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Old 10-13-2019, 10:23 AM   #1
Dirtrack49
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Default Spindle Arm Nut

Had my 30 Town Sedan jacked up in the front to check things out after driving the first 400 miles on a new to me restored car. Noticed that the nut that holds the right side steering arm to the spindle had slop in it when moving the right wheel back and forth. Pulled the cotter pin and tightened down the nut and took the slop out.
My problem, can not get another cotter pin in now. Tried a crush washer to help take up the play, but still have fore and aft movement in the steering arm.
Can I use shims to take out the play and line up the cotter pin hole? Am I missing something here? My guess is the guy who supposedly rebuilt this car, backed the nut off to insert the cotter pin not realizing that he had created an area of slop.
The tie rod, king pin, wheel bearings and steering arm all appear to be fine. The slop is simply in the area where the steering arm goes through the spindle.
Thanks for any and all help.
Tom L.
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Old 10-13-2019, 10:48 AM   #2
Joe K
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

Best would be a shim on the "nut" side under the nut. But be sure to "clean" the paint off of the spindle seat and spindle arm before installing - you may find the nut will now pull up and allow the cotter to be placed.

You want to be sure the spindle arm "square" is up close and personal with the spindle swivel seat itself. This is what sets the actual steering geometry (which is engineered) and reduces tire wear.

Surprised someone would "back off" in such an important area - kind of makes you wonder what other "shortcuts" you'll find in this restoration.

Keep us posted.


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Old 10-13-2019, 10:55 AM   #3
Steve Plucker
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

There were two types of nuts used in this area...one with a shoulder, one without. Not sure which one you need.

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Old 10-13-2019, 12:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

I think we need a picture so everyone knows what part he is talking aboo9ut.
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Old 10-13-2019, 12:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

I probably should have said steering arm to spindle nut. Tie rod connects to the steering arm which goes through the spindle next to the king pin with the nut facing forward.
Hope my terms are correct.
The car is in town. May not make it there to take a picture today.
Here is a picture of someone's car. The castle nut in the center of the photo connecting the steering arm.
Tom L.
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File Type: jpg 1930 Town Sedan rt ft castle nut.jpg (67.2 KB, 166 views)
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Old 10-13-2019, 01:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

Yes.

The arm(s) (both sides actually) are on the BACKSIDE of the axle - and each is landed and oriented by a "square" portion which matches the "female square" built into the steering spindles.

Being loose is a problem since it will only get looser - and wear will occur between the male and female portions of the square. While the wear can be accommodated by the tie rod for a single position of the steering - in turning the wear will present different (and varying) degrees of angle between the two spindles/wheels. Possibly resulting in the "Death Shimmy" akin to the same symptom of badly worn king-pins which many have commented on and sought solution.

It has to be according to design - or at the minimum you're looking at new tires. At a maximum your widow may be choosing a cemetery plot.

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Old 10-13-2019, 05:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

So, is it safe to put shims where the nut goes on to align a cotter pin? When I found the play, I was able to snug up the castle nut and eliminate the play. Only problem, I could no longer line up the pin. Seems to me, that when I first got this car with about 8 miles on it, when I checked the front end, there was only slight play in what I thought at the time were the wheel bearings. Now after putting some 400 miles on it, I now have this play. How do I determine if this is repairable? Or has the damage been done and I am in for a new axle, spindle and steering arm?
I thought the steering arm was connected to the top part of the spindle? That is the nut I am referring to, not the one below it. Gee I guess I am really confused.
Thanks again,
Tom L.

Last edited by Dirtrack49; 10-13-2019 at 05:22 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:07 PM   #8
Chuck Sea/Tac
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

So you are saying you need to tighten the nut another fraction of a turn to be able to put the cotter pin in? Is that correct?If so how much torque are you putting on that
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

Just hand tight. Maybe 40 ft. lbs. When I brought it up, I had only 1/8 inch more to go to put in the pin. Thought I should just put a thin shim in and bring it up tight.
Now I am concerned that since that slop has been in there for maybe 400 miles, the square fitting on the steering arm might have gotten messed up?
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

You have the wrong nut(s) installed. They should be low profile with a step on the back side to go over the boss that keeps the spindle from turning. That may be part of the problem, yours are too tall. This link shows the correct nut;
https://www.snydersantiqueauto.com/P...earchByKeyword
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:25 PM   #11
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

And 400 miles is not that much in the scheme of things.

Were it mine, I would take the parts apart, clean up the seats (both pieces) and you'll be able to tell if it has been "hammered." And - assuming all is well - can go back together sans paint between the parts (re-paint after assembly)

AND - either get the nut mentioned above - or the shim and use what you have.

Even the fine-point people would have trouble seeing the difference once it is painted.

