My speedster has a completely rebuilt front axle and steering system. Its all brand new, except for the steering case which is a good, used original.
It has new 4:1 gears and pins in the steering case and I've liberally lubricated it with graphite-d grease. However, when testing it for the first time, just now, my heart sank when there was a loud "Crack" noise come from the area of the case.
The system is tight but I expect it'll get free-er with use.
Any idea about the noise? If so, is this a known problem?
Your advice please?
Thanks & Cheers,
I had that problem, too. It would occur when I would turn the steering wheel when the car was not moving, or maneuvering slowly in the driveway. I found the problem to be a loose key in the pitman arm on the bottom of the steering column shaft. Under force, the slight movement of the arm on the shaft, would make that loud "crack". I changed the key to a new tight one and tightened the castle nut and put in a new cotter pin. No movement--no noise.
I've just had another look at the problem. I lifted the weight off the front wheels and proceeded to turn it from left to right and back again numerous times.
There is a slight lumpiness to the steering case and at the same time a noise coming from there too. So, it looks like the "good" used case isn't that good after all.
I've just checked your theory. The Pitman Arm and Woodruff Key are brand new, installed yesterday, and good and tight. No movement there. Thanks for answering.
Just a Swag, but is your case a 4 to 1 case or a 5 to 1 case? Dan
I believe all the cases are the same as to ratio. The steering shaft with pins, the three little "planet" gears, and the center "sun or pinion" gear are the parts that must match.
I agree with Dan Hatch. I restore these columns and I have had at least one brought to me that the customer said was "clunking or cogging" as he turned the wheel. Upon inspection I can testify that it was indeed cogging. It was the early 6 rivet steering case and yes it had 5:1 sun and planetary gears in it. I switched the gears to 4:1 and it was instantly cured. The 5:1 gears "detested" the early case. I am sure the reason is explainable and logical but I am not the man to do that. Things we learn but fun doing it. Mike
Open 'er up!
Like Tim says...
How hard are the pins? Did one crack?
Thanks for your answers Gents.
The "crack" and this noise, are both coming from the gear case. Not down at the steering bracket/Pitman arm end.
I have 3 sets of gears here and they're all 4:1. One set is brand new. Another set is new, but run in with valve grinding paste and the third set is very good, used.
There is no binding, just a sort of lumpiness which feels like gear teeth, in the steering wheel when turned from lock to lock. The steering wheel has about 3/4" free play at the rim.
Its early morning here now and in a few hours I'll get into swapping the gear sets until I get a smooth running steering box. If I don't, then it has to be a bad case.
Again, Thanks for answering. Its much appreciated.
Is the flange on the bottom of the tube square or round? Dan
The gear cases are soft. It might have been dented or dropped in the past, causing it to go out of round.
I think you may have hit the nail on the head with that, because, that's exactly how it "feels".
"There is no binding, just a sort of lumpiness which feels like gear teeth"
That would be the feeling of gear teeth binding with each other, but probably does not explain the "crack" sound. By the way, did this make the crack noise just once, or does it continue to do so?
The Crack only happened once, when the car had its weight on the wheels. It disheartened me and scared me so much I wasn't going to do it again for fear of breaking something. So since then all this other lumpiness has only been when the car is on stands and the weight is off the front wheels.
Thanks for getting involved with my "petty" problems you guys. I do appreciate it.
I've just been out playing with this thing and found that after removing the Pitman arm and swapping different sun gears with planetary gears, I've been able to eradicate the noise. I now have a used gear case, new planetary wheels and a used sun/center gear.
With this combination its all still snug/tight and it appears to work fine now. No noise and no lumpiness.
I found that if I installed all new parts, it was WAY too tight and if I installed used parts it was a little too loose. So a combination of new and used seems to work well.
Thanks to all who took the time to answer. Its much appreciated.
There were different tooth shapes between the early and later steering cases and gears. The teeth on the early ones were thinner and longer than the later ones. This may be why some people have no trouble changing gears while others have problems.
Here is a picture showing three different planet gears. The left gear is a 5 to one ratio; the middle one is from a later 4 to one and the one on the right is an earlier 4 to one ratio.
Gears have got to match and the cases are different to suite each style of gears
Chance are you have something mismatched
Also check the case rivits are tight and the case is not moving in the column.
Also another issue I have seen mostly on speedsters the column is not in line with the lower bracket at the frame to check this remove the pitman arm ball joint and remove the case gears
Pitman arm must turn free and easy
I have a 26 with the stop slot, did this appear in the early tubes or just in the later?