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Technical 32 3 window steering issues

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Hybrid Vigor, Sep 9, 2021.

  1. Hybrid Vigor
    Joined: Sep 16, 2020
    Posts: 9

    Hybrid Vigor

    Hey guys,

    I’ve got a 32 3 window I bought that came with full fiberglass fenders I sold off to convert to a hiboy. The frame seems to have a mishmash of traditional and home made parts. I’ve run into an issue with the steering I was hoping y’all could offer me some advice on. I noticed the left shock had a bent shaft so I ordered up some shocks from So-Cal. This is where I found the issues. The steering hoop hits the shock (pretty sure that’s what bent it) when turning. The previous owner had about 8 washers to bump the top of the left shock out to clear the steering hoop. In addition the wheel hits the drag link. The pitman arm is bent way out (maybe to clear the old fenders? Not sure as I didn’t remove the fenders and running boards) The only pitman arms I’ve seen for sale are all straight.

    My thought was to get a new straight pitman arm and then connect the drag link to a new steering hoop that comes up and over the shock mount to clear it kinda like what the Rolling Bones do. I haven’t found anything like that for sale and my equipment is too limited to build one. As I am a total noob and just starting out any advice on what to do to fix this, alternative suggestions or other resources would be much appreciated.

    I attached pictures below to show what I’m dealing with. I’ve included a few of the steering box as I haven’t been able to identify it as well. All equipment you see sans shocks is as I bought it.

    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg 8.jpg 9.jpg 10.jpg 11.jpg 12.jpg
     
  2. Changing or modifying your upper shock mounts to bring them in closer to your frame will help to clear your steering arm.

    A straight/non-offset pitman arm will help move your drag link away from your tire. I can't quite tell which steering box you have, but it was popular to run the early (64-73) Mustang boxes in that manner.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2021
    Carter, rpm56 and Hybrid Vigor like this.
  3. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 1,483

    dwollam
    Member

    Mustang steering box? I would heat and straighten the steering arm, off the car of course. I would get different shock mounts that moves the top of the shock in so they are on more of an angle, improving the ride and clearance to steering as well.

    Dave
     
    Hybrid Vigor likes this.
  4. Change to upper shock mounts that are plate,and weld to the top of the frame rail.Check with Pete,and Jakes to see if the make a flame cut straight pitman for your Mustang box. At one time that was a popular box so likely some one still makes a flat arm for it.Another thought.....cut a taper on the back side of the arm,and remount the drag link on the inside.
     
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  5. Happydaze
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,174

    Happydaze
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Memo to anyone seeking tech help - post up comprehensive pics as has been done here and get the answers in a couple of shots. No guessing games. No frayed tempers. No fun whatsoever! ;) (some might say)

    Good job Hybrid Vigor!

    Chris
     
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  6. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 3,853

    Fordors
    Member

    89A23D58-C1FC-4569-82A4-942192AB1316.jpeg

    The drag link looks a little short, I’d like to see more thread screwed into it. You might consider getting a new, longer one.
    Pete & Jake’s has Mustang pitman arms. Measure your sector shaft if you are going to buy a new arm, IIRC the early Mustang box is 1” and the later ones 1 1/8”. Also, that nut should be tightened enough to put some crush on the lock washer, it looks loose.
     
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  7. HotRod33
    Joined: Oct 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,491

    HotRod33
    Member

    Heat and bend the upper shock mount in to clear the steering
     
  8. oldtom69
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 551

    oldtom69
    Member
    from grandin nd

    steering arm has plenty of material-ream it so the drag link attaches to the inside of the arm instead of outside-taper reamers available or get your friendly local circle track racer to do it for you
     
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  9. I have seen (and owned) several old hoopties with the drag link bent to clear the tire.

    The shock mount can be altered to move the shock away from the steering arm or the steering arm could also be shortened. An inch off the steering arm would not be noticable when you were driving the car.
     
