Today, I experienced my first front end shimmy on my 26 runabout pickup. I've found several discussion threads on the forum which discuss how a front end will shake violently at low speeds, including a noticeable shake in the steering wheel, but it doesn't do it all of the time. The shimmy seems to cure itself when completing a stop. The discussion threads I've read include many excellent possible problems and solutions for these shimmies, but I haven't found one that definitively identified the cause and cure.
I inspected my front end and everything seems in proper order except the right tie rod end has a gap and I can shift it up and down rather easily.
The nut on the bottom of the bolt is super tight.
The left tie rod end is nice and snug and so are the ends on my 24 Coupe. The gap on this single tie rod end seems to be an anomaly.
I need some advice:
(1) is the gap in the tie rod end a likely cause of the intermittent shimmy at low speeds?;
(2) what is the likely cause of this gap in the tie rod end?;
(3) can I simply insert a washer to close up the gap in the tie rod end?;
(4) if inserting a washer isn't a viable option, what is the best way to cure this problem and hopefully eliminate the shimmy?
As always, thanks in advance for the suggestions.
I doubt the vertical play is your problem. Sure a washer would be OK in my opinion.
Usual causes in no particular order; Loose
1. wheel bearings
3. tie rod ends
4. radius rod to axle
5. radius rod ball to pan
6. spring shakles
7. spokes (contributing to wobbling wheels)
8. drag link ends
9.pitman arm connection
10. bent axle and so incorrect caster (usually lack there of.
11. crooked wheels
12. rims and tires mounted off centre.
Around 5-10 mph is usually worst
And I have probably missed some things that have caused it
Generally something loose.
Oh and loose steering arms to spindles
Eric, if there is little to no sideways play on the pin, ie. the bush is not worn, then fitting a washer will be ok to close the gap. the gap occurs because there is no thrust face on the washer and over the years the weight of the tie rod bearing down on the spindle arm causes the eye and the yoke to wear. A good washer can be made from the flange on an old king pin bush. This will give you a bronze thrust face. It should remove one more rattle in your front end, but unless the bush is worn, there is not likely to be less shimmy.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Years ago I experienced the same problem with my '27 Touring. I tried everything but nothing helped. Finally when I swapped the front tires with the rears the problem went away and has never returned. This car has original wire wheels which are all straight so I feel that this was surely a tire problem.
I fixed the shimmy with a steering damper. That's also a safety device, to keep the steering wheel from breaking your thumbs, as without it, the steering can whip around.
Actually a shimmy dampener is hiding the problem. It's not fixing anything. People install those to hide shot steering components. Then they are surprised when something falls off and the car goes in the ditch.
Systematically go through the steering components. Make sure none is binding, or has excessive play.
Caster also has an impact on shimmy. Be sure the car has adequate caster.
Toe in has an impact on the tendency to shimmy. Be sure your Model T has appropriate toe in.
Many years ago I lost control of a car that threw me to the pavement with the rim of the steering wheel still in my hand. My wife stayed in the car and hit the ditch, came to rest between two trees and stalled sitting upright without a scratch to her or the car. Me on the other hand had gravel imbeded in my arm and left side. All because I didn't know enough about the steering and the shimmy. Ever since I make sure all king pin, drag links and toe and cater are correct before I even leave the garage.
Like many others, I've seen shimmy after everything is rebuilt and up to spec.
Follow the above procedures, and make sure every bushing in that front end has the proper fit, and you won't have that shimmey any more. I had a T once that had a bent perch, and I needed to replace it with one that was correct.
This is my opinion only. The shimmy could be caused by a combination of things. Balance of wheels, loose parts, alignment problems. If one or more of these is corrected the problem will go away. Therefore, there is no one cause or cure for it. You just need to fix anything you can find. Check all of the above mentioned items one at a time, and eventually you will find relief. I have had loose parts with no shimmy, and on other cars I had shimmy which went away by tightening it. One thing which caused it was loose spindle arm. Another was incorrect toe in, Another was loose wishbone. Another was the spindle bolts(kingpins). Sometimes tightening the spindle bolts until a very slight drag is felt, then tightening the jamb nut will stop the shimmying.
I agree that sometimes the problem has one cause, but more often it's a combination of several things. If you go through the front end and fix everything that needs fixing, as Larry says, that should leave the shimmying to Kate.
Undo all joints and check the balls for wear. I have seen these worn and are still appearing to be tight in their sockets giving a false sense of security.
One more item that I didn't see mentioned is the steering bracket bushing. I scanned the thread pretty fast so if someone already mentioned it, I apologize and don't mean to repeat. It's an often forgotten part of the steering geometry.
Does the shimmy go away as speed increases? If so, probably not a tire balance issue.
If not, jack up the front wheels and if the bearings arn't too heavily preloaded, your out of balance wheel will be obvious as the wheel will immediately rotate with the heavy part to the bottom.
Balance aside, I'm assuming that you have eyeballed the steering so that the smallest movement of the steering wheel back & forth results in movement at the tires?