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Old 11-11-2019, 04:52 PM   #1
nosoup4u
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Default Making an A axle steer easier

Now that winter has set in, I'd like to do some work on this thing to make it a little more drivable. One of the problems is that it steers hard. Part of the problem is likely the Deere steering sector I used, which is definitely not designed for running a model A front axle, but I wanted to use as many Deere parts as possible. Also the steering wheel is a little small.
It needs new king pins badly, which I will also change this winter, but what else might I try to make it steer a little easier?
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

Donít change king pins. Just new bushings. Easy.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

Try removing some weight. Switch to an aluminum radiator, for starters. Get the block and heads recast in aluminum also. Have the flywheel lightened. Take off oh, maybe 150-200 pounds. Drill some holes in the frame and front axle. Let us know if this helps!
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

An improperly shimmed spindle bolt bearing will make one very hard to steer. Make sure the load of the spindle is actually being supported on the spindle bolt bearing, -and not the spindle rubbing on the axle beam boss.

Next, I would say the steering on the tractor was/is likely worn however the box should have many turns from lock-to-lock. Disconnect the Pittman arm to see whether the steering gearbox is turning stiffly or whether it is in the steering arms and tie-rod ends. I cannot see what you are using for tie-rod ends, but if they are stock Model-A type, they may be adjusted incorrectly with too much spring tension.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

The king pins are in tension. The car hangs from the king pins, that are supported by a bearing at the top. Make sure this is what you have
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Old 11-12-2019, 09:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

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Originally Posted by 40 Deluxe View Post
Try removing some weight. Switch to an aluminum radiator, for starters. Get the block and heads recast in aluminum also. Have the flywheel lightened. Take off oh, maybe 150-200 pounds. Drill some holes in the frame and front axle. Let us know if this helps!
What is this?
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Old 11-12-2019, 09:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

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Originally Posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C View Post
An improperly shimmed spindle bolt bearing will make one very hard to steer. Make sure the load of the spindle is actually being supported on the spindle bolt bearing, -and not the spindle rubbing on the axle beam boss.

Next, I would say the steering on the tractor was/is likely worn however the box should have many turns from lock-to-lock. Disconnect the Pittman arm to see whether the steering gearbox is turning stiffly or whether it is in the steering arms and tie-rod ends. I cannot see what you are using for tie-rod ends, but if they are stock Model-A type, they may be adjusted incorrectly with too much spring tension.
I'm using A tie rod ends.The balls on the tie rods and drag link from the A are the same size as the John Deere.
Is there a general rule of thumb as to how tight the tie rod ends should be? Do those Teflon inserts do any good?
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

First off, you have done a beautiful job on your creation. I appreciate your creativity.

Steer easier? Lub the crap out of it, test with the weight removed from the wheels to find out if the king pin thrust bearings are doing their job, weight back on it, remove the tie rod to test if the problem is in the left or right side, remove the drag link to see if in the gear or front axle, etc.

I'm going to assume you have done all that and it still steers hard. Model As don't have power steering! Try not to fight it, and only turn the steering wheel when the car, tractor, er, eh, "vehicle" is moving, this will help. You could go to easy steer, or the F100 steering box.

Good luck, I can see you are having fun, more power to you!
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

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Originally Posted by Jacksonlll View Post
Donít change king pins. Just new bushings. Easy.
I am curious. Why only change the bushings?
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

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First off, you have done a beautiful job on your creation. I appreciate your creativity.

Steer easier? Lub the crap out of it, test with the weight removed from the wheels to find out if the king pin thrust bearings are doing their job, weight back on it, remove the tie rod to test if the problem is in the left or right side, remove the drag link to see if in the gear or front axle, etc.

I'm going to assume you have done all that and it still steers hard. Model As don't have power steering! Try not to fight it, and only turn the steering wheel when the car, tractor, er, eh, "vehicle" is moving, this will help. You could go to easy steer, or the F100 steering box.

Good luck, I can see you are having fun, more power to you!
I'm more of a tractor guy than car, so you'll have to do some splainin to me. When I jack up the front axle, what am I looking for besides obvious looseness in the king pins?
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:37 AM   #11
Jim Brierley
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

Nice looking rig, had hoped to see it in Lincoln last May.

With new king pins and bushings installed and everything lubed, and it still turns hard, shorten the pitman arm. This will give you more mechanical advantage. A good welder can do this safely, cut on an angle to give more weld-length, thus stronger than butt weld. Also the drag link should be as near horizontal as possible so you are not trying to lift the car as you turn.
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:36 PM   #12
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

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Originally Posted by nosoup4u View Post
I'm more of a tractor guy than car, so you'll have to do some splainin to me. When I jack up the front axle, what am I looking for besides obvious looseness in the king pins?
With the weight off of the wheels, you are only going to feel resistance from the steering components, and not the tire scrub resistance. (Note that this won't tell you much about the kingpin thrust bearing, which could also be binding.) You are simply trying to isolate the various place where binding could potentially occur.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:41 PM   #13
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

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Originally Posted by Jim Brierley View Post
Nice looking rig, had hoped to see it in Lincoln last May.

With new king pins and bushings installed and everything lubed, and it still turns hard, shorten the pitman arm. This will give you more mechanical advantage. A good welder can do this safely, cut on an angle to give more weld-length, thus stronger than butt weld. Also the drag link should be as near horizontal as possible so you are not trying to lift the car as you turn.
Last May it was still in 14 pieces.
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Old 11-12-2019, 02:28 PM   #14
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

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Originally Posted by Jim Brierley View Post
shorten the pitman arm.

A good welder can do this safely.
Not sure that's a good idea. It's extremely illegal in my country & a major reason why imported cars can't be road legal.

Just so people know...
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Old 11-12-2019, 04:10 PM   #15
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

Are you complaining about hard steering while the vehicle is stationary or moving? If it is heavy at zero or very low speeds, everything is normal. I don't know whether this applies to you, but there are many people these days who have never driven a vehicle without power steering so they think the world is at an end when they do.
There may be nothing wrong.
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:05 PM   #16
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

Heavy steering is a way of life with old cars and tractors. There are several things that can be done.

1- Live with it.
2- Try straight Power Punch in the gear box.
3- Install an early Nash power steering. Most cars require NO mods to the existing steering
for it. It will most likely require fabrication of a pump mount. On your car the running
board apron would hide the cylinder. The cylinder bears on the pitman arm.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:26 AM   #17
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

mine steers easy. something is probably binding it up. good luck. I pray to the gods of iron its not expensive.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:19 PM   #18
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

I welded mine in 1959, still doing well. Bevel the joint deeply, weld, peen, weld, etc. Peening is important as it relieves stress.
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Old 11-15-2019, 08:48 AM   #19
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

A "little" better view
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File Type: jpg Deere.jpg (99.3 KB, 23 views)
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Old 11-16-2019, 09:56 AM   #20
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Default Re: Making an A axle steer easier

Obviously you are very comfortable with modifications and fitment so why don't you find a steering box off of an old truck. Some of those you had to turn the wheel many revolutions to go lock to lock. I would think you could google it to find the ratio you want.
By the way, how many revolutions of the wheel is it now for lock-to-lock?
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