You are well to be concerned though - I once had a VW rabbit which had the "trailing" rear axle a la McPherson strut setup. On each side of the car was a two bolt "bracket" which held the rear axle and rubber trunnions sort of allowed it to swivel and do its suspension thing.

I had the rear axle of that car out completely putting in a "stiffener" (which came out of a Scirocco) and had returned it to the car. I had a drive of a hundred miles which needed to be done and I could tell in the short distance to the nearest stop-light something wasn't totally tight. Sort of a "thump-thump" going over bumps on the passenger side. But drive I must - and I'll fix it when I arrive.

On arrival I got out the torque wrench again (EVERYTHING on a VW is torqued to a number) and never even got to the "click" when the welded in stud bolt broke off in my wrench. Looking at it I realized the repeated vibration had "crystallized" the bolt which had the characteristic crystal looking break (not time even to rust.)

Repair involved drilling out the stud entirely, threading the frame and what remained of the weld, and installing a Grade 8 socket head bolt to replace it. I was pleased that the repair lasted the life of the car, and was even commented upon favorably by the local VW dealer when they did the Annual Inspection.

As to my 400 mile pooh-pooh. In this case you're going to torque the bolt to your specified number. Engineers take comfort in the real world thought that "If it survives torquing - it will probably survive the life of the connection." Generally the worst stress a fastener finds is the stress of initial fastening - all else is life as usual.

So if you make it that far - there is your test.

Joe K
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Last edited by Joe K; 10-13-2019 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

redmodelt,

That pic is of some car off of the internet. I will take a look at mine and see what I have. Thanks for the heads up.
Like the avatar. Great patina! I was working on a 49 F1 before purchasing this A.

Joe K.
Thanks for all the input. When I go out to town tomorrow, I will take a look at what I actually have. My guess, the original so called restorer, put the castle nut on, and backed it off to fit the pin. Oh well, live and learn. So many things on this car I have found wrong. Where will it end?
Tom L.

Last edited by Dirtrack49; 10-13-2019 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

Guess I should have called this thread, Right steering arm nut. The back side of the nut is full flat, from the center hole to the outside. Not like a normal castle nut. Got my parts mixed up?

Last edited by Dirtrack49; 10-13-2019 at 09:00 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

Does it look like this?

https://www.snydersantiqueauto.com/P...l-a/axle/front

or

https://www.brattons.com/spindle-arm-nut.html

-Tim
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:54 PM   #15
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

Yes, that is the nut.
Today, I took off the nut, cleaned all the paint off of it, and reinstalled it. I used a breaker bar and torqued it down until it met the next pin position. Figured if I broke it, I would just have to redo the whole thing. Now everything is okay.
Thanks to everyone who gave me advise on this matter. Joe K. and Chuck Seatac, had the defining results. Everything is nice and tight now.
Thanks again,
Tom L.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:32 AM   #16
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

I have a question in this vein, but a little different. I read this thread and looked at the picture that dirtrack49 posted in post #5 yesterday. Then I looked at the front axle of my car. In that picture the nut on the spindle lock (Les calls it a grooved locking pin) is on the front of the axle. On my car it's on the back of the axle. I looked in the Les Andrews book and it shows the nut on the back. Does it make a difference?
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:26 AM   #17
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

Quote:
Originally Posted by marty in Ohio View Post
I have a question in this vein, but a little different. I read this thread and looked at the picture that dirtrack49 posted in post #5 yesterday. Then I looked at the front axle of my car. In that picture the nut on the spindle lock (Les calls it a grooved locking pin) is on the front of the axle. On my car it's on the back of the axle. I looked in the Les Andrews book and it shows the nut on the back. Does it make a difference?
Marty
If you mean the king-pin lock pin - then yes.

Two reasons.

One: the hole for the lock-pin in the axle is "straight" - and can be chased with a reamer to clean up rust. However, the lock-pin itself embodies a "key-taper" which is made to match a keyway/taper formed into the king-pin itself. Thus without the king-pin in place the lock-pin CAN go completely through the hole and fall out the other side. It's the king-pin groove which makes the lock-pin lock.

And - there is a left handed king-pin and a right handed king-pin. They are marked and normally go in their spot.

Unsimilarly, the "key-ramp" portion of the lock-pin are both the same right to left, but not front to back. If the lock-pin is installed from the wrong side, you end up with the key-ramp thus formed "the other way." Doing this the topmost round heads of the king-pins are then made "misaligned" to the brake shaft lever housings they are supposed to mate to.

The difference is not large and it may work even with the pins backwards but read on...

Two: the acorn style nut used on the lock-pin is quite tall compared to acorn nuts in real life. This acorn nut is required to "limit" how small a turning radius you can turn - on the back of the steering spindles (king-pin side) there is a recess which "hits" and is thereby formed a limit in turn by the acorn nut.

If the acorn is on the wrong side then it will hit - but not necessarily at the right spot. Your turning radius may be affected.

