft loops and support bracing on the frame. The welds were nothing but perfect...no sanding or grinding...picture perfect. I should have snapped a picture while I was there. Darrell there mentioned that it was a custom built frame done there, built off the original dimensions from the factory frame book, and was modified to accommodate the blown hemi that was going in it. As well as being narrowed.

I have nothing but great things to say about that shop and will stand by them since they are in my back yard, and will go out of their way to help you out.

I will post another update once the truck is done....
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