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Steering alignment -Toe-in, cam high-spot, and Shop Manual photo for tire alignment

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  • Steering: Steering alignment -Toe-in, cam high-spot, and Shop Manual photo for tire alignment

    Hi,
    '57 Golden Hawk in progress.
    Not terribly important (I think?) but in re-assembling my steering and pitman to rebuilt steering assembly, saw this guide for "making sure the wheel is straight" before doing toe-in.
    Strange thing is, it references making sure the LEFT wheel is straight (and then adjusting toe-in using RIGHT tie-rod), yet the photo shows the procedure to get the straight wheel on the RIGHT side. (and is a left-hand drive car in the photo).
    Assuming just a goof in the photography, principle remains the same just the other side. (ie: LEFT still means LEFT as referenced from sittting in driver's seat like every other right/left reference!?)
    Click image for larger version

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    More practical question: when I do toe-in, is there a specific place on the tire (referenced from the floor) to measure from? My Model-A Ford manual had a specific height (like 6"?) from the ground, and my home-made gauge has the little chains hanging off each side so you are same distance from floor and correct place on the tire to measure the toe-in. I don't see any reference to WHERE on the tire to measure for the Hawk. Probably doesn't matter, just curious.

    Lastly, I set my steering to where I "best guessed" the tight spot is for centering the cam; with the dimple (and "T" marking) in steering shaft and collar facing up, as manual indicates it should be after assembly (and starting place of centering at least). Hard to feel a distinct center 'high spot', more like a 1/4 turn or so that has a bit more resistance. (tried loosening lock nut on pitman shaft and tightening it up a bit for more 'feel'; still a 'range' not a high SPOT)

    In this position, I have my left tie- rod threaded all the way in, and left tire is BARELY straight, while almost an inch of threads left on right tie rod yet, and the bell-crank is just slightly off-center. I'd assume the bell-crank should be dead-centered...
    Will have to turn the steering a bit counterclockwise to even the tie-rods out, (and bell-crank will be closer to centered) but getting away from center of that "high spot" in the steering cam. No choice, but wonder if that is normal to have to compromise on this? and to not have a 'distinct' cam centering point but a 'range'? Seems I'll barely be "in the quadrant" of some resistance in the cam yet, but will be almost off it, where-as I started with it in the middle of where resistance starts and ends as I'd assume "centering cam" would entail.

  • #2
    The gearbox cam high spot is critical, or else you will have wandering steering after all is said and done. Before beginning to set toe in/out, caster and camber, you must first center the steering gearbox input shaft on top of the cam. Next, locate the shaft coupler 'T' mark at 12 o'clock. Finally, install the steering wheel, centered. At this point, if the bell-crank is not centered, or very close, something is amiss, i.e. perhaps you installed the wrong drag link? Still, if there are enough tie rod threads to compensate, it won't hurt to dial it in (center the bell-crank) with the tie rods, even if one comes out a bit longer than the other, as long as there are enough threads to safely do their job.

    For toe in/out, follow the Shop Manual and begin with the driver side, and set it to straight forward, zero toe in/out. Toe in is set on the passenger side only. But if running radial ties, only need a smidgeon of toe in, as I explained in your post above.
    Last edited by JoeHall; 10-11-2020, 08:04 PM.

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    • #3
      The text is correct, but the photo confuses the instructions by showing the right side. The '55 manual shows the left side. The string and wedges are used on both sides.
      I've been meaning to mention that the hollow 'roll' pin in the steering flange down at the coupling should be replaced with a solid pin part # 1547173.

