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Death Wobble - speedway tie rod may be suspect

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Tudor, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. Hello - I have been chasing a death wobble that occurs when I hit a certain kind of bump. It'll start with one wheel then it just goes crazy. I have found that if I ride around with low air pressue in the front tires it doesn't occur. As soon as I put the pressure up to 20 psi it will occur. The pressure being that low sort of concerns me, maybe its all right. I fear I may roll a tire off.

    The weird thing is I put a lot of miles on the car and never had this problem. It developed. It trashed my flaming river vega steering box and I found a bunch of slop in all my heim joints. I got better new heims and put on a mullins box.

    I had the front end jacked up with the drag link disconnected. I found that I could flex my tie rod by pushing the tires together or pulling them apart. I am sitting in the center with my arms extended to each tire pushing or pulling on them. You can see the tie rod bowing up or down.

    I have a speedway 7/8" diameter tube tie rod. It is 47" long. Could the tie rod flexing be what is letting the front end go crazy? It is terrible when it happens.

    Who makes some sure enough stiff tie rods?
  2. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,368


    I assume these are bias ply tires we're talking about here, right? Split wishbones and spring-over? spring behind? Cross steer? Tell us a little more or just throw up a picture.

    You should be able to get a tie rod from any reputable place that sells swaged end tubing threaded to your size or DOM style tubing. I have the speedway drag link. Now I think I'm going to take a closer look at it before puting it on the road.

    Maybe try Lefthanders

    Or Art Morrison
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  3. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    you are able to flex the tie rod by just sitting in between your tires and pushing and pulling on them?:eek:

    that sounds like a weak POS for a tie rod!

    Now you got me concerned about mine too

    Update: I changed all my front running equipment..why take a chance
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  4. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,368


  5. Jesus Randy, I thought you of all people:eek: knew to stay away from that cheapa$$'d Speedway shit. I wouldn't use there China built crap on anything I was going to drive.
  6. yes sorry - It's a vega cross steer - dropped superbell I beam - hair pins - bias tires - I had 450-16's, now I have M&H front runners.

    I welded a 1/2" x 1/2" angle to the rod last night - it is a lot stiffer but I can still see it flexing.
  7. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,368


    Oh! Duh! Riley Automotive (a HAMB vendor) sells them! I bought mine from him. Get in touch with Vaphead.

    Eric rules!
  8. LaidoutRivi63
    Joined: Apr 21, 2009
    Posts: 193


    If you increase the diameter of the rod, go to one inch, it becomes much stronger at the same wall thickness. DOM shouldn't be necessary but if you step up to a DOM seamless tube, you wont get any noticable flex. Between .120 and .188 wall should be plenty thick.
  9. check EVERYTHING>>

    make sure your steering box is tight as well as the mounting bolts.
    king pins.
    wheel bearings.
    rod ends.
  10. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,422


    I agree with VRF, if you can push on the wheels and see the tie rod flex, it would most definitely be something I'd be concerned about. I've never met you in person, but unless you're a great big strong hairy gorilla SOB, I wouldn't think you should be able to do this. How much does it flex?
  11. Before I welded the angle on it flexed about and 1/8" up or down. I am not putting a terrible amount of force on it. I am not a big dude.

    I have checked everything - it's all real tight, new, and doesn't move. It gets set of by a bump or surface change then the wheels both get going and the wheel trys to jiggle out of your hand - it feels like a side to side wobble not bouncing. It has cracked the vega box mount to the frame. I can see if the tie rod is bowing, it would allow the vibration to spring into the wobble

    I think the bigger tub is the ticket - I hope it'll take the same taps for the 5/8" rod ends. or will the 7/8 tube fit inside it? I need to check the dimensions etc.
  12. I have some of Speedy bills leftover tie rod material I dug out. Mine is VERY rigid. I was going to use it to reinforce something. I wonder if they have switched to lighter material?
  13. I have to say it feels rigid and heavy duty when it is off the car. Maybe 47" is just too long of a span for 7/8 tube.
  14. SinisterCustom
    Joined: Feb 18, 2004
    Posts: 8,269