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  10. Hybrid Vigor
    Joined: Sep 16, 2020
    Posts: 9

    Hybrid Vigor

    Thanks for all the great info guys. This really helps a lot!
     
  11. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,224

    jaracer
    Member

    Looks like they made that steering arm stick way out to get more turning angle before hitting the drag link. The real problem is that the arm on the steering gear sticks way out compounding the problem. A straight arm at the steering gear would help a lot. You still have to do something about the arm at the wheel hitting the shock. Heating and bending the shock mount.
     
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  12. Straight Axle Guy
    Joined: Oct 21, 2018
    Posts: 58

    Straight Axle Guy
    Member

    Axle looks short to me?
     
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  13. TCTND
    Joined: Dec 27, 2019
    Posts: 257

    TCTND
    Member

    Good advice here. It looks from here like the nut holding the pittman arm to the shaft is loose. If that fell off on the road things could get unpleasant.
     
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  14. hotrodjack33
    Joined: Aug 19, 2019
    Posts: 2,800

    hotrodjack33
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Great pics. Your set-up appears to be a late '90s TCI dropped axle/four bar package....designed to use a 67-68 Mustang steering box.
    I used this set-up on my old Sedan Delivery. You need a stock 67/68 Mustang pitman arm, as yours has been heated and bent (too much). The steering box should be "centered" with the pitman arm straight up...and it appears you may need a longer drag link.
    Sorry I don't have any better pics of the front end/steering. zsteer1.jpg zsteer2.jpg zsteer3.jpg
     
  15. Hybrid Vigor
    Joined: Sep 16, 2020
    Posts: 9

    Hybrid Vigor

    Thanks for those pictures. They do look very similar. I wish I could ask the previous owner about his set up. However, I bought it from someone who bought it from the deceased owner's estate.
     
  16. TCTND
    Joined: Dec 27, 2019
    Posts: 257

    TCTND
    Member

    While it isn't likely, you might check to be sure the pittman arm isn't on backwards. The splines are tapered and would engage only slightly if at all, but you never know what someone might have done. Judging from the pics, someone was in over his head and you need to safety check the whole car for peace of mind.
     
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  17. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641

    thirtytwo
    Member

    If it were me I would heat and bend your existing shock mounts torwards the grill 2” the get a different pitman arm that is straight as possible this will improve your effort at steering wheel , lastly I would disconnect the drag link make both front tires point straight as possible and clock your steering box so it is centered , then measure for a new drag link ( as stated previously) you don’t need more than 1/2” adjustment on each end
     
  18. Tow Truck Tom
    Joined: Jul 3, 2018
    Posts: 165

    Tow Truck Tom
    Member
    from Clayton DE

    After changing near everything, think how smart you are going to feel.
     
  19. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,045

    1971BB427
    Member
    from Oregon

    Drag link might not be too short. It might be that someone assembled it without equalizing the amount of exposed threads the same at both ends. Might be fixed by removing it and getting both ends equally threaded in first, and then adjust it. Or possibly when the new pitman arm is installed, just angle it forward slightly to gain length, and center the drag link threads too.
     
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  20. CrazyDaddy
    Joined: Mar 30, 2002
    Posts: 641

    CrazyDaddy
    Member
    from Austin TX

    All great points. Fortunately you can buy new parts as everything that needs work is a bolt on. I beg to differ with the upper shock mounts though - just buy new. If you heat and bend these, your shocks may be too short.

    Another item to consider - the disk brake calipers are mounted towards the front. They should be mounted towards the back. Replace the caliper brackets.
     
