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Car hits bumps in the road and tries to rocket off the road. Normal for classics?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by StukaBomber55, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. StukaBomber55
    Joined: Jul 26, 2012
    Posts: 115


  2. If you don't see clear lenses on the rear it didnot have back up lights, some of the high end cars had them as an option.

    Your car is probably a cross steer (its been a while since I was under a '55 Mopar) so it would not have a drag link but it would have a pitman arm as it has to have something to attach the steering box to the tie rod. It was not a rack and pinion setup.

    Your car will have A arms and unless I am mistaken it is independent so it should have ball joints and spindles. Loose ball joints or spindles would make it dodgy (no pun intended). If it is not a true independent suspension then it will have A arms or control arms if you will and an upright with king pins. They may also be loose and cause a problem.

    Your car should have a sway bar of some sort and this will have bushings which may very well be worn out or non existent. This to will make one a little squirrely, I am not sure what rocket off the side of the road actually means so I am going to list anything that is likely to effect ride quality. If one has grown up with a Honda an old car when it gets a little wiggle can seem like it is all over the road.

    Ther is allso a good chance that your control arm bushings are shot as wel, after all it is a '57 year old car. Worn A arm bushings can really affect the way that a car handles.

    Broken springs can also cause problems.

    Or all of the above may be either bad or on its way to being bad one complimenting the other when it comes to poor ride quality.

    One of the reasons that I suggested that the front end alignment shop can tell you where you have problems is that you then can get a look at it without trying to learn what has taken some of use a lifetime to learn over night.
  3. SquireDon
    Joined: Aug 8, 2010
    Posts: 600

    from Oregon

    Idler Arm/Bushing.
  4. Yep left that one out, good catch Don.
  5. Sweepspear
    Joined: May 17, 2010
    Posts: 292


    I don't know if you are running radial tires or not, but have read of guys increasing the caster on their old cars if using radials.
    Maybe something to look into.

    That would be the Classic Car Club of America. :)
    I love the example you chose!
  6. What happened to the elitist douchebag club ?
  7. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    from NB Canada

  8. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,617

    Rusty O'Toole

    Your car was one of the better handling cars of its day, not as good as the 57 up torsion bar suspension jobs but good. You have done a lot of work, no doubt it needs an alignment. A good front end man can transform the car, you will think you are driving a new car no kidding.

    Backup or reverse lights were available as an option at extra cost. Sometimes they were a separate light, sometimes they incorporated them into the tail light. Not sure about your model but if there is a clear lense in the tail light that is what it is for.
  9. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope

    Wouldn't hurt to check the rear end too, make sure it isn't moving around on the springs or bushings.
  10. lowered incorrectly .... hitting the bump stop-limiting travel ... can lead to stab and grab steeering ..
    loose steering gear.
    loose rearend ...
  11. There is no shame in not knowing what's wrong with your front end. Sometimes it's money well spent to let somebody tell you what's wrong with something instead of
    just throwing money at it. You need to find a really good front end shop with a couple of oldtimers that know what the hell their doing.
  12. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,577


    If yourv car didn't have back up lights from the factory it should be exempt.
  13. fogs58
    Joined: Jan 14, 2011
    Posts: 135

    from ooo

    I'm just glad to know that there is a club to tell us what a classic is......jeeeesh
  14. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    from NB Canada

    Listen to this guy, good advice.
  15. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    from NB Canada

    Listen to this guy too.
  16. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    "Classic" has been abused even more than "gasser".
  17. Ted H
    Joined: Jan 7, 2003
    Posts: 312

    Ted H

    Well, I've been getting that little message when I log in that I haven't posted for a while so now is a good time to do so.

    We have here a young fellow who has an old car with a handling problem who has asked an honest plea for help so he can correct his handling problem so as not to endanger himself or others. There have been several well thought out responses that will probably help him find and correct the problem.

    On the other hand there have been a couple of very negative answers that have nothing to do with the OP's problem and then posts the same stupid answer three times. Makes me wish for the old days on the HAMB when the monitors would delete that kind of shit out of hand!

    As a side note to my rant, many years ago I had a 56 Ford that developed the same problem this young man has. Turned out to be the idler arm bushings were worn out. Had that repaired and the problem was cured.

  18. Grumbler
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 358


    It's commendable that you want to learn but some jobs ARE best left to the pro's and an allignment is one of them. Think safety
  19. You really need someone that knows what to look for if you're going to take it somewhere. Look for the oldest alignment shop in town.

  20. Ted, as I was looking around this forum, it appears there were many triple posts today, not just on this thread. It obviously was a system glitch, not someone being an ass, or incompetent.

  21. Learning front end repair and diagnosis is something you need to be showed by a good mentor. It can't be learned fully or grasped from a book or internet . And it will take more than one job to know what's what.

    Its almost always a two person job to check the front end for excess play. And it needs to be done correctly by both people.
  22. deadgearhead
    Joined: Mar 14, 2009
    Posts: 315

    from Washington

    Take it to a old school alignment shop and have the alignment and front end bushings checked out.
  23. Ted H
    Joined: Jan 7, 2003
    Posts: 312

    Ted H

    It was only after my rant I realized there had been a system failure that caused the triple posts. For that part I apologize but the rest of my remarks stand. I don't want to drag this out and I see that one of the posters I referred to has has made a post with some good advise re: experienced front end repairs.
  24. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535


    Allow me to give you some info on how to check for worn parts on the front end of your car.

    Required equipment:
    A jack that can lift one wheel off the ground from under the car. A bumper jack won't work.
    A pry bar or something about 2 feet long that you can put some pressure on.
    A camera to take pictures of faulty parts for identification.

