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Old 04-19-2019, 04:36 PM   #1
phartman
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Default 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

Stock 1/2 ton pickup with unusually stiff steering. OK in the mornings when cold, but once the motor heats up to operating temperature, the stiffer the steering becomes. If I drive to breakfast and the truck sits for a hour, for instance, when I come back to drive home, the steering is uncomfortably difficult.

I am running straight 140 weight in the steering box. A number of other lubes have been tried, none seem to make much difference.

I went to grease the front end and found some problems. First, when jacked up off the ground, I cannot grab both tires and turn them at all to the right or the left. The only way to turn the tires back and forth is with the steering wheel.

Second, all the fittings took grease, except the passenger side upper kingpin grease fitting. I have removed the fitting and cleaned it. Sprayed both PB Blaster and WD40 into the hole and tried to dissolve some of the hardened grease, but to no avail. That fitting just doesn't seem to want to take any lube. I have two different grease guns, and neither worked.

So before I go any further, let's start with that fitting. What are some other methods to try and get the grease to flow into that lubrication point? Heat it with a heat gun? Try some other penetrating oil? Ideas?

Thanks in advance. I know somebody out there has been through the same.
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

Two other points...I have no idea when the kingpins were last replaced. And approximately 10" up the steering column from the steering box, there is a concave dimple in the wall of the steering tube. Could that somehow be causing friction to the steering shaft? I have tried to research to see if there is a bearing in the tube that the steering shaft rides in. Perhaps that is damaged? Dunno....
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:39 PM   #3
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

Disconnect the pitman arm, then turn gear, then grab and try wheels---- sounds like perhaps a tight kingpin , unhook tie rod and try each side
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:54 PM   #4
Ggmac
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

Suggest as above but wonder if it just idles till warm does it drive or turn harder ? It would not make sense if it does unless the exhaust is heating up an already tight fitting part .
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

The only part close enough to the engine to be affected by heat is the steering box, which sits right beside the left exhaust manifold. Maybe the steering sector and worm gear are expanding enough when hot to get too tight. Maybe back off a bit on the adjustment on top of the steering box. Instructions for that are on this site and in the Ford shop manual for the truck.
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:18 PM   #6
Bob C
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

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With the grease fitting remove can you get grease to go through the fitting? If yes
try running a drill bit in the spindle hole to get the dried grease out.


Bob
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:25 PM   #7
phartman
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

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Originally Posted by drolston View Post
The only part close enough to the engine to be affected by heat is the steering box, which sits right beside the left exhaust manifold. Maybe the steering sector and worm gear are expanding enough when hot to get too tight. Maybe back off a bit on the adjustment on top of the steering box. Instructions for that are on this site and in the Ford shop manual for the truck.
This explanation makes the most sense to me, too, and it is what I have suspected. I have searched high and low for the adjustment thread, however, and can't seem to locate it. Could you point me in the right direction? Thanks.
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

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Disconnect the pitman arm, then turn gear, then grab and try wheels---- sounds like perhaps a tight kingpin , unhook tie rod and try each side
Thank you for this idea. How about this plan? Go run the truck until the steering tightens up. Come back to my garage and disconnect the pitman arm. Then I can begin to isolate the problem: whether it is in the box up to the steering wheel; or if it is in the front end, most likely the kingpins.
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

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With the grease fitting remove can you get grease to go through the fitting? If yes
try running a drill bit in the spindle hole to get the dried grease out.


Bob
Bob, yes, I can get grease through the fitting. I even swapped the top and bottom fittings just to be sure. Any other ways to get the dried grease out of the joint? Again, it is only the upper kingpin greasepoint on the passenger side.

Does it make a difference what direction I have the wheels turned when I go to lube with the greasegun???

And, yes, both wheels are off the ground.
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

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Does it make a difference what direction I have the wheels turned when I go to lube with the greasegun???
No, the wheel position is not a factor. It is possible that the upper bushing in not installed correctly and is blocking the hole. Until you get something loose in the steering linkage (pitman arm, tie rods, etc) it is going to be difficult to determine which part is causing the issue.
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

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It is possible that the upper bushing in not installed correctly and is blocking the hole.
Very possibly. How might I check for that???
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:46 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

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Very possibly. How might I check for that???
Not easy as it is a fairly small hole. Might try measuring the depth of the other holes and compare them, but the thickness of the bushing is not that much, so the difference will not be a lot. I would isolate the problem before going much further.
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

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I would isolate the problem before going much further.
Yes. First priority is to determine why the lube fitting is not taking grease. Once the suspension is properly lubed, then move onto a diagnosis. That is, it a steering box/column problem or suspension problem.

