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57 GHawk Power Steering / Alignment is off "re-visited"

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  • Steering: 57 GHawk Power Steering / Alignment is off "re-visited"

    Hi, I posted a few months ago about my 57 Golden Hawk and rebuild of original Saginaw power steering, and frustrations putting it all back together and NOT coming out with the original "balanced" tie-rod lengths after aligning the tires, etc.....
    Again, my project is body-off (still sitting on its cart the last 5 years), and rebuilt chassis piece by piece.
    After rebuilding my Saginaw unit, replacing all the tie-rod ends with NOS ones, and new bell-crank bearing/bushing kit, all ready to re-assemble.
    Long story short, after aligning the drivers front tire per manual (block of wood on rear tire, string, make front 'straight', parallel with rear), I could barely get the tire in this position, tie-rod cranked tight. While the passenger side tie-rod had lots of threads exposed.

    Per advice in previous post, re-checked 'high-spot", and (because of gear-lube leak) even took off the cover plate exposing the gear rack, so was able to eye-ball exact center-point (should be high-spot) and pin-prick the steering collar accordingly. Upon reassemblly played more with this, back and forth, back and forth (tightening up the pinion to feel it better) and eventually shifted that 'high-spot' over just a bit (see photos). HAS to be close...

    Pretty much same place I had it before though. People had asked, "any replacements of parts?"
    I HAD put on a NOS bell-crank because my bearing kit was with the larger pinch bolt so the guy sold me both. the bell-crank was interchangeable (supposedly). Thought I'd nailed the problem when I took it off to compare to my original! JUST A TAD different, installed both, aligned tire, and only about <1/8th rotation (of steering shaft) different BUT different, so went back to original bell-crank (smaller pinch bolt fine with me).

    I also confirmed Pitman arm wasn't "off" by a cog; found it CAN'T be for this one (see photo). Only one way it can go on. So that isn't it.
    But still have just a few threads exposed on Driver's wheel, and 1/2" or more on passengers side. I have original photos (and had measured) at disassembly, both tie-rods were equal. Accordingly, the Bell-crank is slightly off center vs being ~centered on oil-pan. What's the deal??

    Changes during restoration:
    -replaced the front cross-member (mine was cracked and welded badly, I got a good, beefier one with the factory reinforcements from a '62(?) Hawk; welded channel iron across the frame to hold position, and carefully replaced exactly same position, re-riveted and re-welded. Gap between front frame members was unchanged after all this, welded brace-channels unmoved... (so, don't see how this would affect my problem).
    -NOS control arms and new bushings and kingpins and tie-rod ends. Shouldn't affect anything.
    -replaced drag link in same orientation as it was taking it off (per photos). Mine has a bend to it, unlike most (this is correct per catalog for 57 w/ Saginaw power steering). DID try swapping it around just in case, didn't seem to move anything either way.
    -tried adjusting the camber/caster (all the way back, all the way out) , didn't change anything.

    So, in the end, after re-examining every single part, and spending hours confirming that 'high spot' is close as I can get it (figured I was screwing that up somehow, but photo w/ cover plate off shows it IS "right there") my tie-rods are about 1/4" or more skewed from where they were originally, when both measured exactly the same length. I have a couple turns on that left tie-rod, so probably "OK" and adjustable. BUT REALLY BUGS ME, what could have moved/changed? It is all original as disassembled now, after going back to original bell-crank, except for the new front crossmember. And with the frame welded in place during that swap, don't think it moved (and, checked toe-in, tires are both parallel to rear tires AND same distant apart, zero toe-in (planning on radials), so frame is still square.
    Thoughts? Sorry for long post, I've fought this thing for the past few months, sick of it and buttoned it up tonight, unless someone has further ideas. Thanks!
    Click image for larger version  Name:	tie-rods after aligning tires parallel.jpg Views:	0 Size:	46.3 KB ID:	1868854Click image for larger version  Name:	bell-crank (original) after aligning tires.jpg Views:	0 Size:	38.1 KB ID:	1868850Click image for larger version  Name:	drag-link; confirmed original position (as disassembled).jpg Views:	0 Size:	40.7 KB ID:	1868851Click image for larger version  Name:	Saginaw center point-should be high spot (single punch-point).jpg Views:	0 Size:	54.4 KB ID:	1868852Click image for larger version  Name:	Steering high-point vs visual center of gearing.jpg Views:	0 Size:	49.6 KB ID:	1868853Click image for larger version  Name:	pitman arm correct position.jpg Views:	0 Size:	60.2 KB ID:	1868855
    Last edited by bsrosell; 12-05-2020, 08:09 PM.