    Lets begin at the steering wheel. with both front wheels on the ground, point straight forward, grasp the steering wheel while standing beside your ride. With the motor off, move the steering wheel right to left until you see movement of the front tires. Note the location of the wheel and turn it back to the right until you see movement in the tire. We are only interested in how far the steering wheel moves before it moves the tires. You may have to go through this process a few times to make an accurate determination, you're looking for the very first tire movement. Steering wheel movement of more then 2" is determined to be excessive. You want to look at the box mounting for worn bushings or loose mounting hardware, slop in the steering box, or other steering column slop.

    Lets move to the front end. With the jack placed under the lower control arm on one side ( or one side of a beam axle if so equipped) and raise one tire off the ground about 2", the other tire needs to remain on the ground. With the tire off the ground, firmly grasp the top of the tire with one hand and the bottom of the tire with the other hand. See if the tire wobbles up and down (or in and out) If you see or feel a looseness, (more then an 1/8" of movement is excessive). Look to see if you can identify the location of the movement, take a picture of the area of movement to help identify.

    With the tire still off the ground, place your pry bar under the tire and see if you can lift the tire up. If it looks like the tire will lift and lower when to let off the pressure, look for the location of the slop or the movement. We are looking for movement in the lower ball joints or king pins, any up or down movement is suspect. With pressure lifting the tire with your pry bar, grasp the top of the tire and see if it will move in and out. Again, locate any slop or movement, look at the upper ball joint of for slop in the king pin. We are done with the pry bar on this side of the car.

    If the up and down are OK, with the one tire still off the ground, move your hands to the front and the rear of the tire. Wobble the tire forward and backwards. Any movement that does not also move the tire on the other side of the car needs to be located. Again, anything more then an 1/8" is excessive. Look for slop/movement at every steering joint connection between both tires. Take a picture of the worn part for identification.
    Set the tire on the 1st side on the ground and repeat the entire process on the 2nd side.

    Though this process is not perfect, it will identify most worn parts in the front end of a car. Steering components are precision machined components with specific movement designed into them. Usually, any movement a component has beyond its design indicate a worn part. For instance, if a part was designed to move in a circular motion, like a tie rod end, side to side movement or up and down movement indicate a worn out tie rod end that needs to be replaced.

    Another thing worth mentioning is slightly worn parts tend to add up. When we checked the side to side slop of the front wheel, we have to consider that every tie rod end could have a little slop that could add up to a steering issue that might not be easily seen.

    When you complete the tests above, if you have identified an issue, and have identified the worn parts, you can replace them yourself. Remember, any time you replace front suspension parts, you need to have the car realigned. If the above tests don't identify any specific problems, its time to seek a professional.

    Another thought, not all places that call themselves an alignment shop are capable of doing an alignment on an old car, most are set up to only work on cars less then 10 years old. Many won't have a clue what to look for because the "new" stuff is very different then the "old" stuff is. Find an alignment shop that does old cars. Gene
  25. Ted,
    You don't need to apologize, how would you know if someone hadn't told you.

    There have been some negative responses, I think that is just the HAMB. But it is no sweat if you point it out, sometimes the fellas don't know that they are being negative.

    Now as for classic, I am older han the car in question, and I am getting a little creeky. I would like to be called Emporer but Classic will do in a pinch. :D
  26. I put together a 49 ford coupe over the winter and at the first spring swap meet, I bought a set of old Goodyear double eagle tires for it. They were a large size for buicks and caddys and the sidewalls were hard as a rock...mounted them on 15X7" cop car wheels.
    I flipped the spindles and afterward, had the car professionally aligned by the best shop in town. The shop's owner was a fellow club member and specialized in old cars as he had a few of his own. All the suspension and steering parts were tight and new.
    I drove the car to an event 170 miles away and fought that thing all the way there and back...the car dodged and weaved like Mike Tyson! I had to slow down to about 50 MPH just to keep it in my lane!
    I took it back to the alignment shop and he said it was spot-on...
    Hmmmmm. I had a pair of radials mounted on ford wheels and slipped them on for a test drive...BINGO! it was the old, hard, wide tires giving me trouble.
    I swapped to a full set of radials on Americans and the car dorve like a new car.
    Not saying this is your problem but it was mine.

    Attached Files:

  27. onlyonthurs62
    Joined: May 18, 2011
    Posts: 117


    so........anything built in the early 60's is just an old car? Then i love my old car :)
  28. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 4,018

    from central NY

    Don't know when MoPaRs switched to ball joints so the 55 may still have King pins. If they aren't free and well lubricated they can cause problems. But this will usually be in the form of binding at certain points through the steering arch. I believe there are 7 or eight zerk fittings on these A arm and cking pin suspensions. So its a good thing to make sure they are full of fresh grease. Some time it take some heat to get the old stuff to flow so new stuff will get in. If I remember correctly;

    upper and lower king pin
    front and rear lower A arm
    front and rear upper A arm
    outer tie rod end
    front and rear upper outer A arm
    front and rear lower outer A arm

    before you get the alignment done, make sure all these take and hold new grease and that they move smoothly through their designed paths.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  29. They are all just old cars, some of them more desirable than others but they are all just old cars.
  30. George
    Joined: Jan 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,577


    '55 has King pins. I bought wide wider rims/tires & slapped 'em on an OT car. Thought the wider rubber might cause poorer handling, but it was worse than expected. Got to checking & they were unidirectional, seem to do much better rolling the right direction.

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