View Full Version : Steering For a better handling M5

07-21-2012, 11:52 AM
My '47 M5 has a fairly good, fairly tight front end steering system. King pins were rebuilt several years ago and the rods and links seem ok. The steering box was also rebuilt. I'm running bias-ply tires, 700x16 BFG Silvertown 6-plys which are new.

When I bot the truck the former owner said that it steered poorly, directionally-wise, until an adjustment was made in the steering geometry. After he had the settings changed (and I don't remember just what was changed), it apparently improved significantly.

I have driven it for over 1,000 miles, and I'm thinking that perhaps a further adjustment might do more good. It's still a bit of a handful to keep in a straight line. I've driven and owned many Studes with bias-ply tires, and this truck is worse than usual.

Please do not try to convince me to switch to radials. That AIN'T happenin' !

Do any of you M5 guys have any advice before I start screwing around with this? What front end adjustment settings have you found best? Just go with the settings in the manual?


07-21-2012, 12:50 PM
If the truck doesn't want to go straight and everything is in good shape, you may need more caster in the front end. On a beam axle that will have to be done with alignment shims.

07-21-2012, 01:33 PM
Bias-ply tires are notorious for following irregularities in the road surface, such as tar strips. And now that the only market for bias-ply tires is the collector vehicle market, there is not even much incentive for the manufacturers to make good bias-ply tires. All they have to do is look good on the trailer queens in car shows.

07-21-2012, 02:12 PM
Any truck or 4x4 shop should have caster shims to go between the axle and springs. The good thing about them is they are CASO-priced and are non-permanent. If you don't like the result, just remove them.

Confirm your toe adjustment per the Shop Manual. Then try several different settings until you find the one which drives best for you. That is again easy and CASO-cheap to do.

jack vines

07-21-2012, 04:57 PM
I know you didn't want radials, but coker tire offers radials that look like bias tires. Just a thought!

07-21-2012, 09:06 PM
1. Does it have the original offset wheels?
2. Have you aligned the frt end?
3. Springs weak?
4. Since the tires are six ply, is the pressure right?
5. The settings in the manual are good only if the wheels, tires, ride height, etc. are as original.

PS: I drove a 47 M-5 for twelve years and I loved it. The only thing I have to complain about, with the front end, was the front brakes needed regular adjustment.

07-22-2012, 12:49 AM
The wheels seem to be original (as far as I know).

The front end was last aligned years ago , likely when the king pins were re-done.

The springs seem ok. The front rake looks just like old Stude promo pix.

I'm running 26lbs in the front and 23 in the rear to get a reasonable ride with no real load.

Just had all the brakes adjusted.

I love these M's! Purposeful looking, but women have been known to say that it's the cutest truck they've ever seen (I'm not going to discourge them in this thot)!! A desirable, dollar-appreciating, pre-war design, but an engine with modern main and rod bearings (and after all, the more "modern" 2R5, underneath, is only modified a little from an M5), no "odd" technologies like transverse springs that need maintenance or transmissions laid on their side (ok, the brake adjustment is odd these days).

At a cruise nite, the Studebaker Junior in the bed of the M5 and a Studebaker ad display I've worked up (I'll try to post some pix on a future thread) really makes people smile and comment.

I'd like to get this steering caster issue solved so that I can more comfortably take trip with her (the truck, I mean), along the north shore of Lake Ontario soon.
THANKS for your help.

07-22-2012, 08:07 AM
I would suggest a good lube, and be sure pins are free. Check for any loosness, (with frt wheels off ground), Have it aligned and adjust the steering box. The whole frt end alignment is based on the type tires. You can't use modern settings without radial tires. Too hard to steer. Or maybe not for you. I don't know what your toe in is now, but you might "cheat" in a tad more if you are at i/16 or so. I had to run a fat 1/8 when I used non-radials with some loosness..