PDA

View Full Version : Hard Steering Champ



Foscop
04-24-2008, 03:34 PM
I just bought a 1960 Champ. It drives nice except that the steering "sticks". It's not only tough to turn, but when you let go of the steering wheel is doesn't want to center itself. I have it at my local shop, but the mechanic is not knowledgeable about Studebakers. I have ordered a shop manual but in the mean time he wants to replace the king pins. I am not convinced that is the problem. With the truck lifted off the floor you can grab a hold of a wheel and steer the front wheels easily about 10 to 20 degrees...then they seem to bind and take more force to move the full length of travel. Does anyone have any advice?

Roscomacaw
04-24-2008, 04:02 PM
For starters, grease everything! Then check to see if there's any lube in the steering sector.;)

Edit: These things steer tough! They're not for the weak. Back in their "day", bias ply tires were the norm and they were alot less grabby than radials are. Radials, especially big, fat ones, can cause lots of resistance! Sadly, they never offered PS on the smaller trucks. There's been some rigging of PS setups, but nothin' real easy or pretty.

Miscreant Studebaker nut in California's central valley.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President two door

rusty nut garage
04-24-2008, 04:15 PM
Like Studebob says grese it well, then inspect and replace any looseness. King pins, center steering pivot. It's likely the steering sector is worn and in need of repair.
Not returning to center could be a # of things, steering gear out of adjustment, steering gear worn, king pins worn, front end out of alignment specs.
Good luck

quote:Originally posted by Foscop

I just bought a 1960 Champ. It drives nice except that the steering "sticks". It's not only tough to turn, but when you let go of the steering wheel is doesn't want to center itself. I have it at my local shop, but the mechanic is not knowledgeable about Studebakers. I have ordered a shop manual but in the mean time he wants to replace the king pins. I am not convinced that is the problem. With the truck lifted off the floor you can grab a hold of a wheel and steer the front wheels easily about 10 to 20 degrees...then they seem to bind and take more force to move the full length of travel. Does anyone have any advice?


Russ Shop Foreman "Rusty Nut Garage"
57 SH (project)
60 Lark VIII 2dr sd (driver)

buddymander
04-24-2008, 06:43 PM
ya jack the axle off the ground so the tire is hanging free and slide a 2 X 4 under the tire and see if you can lift it---denoting kingpin looseness. Or you can just put an aerostar front end under it.

PlainBrownR2
04-24-2008, 07:05 PM
Also make sure no one else has taken the steering wheel apart. I dunno on the Champs but if the hardware on the Larks was left off, such as spacers and things like that, or the collar wasn't properly mounted, or the steering wheel was torqued too tight, the wheel was quite capable of binding and refusing to center when it was taken around a corner. It would also steer stiff and "pop" the collar when it was turned.

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/My%201950%202r5%20Studebaker%20Pickup%20with%20turbocharger/P1000145-1.jpg[img=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/My%201950%202r5%20Studebaker%20Pickup%20with%20turbocharger/P1000137-1.jpg[/img=left][img=right]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/DSC00005.jpg?t=1171153370[/img=right]

gordr
04-24-2008, 08:56 PM
If it steers stiff when on the ground, but turns freely when the wheels hang, look at the kingpin thrust bearings. They look like 1/2" thick spacers between the steering knuckle and the end of the axles, but they are actually a ball-type thrust bearing enclosed in stamped steel housing.

Greasing the front end with the weight OFF the wheels often lets the grease bypass the thrust bearings.

Get the front end of the Champ on the ground, or up on some planks, but keep the weight on the front wheels. Apply some heat to the thrust bearings with a propane torch to soften the old dried grease in them, and pump in new grease with a grease gun while a helper rocks the steering wheel enough to move them a bit. Keep doing it; it may take several HOURS of repeated heating and greasing to get them to take grease, but it can usually be done.

Also, if the steering locks up only in extreme turns, it may be that the steering box is worn, and somebody has over-tightened the cam lever adjusting screw in an effort to compensate. That will get rid of the slackness on center, but it will go into a bind on hard turns.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

blackhawk
04-25-2008, 01:42 AM
quote:Originally posted by Foscop

I just bought a 1960 Champ. It drives nice except that the steering "sticks". It's not only tough to turn, but when you let go of the steering wheel is doesn't want to center itself. I have it at my local shop, but the mechanic is not knowledgeable about Studebakers. I have ordered a shop manual but in the mean time he wants to replace the king pins. I am not convinced that is the problem. With the truck lifted off the floor you can grab a hold of a wheel and steer the front wheels easily about 10 to 20 degrees...then they seem to bind and take more force to move the full length of travel. Does anyone have any advice?
Others have touched on several possible contributing factors. I have just a couple comments to add. First, these steering gear boxes have a tapered pin riding in the groove on the worm gear, so it is metal sliding on metal. Not only must you have lubricant in the box, you also need one with extreme pressure capabilities to allow this pin to slide in the groove. Also, over time, flat spots develop on the contact surface of the pin where it meets the walls of the groove. This increases the contact surface area and increases drag, so steering becomes even harder. This may be part of your problem, but since you say the steering sticks, I think your main problem may be that someone has adjusted the tie rods without making sure the steering was centered. This would have the truck driving straight ahead without the pin in the worm gear being at the center of travel. Now if someone adjusts the pin to take up the play in the gearbox, the pin will be pressed too far into the worm gear and bind when your attempt to turn takes the pin through the center portion of the worm gear. It has been a long time since I had my '61 Champ on the road, but I think this is how it works. If I am mistaken I am sure someone else will clear it up.

