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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-24-2011 10:28 AM
bsa_bob2 Thank you jim....i can do that although i can turn the wheels and they are two turns to the center both ways.
04-22-2011 07:47 AM
Jim Rockford Its CAR and is the pitman are centered on the box when the wheels are straight? If the pitman arm is off center its gonna cause the box to try and re center its self all the time, like it has a slight pull and you will be over correcting all the time trying to fight it. I had a caprice one with a pull that fancy equipment alignment guys couldn't find, old school guy could figure out, I figured it out just laying under the car looking at the linkage .
04-21-2011 05:17 PM
bsa_bob2 You'er doing fine,i'm learning so its worth the time believe me.I had one spindle worked on as it had frozen partly up. The guy "larry" an old timer looked at it. I ask still binds abit, but not what it used too. He assured me it would work in. He supposedly is father time on these older suspensions.But a $110.00 for an alignment seems a bit high especially when these old of frontends are so simple, yet noone has or kept the tools to do this 50 merc. I guess in the long run taking it to him might be a plus. But-one old old shop who most of the guys i know turn to, decided , he was going to make some money, he looked it over did what he thought it needed , i drove it came back and said "you didn't do a thing to still drives the same". All he said was "thats all i can do , and turned and walked off and left me, his was $106.00 most alignments in lower mich go for between $49.00 and $65.00. Go figure for the old kar guy such as me. see ya bob s
04-21-2011 08:47 AM
front end

when the front end was done, did they install a crossmember for the control arms to mount to? (I'm assuming here that you have some sort of control arm style front end, maybe tubular construction control arms similar to a mustangII setup?) if so, drive the car straight onto a level floor, without turning the steering wheel at all if possible. this will ensure that the frame isn't being torqued up from turning, and the car will be sitting at ride height. then place a level on that new crossmember (don't jack the car up or you will skew the results), front to rear and side to side, say under the engine. it should be level. also, place the level on the lower control arm front to rear. it should be level as well, as far as I know. also, is the lower control arm level from left to right? these things could have a bearing on steering angles if they weren't set up right for your ride height and rake angle (the angle the car sits at from front to rear). like if the rake angle was set up to be 3 deg, pretty common, and you get it home and decide you would like it to sit level or jacked up or down in the rear, then that would throw out the built in geometry from when the front end was welded into the car. also, if the lower control arms are not level to start with then as they go through an arc, as the wheels go up and down over a bump, the track width changes (tires actually slide out and then in (side to side the wheels get farther apart, then closer together) as the wheels go up and down. that would have an affect on the toe in.
if you had the car jacked up and turned the wheels from left to right, and got a tight spot in the middle, try disconnecting the steering column shaft and do it again. maybe there is a tight steering shaft bearing or something is binding or bent in the column. when you have the column disconected the steering wheel should turn 360 degrees with if you gave it a spin it would keep going for several turns. maybe a good idea to take the lower u-joint off the shaft and leave the shaft in the centre support bearing (if equipped) so you will get the best "as driven" model. is the steering column a tilt unit? does it have the same tight spot if the column is not tilted one way or the other? maybe a phasing problem with the u-joint in the column and the u-joints in the rest of the shaft external to that.
if you still have a tight spot with the column taken out of the equation, then stop it in the tight spot and look for anything that is binding obviously, and do a check on the steering box adjustment. especially if it is tight in the middle of the steering box travel, the box could be adjusted too tight. if there is play in the box then it is likely another part in the front end that is binding, tie rod end, idler arm, ball joint etc.
the next thing to do would be to disconnect the tie rods one at a time from the steering knuckles and make sure the wheels turn left to right freely and easily independent of any other linkage. if you get a tight spot on one wheel then look at ball joints for binding etc. they could be distorted when pressed into the control arms, or just plain defective. check if the upper and lower control arms are in the same plane with easch other. when the tie rods are disconnected from the steering knuckles (at the wheels), then the wheels should flop around very easily.
if everything on both sides checks out good when disconnected and checked independent of each other and the rest of the steering system, then look at the rest of the components independently. turn the box by hand while the column is disconnected and try to determione if it is in the box or another steering part. you could have a bent shaft or a tight bushing ( I have seen those shafts actually twisted at the splines from hard offroad driving. you don't know what that rebuilt box has been through since 1977 or whatever year it was made). you could disconnect the pitman arm from the linkage and take the rest of the linkage through a full left to right turn to check if that tight spot is still there with the steering knuckles and the box out of the equation. also do the full left to right sweep with the steering box all by itself while everything is disconnected from it. start up the engine and do the same thing all over again, maybe a valve problem in the box.

to answer your question on why do a four wheel alignment. a good front end alignment shop will try to convince you to do a four wheel alignment because it references the front wheels to the rear wheels. that is, it makes sure that the front wheels are running in the same plane as the rear wheels when the vehicle is set to be driving straight down the road. it eliminates the dog tracking thing. otherwise you are just aliging the front wheels to themselves and the rear end follows wherever it will. you could compare it to the little red wagon that little kids drag around. the front wheels could be set up awesome, but if there is a problem in the rear, like if the rear axle isn't parallel to the front or if the wheels have a bunch of side to side movement, then that little red wagon isn't gonna steer all that good no matter what you do to the front end. on large trucks the rear axle spring pins actually have shims on them, and if not shimmed fairly tight the truck will drive just like your car. by the end of the day the driver is worn out from sawing the wheel back and forth all day. the shop would also make sure the box is centred and adjusted correctly, the steering wheel is straight ahead, all the front end parts are within specs, the rear suspension pivots and rear axle to spring mounts are within specs, the bumper height is correct, etc etc. you gotta understand though, if you take your vehicle in for an alignment and don't explain to the TECH, what is going on, then the tech will assume that it was all fine to begin with and the alignment is just routine. lots of the techs are on commission, so the more jobs they can do in a day the more cashola they take home at the end of the day. it would be best to have the TECH, who actually does the alignment, go for a drive WITH YOU IN THE CAR, so you can explain to him, and he can see first hand, what is going on with the car. sometimes the message doesn't get to the tech, or the service writer who takes the info doesn't understand whats really going on. lots of the service writers don't really have a clue about mechanical things, they learn a few buzz words and talk the talk. best to ask for the shop forman or better yet, if you could talk to the alignment tech who will be doing the job.

