Ed and I took a ride in the speedster last night.
We both determined that the steering on the rig is downright scary and will go “over center” when turning all the way to the right.
We looked at the pitman arm and noticed that when the wheels are straight ahead the pitman arm is NOT vertical, instead the ball end is ~15 degrees left of vertical.
The front end is running what I assume is an original Laurel set up, which moves the front axle forward about 2 1/2” and down about 3”. So the steering geometry is nowhere near the way Henry designed it.
If we measure the distance with the wheels centered and estimate the length of the drag link we came up with 29 1/2” to bring it back in alignment.
Looking at past threads I don’t see a factory length that short, but earlier models were adjustable.
My choices are
1) try to find an earlier drag link that is adjustable down to 29 1/2”
2) fabricate an adjustable drag link that I can tailor to the correct length
3) attempt to bend the drag link to shorten it.
Has anyone else run into this scenario?
I’ll try to get some pictures when the sun comes up.
Does anyone know how many different length Ford drag links were manufactured?
(Chuck's Speedster is fast!)
Try your best not to bend the drag link. That's dangerous and can cause it fold up, unless it's not also properly reinforced.
There will likely be a significant amount of force on this component. I am not comfortable with it being anything but straight. I am also quite nervous about cutting and welding one up to fit, as i am quite amateur in my welding attempts.
I found the same posting you shared, but even the shortest ones appear to be be > 1" too long.
Pitman arms on Model Ts are not supposed to be vertical. This is because the drag link is not horizontal. The pitman arm should be at 90 degrees to the drag link while the wheels are straight ahead. This allows equal steering both left and right. With your Laurel brackets you have found that the drag link length is no longer optimum. I believe your drag link is now not long enough!
OR DID I SCREW THAT UP? Maybe it is too long. An oldtimers moment?
I think that early threaded drag links were intended as a method of manufacture rather than adjustment but adjustment is indeed useful.
Chuck, you might take a close look at your spindle arms. If these are bent/modified, this can upset the geometry of the front end.
Allan from down under.
If the pitman arm has been bent so the ball is closer to the centerline of the sheering shaft then the steering will have a higher ratio. This is sometimes done to give more control at higher speeds but if your steering gear case dose not have stops in it then the risk is the mechanism going over center as yours does.
A option for your problem;
Buy a pair of model A tie rod ends and install them in place of your drag link
Take a appropriate length piece of 5/8” tubing (if my memory serves me correctly) and using a lathe , single point thread each end. One end is RH thread, Other is LH thread.
Install and adjust as needed.
I HAVE actually done this and it works perfectly!!!
What year frame are you using?
I like that solution. Les! I'll see if I can get a length of chromoly tubing for Chuck.
Thank you Les!
Ill give it a shot.