Dale

jackb
04-25-2008, 03:42 PM
Dale hits the nail on the head.....honestly and really...you won't be happy with the front end handling on your truck unless you invest several hundred dollars into it. If you insist on radials, there is no other choice. Its likely your axle won't even hold the new kingpins. SASCO still might have NOS axles. Definitely open up the steering box and fix it in there....Now for a safety reminder: check the pitman arm for cracking at the elbow. Happens a lot with radials....alos pull the stock wheels and check fro spider cracks behind the lug holes......Bet you find plenty of them. Chuck the wheels and replace...

PackardV8
04-25-2008, 04:17 PM
Foscop hasn't told us which Champ he has. Weren't there a couple of different front axles and wheels? Didn't the bigger capacity trucks get bigger axles and wheels as did the C-cabs?



PackardV8

Foscop
04-26-2008, 04:34 AM
Thank you everyone for all the great (even if discouraging) information. The king pins were definitely worn and I've ordered a kit from SASCO. (also ordered the Service Manual and Parts # book). I was amazed to see (feel) with the wheels hanging just how obvious the binding is. With no ground resistance the wheels moves by a fingertip a few degrees either side of center but then really bind up in what would be even a moderate turn. I can't believe I was able to drive it at all!. My mechanic is going to disconnect the steering box from the rest of the front end and we'll see if it continues to bind. I think that it will so we'll be into the steering box and/or the steering column/wheel. Hopefully the shop manual will give us some guidance on how to overcome the problem. If not I will humbly call upon the Stude community for advice. If I need a steering box, where would I start? Does anyone rebuild them? This truck has a lot of miles on it...over 100,000. It came from California and has that sat-in-the-desert sort of dusty grime underneath. It had a new coat of paint at one time but it's hard life is evident when you look under the hood. Finally, I am looking at the radial issue. The truck does in fact have rather fat radial tires. They look good, but may have to go. http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn240/Foscop/littlechamp.jpg

Foscop
04-26-2008, 04:49 AM
Reference PackardV8...I am assuming my Champ is a 1/2 ton although I can not find anything in the documentation. Is there a code key somewhere that will help me verify this?

Fosco
Cornish, Maine

http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn240/Foscop/tinychamp.jpg

Transtar60
04-26-2008, 06:23 AM
If your trucks model number is 5E5, 5E6 or 5E7 its a half ton. 5E11 or 12
indicate 3/4 ton.
The Studebaker Truck Page is a seperate site with a forum dedicated mostly to all things Studebaker truck.
http://studetrucks.tripod.com/

http://racingstudebakers.com/coppermine/albums/userpics/10056/5E13%20Pic%203.JPG
3E38
4E2
4E28
5E13
7E7
8E7
8E12
8E28

59 Lark
etc

Warren Webb
04-26-2008, 12:15 PM
I am looking into changing my 61 1/2 ton Champ to power steering using the gearbox & pitman arm from a 123 chassis Mercedes with a Flaming River column. The dimentions of the gearbox are roughly the same as in my Champ. The only difference I can see right now is the taper of the tie rod from the pitman arm to the Champ tie rod. Only requires 2 hoses, will have them made up to the fittings on the stude pump.

StudeRich
04-26-2008, 01:08 PM
Hi Warren, what model and year Mercedes? Is the 123 the wheelbase?

If it will fit a '61 Champ with a Ross gearbox it could or should fit a Transtar also! [:0]


quote:Originally posted by Warren Webb

I am looking into changing my 61 1/2 ton Champ to power steering using the gearbox & pitman arm from a 123 chassis Mercedes with a Flaming River column.