An additional warning for your reading. Back in the 1970s when I did my first front end - I bought the then-available king-pin kit which included the pins, the retainers, the bearings, the bushings - in a word it was a "kit" and included EVERYTHING.

Except the lock-pin nuts were standard nuts and not the acorn nuts required. I threw all the old stuff away since it was rusty and I used only what was new - because it WAS new. And rationalized "This must be how they make the kits now."

With the wrong nuts in the right place I found the turning radius of the car was such that I could turn a U-turn in my father's garage - which was only a two car (24') garage. A short turning radius was convenient for moving the Model A around and to put THREE cars in a two car garage.

After driving a while I discovered there was some hazard in what I now had - without a proper turning radius limit it became VERY possible to flip the car at speed on the road. Fortunately it never really happened - but going around a turn on two wheels almost happened - and having it nearly happen made me examine the issue. And eventually replace the acorn nuts and do it right.

So given the ready availability of "kits" back then I imagine that there may be other Model A's which don't have the proper turning radius limits out there today. Check to be sure yours is not one of them.

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Old 10-15-2019, 11:41 AM   #18
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

Marty and Joe,
The picture in #5 post is not from my car. It was taken from the internet to point out the steering arm nut. Since that post, I was able to take a picture of the right side of my car, which you can see that it has the proper pin is on the bottom. However, you can also see that the brake arm has a fork on it that is reversed. That fork also has all kinds of play in it from side to side due to evidently a bad bushing. I am wondering if that bushing has gone bad due to the play that was found in the steering arm?
Also not in the picture, my shocks are out for rebuilding.
Tom L.
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File Type: jpg 1930 Town Sedan rt ft steer.jpg (54.5 KB, 34 views)
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:28 PM   #19
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtrack49 View Post
Marty and Joe,
The picture in #5 post is not from my car. It was taken from the internet to point out the steering arm nut. Since that post, I was able to take a picture of the right side of my car, which you can see that it has the proper pin is on the bottom. However, you can also see that the brake arm has a fork on it that is reversed. That fork also has all kinds of play in it from side to side due to evidently a bad bushing. I am wondering if that bushing has gone bad due to the play that was found in the steering arm?
Also not in the picture, my shocks are out for rebuilding.
Tom L.
The brake arms should be installed to tilt "away" from the centerline of the car January 1930 through end of production. There is a right and a left arm and the ends of the arms where the horizontal rod connects is "tilted" to mate up to the angle of the attached rod. Reversing the brake arm puts this angle "the other way" and may interfere or bind on the rod eyes. He may have reversed the arms left to right to keep the eye-ends of the arms correct for the horizontal rod attachment. If so at least he is consistent in his mistake.

As it is may not make a difference to function, but you may have a lot of brake rod rattle as the horizontal rods might be hitting something else in the area. (The purpose of beginning the brake arm tilt in the 1930 models was to "improve" and reduce any potential for rattling.)

Play in the brake shaft assembly (connected to the forked arm) is "looseness" which has to be made up in adjustment. Side to side is ok - but front to back MIGHT be a problem. Still, if you have new pads and room for adjustment it might remain functional for a while.

Given that the steering system is quite separate from the braking system (they're separated by the "brake pins" going down the center of the King-pin) I would say looseness did not cause an issue with the brake shafts. More maybe just wear?

A lot of rebuilds are done with paint.

Adjustment of the brakes is traditionally done so that when the brakes are "unloaded", the forked brake arm "tilts forward" about 15 to 30 degrees. On application of the brakes fully, the arms are "straight up" - at this point you get the greatest pressure on the brake pads (the most mechanical advantage.) He seems to at least done that much.

Joe K
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Old 10-15-2019, 05:22 PM   #20
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Default Re: Spindle Arm Nut

Joe K, Thanks for all of the good information on the front end.

Taking a look at the picture below, you can see that the drivers side (left side) has a straight fork. The passenger side has what I thought should be on the drivers side? I was under the impression that the fork offset was to be to the outside for clearance. Others have told me that there were straight forks and offset forks depending on the year.

Both of my brake arm forks rest at approximately 15 degrees forward, which I believe is correct.

I am having a problem with bringing up the front right brake. Maybe I should pull the drum and see what is going on. I can hear what must be heavy brake drag in one spot when I spin the wheel, yet I don't get full braking on that wheel.

Les Andrews book tells me I should repair the side to side motion I am getting in the fork. He explains that this is due to worn bushings. Although I really don't see how that would change anything.

Thanks again for all the input.
Tom L.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1930 Town Sedan left shock link missing b.jpg (24.6 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg 1930 Town Sedan rt ft steer.jpg (54.5 KB, 18 views)

Last edited by Dirtrack49; 10-15-2019 at 05:32 PM. Reason: clarification
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