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Steering Rebuild Puzzle - UPDATE

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  • Dwain G.
    replied
    Service Letter T-11 addresses that issue with 1960-61 Champs. There's about 10 steps to perform. Among other things it mentions making a new mark at the top of the steering shaft and moving the pitman arm one serration for equal turning.

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  • Commander Eddie
    replied
    Okay, my friends. Here is the roundup on this mystery case.
    You guys were, of course, correct on your diagnosis and cure. I picked up the truck yesterday (Monday) afternoon and talked with the shop owner. They had following my directions to read the entire thread above which I had printed out and put in the key drop envelope. They went right to work and got the steering squared away. The owner, Mark, told me that the technician who rebuilt the steering box had followed previous convention on older vehicles which was to line up a pair of marks that ordinarily would indicate the steering was centered. In this case those marks ended up offset from each other in order to get the steering centered, and he failed to check the steering before signing off on the job. His bad.
    After the owner ensured that the steering had 3 full turns in both directions, and was properly centered, he took it for a test drive. He handed me the keys and sent me on my way.
    So, there is the story, full circle. Another rip roaring success of this Forum.
    Now, if I could just get the horn to work. . .

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  • Commander Eddie
    replied
    A reminder for those above who provided such good advice on how to resolve this puzzle, that the truck goes back to the repair shop on Monday, May 3rd, to be fixed. I will post an update when I retrieve the truck.

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  • Commander Eddie
    replied
    Thanks, Paul. All of this is helpful. I have an appointment at the repair shop on May 3rd. I plan to hand them a printout of all of the above thread. As for the alignment, I may just bite the bullet and spend the money on another alignment at a truck alignment shop.
    I did not realize this was going to be this troublesome a repair, however, the steering is so much better that is is worth it. Besides, I have learned all sorts of new things here.
    I just love this Forum.

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  • r1lark
    replied
    Originally posted by Commander Eddie View Post
    Paul, thank you for your detailed response. I plan to take the truck back to the repair shop and I will print out these responses so they have a place to start.
    Regarding where I took the truck for the alignment, I took it to a regular alignment shop. It did not occur to me that a better place would be a truck alignment shop because of the straight axel. What you describe makes sense.
    Eddie, you are welcome -- I hope this helps you work thru the issues you are having. Keep us informed.

    As far as the alignment shop............any alignment shop can measure the caster, camber, and toe-in on a straight axle, but most of the new-fangled 'chain' tire shops that deal mainly in cars and late model 1/2 ton trucks do not have the equipment and/or knowledge to make the caster and camber adjustments to the straight axle. They may say, if pressed, "Oh, everything was fine except for the toe-in and we adjusted that." No matter what type of alignment shop you use, always tell them up front that you want a hard copy of the camber/caster/toe-in readings "as found" and "as left". You should be able to compare the caster and camber measurements they give you to the specs in the Shop Manual. On a straight axle, once the caster/camber is right, it will generally stay that way for a long time especially given how little a typical Studebaker collector truck is driven.

    But as mentioned earlier, a true truck alignment shop will take this all in stride and make it right.

    (Even our 'late model' Studebaker car independent front suspensions can be a mystery to a lot of the younger front end alignment techs!)



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  • RadioRoy
    replied
    Nice description. I am glad you mentioned the steering box high spot. Many folks do not know that the steering box must be centered. It's a concept that some cannot grasp.

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  • Studebakercenteroforegon
    replied
    The reach rod has right hand thread on both ends. It should be obvious that you couldn't adjust the length by turning the rod - if it had left hand/right hand ends - since the deliberate bend in the rod would prevent that from happening. Thus one end must be disconnected from the truck to make the length adjustment. I think this is how the shop got started on the wrong foot. Correctly adjusting the length of the reach rod would take care of the problems you describe.

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  • firestoper 25
    replied
    Paul and I share the same 'information stress' we are BOTH engineers AND project managers...

    BUT I am further cursed because I am also a machinist

    We live by data.....more the better

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  • StudeRich
    replied
    You are Very Welcome Ed, I am sure all of us appreciate that you except and use our help, rather than Never or months later answering like some.

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  • Commander Eddie
    replied
    Paul, thank you for your detailed response. I plan to take the truck back to the repair shop and I will print out these responses so they have a place to start.
    Regarding where I took the truck for the alignment, I took it to a regular alignment shop. It did not occur to me that a better place would be a truck alignment shop because of the straight axel. What you describe makes sense.

    StudeRich, I think your input adds to what Paul wrote. I will make sure the repair shop sees your note as well.
    Skip, thank you for that bit of additional information about the marks on the steering shaft.
    When I get this sorted out I will report back with an update.

