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Old 05-21-2011, 12:21 PM   #1
supergnat
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Question Tie rod end adjustment help needed

I am installing the teflon seat kit on my 28 tie rod and drag link ends. I ahve all new pitman arm and spindle arm balls and new king pins installed. I tightened the screws on the ends of the tie rod to compress the springs 25% as the instructions suggest. The steering feels too tight when I check it for free movement by pulling on the tie rod to move the spindles from left to right. I have not installed the pitman arm yet. Is this normal or do I need to back-off on the adjustment screws some until I can move the spindles more easily from side to side by pulling on the pittman arm. I read that someone feels that 25% compression is too much. It that's true, how much compresion is appropriate?

Should I install the drag link and do the test with the steering wheel first?

I hope this is clear. This is my first Model A.

Guidance would be appreciated.
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Old 05-21-2011, 02:23 PM   #2
Pilotdave
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Default Re: Tie rod end adjustment help needed

Supergnat, it's hard to tell how tight your steering is from the description. I see that you used the teflon seat kit - I did the same when I rebuilt mine recently.

One difference is that you installed new king pins, something that I didn't need to do. How hard were the spindle arms to move before you installed the tie rod? Did you ream the king pin bushings okay? Might want to be sure that you are not getting binding in either king pin.

Assuming that the king pins are okay, my relatively uneducated guess is that your all new steering ball/seat parts need to wear in a bit. I'd go ahead and install the drag link and pitman arm and then try it. Probably should feel tighter at the steering wheel than before, but with no weight on the front tires I expect that you should be able to easily turn the steering wheel. HTH!

Last edited by Pilotdave; 05-21-2011 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:52 PM   #3
supergnat
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Default Re: Tie rod end adjustment help needed

Pilot Dave,
I just went back out and tried backing off the tie rod plug screws until it felt free enough to me but then the cotte pin would not go in the hole brcause the plug was out too far. There is also a slight squeek noise when I move the spindles back and forth through their travel. I then removed the plugs completely and it was kind of loose but the squeek was still there caused by the pressure of the inner tie rod teflon cup against the spindle arm balls. I popped the tie rod off and checked to ensure that bothe spindles move freely (they do). I had the new bushings installed in the spindle and the king pins matched by a reputable Model A shop that also rebuilds engines so the king pin fit should be good.

I measured the new springs and they are one inch long as are the originals. The teflon cups that fit into the springs are also the same thickness as the original metal ones. Perhaps the new springs are too strong? I could try to old springs to see if they work better. Perhaps this is how thigt they should be? I am stumped. By the way all of the balls on the spindle arms and pitman arm are one inch in diameter. I think that is correct. Any suggestions?
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Old 05-21-2011, 04:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tie rod end adjustment help needed

Supergnat, glad to hear that the king pins are installed properly.

Can you give us an idea as to how tight the balls are in the seats? So tight that it's real effort to move the tie rod side to side? Or just taut so they don't move freely but can be moved with a small effort? If the former, probably not so good. The latter should be fine. I think you should use the new springs and set the plugs the required 0.25" (i.e., compressing the 1 inch long spring 25%) Did you put any grease inside the teflon cups when you assembled things? That should eliminate that squeak and may just eliminate the tightness that you are concerned about. I'd also fill the spring itself with grease when assembling things. Teflon is slippery but you still need grease! Keep us at posted!
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Old 05-21-2011, 04:54 PM   #5
1931 flamingo
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Default Re: Tie rod end adjustment help needed

I think pilotdave is correct. Everything is new, assemble it, put some miles on it. What you don't want is probably what you had before, slop. JMO
Paul in CT
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Old 05-21-2011, 05:20 PM   #6
supergnat
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Default Re: Tie rod end adjustment help needed

Thanks to all for the advice and suggestions. I guess the taut description is what I am experiencing. I did put grease on the parts before I assembled them but I will now also fill the springs with grease. I adjusted them as follows and will do the same when I put them back together again.
Fit the tie rod end with the cup and spring inserted over the ball
Screwed the end plus with cup until it seated against the ball.
Measured the distanve from the flat of the plug to the edge of the tie rod opening with a micrometer.
Screwed the plug in an additional .250 inch to compress the spring 25%.
Then backed off slightly to insert the cotter pin if needed.
Thanks again. I heading back out to he garage.
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Old 05-21-2011, 08:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: Tie rod end adjustment help needed

Sounds like a fine approach. Taut is fine as Paul says. Enjoy!!
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:24 PM   #8
Marco Tahtaras
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Default Re: Tie rod end adjustment help needed

Where is the outer face of the end plug relative to the ind of the tie rod? Is it recessed. When I assembled my Roadster all the parts were NOS. I simply ran the plug in until it was flush and I have exceptional stability.

Now here are some numbers to ponder. The springs have a free length of 1". They should be totally collapsed at .700". If I recall correctly, the plugs are 20 tpi. That means that if you ran the plug in until the spring is fully collapsed and then back it off one full turn (.050") the spring should then be collapsed 1/4". That sounds too tight to me. I wouldn't expect them to be tightened to within .050" of spring bind. However if following the procedure outlined above results in the plug ending up nearly flush then I would be wrong.

I tested various springs against the Ford specs some years back and posted the results on the old Fordbarn but can't find my notes right now. However the modern replacement springs had less spring pressure than originally so I'd be very surprised if that was a contributing factor as described in your original post.
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Old 06-01-2011, 03:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Tie rod end adjustment help needed

I put my car back on the road yesterday. I want to thank everyone who provided advice on my tie rods. They are back in place along with the new spindle arms, king pins, and honed bushings. The steering is improved.
Thanks again,
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:28 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tie rod end adjustment help needed

Thanks for posting the outcome! It's nice to hear how things turn out.
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