  • #2
    Without being there this one is tough to understand, but it seems to me you are saying if you shorten the Right side that has all that thread and Lengthen the Left Side with little threads to Center the Bellcrank Arm on the Oil Pan, your wheels will be all wonky, Right?

    Are you saying that you tried flipping the Pitman Arm over? Because since it has a Bend in it, that would make maybe an Inch more or less Fore/Aft Movement if the Bend in it is fore and aft.
    I get that it's Clocking on the Splines cannot be changed and installed with wrong clocking to the Gear due to design.

    I am really confused about the TWO Bellcranks, I have never noticed any difference in those, except on the Later Bendix Power Steering 3 "Armed" one vs the Manual Steering one with Two "Arms".
    I wonder WHAT the Small Lock Bolt Type is supposed to Fit, likely it uses a Different Center Shaft/Pin with a smaller Dimple for the Lock Bolt?
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3
      Barry, sounds like you have exhausted all checks and measurements, i believe you may have a wrong reach rod or drag link. when sun comes up will measure Wifes '57 Silver Hawk for comparison. there have been more than one instance of misnumbered NOS parts! try this, remove drag link at both ends. center steering gear. even out threads on tie rods to get bell crank centered and wheels straight ahead. now measure from pitman arm hole to bell crank hole center to center and compare to your reach rod. measure from grease zerk to zerk, this has always worked for me. hope you can find the right rod to save your hair LOL. Luck Doofus


      • #4
        You "could" have a slightly bent steering arm on the spindle. Also Camber will affect toe in. That is why you adjust toe LAST. As long as you can achieve correct settings without the sleeve coming out of the tie rod threads, then you're good to go.
        Bez Auto Alchemy

        "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln


        • #5
          Barry, measured the drag link on Sue's 57 Silver Hawk with Saginaw power steering. grease zerk to zerk is 14 1/2 as close as i can see. book shows 2 drag link dimensions, 14 5/8 for16G and 6H then same length for Hawks. info is on last page of power steering section 55to58 chassis book. problem is we dont know how factory measured ! zerk to zerk works for me! Luck Doofus


          • #6
            It looks to me like the pitman arm is off rotationally relative to the gear box. Is this possible?
            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer


            • #7
              Rich, yep, you've got it. If I centered the bell-crank (and had equal length tie-rods), it would be like I turned the steering wheel about 1/4 turn right.
              BEFORE I put my old bell-crank back in, I was barely able to get a 'straight' left tire with that drivers side tie-rod cranked down about as far as it would go.
              After putting my original bell-crank back on, I gained about 1/8th turn (of steering wheel) to get that same position. Thus at 'high point', now have a couple tie-rod turns of adjustment on Left.

              re: those bellcranks: the two ARE virtually identical except for the pinch-bolt diameter. But putting sockets in two of three holes allowed me to see just a smidgeon of off-set in third hole. Thought I'd nailed it! And again when assembled, only about 1/8th turn difference (at steering) to get same 'straight tire". My original (1539053) has the smaller pinch bolt. Brent sold me an NOS bell-crank kit complete (mine was worn, plus bearing/bushing needed replacement). The kit had the corresponding larger diameter cut-out "dimple" for larger diameter pinch-bolt, so Brent sent the NOS later (1547239) bell-crank to take advantage of that larger pinch-bolt. But I went back and put my original bell-crank in now, so bell-crank is no longer part of my current issue.