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  21. Hybrid Vigor
    Joined: Sep 16, 2020
    Posts: 9

    Hybrid Vigor

    Thanks again for all the great info. I'm running down if it's a TCI 4 link front end. I'm also going to positively identify the steering box so I can get the appropriate pitman arm. I decided to redo the drag link or at least verify it's the correct length. I'm also going to see what's up with the disc brakes and make sure they were installed correctly. Then I'll need to see which would be easiest: relocate the shocks or redo the steering arm. Lots to do! In the meantime I thought y'all might want to see the before and where it's sitting at for now.
    IMG_0001.JPG IMG_6496.jpeg
     
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  22. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 7,503

    krylon32
    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    Bend the upper shock mounts inward to clear steering hairpin, Get a straight Mustang pitman arm from Pete And Jake's along with a new upper steering arm that is a bit shorter. Most brake kits I've sold over the years have the calipers mounted on the back of the axle, you may have to switch calipers and brackets side to get them correctly installed behind the axle. Also make sure you have spindle stops on the back of the axle to restrict turning radius. It also looks like your drag link may be a little short judging by the amount of threads exposed. When we cut a tie rod or drag link for one of our chassis we like to leave 5-6 threads exposed past the clamp or jam nut.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
  23. inthweedz
    Joined: Mar 29, 2011
    Posts: 446

    inthweedz
    Member

    I don't think calipers mounted to either the front or rear of the front spindle, would make any difference, I've got front mounted calipers on my car, it's factory GM Australia..
    In this case, they might have been mounted to the front, maybe due to lack of space at the rear, with the steering linkage..
    If you did want to change them, (just an idea to try before spending $$$) they might swap left to right..
    Either way, both at the front, or bath at the rear, makes no difference, apart from looks..
     
  24. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 3,853

    Fordors
    Member

    I agree with @inthweedz , the position of the calipers will have no effect on braking performance. As long as the bleeders are at the top there’s nothing to be concerned about.
     
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  25. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,270

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Maybe the OP's car was assembled in Australia too? With the calipers backwards from the Northern Hemisphere. ;)

    I also don't think it makes any difference which side they are on, as long as the flex lines aren't getting tangled or stretched.
     
  26. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,049

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    3 window steering arm_LI (2).jpg Primer 32 with fenders (3).JPG
    That's the man to listen to. He is one of the most respected builders around.

    The pitman arm that is on the car now almost looks like a dropped pitman arm for a 4x4. I'm thinking that may have been to clear the fender as much as steering. Most likely heated and bent out though.

    I'd say that those super thick disk brake caliper brackets are moving the steering arm almost half an inch. That is part of the hitting the shock issue.

    A side shot shows that the drag link runs down hill quite a bit from the steering arm to the pitman arme and is no where near parallel with the 4 bar. Straightening out or changing the pitman arm would not only move the drag link in but move it up parallel with the 4 bar

    That brake hose running over the end of the drag link scares the hell out of me Assuming that there is a viable reason for them being that way but the preferred way would be having them on the back side of the spindle. What they do on boxes with wheels doesn't count here as it is usually to clear the steering linkage on struts when they are on the front side.
     
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  27. Happydaze
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,174

    Happydaze
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    @Mr48chev makes an interesting point about the caliper mount acting as a spacer to the steering arm - good eye! Swaping it side for side would put the caliper at the rear (discuss!!) but would also place the mount at the bottom of the spindle and thus remove the aforementioned spacer effect, effectively shortening the steering arm and providing some clearance. But the shock mounts I'm sure would still require attention - but they're pretty ugly anyway so could do with some love!!

    Chris
     
  28. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,435

    -Brent-
    Member

    To get everything to fit, we bent both the upper shock mount and the steering hoop because we had the same type of interference. It is all much easier to fit on a fenderless car. Are you keeping the fenders off?

    I still need to make a correct pitman arm and drag link... it's one of those "one thing leads to another" deals.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
  29. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 3,853

    Fordors
    Member

    Moving the caliper bracket to the rear will have no effect on the hairpin steering arm, it will still have to pass through the bracket.
     
  30. hoop
    Joined: Mar 21, 2007
    Posts: 612

    hoop
    Member

    I would like to see what is holding that hairpin to the spindle.Can`t be a lot of thread after going through the caliper bracket.
     

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