Go Back   The Ford Barn > General Discussion > Model A (1928-31)

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-09-2021, 05:54 PM   #1
Ed in Maine
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 776
Default Reducing Steering Free Play

I have completed the steps to reduce free play in the steering box and I am confident that the steering box is not a factor. The movement at the circumference of the wheel is about 1 1/4 in. What can be done to reduce lost motion in the drag link and tie rod? The problem is the car lurches back in forth in stiff wind and with pavement irregularities. It is not comfortable to drive when doing 45-50 mph. Any suggestions? Thank you, Ed
Ed in Maine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2021, 06:19 PM   #2
TMarsh
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 41
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Radial tires helped mine but the wind will always be a factor on these boxes
TMarsh is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)
Old 01-09-2021, 06:41 PM   #3
700rpm
Senior Member
 
700rpm's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,491
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Is it a 7 tooth or a 2 tooth?
__________________
Ray Horton, Portland, OR


As you go through life, keep your eye on the donut, not the hole.
700rpm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2021, 06:43 PM   #4
GRutter
Senior Member
 
GRutter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Mint Hill, North Carolina
Posts: 236
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Ed
Movement of that magnitude should be fairly easy to spot. Top to bottom, the kingpin bushings would be suspect and/or wheel bearings.

If you eliminated the steering box as a source of free play, then with the steering wheel held straight ahead, there should be NO movement of the pitman arm when you are grabbing the circumference of the wheels and moving left & right, but you should be able to identify any other source of play.
GRutter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2021, 07:17 PM   #5
Jacksonlll
Senior Member
 
Jacksonlll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Michigan-- Member of Oakleaf of MARC
Posts: 1,563
Send a message via ICQ to Jacksonlll
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Set your toe in.
Jacksonlll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2021, 07:30 PM   #6
Mulletwagon
Senior Member
 
Mulletwagon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Florida Panhandle
Posts: 421
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)
Might also ensure the Pittman arm is solidly clamped to the sector shaft. Look at the connection closely while rocking the steering wheel. Even a minute amount of looseness will result in significant play.
Mulletwagon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2021, 09:48 PM   #7
Big hammer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Land of Lincoln
Posts: 2,248
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Check and make sure the gear box is tight to the chassis frame.
__________________
Don't force it with a little hammer tap, tap, tap
get a bigger hammer tap done
Big hammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2021, 08:43 AM   #8
old31
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 1,476
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

I am guessing you did the adjustments correctly.

Toe-in and radials will help a lot with your issues.
old31 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2021, 10:56 AM   #9
Purdy Swoft
Senior Member
 
Purdy Swoft's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Alabama
Posts: 8,099
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Set the toe-in at one sixteenth .
Purdy Swoft is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2021, 11:04 AM   #10
1930artdeco
Senior Member
 
1930artdeco's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 2,834
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Here are my thoughts and what I have done:


1) Replace steering balls to get rid of the 'death wobble'
2) Adjust steering box outside of car
3) Adjust toe-in to spec
4) When I reconnected the pitman arm I snugged it up an extra turn or so and that took out a lot of play. I also have the Teflon cups in mine.
5) Check king pins


Mike
__________________
1930 TownSedan (Briggs)
Still learning after all these years....
1930artdeco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2021, 06:45 PM   #11
duke36
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 1,269
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

The steering box freeplay with new box components can get very close to 1/4 " at the wheel at the center position, equal lash at both extremes and with wood ruff key pointing towards fill hole, etc. Once that's OK, then the other steps + front wheel bearing adjustment with very slight amount of preload (see other threads). A shortened pitman arm usually requires an adjustable drag link to get the gears centered with wheels straight ahead..
duke36 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 02:02 AM   #12
RHD
Senior Member
 
RHD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 640
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

If your car is fitted with a 7 tooth sector, the answer to near zero freeplay is in my book titled 'The Complete Model A Ford Restoration Manual. All other freeplay in balljoints etc must of course be eliminated and you will be guaranteed excellent steering. Available from Mike's Affordable.
__________________
R.H.D.
Author of Model 'A' Ford technical manuals.
Supplier of good original RHD parts.
RHD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 08:29 AM   #13
Patrick L.
Senior Member
 
Patrick L.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Upstate NY and western Florida
Posts: 6,063
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Is that 1.25" free-play in just the box or total ? If total thats not too bad. If just the box, it should be better/less.

