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Old 12-05-2019, 11:47 PM   #1
leon bee
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Default 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

I'm wondering if anyone has no slop with their's. I put all new steering parts in this car before I ever drove it, except kingpins- they seem pretty good. Now I have just a few miles on her, and the only play in that whole setup is at the idler arm. Today I was trying to figure out if that play would effect the toe while driving, that's still over my head.

It seems as though I've read somewhere that this is a weak point in the system. So I'm wondering about improving that deal, or maybe trying different new parts. If anyone has any thoughts I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:56 PM   #2
Bill S
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

How do you the problem is with the idle arm? Do you feel the problem in the steering wheel or what?
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:46 AM   #3
leon bee
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

With car off the ground move steering by grabbing a tire. There is flexion seen at the idler arm before anything else moves. Maybe even some flexing of the frame/idler arm bracket.
Maybe the hole in my bracket is hogged out a little.

Car drives pretty good. But there is some slop in the steering which would be decreased if this connection was more rigid.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

I believe that is a weak point. Check Shoebox-Central. They have replacement bushings and may be able to offer some advice....... Mark
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:25 AM   #5
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

Yes, Shoebox has a rebuild kit but If it were me I would consider installing their 'bumpsteer' kit which is a vast improvement over the original steering.


https://shoebox-central.com/1949-195...rm-rebuild-kit

https://shoebox-central.com/1949-195...pgrade-kit-new
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:26 PM   #6
leon bee
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

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Thanks, guys. These are all new parts, I think my idler arm kit came from Shoebox. By new I mean about 500 miles on them. I studied their steering upgrade kit at the time, but didn't go for it. Maybe I should have. I need to devote some study to the frame bracket.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

I looked at the steering upgrade kit on the Shoebox Central sit e and was disappointed to see that there were no reviews. That being said, my '51 has been well maintained since new, and I have never experienced any handling or steering problems with it. Well, there was that one time when some SOB parked me in tight in front of the post office. It's a good thing the steering wheel is as big as it i9s.

Anyone here have any experience with the upgrade kit?
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

Back then I found some conflicting discussion of what oil pan it'll work with, and what it won't. Confusing, and I only had one pan choice.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

Which car and oil pan combinations wil or will not work seems to be pretty well covered on the part listing on their web site.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

But I found more stuff back then with guys bitching cause they couldn't use the kit with what they had. Pan with ribs, pan with no ribs, etc., etc. I got several pans now, Ford, Merc, pickup.
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leon bee View Post
But I found more stuff back then with guys bitching cause they couldn't use the kit with what they had. Pan with ribs, pan with no ribs, etc., etc. I got several pans now, Ford, Merc, pickup.
How does it work?
I have had the kit installed in my Merc. for over 18 years and am happy with the elimination of the factory bump-steer and the improved idler arm that shows no sloppiness.
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Last edited by 51 MERC-CT; 12-06-2019 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

Tub....I bought the kit for my ‘51 Tudor because everything needed to be replaced anyway.....but I don’t have it on the road yet....my ‘50 Fordor is stock and I have no issues driving that at all....I think I found a thread on here or the HAMB and went with that advice......Mark
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

Kit is nice, thick tie rods, etc. But they are correct when they say it only fits the 49-50 oil pan. The pans sort of look the same, except for ribs, when under the car but the new style set up rubs the later pan as soon as you start turning the steering.

So I took my brand new setup off and rebuilt the factory stuff with mix of new, NORS, and NOS. Steers fine without the twitchy yet sloppy feel of a worn out shoebox...
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

Were you one of the guys I said was "bitching"? Not a good choice of words for me. I also used all NORS stuff, Moog, etc. Everything is just fine except that idler arm part. How is yours. My car drives pretty good, it will be even better if I improve this one point.

This all started with me learning some do-it-yourself wheel alignment. Car always drove and steered good, I thought, but was ruining the front tires.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

I'm guessing this is a lowered car as well. Sidenote... Being there is no camber adjustment for fords 49-53 these brackets will save some tires. Think fatman sells them also. Probably a easy make, would add a couple gussets.

https://www.ebay.com/i/121545344438?...SABEgIVTvD_BwE


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Old 12-07-2019, 12:31 AM   #16
leon bee
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

Not lowered, Tinker, sits pretty dam high. I got the camber way closer than it was just using that camber eccentric up on the top arm. After I sacrificed a nice 1 1/4" open end, carving it with a grinder so it'd go in there.
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:41 AM   #17
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

Slightly lowered my old 53 front using new springs. Everything cleared fine, which is strange you would have clearance issues with a stock replacement idler. Maybe I read all of it wrong.


It's a interesting early rack and pinion setup. As they say best to buy the last yr of a new thing, not the first yrs. Think if you could find replacement bushings you would be good. Best of luck.


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Last edited by Tinker; 12-07-2019 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 12-07-2019, 02:41 AM   #18
vilanar
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

My heavily lowered 50 with 53 pan has that system and I have to make adjustments ( a lot) to clear that pan , but I also have lowered king pins and steering arms.
New idler arm is great upgrade.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:49 AM   #19
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

My buddy's '51 had a lot of steering slack. I went over to check it out and found his steering box was moving because the frame section it is mounted to was cracked, as well as the mounting bolts were not tight. Just something worth looking at.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:46 AM   #20
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Default Re: 50 Car Steering Idler Arm?

No, I wasn't one of the ones fussing about the kit. I thought I had the correct pan, but clearly did not. It wasn't worth the hassle to pull the pan or modify the kit. I just hit eBay for the nos/nors stuff and all was good. Mine is stock. Like you, I did a rebuild of the control arms shafts and had to make my own alignment tools.

P.S. the repo rubber seals for the shafts are pure garbage; in a couple instances where the NORS shafts included seals that were too dried up to use, I had to put my factory seals back on because of the repo ill fitment.

The upgraded idler arm is supposed to be a AMC unit if you wanted to play around with your setup and just make what you need. Like the other poster said, the Ford bracket itself is a little flimsy. This is a case where hard skinny bias plies help the steering. One of the Ford ad campaigns in 49 and 50 was one touch steering where they showed a woman driving with one or two fingers...so they can steer good if all is well.

I have found that the 37-40s age much more gracefully in the worn out steering than the 49-51s do!

Last edited by JHFORD51; 12-08-2019 at 07:48 AM. Reason: Spelling
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