    Why not find a tierod off something else and just shorten it? Like an F-1 or F-100.
  15. mustang552
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 170


    check toe-in
    spring mounts soft
    weld a 1/4" X 2" angle iron the length of the rod!!!
    just my feeble mind:D
  16. The drag link and tie rod on my 37 Ford is solid bar not tubing and this is original Ford stock. No wander you have flexing.
  17. KillerKustom
    Joined: Aug 28, 2007
    Posts: 286


    I bet its the joints. If you can move the tires by hand it has to be, especially as it was fine then just started happening.

    I bet if you put a little toe-in on in and drive it around the block it makes a difference. Temp deal - but try it.
  18. have no bump steer and do have new shocks. All the joints are new tight. There is no slop.

    I was wondering what original tie rods were made of.
  19. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    That was before i learned my lesson:mad:..but I thought that type of component was an industry standard steel tube and wall thickness and used for this type of purpose.

    Im going out to check mine now

    well i checked mine its 48" from eye to the "tube is probably 47" or so..and mine dont budge..bend flex or nothing like that..rock solid.
    wonder if by accident they sold you something for a different purpose..or a mis stocked and fabbed item you ended up with..

    I even went as far as to block one tire and push like hell and pull as hard as I could and no flex at all

    Edit: I changed all my steering shit anyways..arms, tie rod..using tie rod ends etc... no SW shit
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  20. i use 7/8 OD .188 wall DOM tubing , places like Pete & Jake's use .156 wall....what wall is this Speedway tie rod?
  21. The catalog doesn't say - just "7/8" OD tube" is all it specs.

    I was like Vonn Fink - I figured steel tube had to be stout enough - Chinese or not. Thanks for all the input.
  22. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    I dont think that the stuff i bought over 2 years ago was china tube

    I do believe i saw a US code on it in ink on my tie rod before i panted them.
    maybe they changed suppliers since? and quality or QC has gone to shit? or they bought a supply that was sub par?

    the tube i got back than looked exactly and was coded just like the tube i bought from Welder series..(had the same idenifing marks in ink on the tube)

    I would take it off and size it if you can..or just box it up and send it back with your complaint..its the only way they will get the message that cheap shit kills

    what the hell did they sell you..a piece of electrical conduit with bungs welded in each end:eek:
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  23. Searcher
    Joined: Jul 8, 2007
    Posts: 620


    I'm thinking ( distant memory ) this is caused by alignment....toe or caster or something.
  24. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    from Phoenix AZ

    Hiem ends are not the best choice for steering on a street car. AND there is different quailites of end,some are much heavier duty than others.
  25. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    maybe true but how does that have anything to do with the fact that the steel tube is bending?

    is there any chance you bent the tube while buidling the car? thus making it weak?
    or hit somethig that bent it?

    have you determined the wall thickness yet?
  26. I am surprised no one mentioned a steering dampener.
    Maybe I missed it.
    A simple way to get rid of the shake or wobble is simply to add one of those steering dampeners that came factory on VW's, motorcycles, many many trucks with I-beams, and are used from both factory and aftermarket on 4wd.

    A simple small shock absorber that clamps to the long tie rod and stops any small oscillations before they really "get into rythm" and become big wobbles.

    I thought they were common. I am surprised not to see them mentioned here.
  27. Dude, I think you missed the point here, he's talking about being able to bend or flex the tubing.

  28. thought about it and didn't mentioned it. yes, they do help , but in my opinion just mask a deeper are better off correcting what's causing it.
  29. I used the 7/8" dom tube and that stuff you can't bend with your hands, at least my 200 lbs. can't
  30. Zookeeper
    Joined: Aug 30, 2006
    Posts: 1,041


    I agree. I've driven lots of miles in my A pickup with no steering damper and no shake, I know it's entirely possible to eliminate it and be fine. I'd 86 those heims ASAP and get some good DOM tubing and make a new tie rod and go from there.

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