I spent the day fixing and installing the original set of Laurel Under Slinging Brackets for the speedster project (all day). I already had the front axle assembly finished. It has new spindles, bushings, ect. So I finally get the Laurel brackets, re-bushed, and the holes all cleaned up or bushed. Then its time to install the very special pair of 11/16 inch bolts that go thru the perch holes to hold the brackets on. They are a special size and are almost non-existant. The fit and tolerance is very tight and are hard to get installed without damaging the fine threads as you install them. So after a hard hours worth of work I finally have them installed and only "nicked" one thread. So a quick thread file cleanup, put the anti-sieze on the threads, tighten the nuts down, and step back and say "well done self". Then I notice I installed them on the wrong side. I actually said earlier, to "self" not to do that... . Since it will be very very hard to remove them and reinstall them without damage. I get to remove the king pins tomorrow and switch the spindles (that were already finished) from side to side. It was one of those moments that all there was to do was turn off the lights, go in the house, and take a shower..... An old man who taught me a lot when I was younger always said. "It is not a mistake" "unless you can not fix it". Well I can "fix it" but it still feels "like a mistake"
No porridge for you, Donnie Brown !
Donnie Brown - Hate to add to your grief, but switching the spindles from side to side is not a good idea as one has left hand wheel bearing nut threads and one has right hand threads. Forward rotation of wheels must not tend to tighten wheel bearing nuts.
Harold, If Im thinking right, switching them "will" put the threads in the right location. Right now if the axle is in the original position with the tie rod/spindle arms on the rear side, everything is as it was. Except my lowering brackets point forward instead of backwards. Now if I turn the complete axle assembly around and have the lowering brackets pointing toward the rear like I need them to be, that will put the tie rod/spindle arms in front of the axle, and the spindle nuts are on the wrong side. By removing the king pins, and switching sides with the tie rod and spindles still as an assembly, that will move the tie rod to behind the axle and the nuts should be on the correct side. Someone please correct me if Im wrong.
Donnie, you have right and left spindles, the spindle that the outer bearing and nut are reverse threaded goes on the right side of the car.
Hey Donnie - if you turn the axle around will that mess up your caster? Not sure how the brackets work with the perches and everything.
Would help if you could/would post pictures of what you have going on. If nothing else I'd like to see the Laurel brackets.
Seth, Ill post some pics this afternoon. I was so disgusted last night I did not want any photo proof of the deed... but this morning things look a little better . I still think Im right with the switching of the spindles, and the caster is OK as long as the brackets point toward the rear.
sound's like you're on the right track, flip the axle from front to back, then swap spindles and you should be good to go!
Here is a photo of how the laurel brackets should be installed, Donnie goofed and mounted the portion that holds the spring pointing forward. Spindles are easy to swap.
Glad to hear that flipping the axle and swapping spindles will work.
What sets the caster on this setup?
The laurel bracket does, just like the Ford spring perch did in the original configuration. Fyi you can install the Ford spring perches incorrectly and it will tip the axle the wrong way.
I think the laurel brackets do the caster set up so Donnie is on the right track. Right spindle will still be on the right side of the car, left spindle will still be on the left side of the car, once he flips the axle and reinstalls the kingpins.
Mike R. -- Is that picture of Fred Houston's Laurel Speedster, or are you building one?
Mike W. It's Fred's, I stole the photo from another thread.
Switched out the spindles today. Everything worked out OK. Now I have one more small problem. The tie rod is hitting the front spring/motor mount. If I turn the spindles hard right or hard left the tie rod hits in the center. Ill have to hook up the pitman and make sure that it turns that sharp or not. If it does hit, I may have to do away with my 6 nut center clamp and go with an early 4 nut 2 U-bolt type. It appears from Mikes picture above it will give more clearance. Since the Laurel brackets were designed to use the early style wishbone, they may require the early style spring clamp. ??? One other option would be to straighten out the spindle arms, and do away with the curves in the arms. Im not sure if straightening them would give enough clearance or not. The picture below shows the tie rod position when wheels pointed straight ahead.
This picture shows the steering arm turned hard right and tie rod hitting in the center.
The next four pictures are just of the brackets and assembled front axle.
Earlier straight spindle arms would position the tie rod lower. That might work.
Hey Donnie, when I got a dropped front axle my tie rod was hitting the oil pan. You can swap the spindle tie rod arms and flip them upside down. That might give you the little bit of clearance you need by moving tie rod a bit lower. Worked perfectly for me. No need to mod anything and has zero effect on alignment or steering. If I remember correctly it'll move the tie rod a good 2 inches down if not a little more.
Seth, I stumbled onto your suggestion of flipping the steering arms, on another thread last night. I think you are on the right track. I did a quick look last night and I think it may work. By moving the axle up it also moved the steering arms, tie rod ect up. By flipping the steering arms, it looks like it will put the tie rod closer to its original position. In the fourth picture above this post you can see my "Common Since" radius rods laying under the car. I still have to install them. The tie rod has to pass thru them. I think flipping of the steering arms may be a little too low, but I can bend them back up a little or find straight ones. Mike, what years use straight steering arms?. I do not have any. Anyone have a good pair of straight ones.?