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      • #4
        [QUOTE=JoeHall;n1860585]The gearbox cam high spot is critical, or else you will have wandering steering after all is said and done. Before beginning to set toe in/out, caster and camber, you must first center the steering gearbox input shaft on top of the cam. Next, locate the shaft coupler 'T' mark at 12 o'clock. Finally, install the steering wheel, centered. At this point, if the bell-crank is not centered, or very close, something is amiss, i.e. perhaps you installed the wrong drag link? Still, if there are enough tie rod threads to compensate, it won't hurt to dial it in (center the bell-crank) with the tie rods, even if one comes out a bit longer than the other, as long as there are enough threads to safely do their job.[/QUOTE]

        Joe, do you actually GET a distinct "high spot", or is it more a 1/4 turn 'range' of drag? Mine turns freely until the "T" (and dimple in shaft) are at around 1:00 and drags a bit to 10:00 roughly. Can't feel a 'spot'. But if I set it with the "T" marks directly at the top, not really "middle of the drag zone" (high spot?) anymore, and as I said my left tie-rod is screwed all the way in. I did put in a later (60 or something?) NOS bell-crank unit (forget why, Brent Hagan recommended it; maybe my bushings and shaft were all shot and this unit was all he had left...). Maybe the pinch-bolt angle is slightly different or something... But I HAVE no other Stude parts, so drag-link and everything else are original. Tie-rods are identical length (never know when one got swapped!) Hard to mix up parts when you only have one set. :-)

        Dwain, good point, I'd never heard of that pin before but Brent my StudesRUs man recommended it (and pointed out the Svc Bulletin regarding that change) and also a new collar (the spline was suprisingly sloppy in mine for a 60,000 mile car!).

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        • #5
          If you tighten the can adjuster a bit, the cam and high spot can be felt better, and you can narrow the high spot down to within 1/8 turn at the gearbox input shaft. If you installed a new coupler, you are supposed to first set the cam high spot, then install the coupler with 'T' at closest to 12 o'clock. Then drill the new coupler to align with the hole already in the gearbox shaft.

          Agree with using a solid pin, as I've found most roll pins to be broken upon disassembly. However, it's a non-issue, since the coupler can not come off or go anywhere, even without a pin installed, once everything is reassembled and buttoned up.

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          • #6
            Over the years I've heard of 3 or 4 instances where the steering wheel lifted up and disengaged. I can't imagine anything else but a broken roll pin causing that.

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            • #7
              So with ALL of this talk of a "Roll Pin", what I can't find is mention of a Saginaw Power Steering Box, which is what it MUST be?
              None of this happens on Manual Steering.
              StudeRich
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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              • #8
                Yep! Saginaw power steering.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dwain G. View Post
                  Over the years I've heard of 3 or 4 instances where the steering wheel lifted up and disengaged. I can't imagine anything else but a broken roll pin causing that.
                  Perhaps something else broke between the steering wheel and gearbox. The splined coupler is mounted on the splined input shaft of the gearbox splined, and encapsulated between the end of the steering column and the gearbox. It is impossible for the coupler to move upward (toward the steering wheel) far enough to come off the splined shaft because the coupler studs/nuts would bottom out on the end of the steering column. Perhaps if the column were slipped upward (again, toward the steering wheel) far enough it may be possible. But then, on the steering wheel end of the column, the shift collar would bottom out against the steering wheel hub. Perhaps if the steering wheel was shifted far enough toward the driver it would provide enough clearance for the column to shift that much, but then the steering wheel retainer nut would have to be missing, in order to shift that far. So, while nothing is impossible, that's about as near impossible as it gets.

                  Put another way: if the roll pin were not even present, all that would occur is the steering wheel could be shifted toward and away from the driver maybe 1/4" total travel. The travel toward the driver would by limited by the coupler studs' contact the end of the column; travel away from the driver would be limited by the steering wheel hub contacting the shift collar and/or the coupler contacting the spline abutment on the gearbox.
                  Last edited by JoeHall; 10-14-2020, 07:46 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Well, I guess I can align it exactly and MARK it this time, as after filling the Saginaw with 80W-90, there is a slight weep on the pitman plate cover and its going to have to come off, drain and make a new gasket. And THIS time use Permatex. Didn't think it would be necessary for gear-oil. Can't figure it out, was pristine surfaces, I generally run a file across just to check for high spots, maybe forgot on that one. Sigh. Wouldn't be MY Stude if I didn't take it back apart at least once. Silver lining is I'll be dead-on for center 'high-spot' position :-) Had been kicking myself for not prick-marking that dead-center line-up before closing up the box anyway.

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