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Old 07-05-2010, 09:46 AM
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"T" steering problems???

Hi, My name is Don Ditmars. My wife and I have several rods including a 35 Ford, 36 Ford, 34 International pickup and a plastic 27 ford roadster that has steering problems. I bought it built and there was some loosness in the steering. I tightened it up but it still was a bear to drive. I checked the kingpin angle and found it to be leaning forward. We tilted it back to about 5 degrees which is about what my straight axle Fords are set at. Now it seems to drive fairly well on the road but when I turn sharp the wheel on the outside turns much farther than the inside one and the whole front end wants to slide straight. The wheels are no longer parallel at that point. The tierod is in front of the axle. I have been told by an old straight axle man that the tierod should be behind the axle to make it work right. I'm wondering if the tierod in front is why it was set up with the axle leaning forward. I need help with this geometry.
Thanks,
Don

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Old 07-05-2010, 10:04 AM
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I think you need to do some research and educate yourself on Ackerman Steering. Here is a primer from Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ackerma...ering_geometry
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:17 AM
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to evolvo

Strange that you should mention that!! I just found that through Google. I think I shall now head for the shop th see how it can be implimented.
Thank you, thank you.
Don
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:26 PM
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The negative caster you adjusted out should not really have much to do with the tie rod being in front of the axle. You were apparently able to adjust the caster to be positive without anything interfering with the tie rod's operation. Probably just set up incorrectly by the prior owner.

As you have probably found by now, the correct Ackermann for the car will involve having the ends of your tie rod extend out slightly farther than the steering arms if you want to keep the tie rod in front of the axle. This usually brings the ends of the tie rod pretty close to the brake backing plates on the wheel or the wheel itself depending on how your brakes are set up.

When faced with this situation, some will just not bother with the Ackermann and live with the turning issues and tire wear. I have not seen a lot of front tie rod setups that have been done correctly. Depending on what your axles, brakes and wheels are, setting up correctly may involve bending the steering arms, getting custom steering arms, shortening the steering arms to bring them closer to the axle, moving the brake backing plates or wheels out with spacers etc. All these have some compromises. I myself like the looks of the tie rod in front (some call it 'suicide' steering) but feel it is unsafe versus the tie rod behind the axle. Just my opinion.
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Ditmars
I checked the kingpin angle and found it to be leaning forward...
Just wanted to say...is it possible you have the axle on backwards?
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a1supersport
Just wanted to say...is it possible you have the axle on backwards?
It is probably a "suicide perch" front end set up where the spring is mounted on a "perch" out in front of the front crossmember. It leaves no room for the tie rod to run behind the axle, so you swap spindles side to side and end up with the tie rod out in front of the axle.

And of course the Akerman angle (or lack of it) all screwed up.

Brian
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