If I cannot get the grease fitting to lube properly, well, then that will demand a different course of action.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:05 PM   #14
J Franklin
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

If necessary, removing the kingpin is not too difficult. It will also give you an opportunity to check out the brakes up front and repack the bearings.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

Do you have enough space to make a temporary heat shield between the steering box and the exhaust that will leave an air gap? That will deflect some of the heat and allow some fresh air to circulate between the shield and the box. I'm guessing you have headers. I know its going to be a pretty tight fit to get a heat shield in there. They are usually so tight you have to dimple the tube to clear the '34 box. There must be a lot of '32 -'34 Fords with the exhaust close to the steering box and I have not heard anybody complain about the their box tightening up. You could wrap the header tube with heat wrap. I think O' Reileys has some in there little performance parts section.

Does the back lash in the steering wheel change with the heat? The box should be adjusted so there is no play with the wheel in the straight ahead position but they will have a little play just off of that tight center spot. That's a perfect box which 99% of the time they are not and they have some slop in them. If your does not have any play you might have to give it some. Loosen it up a 1/4 turn and see if it makes a difference. You can always turn it back that 1/4 turn. If the play changes with heat that would indicate the problem was in the box. Like Drolston suggest (great idea) maybe something is heating up and expanding in there.

I can't see the heat having anything to do with the king pin. You still need to fix that grease zerk regardless so you might as well start there. I don't know if you can look in the zerk's hole and see the spindle's bushing turning on the king pin through the grease hole in the bushing or you would see the back of the bushing if that hole wasn't lined up with the zerk? I just went through this on a tractor. The zerk would not take any grease in the position it was sitting in until I took the weight off of the joint, Then the grease went right in. You could try jacking up the a axle and taking the weight off of the king pin. I doubt it will work but you never know.

Take a look at the other thread just posted on the 1935 Ford Indy cars. All of the Ford entries steerings seized up early in the race because the steering's universal joint was too close to the exhaust manifold. There is an excellent photo in that thread that shows the problem.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:00 PM   #16
TomT/Williamsburg
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

Spoke with Pete about his problem this morning. Grease goes through the fitting and I said there must be some old fried up grease in there that is impeding flow. But one thing Pete told me sticks with me - he was able to grease it once before when the wheel was at full lock (can’t remember which way). So, as one or more has said here, the bushing may have moved so the holes do not line up and no grease can flow.

So with the grease fitting out if you can go lock to lock trying to line up the grease fitting hole and the bushing hole perhaps using the top side of a drill bit that fits somewhat loose in the hole. If that bushing is moving it should get back to the right location at some point. I also said to remove the kingpin and see if the bushing is loose and inspectvthings andcsercwhatvelse might be the matter. Whatever way you do it, line things up, insert the kingpin and grease fitting and see what happens when you attempt to grease it. If it flows you have what is your problem. Although you can grease it now, new bushings should be installed along with new kingpins.

Unless the steering box is adjusted way too tight, and he has fiddled with this before with no luck, the grease issue, imho, is where the problem resides ...
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:29 AM   #17
1931 flamingo
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

I don't think once the bushing is installed it moves............................
Paul in CT
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:56 AM   #18
jimTN
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

Jack the axle up and put it on stands when it gets hard to turn and then see what is free or not. If a steering gear is out of adjustment, it will be constant so its important to isolate the problem before making adjustments.
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:55 AM   #19
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

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I don't think once the bushing is installed it moves............................
Paul in CT
If the bushing is moving there is a problem!
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Old 04-20-2019, 03:05 PM   #20
TomT/Williamsburg
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Default Re: 1934 Pickup Frustration- Ready to jump out a one story building

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I don't think once the bushing is installed it moves............................
Paul in CT
I agree but right now this seems the only logical conclusion. However, I do know our cars sometimes do not follow logic.! Lol!
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