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Hot Rods Cowl Steering . . . just stop !

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Pete Eastwood, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,209

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Yep, right hand drive , side steer ! . . . Mid engine / roller cam / tilt steering / bucket seats / cruise control, all in 1905 !
    My Dad bought this car in 1946.
    It's in my garage, & I love driving it !
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
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  2. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 5,310

    continentaljohn
    Member

    I can't speak for anyone else but I want to understand the correct way to setup a cowl steering. I haven't done such a set-up and have wanted to but want to do it Correct ! I think by asking questions is not a bad thing but wanting to learn more. Mr Eastwood is being the teacher in my eyes and much respect for Mr Eastwood and his long history in building hotrods and race cars. Sorry for throwing out theories and comparisons but as a book junky and toolmaker looking for experience not just words in a books .. A blueprint is the bible
    In the Pictures provided along with the discussion I am unclear what is correct . The cowl steering set-up would have a pitman arm above the said set-ups . So is the position of the pitman arm be in the same line as the steering arm? With that being said the axle travel radaii should match the pivot point of the wishbone / hairpin along with ?
     
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  3. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,209

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Look at post # 94
     
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  4. this is fun
    thanks
     
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  5. ls1yj
    Joined: Sep 14, 2011
    Posts: 472

    ls1yj
    Member
    from Kentucky

    A 4-link will work much better with a cowl steering setup, judging by the pics in the P&J catalog...it just doesn’t look as cool as a wishbone or hairpin...

    Oh, btw, here’s a cool little ride Mr Eastwood helped to build back in the day...

    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  6. toreadorxlt
    Joined: Feb 27, 2008
    Posts: 733

    toreadorxlt
    Member
    from Nashua, NH

    draglink.JPG

    Like this? Makes more sense now that you pointed that out.
     
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  7. toreadorxlt
    Joined: Feb 27, 2008
    Posts: 733

    toreadorxlt
    Member
    from Nashua, NH


    worst-best-base.jpg
     
  8. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,209

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Post # 127 is Perfect ! Thank you Soooo much !
    This is what you need to know !
    This is what is happening with most popular cowl steer / split wishbone / hairpin set ups.
    Look how much the two arcs are moving away from each other !
    Any wonder these setups bump steer ?
     
  9. toreadorxlt
    Joined: Feb 27, 2008
    Posts: 733

    toreadorxlt
    Member
    from Nashua, NH

    Thanks for the school day.
     
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  10. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member Emeritus

    Got it. Thanks for posting that drawing. I'll probably never have a car with cowl steering, but I like learning new stuff.
     
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  11. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,209

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Thank you . . .
     
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  12. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 31,838

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Just thinking, there a lot of guys who don't have a clue as to how bad their car might steer simply because they have never driven a similar car that steers great under all conditions. <<< That truck of mine is a prime example with several leaves removed, a drag link that runs at and angle and not the right amount of caster. You never are able to sit back and relax while cruising down the road as it requires full attention all the time.
    Now a question on cowl or side steering with a long drag link if the drag link is on the rather skinny side would there be the possibility of it flexing when going down the road? I use a MAS (sp) drag link on my T bucket that was standard T bucket fare but have always wondered if it may have flexed a bit causing some shake.
     
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  13. Corn Fed
    Joined: May 16, 2002
    Posts: 3,170

    Corn Fed
    Member

    So if Im reading this correctly, the best way to get a cowl steering to work without having a super long pitman arm is to:
    1) Get the rear wishbone mount as far up as possible (probably on the side instead of below the frame).
    2) Get the end of the spindle arm as low as possible (probably with a dropped arm).
    3) Mount the steering box as low in the cowl as you can.
     
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  14. Boatmark
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 366

    Boatmark
    Member

    Learned some things in this thread. Already knew who P-Wood was, and knew enough to listen to his point. I've always thought it odd that people would knowingly (or unknowingly) build in bad engineering as some sort of badge of honor. That its right because its "traditional". If we are really objective a lot of the engineering and craftsmanship in the cars we emulate is just plain bad. And the cars were used in a different environment. Duplicate the look, and the parts, but clean up the engineering and the methods.
     
  15. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,209

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Agreed !
     
  16. My 2000 Ford Ranger that I drove to almost 300K had bumpsteer and the steering wheel was not mounted in the center., the top of it rose 3/8s of an inch as you went around curves. Those engineers must have been dumbasses? (they were but for different points). I think a lot of this is picking at nits. No offense Pete, I am closer to 50 than 40 and followed and respected your work for decades.
     