Rodda says the straight arms are 1911 to 1917 or 1918. The 8-5-28 Ford parts book says 1911-1919 (Part #2696) for both sides, left and right. Earlier parts books show also #2696B (1911-1915) which has an extra hole for the speedometer hardware and goes on the right side. They're called straight because they don't have the slight S curve that raises the ends of the later arms to get above the lowered wishbone, but they do angle in toward the center of the car.
Thanks Steve. Now I know what to look for. Ill still have to "mock up" the parts today to see what will actually work... Its funny how changing one thing messes up everything else but I guess that's what makes it interesting ..
Donnie it may not even be a problem. You haven't hooked up your drag link. You might be over steering the spindles without the drag link attached. If you are using a 1919 and later steering column it has a built in stop to keep a person from over steering. Edit: You knew this, I read your post again.
(Message edited by mikerobison on January 08, 2015)
Donnie -- I have some of the straight spindle arms. As Steve said, they went out of use in '19, when the wishbone was moved to the bottom of the axle. Let me know if you need a couple of them. 479-790-4229
Steve: Are you getting ready to do some green screen videos?
Donnie, where did you get the square headed bolts that hold the spring brackets to the axle? I need to find a set to replace the ones in my doodlebug when I redo the front end
Chad, I bought them from the person who sells the repro Laurel brackets on e-bay. I will try to find his contact info. He is one of us here on the forum. They are a non-existant size. 11/16 inch is not even listed on my thread/drill charts as an option... I looked forever, for a pair of them, before I found his. He has them custom made for use with his brackets. They are a high quality, very well made item. I felt like his price was reasonable for what is involved in making them...
Thanks Donnie. I have a set of wide spring brackets with a shortened axle and standard spring. But they put those bolts in the and I would like to keep that style. They welded on the ones I had so I would like replacements.
I forgot to post the update info for my clearance problem. I have hooked up the pitman arm and drag link and the tie rod will still hit the bolts. I have tried the straight arms and they do not help. I also tried to reverse the steering/spindle arms. They will give enough clearance to miss the bolts at rest but if the axle was to rock very little on the spring it will change the angle of the tie rod and cause it to hit the bolts. It appears my only easy fix is to replace my 6 bolt spring clamp assembly with the earlier 2 U-Bolt style with 4 nuts that install from the bottom. The thin area of the U-Bolts will give plenty of clearance. I guess the six bolt assembly will go on the tractor conversion now.
The fellow making the Laurel lowering brackets is Bill Bohlen in La Habra, CA.
Mike, Thanks, I bought the bolts from Bill.
Very important that you fit the crankcase before settling in on a design of you tie rod and spindle arms. When the spring works, the rod may hit the nose of the crankcase. there isn't much clearance.
Getting the steering and front end correct is one of the hardest things to do on a speedster. I had an identical problem with my T Fronty that still has its original factory front 4 inch lowering brackets. They originally offset the tie rod in a very crude way by cutting and welding the rod/s.
I made an offset rod by calculating the loss in bending it. multiply this by two. Cut the rod to length. Machined up the entire length of the rod as the 16th size is not available in Australia. (18mm is very close though) Threaded the rod both ends by Lathe. Put the offsets in both ends.
Reversing the 20-27 spindle arms may work too.
Make sure you fit the front Radius rods as well to check for clearance and remember that the crankcase will move up and down with the spring. You really need to set it up with a lot of weight on the spring to simulate it bottoming out.
Mark, I already noticed that the crankcase will be a problem with the stock "upturned" spindles. By reversing them, it appears there should be plenty of room. I replaced the 6 bolt spring clamp today , with the early style 2 U-Bolt style. It gives plenty of clearance in the center. But when I turn the spindles hard right or hard left, the tie rod end castings hit the spring or Laurel bracket, depending on right or left turn. It happens just as the spindles bottom out in the extreme turn position. With the drag link hooked up the steering wheel will still make the spindles and tie rod bottom out. The drag link seems to be the perfect length (30-7/8). With the pitman arm straight down and both wheels pointing straight ahead. The drag link fits perfectly. The other issue I was afraid of is going over center, but it all appears to "bottom out" well before going over center becomes an issue. It appears to me now that the extreme turn position bottoming out is a design problem and I see no way to correct it. If I have to leave it that way I see no real problem with it. It only hits in the very last little bit of an extreme turn, and nothing seems to be in a bind, or position, to bend anything. If anything, at the extreme turn position, everything seem to just "nestle" into a nice snug position. If I was racing these cars in the day, that may be a "good thing" as nothing should bend while "snuggled" up to all the "end of travel" points. Im going to fit the crankcase tomorrow and verify that Ill be OK with the tie rod clearing, but it looked like it would be no problem. (I hope). You are correct about front lowering being a hard thing to do. You really have to pay close attention to everything, even when using factory made parts. Then the only thing left to do is fit my "Common Sense" radius rods. I have already checked them for clearance and they appear to have a "mile of room"
Here is an ad for my "common sense" brackets. You can see them under the chassis in one of the photos above. Ive had these over 20 years, and never saw a set in use.
That is the first time I have seen the ad for the Common Sense radius rods. I've had three sets of a similar setup in use for many years. They really firm up a front axle. I think it is an excellent and safe addition to your speedster.