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Technical 56 Fairlane Steering

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Fairlane56, Nov 26, 2022.

  1. Fairlane56
    Joined: Oct 13, 2019
    Posts: 9

    Fairlane56

    Been fighting a steering issue can’t pin down. Car drives great but started noticing it didn’t want to return to center after a right hand turn so checked the obvious no binding or slop in the suspension. The gearbox is smooth and full of oil but it does seem to get worse after the car warms up. Took the pitman arm loose from the center link and rotated the gearbox by hand and did notice that when you rotated it all the way to the right you couldn’t pull it back by hand. Gearbox trashed or what do y’all think? Thanks
     
  2. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 887

    miker98038
    Member

    If you don’t have the shop manual get it and go to the section on adjusting the box. It’s been a long time, but IIRC you have to center it before you adjust the slack with the screw on top. Binding isn’t the usual problem, looseness is, but a bad adjustment who knows.
    Somewhere around there Ford went to a 3 sector (tooth) from a 2 sector. I don’t know if it was a mid year change on the cars. Worth knowing that too. They’re a PITA to remove with the shaft all the way to the wheel.
     
    Fairlane56 likes this.
  3. M/S or P/S?
     
    guthriesmith likes this.
  4. Fairlane56
    Joined: Oct 13, 2019
    Posts: 9

    Fairlane56

    P/S
     

  5. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 883

    bschwoeble
    Member

  6. guthriesmith
    Joined: Aug 17, 2006
    Posts: 7,825

    guthriesmith
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    Hmm...maybe something to do with the power steering cylinder?
     
  7. PS - Control Valve Ill - 1955-56 FORD.JPG STEERING LINKAGE - PS - PWR CYL (3A540) - 1955-56 FORD.png Do you have a 56 WORKSHOP MANUAL?

    The PS CTL VALVE and CYLINDER rides on a ball socket(s) that wear out over time. But if you disconnected the STEERING ARM and the box still bound, you first need to adjust the box (per WSM). If the proper adj doesn't cure it, then you need to go into the box.

    Check all bushings/seals and make sure the reservoir filter has been changed (along with the PS fluid if nasty).
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2022
    Fairlane56 likes this.
  8. Take a look at the idler arm bushings. On the PS cars, Ford used a rubber bushing as a 'torsion spring' to return the steering to center. Installed with the steering at center, when turning this bushing would 'twist' and try to return to center. These were notorious for failing over time and are a PITA to replace. At one time MOOG made an 'improved' bushing that used some sort of spring instead but it's been out of production for years. I looked for but never found one.
    The aftermarket bushings available didn't last (at least for me) so I converted to manual steering.

    The steering gearboxes usual failure point is the worm gear bearings. The worm runs on tapered roller bearings, but the bearings aren't the issue, it's the inner races. Unlike the replaceable outer races, the inners were machined onto the worm, hard-chromed for wear, then ground to final size. The plating cracks and comes off. If the box feels 'notchy' when turning either before or after adjustment, this is why. Used to be nearly impossible to fix because of all the different-length steering shafts used '54-57, there are now rebuild kits out of Argentina with new weld-on worm gears although I don't believe they have the hardened races.
     
  9. Fairlane56
    Joined: Oct 13, 2019
    Posts: 9

    Fairlane56

     
  10. Fairlane56
    Joined: Oct 13, 2019
    Posts: 9

    Fairlane56

    I’m pretty sure the pitman arm is the same on p/s or m/s . All the idler arm bushings are new and the gearbox was apart a year ago and the worm and sector looks great put new bearings in and set them preload. The steering Cyl in new , ball joints are smooth. One thing I did notice the pass wheel when it’s against the stop against the a-arm the tie rod looks like it’s almost lined up straight with the spindle arm like almost going to hyperextend.
     
  11. Rocket Scientist Chris
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 566

    Rocket Scientist Chris
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You could try a different oil. After I rebuilt my ‘55 Merc’s steering box, I used Millers Oil Worm Gear Oil. It’s made in England. So far, I’ve been really happy with it.