not trying to slam anybody here, I have just had those experiences myself over the years. usually a misunderstanding between too many people in the loop.
anyway Bob, good luck and keep us posted. if you can snap a few pics of what that front suspension actually looks like that would help. sorry for the long post, sometimes I get off on a tangent.....
04-21-2011 05:08 AM
bsa_bob2 It was a 2-wheel alignment.I'll check the steering column, for straitness.
ds rave the only thing in the front that wasn't changed was the original crossmember still remains.Wheel bearings are adjusted right.
Rear leaf u-bolts will be checked today for tightness.Wheelbase centers will be checked today[one side then the other]
No dog tracking evident.There is an awful tight spot in the center,of the steering, this occurs when its up on blocks[suspension hanging loose]. it loosens up as it approachs either end..And kar not running[power steering].The steering box adjust; shows a slight[inch maybe] of play when turning.from left to right.

And when i find the problem i will.......!definitely!!!! let you all know whats going on and what it was. I will do these next ideas today, then i'll get pictures if they fail[hard to get good shots under the kar.] -------

cheers bob s

. cobalt 327----------sorry i missed your point!
04-20-2011 05:59 PM
50chevydan Not sure if this helps, but did they check included angle? Also, was it a four wheel alignment? Also, Check out the steering shaft, it can be bent if it was in an accident.
04-15-2011 09:26 AM

Bob, if you could get a couple of pics so we can all see that you have under there and how it is set up, that may help. I know when the crossmember is installed the car must be sitting at the correct rake angle otherwise the crossmember will not be sitting level with the ground (front to rear level). that could throw a wrench into things if the rake angle is different than original set up. have you changed tire sizes front to rear or done anything that could mess with the rake angle? it is something to check if you have a crossmember style front end where they swapped out the original crossmember to install the fatman stuff. another thing to check for is front wheel bearing play, play in the rear suspension joints, if it is a leaf spring set up back there, are the u-bolts tight and the axle centred on the spring pads? rear axle end play (in and out play at the wheels back there), wheelbase comparison between both sides of the car, if you disconnect the steering box from the rest of the front end, does the front end move freely side to side (while jacked up)? does it track straight down the road? (no dogtracking). all of this should have been checked by the front end alignment boys if you had a 4 wheel alignment, but then, they are paid by the job, not by the hour right?
seems like you need to get the steering box centred and adjusted properly, check all the rest of these points and repair as requires (if anything), and try it again.
just a few random thoughts,
keep us posted
04-15-2011 07:50 AM
Steering box...

Hi,IF,you have play in the steering wheel,there should be a nut,on top of the steering box,with a stud, that nut is mounted on,with screwdriver slot on it,loosen nut,turn stud in ,tighten nut,recheck,still too loose? do it again............
04-15-2011 06:52 AM
cobalt327 Being as how this box was apart for rebuilding, it would have been bench-adjusted for worm gear bearing preload and sector shaft engagement. I'd at least check the adjustments to be sure they were done correctly.
04-15-2011 05:26 AM
bsa_bob2 No rag joint....and thanks all. I think we did cover it all,case being.........I myself haven't covered it all , or i'd have it repaired.see ya later. somewhere else .bob s
04-15-2011 01:18 AM

what about the rag joint
04-14-2011 09:36 PM
Two8tyThree Sorry Bob I think we covered it all. I got no more ideas.
04-14-2011 04:58 PM
bsa_bob2 I checked most all the things dsraven mentioned. Drove it down the road, and still has that little bit of slack.called; "driving the kar all the time".I will eventually stumble upon it, but hey its been 3 weeks, i can go on if need be. Unless the right guy comes along with the right money. naaawww jus gettin mentally exhausted.I guess anymore ideas out there??????????? disgruntled ------------------------
04-14-2011 01:14 PM
bsa_bob2 This a big- old long, sector- shaft f-150 box from a 77 ford truck, its as fatmans ueses this box for their kits, for the 49-51 mercurys.If i could find a different box.with close to the same mounting demensions and over all length. i would give it a lot of thought before i dismissed it.
04-14-2011 01:02 PM
willowbilly3 I was thinking the stock Ford buggy sprung axles were like 6-7 degrees king pin inclination (caster).
I'm not sure how they rebuild those Ford boxes, I have been inside several and the pitman shaft bushing is just machined into the housing, there is nothing you can replace unless they machine the housing out and install a bushing or torrington bearing like chevys use. I have seen those rebuild kits that just replace one of the spacers in the pitman seal stack with one that is the size of the pitman shaft. It does tighten them up for a while but you basically have a pitman shaft bushing that is about 1/4 inch thick. They don't last long.
Also I think the toe in setting is a bit different if you are running bias ply rather than radials. IIRC bias ply tires like a little more toe in that radials. It isn't hard to set that yourself and experiment a little, no sense paying an alignment shop $100 to do it.
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