  17. Great thread Pete. Manipulating all the moving parts of a hot rods front suspension to work correctly and still look good can be a challenge but well worth the effort. This kind of information is important for us younger guys to get to learn to build safe quality cars.
     
  18. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 18,607

    alchemy
    Member

    I jumped on my front spreader bar. (32 Ford with stock wishbone, lowered spring, dropped axle, F1 steering in the stock hole). I saw no wiggle in the steering wheel at all. The side view of the car looks pretty much like the P&J drawing showing the stock steering. Maybe a slightly worse angle on my drag link though.
     
  19. Very educational discussion, thank you Mr. Eastwood.

    I, and I'm sure others would enjoy a similar thread about steering w/parallel leaf front suspension with your input.
     
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  20. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,209

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Just what I would expect . . .
     
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  21. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641

    thirtytwo
    Member

    I lost count on how many people I have argued with that this is fine everyone seems to think sense the draklink isn't parallel to the ground it's completely wrong then they show me a pic of a mustang box with a wish bone to " correct " the problem

    Also .. lot of people think bumpsteer is the same as death wobble , long travel desert guys are the ones I don't have to explain what bump steer is
     

    Attached Files:

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  22. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,253

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    The Rolling Bones layout for cowl steering is similar to Doane Spencers car at a glance but seems to have subtle differences to give their cars better road manners.
    For one thing, they use split bones to the stock front axle instead of hairpins.
    As a result the pivot point is higher on the frame and the split bones are a good bit longer as well, which keeps the arc as small as possible within normal suspension movement.
    The steering box is mounted a bit lower thru the cowl, keeping the pitman arm tierod end/pivot point as close as possible to the suspension pivot, and the spindle steering arm is lower to allow for a flat steering link. (Best you can hope for in cowl steering.)
    I believe they have come up with perhaps the best version of a less than perfect layout and it does seem to work for them.
    The changes they've made from Doanes original layout does show they know whats needed...despite their reluctance to move away from the cowl steer look.
     
  23. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,209

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Please point out the differences that will make an improvement . . .

    doanespencer.jpg Rolling bones.jpg
     
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  24. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,209

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    This car was a challenging build.
    The original owner, Tom Prufer is a great guy to work with
     
  25. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 7,154

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Pete demands a car with superb and very predictable handling, to pull off the maneuvers like a getaway driver. Maybe he will describe some of the moves he used to do, using the emergency brake, in a couple of 32's, a 3 window and a sedan.
     
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  26. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,253

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    I already did!

    Remember...someone mentioned that RB's cross country their cars every year.
    I had a close look to see if I could spot any differences and I did spot some.
    All of which lean toward the changes you recommend...while still sticking to the cowl steer style.

    The steering box is slightly lower...the pivot of the wishbone is farther back due to the extra length...and the spindle steering arm is lower. (closer to the center line of the spindle)
    Hey...I'm not DEFENDING cowl steering...just pointing out that RB made some subtle changes in the right direction and that most likely helps them out compared to the Spencer car.

    I didn't say it was perfect...LoL
     
  27. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,209

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Marty Shhhhh !
     
  28. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,209

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Yes the Rolling Bones drive their cars.
    The "subtle changes" you observed are not enough to make any noticeable corrections
    in the problems we are discussing.
     
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  29. trollst
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 2,092

    trollst
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    See....that's the thing...."I seen it in a magazine" or...Rolling bones do it....or my buddy has no problems with his car, so you guys are wrong.....
    No matter who builds it, if it's wrong its wrong, regardless of how much was spent to build the car. Front end geometry is hugely important when a deer flits out in front of you, or worse yet, the neighbours kid, the reason for technical posts on this board is to teach each other what works and what doesn't. "Traditional" doesn't have to mean having a nasty handling car, I know of a guy with a fifty plus year old roadster, with "positive" steering, meaning if you turn your head to change lanes, you've already done it. I've offered to set up the front end with some more caster, and some other mods, but he will have none of it because it's a hot rod, supposed to be exciting.
    Because of the expertise here, the average guy should be able to build a car, especially a light car like an A, that will go around corners like a Porsche and stop like one as well.
    My roadster can be steered with one finger, handles like it's on rails, stops like it should and other than being cramped inside, is a pleasure to drive. DSC06874.JPG
     
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  30. I was always under the impression that Henry had it right from the factory.
    Then we cut it all up to put in a big motor and trans. :eek::D
     
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