StudeRich
Studebakers Northwest
Ferndale, WA

blackhawk
04-26-2008, 03:20 PM
quote:Originally posted by Foscop

Thank you everyone for all the great (even if discouraging) information. The king pins were definitely worn and I've ordered a kit from SASCO. (also ordered the Service Manual and Parts # book). I was amazed to see (feel) with the wheels hanging just how obvious the binding is. With no ground resistance the wheels moves by a fingertip a few degrees either side of center but then really bind up in what would be even a moderate turn. I can't believe I was able to drive it at all!. My mechanic is going to disconnect the steering box from the rest of the front end and we'll see if it continues to bind. I think that it will so we'll be into the steering box and/or the steering column/wheel. Hopefully the shop manual will give us some guidance on how to overcome the problem. If not I will humbly call upon the Stude community for advice. If I need a steering box, where would I start? Does anyone rebuild them? This truck has a lot of miles on it...over 100,000. It came from California and has that sat-in-the-desert sort of dusty grime underneath. It had a new coat of paint at one time but it's hard life is evident when you look under the hood. Finally, I am looking at the radial issue. The truck does in fact have rather fat radial tires. They look good, but may have to go. http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn240/Foscop/littlechamp.jpg
Try not to get too discouraged. I don't think the steering gearbox and linkage setup on the Champ are the best design but it works okay if in reasonably good shape. Also, 100,000 miles is not a problem if the truck had chassis lub and oil changes on a regular basis. All of my Studebakers have way, way over 100,000 miles on them. I ran radial tires on my '61 1/2 ton V8-equipped Champ for over 20 years before I put it in garage storage due to rust problems (where is sits waiting for me to make time to do the body work and paint). Personally, I would never go back to the bias ply tires. Steering is more difficult with the radials but all the other driving characteristics are so much better that it is worth having the radial tires. It doesn't turn as easily as a Lark with the Saginaw recirculating ball steering gearbox, but as long as the truck is moving a bit when trying to turn, you can even parallel park without problem.

Your mechanic is on the right track. Disconnecting the drag link from the pitman arm will help isolate the problem. If it turns out the binding is in the gearbox and not the kingpin thrust bearings, back the pin adjustment out temporarily to see if that relieves the binding. There is an adjustment shaft with lock nut on the side of the gearbox. Loosen the lock nut and back out the adjustment after noting where it was originally so you can put it back to where it was if this is not the problem. If that adjustment is too tight so the gearbox is binding as the pin passes thru center on the worm gear when turning, backing it off will stop the binding and you will know that the tie rods and gearbox need to be adjusted properly. Of course this doesn't mean there isn't a lot of drag due to wear on the pin but at least it would stop the binding, if indeed this is part of the problem. As for flat spots that may have developed on the pin in the gearbox, this pin can be turned 90-degrees to put an unworn surface against the worm gear. I haven't done it but know that it can be done. Search this forum for other posts where this is discussed. You may be able to improve the situation greatly without a new gearbox. I think they are rather hard to come by. Actually, I am doubtful that the pin would have this much wear on it after only 100,000 miles unless either the wrong lubricant was used or it periodically ran out of lubricant due to a leaking seal.

Dale

Warren Webb
04-26-2008, 05:26 PM
Hi Rich,
the 123 chassis Mercedes was used from the late 70's to around 85. My wife's car was (or still is really) a 240D, but the 300TD i used as a donor for the drivetrain is the same basic chassis. Easy to spot since Mercedes put the chassis type on the "B" pillar behind the drivers door. The car weighs a little over 4,000 lbs & the box looks plenty rugged to handle just about anything in a pickup. Let me know what your opinion is if you check one out.

tstclr
04-26-2008, 05:34 PM
I bet it is the thrust bearings. In new vehicles strut bearings cause the same problem.

63r2
10-24-2008, 07:49 PM
Warren
Any update on the power steering conversion for the Champ.
pb

Lenny R2
10-24-2008, 09:25 PM
Hi Warren
I have a 62 Champ pick up,It came from Ca.I bought it from a
forum member in Va.It has a GM steering box with a rag joint
and a modifed stude steering column.It turns easly,i have 205x75x15
Radial tires on chevy rims.

Lenny
Atlanta Ga.

Warren Webb
10-24-2008, 10:18 PM
No update yet on the power steering conversion due to my dad being ill & other things taking precidence over me right now. I keep meaning to call the MOOG help line to see what the taper is for the Stude joint on the pitman arm so I can compare it to the taper on the Mercedes. I dont want to take anything apart until I have all my ducks in a row before I start. Will post any & all findings, thanks.
Lenny, your GM steering gearbox in the 62- is it from a 55-57 chevy? Or does your Stude have the later steering setup where the pitman arm is on the outside of the frame & goes to a pivot near the front end panel?

60 Lark convertible
61 Champ
62 Daytona convertible
63 G.T. R-2,4 speed
63 Avanti (2)
66 Daytona Sport Sedan

Dwain G.
10-24-2008, 11:45 PM
Hey Fosco! You got out of the Navy here in Bremerton didn't you?
All the info the other posters have supplied is all good. This Champ doesn't appear to be a candidate for the body sag that so many Champs suffer from where the steering shaft and column are supporting the cab.
Email jdwain (at) comcast.net and I'll send you a pdf of a service letter dealing with hard steering on these trucks.

http://home.comcast.net/~jdwain/images/63.63.jpg
Dwain G.