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Old 01-03-2016, 09:27 PM   #1
moonshine runner
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Default Car is a floater

Good evening Barners,

It's been awhile since I've posted but thought I'd throw this one out and see what kind of replies I get!

What makes an old car feel like it's floating when you drive it at highway speeds?

My 56 Vicky has always seemed like a floater and you have to stay on top of things when driving, but this weekend I decided to move the rear tires to the front and front to back because I have had a bumping and trying to see if it's a rear tire.

Anyway, I took it out for a drive and it is really floating. You have to stay right on top of things while driving.

Just wondering what makes an old car do this? The shocks on the rear look fairly new but not sure about front.

I am not saying that it has gotten worse and maybe it's just because I haven't driven the car in a few months..

Thanks in advance.

Kevin
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Car is a floater

I know what you are saying. I have a '48 F-1 and a '51 tudoor and they both feel that way compared to my '10 Fusion. I think it has to do with aerodynamics and modern suspension tuning. Just my thoughts. I do know the more you drive these old cars the more you get used to them.
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Quote:
Originally Posted by estout81 View Post
I know what you are saying. I have a '48 F-1 and a '51 tudoor and they both feel that way compared to my '10 Fusion. I think it has to do with aerodynamics and modern suspension tuning. Just my thoughts. I do know the more you drive these old cars the more you get used to them.
I know what you mean but this is almost dangerous floating. I'd hate to drive it a long distance
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Car is a floater

do you have radials?
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Feels like it's floating,,,could it be all the flood waters you have in Missouri
Just kidding, just kidding


Just curious, are you running radials or bias ply tires ?








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Old 01-03-2016, 09:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Car is a floater

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Make sure tires are good and all linkages are tight and shocks are up to snuff. When I was a youngster I drove my 57 Custom 300 at speeds up to 100 mph on two lane roads with no problems. They should not float or wander.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Bias ply tires wander and follow cracks in road but radial tire won't. Tight front end and lined up properly and it should drive good but not like todays cars.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Moonshine Runner,
I drove the F-1 in my avatar 1500 miles this past summer on one trip with no problem. I do have radial tires on stock Ford pick-up wheels. Don't know if that makes a difference or not. I do know that you have to pay attention to your driving on these old cars especially above 50-60 MPH.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Car is a floater

If you have radials:

Try an old time alignment guy, one who remembers the transition from bias to radials. The toe in is different.

If you have power steering, or big arms, get as much caster in as you can.

All front end parts, from the steering box to to the ball joints, need to be tight.

Sagging or worn out springs need replacing, front or rear, and modern (not fancy, just base level gas ) shocks will help.

But on a decent road, 70 should not be a problem.

When I was a youngster, I drove a clapped out 59 Thunderbird downhill on the 405 at over 100mph. Jimmy still tells me that's the closest he ever came to messing his pants ridding shotgun. So what we did didn't mean it was safe.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Lanny,

Yeah, that is the worse flooding we have had around our state in several years. I have radials on the car. Coker wide whites.

Miker980038, not sure who is good on old cars these days as far as understanding front end's and the true alignment.

The car don't have power steering. It used to but not anymore.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:34 PM   #11
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Thanks to all for the replies. That gives me some places to start checking.

Kevin
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:41 PM   #12
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Ok, you're really taxing my old memory now. But I think I pulled the power steer pump off a bird in 68 or so, and drove 15 miles downtown, part on the freeway, to get it rebuilt. Car wandered like hell. Something about where the pitman attached to the socket (valve) on the power steering. It needed the pressure to keep the tension on. Sorry, a long time ago. But if you just pulled the power steering and didn't change the center link/connection? The part that runs from the steer box arm to the idler arm? Drag link?
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:43 PM   #13
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Quote:
Originally Posted by miker98038 View Post
Ok, you're really taxing my old memory now. But I think I pulled the power steer pump off a bird in 68 or so, and drove 15 miles downtown, part on the freeway, to get it rebuilt. Car wandered like hell. Something about where the pitman attached to the socket (valve) on the power steering. It needed the pressure to keep the tension on. Sorry, a long time ago. But if you just pulled the power steering and didn't change the center link/connection? The part that runs from the steer box arm to the idler arm? Drag link?
Thanks Miker98038. I never thought of that. No, I bought the car over a year ago and it would have came with factory power steering but either the guy I bought the car from took it off, or he bought it that way.

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Old 01-04-2016, 12:03 AM   #14
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Caster is the big thing as mentioned earlier. Most of the "older" car ran zero or real close because of the high steering effort. The gear boxes were worm and sector vice the reciporcating ball of later models and had 17" steering wheels. They were looser and required more effort to operate. The suspensions were set up with a butt load of travel because the roads were just not up to snuff like they are now. Sway bars were little more then oversized wire if they were there at all. Shock valveing was/is loose on those to allow for the extra travel.

I think the bottom line is there is no comparison between the two. A bunch of seat time will make them easier to drive and get comfortable. I drove a 61 Unibody from CA to AL and it took just over two hundred miles to get comfortable and know what to expect from and for different situations. The truck was bone stock with radials on stock 15" rims.
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Old 01-04-2016, 06:09 AM   #15
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Usually because of not enough toe out. It is easy to try by adding a half turn on either of the tie rods. If this helps, add a half turn to the opposite one. Be sure you are shortening them. (On a rear steer car) If this helps, follow up by having your front end guy assure you have not over done it to the point that your tires will wear excessively. If this doesn't fix the problem, go for the caster as described by miker98038 above.

Of course, all of this assumes that you don't have a mechanical issue up front.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: Car is a floater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorhead6 View Post
Usually because of not enough toe out. It is easy to try by adding a half turn on either of the tie rods. If this helps, add a half turn to the opposite one. Be sure you are shortening them. (On a rear steer car) If this helps, follow up by having your front end guy assure you have not over done it to the point that your tires will wear excessively. If this doesn't fix the problem, go for the caster as described by miker98038 above.

Of course, all of this assumes that you don't have a mechanical issue up front.
================================================




An alignment guy I know told me that front wheel drive vehicles should
be about 1/16" toe out.
He also told me that rear wheel drive vehicles should be 1/16" to 1/8"
toe in.











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Looking in the mirror, the wife says, this dress
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and this mirror makes me look 5 years older.
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The husband said, Well my dear, I must say,
"Your Eyesight is Still Damn Near Perfect"

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Old 01-04-2016, 04:03 PM   #17
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Default Re: Car is a floater

First step I would take is a set of KYB Gas Adjust shocks. Alignment and weak springs can certainly have a negative effect on driveability but if it drives straight down the road but floats shocks would be my first step. A good looking vicky like yours should drive as good as it looks. It can with some maintence, repair, and/or tuning of the suspension.
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:37 PM   #18
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Default Re: Car is a floater

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Originally Posted by okiedokie View Post
First step I would take is a set of KYB Gas Adjust shocks. Alignment and weak springs can certainly have a negative effect on driveability but if it drives straight down the road but floats shocks would be my first step. A good looking vicky like yours should drive as good as it looks. It can with some maintence, repair, and/or tuning of the suspension.
Okiedokie,

That is where I thought I might start. It don't drive too bad but the floating like a battle ship isn't cutting it! I have put quite a few miles on the car, and knew it was a floater, and maybe it's just because I haven't driven it much since summer but I have got to get it calmed down some!

Kevin
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:38 PM   #19
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Default Re: Car is a floater

I would like to say a big Thank You to all who replied and shared their knowledge!!

Kevin
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:06 PM   #20
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Default Re: Car is a floater

In a lot of Fords, the idler arm is different for power steering vs manual steering.
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