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Old 06-17-2019, 06:09 PM   #1
Mulletwagon
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Default Steering Damper

The PO installed a steering damper which bolts on between the tie rod and front axle. Thinking about taking it off. Does it really stabilize steering or does it just make steering effort greater ?
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steering Damper

Hello,

I have read many that say the steering damping simply hides other problems that should be fixed. While I do believe there is truth to this, I nevertheless find the steering damper useful - mainly because I have to drive on freeways with grooved pavement. Without the steering damper, the unavoidable irregularity of the pavement grooving relative to the driving direction creates nerve-wracking erratic steering behaviour. I do my best to regularly ensure all steering connections (kingpins, drag-link, tie-rod, steering box) joints are tight, but will not remove the steering damper because of how the car would otherwise drive on that grooved pavement.

Safe driving, Andrew
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steering Damper

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Originally Posted by Mulletwagon View Post
The PO installed a steering damper which bolts on between the tie rod and front axle. Thinking about taking it off. Does it really stabilize steering or does it just make steering effort greater ?
Usually a steering damper is installed when stock replacement parts should be installed instead. You should not need one on a stock or even mildly modified front end.
They do increase steering effort slightly. You do not notice this on an off road desert racer where they were intended for use.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steering Damper

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... on an off road desert racer where they were intended for use.
That's not an entirely true statement. Numerous cars including VW and Porsche had steering dampers from the factory long before there were "off road desert racers" along with many high performance street motorcycles.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steering Damper

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That's not an entirely true statement. Numerous cars including VW and Porsche had steering dampers from the factory long before there were "off road desert racers" along with many high performance street motorcycles.
Yea, I know but you got the point didn't you? lol

Oh, by the way, there were off road desert racers in the late 20's. You just didn't hear about them unless there was a telegraph line in the area.

Come to think of it, I had one on a 175 Bonneville bike in the 60's.
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steering Damper

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Originally Posted by Mulletwagon View Post
The PO installed a steering damper which bolts on between the tie rod and front axle. Thinking about taking it off. Does it really stabilize steering or does it just make steering effort greater ?
They do both.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steering Damper

I think they are just a bandaid,I would remove it and if you realize there is a problem fix it properly,Henry never installed one!
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steering Damper

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Henry never installed one!
Yes but Ol' Henry did a lot of things that could have been done better...

Last edited by Ruth; 06-18-2019 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steering Damper

If you don’t want, I’ll take it.
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steering Damper

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Yes but Ol' Henry did a lot of things that could have been done better...
I've gotten myself into trouble here in the past by saying that but there are many things that could (and should) have been done better.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:29 PM   #11
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I've gotten myself into trouble here in the past by saying that but there are many things that could (and should) have been done better.
And I have always maintained that almost all products on the market, including the model A Ford are/were a product of marginal engineering.
They have to be to meet profit parameters.

Imagine what a model A would have cost if it had come out of the factory capable of 200 mph and 50 miles per gallon.

Think of the social impact of a product like that also. The wrecking yards and graveyards would be full to capacity.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:31 PM   #12
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Default Re: Steering Damper

The damper wasn't original but does no harm other than losing points in national judging . A damper won't fix worn out parts . Common sense tells me that a damper will stabilize the steering in rough conditions . My CJ 5 jeeps came with dampers and they seemed to work well . Even with large mudder tires , my jeeps steered like power steering when they were moving .
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:05 PM   #13
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Default Re: Steering Damper

Good afternoon...Our Tudor had the entire front end rebuilt and it drove quite well 98% of the time with the exception of railroad tracks and big pot holes. We added the damper and there has been no trouble for 7 or 8 years. Many new cars, with much better front ends than our Model 'A's have, also have steering dampers. Both my Jeeps have them. For me they are a nice safety item that can easily be removed and no drilling is necessary to install one. Have a great Model 'A' Day. Ernie in Arizona
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: Steering Damper

Mulletwagon,
So many pros and cons on this short thread, like any great
group exchange.....
I'm thinking Post #2 basically says it all. If you are going to
be facing grooved pavements (Something Henry certainly didn't
design for, or even imagine!!) it sounds like it would be a great help...
I'll be surprised if you can't find local online maps showing grooved road surfaces.
. Do they use use em in the Florida panhandle?
Ride safe...
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:24 PM   #15
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Default Re: Steering Damper

No grooved road surfaces in my area that I am aware of. If the damper does not add much turning effort, I will leave it on. Simple question generated a number of appreciated responses. Thanks to all.
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:07 AM   #16
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Default Re: Steering Damper

Unless you have a steering wheel with no play at all, you will benefit by having a damper.
It will help to keep the car from wandering so you don't have to keep correcting it with the steering wheel.

I think Thomas Edison told that to Henry once but Henry wouldn't listen.... I think.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:42 PM   #17
Purdy Swoft
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Default Re: Steering Damper

I feel that a steering stabilize-damper would be an improvement to any vehicle. If a damper causes more steering effort , I've never noticed it . If anything a damper seems to make steering easier to me . If the toe in is off a little it can cause nerve wracking erratic steering after hitting a pot hole or crossing rail road tracks . Though a damper would in some cases mask the shimmy , it would be best to have the toe in checked and adjusted if necessary or uneven tire wear will usually follow on the front tires . Correct toe in is 1/16th.
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:52 AM   #18
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Default Re: Steering Damper

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Originally Posted by Mulletwagon View Post
The PO installed a steering damper which bolts on between the tie rod and front axle. Thinking about taking it off. Does it really stabilize steering or does it just make steering effort greater ?
These "steering dampers" are normally installed due to shimmy or other steering issues. Yet the solution to fix a problem, to me, is not to add a part to hide the real problem. Since your vehicle already has one of these, it is kind of up to you to leave it or remove it. Some folks add them just to have one! If that is the case with your vehicle, removing it will not hurt anything. And if a steering problem is uncovered by removing the damper, then identify the problem and fix it. There are lots of posts on shimmy and other front end steering issues and the solutions. Could get time consuming and in some cases, if you cannot do the work, costly! A lot of simple things such as tightening shackle bolts. Let us know what you decide. (and oncover)
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Old 06-24-2019, 05:07 PM   #19
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Default Re: Steering Damper

Mine had a very large shock on it & it bent the tie rod.
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