              Re-stating the NET problem; with all components assembled, tightened and adjusted as described above, my driver's side tie-rod is 24 7/8", passenger side is 25 3/4" (end to end). That IS with the driver's tire "straight" and a few threads of adjustment left. So I also believe it "will work". But I rechecked my log, and confirmed when I took it apart, both tie rods measured the same. Primary point; WITH ALL ORIGINAL PARTS, including the reach-rod, pitman, tie-rods, and steering unit, my tie-rods now require being ~1/2" offset each (1" total difference left rod vs right rod) to get straight tires.

              (Yes, I spun the tires and checked for out of wack tire or wheel mounting or something).

              Doofus, I just rechecked photos of my reach-rod after I had removed the engine, I RE-USED MY "original?" REACH-ROD, and you can see the angle is up and down; while looking straight ahead (parallel to engine-block), the reach-rod is "straight". The bend is vertical. Attached are photos of before disassembly (you can see through the grease the tie-rods were ~same too). And attached photos today, same reach-rod, in same position. It is 16" in length. Unfortunately no ID number cast on the reach-rod (or at least I can't FEEL one).

              I WOULD Like to know if this matches your 57 Hawk (assuming you have Saginaw power steering?), as the ONLY other thing I can think of is maybe original owner had a new reach-rod put in, and simply rotated steering (off the high-spot!?) to get centered bell-crank?

              I think these "non-straight" reach-rods are only correct for this vintage and the Saginaw power-steering? So not holding out much hope of that being the cause. Worth checking though, thanks for being willing to look at yours!

              I know this while post sounds "anal", but I'm less concerned about it being "perfect", as WHY IS IT DIFFERENT THAN WHEN I TOOK IT APART? If I screwed something up, easier to correct now while no body on, and everything is fully exposed.

              Oh, regarding "flipping the reach-rod" Rich, I did try that last month, and I wish I'd written it down, but since the whole reason I was doing it was to move the bell-crank "more-centered", it apparently didn't make much, if any difference. And then I found a good photo SHOWING mine was angled "up/down" when I took it apart, so put it back there (that is how I had it anyway) and stopped worrying about THAT particular aspect.

              Thanks guys for putting up with me on these oddities. Much appreciated. Reinforce once more (since I HAVE replaced so many things with NOS, having Mr. NOS Supply Brent Hagan as a good friend‚Äč reach-rod, tie-rods, bell-crank, and Saginaw unit /Pitman are all ORIGINAL to when I dissassembled and tie-rods were same length. What I have no way of knowing of course, is whether the steering was on the 'high-spot' at that time. Can HOPE Doofus finds my reach-rod is incorrect. :-)
              BarryClick image for larger version  Name:	reach rod- assembled as original.jpg Views:	0 Size:	41.6 KB ID:	1868982Click image for larger version  Name:	reach rod- assembled as original2.jpg Views:	0 Size:	48.4 KB ID:	1868983Click image for larger version  Name:	crossmember (cracked).jpg Views:	0 Size:	100.5 KB ID:	1868984


              • #8
                As long as castor, camber and toe in are OK, it really doesn't matter. You're never going to find both sides the same---that's why they are adjustable.


                • #9
                  Yeah Jeffry, tend to agree; but since the tie-rods were EXACTLY the same when I took it apart (even wrote that one down), wouldn't you be puzzled why using the exact same pieces and putting back together, the bell-crank is now shifted that far over? As long as nothing I did to mess it up, so be it. Might be the previous owner(s) or shops just turned OFF the high-spot to GET the tie-rods equal. "looks right". That's my best case. ;-) Which I'd be happy with.


                  • #10
                    I can't help much here other than to comment about the bell crank cinch bolt.... I got a new center pin and shaft kit for my '53 and re-used the original bell crank. The notch or cutout in the shaft for the pinch bolt was larger than the original one so the shaft could theoretically twist a little with the smaller pinch bolt. This should not be moving unless that bolt comes loose so I just shrugged and put it together. Never had a issue.