    Leave a comment:


  • Skip Lackie
    replied
    Yes, the earlier trucks had the marks on the steering shaft, steering wheel, Pitman arm, etc.

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  • r1lark
    replied
    Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
    The Pitman Arm may be clocked wrong on the Box Shaft, if this is one of those Boxes that Can be.
    But Tie Rod Ends MUST be One Left and One Right on each End.

    Sorry if this is already covered in Paul's Huge Paragraph, I don't have the patience or time to read through all that.
    To Rich's point, yes, the pitman arm must be correctly installed on the steering box shaft. Look for a mark on the shaft and a mark on the pitman arm, and line those up. Not positive about the earlier trucks but I just verified that my 8E7 has these marks so the pitman arm can be positioned correctly. The earlier trucks "should" also, but my '55 E7 is not where I can check it.
    Last edited by r1lark; 04-21-2021, 01:45 PM. Reason: Spellin' -- changed 'cox' to 'box'

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  • StudeRich
    replied
    The Pitman Arm may be clocked wrong on the Box Shaft, if this is one of those Boxes that Can be.
    But Tie Rod Ends MUST be One Left and One Right on each End.

    Sorry if this is already covered in Paul's Huge Paragraph, I don't have the patience or time to read through all that.

    Leave a comment:


  • r1lark
    replied
    Eddie,

    From your description, I'm wondering if the steering box is on its high spot when in the straight ahead position. If not, that might explain why the truck doesn't turn as sharp one direction versus the other. Try this.......pull the truck into your work area straight - don't worry about whether the steering wheel is correctly positioned or not, just make sure the truck is going straight forward. Then disconnect the reach rod (some people call this the drag link, but the Stude parts manual uses the term 'reach rod') from the pitman arm. Then turn the steering wheel all the way one way, and count how may turns it takes to go all the way the other direction. Exactly one-half of this should be the high spot of the steering box. I usually tighten the adjusting screw on the box a little so it's easier to feel the true high spot. (Don't worry about how straight the steering wheel is at this point.) Then, if you did a good job pulling the truck into your workplace straight, you can adjust the tie rod ends on the reach rod so it will fit into the pitman arm with the steering box on the high spot. If you have adjustable tie rod ends on both ends of the reach rod, you may need to adjust both of them a little bit so they are both showing about the same amount of threads. Tighten everything up, put the steering box adjusting screw back where it was originally, and try it out. If the steering wheel is not centered but really close when going straight, you can adjust the reach rod tie rod ends a little to get it right, but don't go too much or you will get the steering box off it's high spot when going straight. If the steering wheel is way off 'center', you may have to reposition it on the shaft.

    I can't remember if the earlier trucks had a mark on the steering shaft and on the steering wheel center that should line up - I do know my 8E7 does. If the steering wheel is not installed correctly on the shaft, that is an issue also. But get the reach rod adjusted so the steering box is on its high spot when traveling straight ahead, before you worry about getting the steering wheel 'centered' or 'straight'.

    None of this impacts the toe-in, since that is a function of the adjustment of the tie rod which we have not touched. Note that the 'reach rod' and the 'tie rod' are two different things.

    The place that did the front end alignment - was this a truck place that can deal with straight axles, and bend the axle if the camber needs adjusting, and can install shims between the axle and springs if the caster needs adjusting? Anyone can do toe-in, but adjusting the camber and caster on a straight axle truck takes specific know-how and equipment. An alignment shop that deals with straight axle trucks would normally make sure the steering box is centered on its high spot during the alignment process.
    Last edited by r1lark; 04-21-2021, 01:51 PM.

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  • Commander Eddie
    started a topic Steering: Steering Rebuild Puzzle - UPDATE

    Steering Rebuild Puzzle - UPDATE

    Here is a steering puzzle I have not run into before, but likely has a simple solution. I'll try to keep this explanation succinct.

    I just had the Ross steering box re-built in my '61 Champ truck. In addition, the King Pins were replaced and all four reach rod ends. The truck was then taken to an alignment shop.
    The alignment tech showed me that the front end was correctly aligned but he was having trouble centering the steering wheel. He explained that he thought the problem was that the new reach rod ends were threaded on the wrong end, or that both ends had a left or right hand thread instead of a left AND right hand thread.
    I did not have time to drive the truck very far between the repair shop and the alignment shop, but after leaving the alignment shop I found that I had normal turning radius when making a left turn, but not when making a right turn. The steering hit lock about 20% before it should have. Also, the steering wheel is a quarter turn off center to the right.

    So, do any of you have any ideas on what is going on here?
    Last edited by Commander Eddie; 05-04-2021, 07:03 AM.
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