    If that doesn’t relieve the stiffness, you may need to consider pulling the box back out. The worm may have looked good, but was probably worn more on one side of the worm tooth. The good news is worm gears can be replaced at home. I did it!
    First thing to consider - buy parts from reputable sources. The worm gear is keyed to give the shaft/steering wheel a center location. Some replacement worms were made with this key 180 degrees off. This made the steering wheel upsidedown when centered.
    Do you have a hydraulic press or access to one? If so, make sure there is enough height to get the shaft and worm assembly in the press. I had to build some platforms to get enough height for my steering shaft to fit in my press. The ‘55 Merc has an extremely long (43 in) shaft!. Getting the worm off is a simple press off operation pushing the shaft out of the gear.
    Getting the new worm gear on is a little more involved. You’ll need to get a keyless bearing retainer for a 3/4 in shaft (typical diameter of a Ford steering shaft). I bought mine on Ebay. This type of retainer has multiple socket head cap screws. When tightened, they pull two plates together, forcing a collar in the center to tighten onto the shaft with several tons of force. This will give you a reaction point for the press that’s closer to the end of the shaft (near the worm’s location). Otherwise, you would need to press on the far end of the shaft to get the worm on. Pretty much assuring a bent shaft! :(

    I don’t have any pics, so I hope all of this makes sense. But, that was my simple solution! :)
     
    Budget36 and Fairlane56 like this.
  12. Now that is interesting. How does that compare to the LS?

    Are all steering parts FORD NOS or quality replacement (if there is such a thing)?

    Are both tie rod assemblies adjusted to the same length with the steering wheel centered?
     
  13. Do you have a source?
     
  14. AldeanFan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2014
    Posts: 829

    AldeanFan

    I would start at the idler arm.
    That is what is supposed to make it return to Center.
     
  15. Well, here I go again ...

    Proper CASTER setting(s) is what causes the steering to center after a turn.

    The idler arm is tightened down with it in the straight ahead position (and steering wheel centered) so as to not put undo pressure(s)/twisting on the bushings while driving straight ahead. It could even cause pulling off to either side of the road.

    If the bushings were designed to center the car after a turn, worn bushings would cause eternal steering wheel correction(s).
     
  16. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,815

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    I beleive 1957 was the 3 tooth.
     
  17. The change from 2 tooth to 3 tooth was a running change in '56. Early '56s had a 2 tooth like '55 but then they went to 3 tooth somewhere in the '56 model run.
     
  18. Fairlane56
    Joined: Oct 13, 2019
    Posts: 9

    Fairlane56

    Here’s a update, removed the power steering and stuck the manual center link back on. The car drives perfectly, returns to center and that should rule out the gearbox. Still haven’t figured out the problem but I’m going to double check all the components. I do have a GM pump on the engine and I know it makes more pressure than the original Ford pump but don’t think that would be a issue. Hopefully I’ll come up with something
     
  19. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 887

    miker98038
    Member

    I don’t know what GM pump you have, but I know there’s parts to reduce or adjust the pressure. Someone here (I think it’s jimmy six) found the proper parts to rebuild the Ford valve on the drag link after a couple kits failed and leaked right off the bat. Might be worth reaching out if needed.
     
    Fairlane56 likes this.
  20. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,218

    Elcohaulic

  21. Do you have (or not) the WSM for the car?

    If you have a SAGINAW pump on the car (FYB ENGINE?) it is more than likely putting too much pressure on the OEM CONTROL VALVE. SPECS will be in the WSM. You would need to take a pressure reading off the SAGINAW and compare it to RATED pressure output on the OEM EATON pump.

    The correct year WSM will also give you a full DIAGNOSTIC SEQUENCE to analyze the BENDIX NON-INTEGRAL PS SYSTEM (along with system adjustments).

    Why the SAGINAW pump?
     
  22. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,438

    dan c
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    i recently had my '50's box out for a rebuild and found that an adjustment was all it needed (plus, 2 of the 3 mounting bolts were AWOL!). i think that many people have slop in them and decide that the brass screw (sector adjuster) needs tightening, and they screw it in hard! mine sure was; the box was hard to steer and sloppy!
     
  23. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 887

    miker98038
    Member

    If the manual link is good, it rules out almost everything that remained in place, including alignment. Many years ago I pulled a pump for rebuild on a 55 ford, and drove it to the rebuilder. The lack of pressure on the control valve made the steering very loose on center as the pressure on the control valve is required. What happens with too much pressure I don’t know, but I’ll bet it’s either a pressure problem or a valve problem. Any leaks? Those (and the ram) are famous for a drip. I’d think more pressure would make leaking worse.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2022
  24. Where's your WSM? :D
     
  25. Fairlane56
    Joined: Oct 13, 2019
    Posts: 9

    Fairlane56

    I’ve got the vintage air brackets on the engine and it uses the #2 pulley groove for the a/c so I’m having to use the #3 groove for power steering
     
  26. It appears these are now out of stock everywhere.
     

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