                    The Saginaw PS unit I put in the car came from a '57 Hawk and no issues mating to the '53 bell crank or getting the alignment. I remember going back to the junk yard to get the drag link after finding out it was special and I could not get a new one. Fortunately, it was not shot. I did a lot of rust repair on the frame but not so far as a cross-member swap.

                    Jeff in ND


                    • #11
                      Just to eliminate this as a possibility, tie a string around a center punch and place the punch in the center of the bell crank pin. Measure over to a point somewhere on the frame, then measure to the same point on the opposite side and see what you get.
                      AL SORAN RACING


                      • #12
                        Barry, i believe when you first tore it down the steering gear was not on high spot. like someone said earlier, they just turned the wheel a bit and put the drag link on. your attempts to set it up right uncovered someone else's flub. would a 15 in rod serve to get it straight? thats the measurment i got on my 63 Lark driver and i believe a spare is upstairs. what think you? Luck Doofus


                        • #13
                          Dwain G.; good idea! Never thought to check for square frame horns like that; it IS the same each side though (GOOD, I didn't screw up the replacement of cross-member, at least for that dimension).

                          Originally posted by doofus View Post
                          Barry, i believe when you first tore it down the steering gear was not on high spot. like someone said earlier, they just turned the wheel a bit and put the drag link on. your attempts to set it up right uncovered someone else's flub. would a 15 in rod serve to get it straight? thats the measurment i got on my 63 Lark driver and i believe a spare is upstairs. what think you? Luck Doofus
                          Hi Doofus, thanks for checking your Silver Hawk reach-rod. I finally had a minute to go out and check mine. measures 15" zerk to zerk (~16" end to end). If your 57 Hawk's is 14.5" zerk-to-zerk..... hmmm bet that is it. That would be the exact amount (bell-crank arms being about equal radius) needed to center that bell-crank. Your 63 Lark's reach-rod may be what I HAVE then? Does it look the same as my photos, that single bend 'up'? No drawings of what I should have in the catalog, only shows Bendix type and straight type. Unfortunately, your extra 15" (zerk-to-zerk?) would be exactly what I have. (but thanks!!).

                          Does it seem odd to have replaced a reach-rod? But if Doofus's 57 Hawk w/ Saginaw power is 1/2" shorter than mine, and that is how far my bell-crank is off-center......sure sounds like 'that's it". Did reach-rods typically wear out? I know they are non-servicable, so WOULD have been replaced if worn pivots......

                          Thanks guys! I'll have to try and dig out that part# next weekend and see if anyone has the correct reach-rod for my 57 GHawk, though as Jeff said, probably doesn't make a difference as long as I can get toe-in.


                          • #14
                            Barry, I don't think through ALL this it has been said yet, unless I missed it.

                            Your Car is SUPPOSED to have a 1539894 reach Rod for all C and K Models 56G-B-H-J, 57G-B-H and 58L with Saginaw P/S.
                            I would have to guess (maybe not) that their "measurement" shown in the Book is Total Length extreme End to End, and it is 14 5/8.

                            The reason I looked it up AND in both Manual and Saginaw Power Steering Reach Rods is, I was hoping knowing Stude. that they had also used this Reach Rod on Manual or some other model or year other than yours to make the search easier, but DARN, it IS Special for ONLY that setup.

                            Manual Strg. '57/'58 would be a 1542005 NO length given.

                            K&G Studebaker's Catalog (Canada) has recently been updated and Shows one, I think it's Used, Most others no longer have them.
                            Last edited by StudeRich; 12-10-2020, 10:25 PM.
                            Second Generation Stude Driver,
                            Proud '54 Starliner Owner


                            • #15
                              Barry, yes they do wear out. had to replace one on my 64 cruiser eons ago. yes my spare looks like yours only grimier by far! if i were in your shoes i would have one made to my specs to get that correct length after centering everything. luck finding one! Luck Doofus