I agree with properly setting the toe.
Patrick L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 11:57 PM   #14
GRutter
Senior Member
 
GRutter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Mint Hill, North Carolina
Posts: 236
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Quote "Is that 1.25" free-play in just the box or total ? If total thats not too bad. If just the box, it should be better/less."

I am soooo confused. We are talking about OP's steering and vehicle control.
Why would anyone advise that 1 1/4" of free-play is OK ?

If the play is not in the steering box, then it's in bearings, tie-rod ends, drag-link ends, or loose pitman arm. In which of those components would anyone think that 1 1/4" play is OK... even if cumulative?

And until free play is eliminated, why are we advising to set toe-in or buy radial tires.
GRutter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2021, 02:37 AM   #15
Bill G
Senior Member
 
Bill G's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Walla Walla, WA
Posts: 801
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRutter View Post
Quote "Is that 1.25" free-play in just the box or total ? If total thats not too bad. If just the box, it should be better/less."

I am soooo confused. We are talking about OP's steering and vehicle control.
Why would anyone advise that 1 1/4" of free-play is OK ?

If the play is not in the steering box, then it's in bearings, tie-rod ends, drag-link ends, or loose pitman arm. In which of those components would anyone think that 1 1/4" play is OK... even if cumulative?

And until free play is eliminated, why are we advising to set toe-in or buy radial tires.
Well said. Excellent points.
__________________
-Bill G
Member of Walla Walla Sweet A's Model A Club
Bill G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2021, 05:38 AM   #16
Bruce of MN
Senior Member
 
Bruce of MN's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: VA
Posts: 825
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Make sure where the radius rods connect is no-slop.
Bruce of MN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2021, 08:01 AM   #17
CountrySquire55
Member
 
CountrySquire55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Central Maryland
Posts: 92
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

I had a similar problem that was greatly improved by tightening the pittman arm on the sector shaft (it took some muscle) and setting the correct toe-in. My 1931 Town Sedan now steers very nicely with only a tiny bit of free play but no wandering.
CountrySquire55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2021, 09:37 AM   #18
Patrick L.
Senior Member
 
Patrick L.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Upstate NY and western Florida
Posts: 6,063
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

If there is 1.25" of free-play at the steering wheel, then thats not too bad. Less than an inch is good, but, an extra .25" isn't too bad.

By now I would think everyone here would know that free-play is cumulative and all the components should be checked/adjusted/fixed.
Patrick L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2021, 01:39 PM   #19
GeneBob
Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Denver Area
Posts: 46
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Sounds like I need to start looking at my steering linkage. I have been wondering what normal is for a Model A. My steering wheel will turn about twice as much as Ed's before moving the car's lane position when cruising in a straight line. I just figured 2 1/2" at the rim is what people accepted in 1930.
GeneBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2021, 03:16 PM   #20
Patrick L.
Senior Member
 
Patrick L.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Upstate NY and western Florida
Posts: 6,063
Default Re: Reducing Steering Free Play

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneBob View Post
Sounds like I need to start looking at my steering linkage. I have been wondering what normal is for a Model A. My steering wheel will turn about twice as much as Ed's before moving the car's lane position when cruising in a straight line. I just figured 2 1/2" at the rim is what people accepted in 1930.



To check steering wheel free-play while vehicle is stopped just lightly turn wheel in one direction until resistance is felt and consider it as zero. Then turn in opposite direction lightly until slight resistance is felt. Measure that distance.
Patrick L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:48 AM.