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Technical Is my setup strong enough? Cowl Steering Question

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by c6matt, Oct 23, 2021.

  1. twenty8
    Joined: Apr 8, 2021
    Posts: 1,063


    Brass was used for marine craft because of it's anti-corrosion properties, especially in a salt water environment. It will do it's job if it is engineered and manufactured to the design standard/size required. The arm on this car has not been designed for the purpose, and it is therefore an unknown strength link in the steering system. It may, or may not, be up to the job, but I would be finding out for sure if it were me. Get it tested, or have it turned into the said candlestick.
    Ned Ludd likes this.
  2. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,083

    from Wa.

    A few comments on this basic application.

    Converted street type side or cross steerings are very poor boxes to use for cowl steering applications. They can be adjusted for no play in the center but by design will get increasing play as they are turned away from center. This is exactly what you do NOT want. Race car steerings are worm and gear so have constant gear lash across the whole range.

    4 more faults observed on the brass parts pictured are, the flat washers on the pinch bolt are too big in diameter and not thick enough. The right ear on the arm is bent from too much tightening torque. The safety washer on the rod end is not thick enough and too small in diameter. In this application if you are going to use a key instead of a spline to drive the pitman arm, there should be 2 keys.
    Lepus, Atwater Mike, The37Kid and 9 others like this.
  3. c6matt
    Joined: Oct 21, 2021
    Posts: 19


    I am aware who they are and respect their knowledge, new to signing up to the board but am a long time lurker.
    kidcampbell71, BJR, 2OLD2FAST and 2 others like this.
  4. Just thought about what he said, any chance the arm is actually mild steel that has been plated?
    BJR likes this.
  5. Hit the back side with a file.
    BJR likes this.
  6. It looks friggin’ cool ……


    …. BCA3FBCE-2847-497A-BD06-53854DF7C30C.gif
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
  7. Yeah these fire trucks are loaded with brass for the same reason
    Joe Blow and twenty8 like this.
  8. c6matt
    Joined: Oct 21, 2021
    Posts: 19


    Pretty much zero chance.
  9. This.

    That steering is a decorator item. Whoever built it has looks and 'ooo that's cool' comments first and foremost, not safety or engineering.
  10. spanners
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,537


    Pass a magnet over it. If brass plated metal probably ok. Isn't brass hot short as in breaks easier when heated? Brass taps (faucets) last for years until you hit them with a hammer, or in this instance a pothole or kerb.
    The37Kid and VANDENPLAS like this.
  11. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,604


    My concern would be the woodruff key. Years ago, when I didn't know better, I used PTO u-joints in my steering shaft and the woodruff key backed off leaving me with really loose steering. Not a pretty picture.
    TerrytheK, Tman, clem and 2 others like this.
  12. junkman8888
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 848


    The truth is, if you have to question if what you have is safe or not you already know the answer. Do yourself a favor and fix it.
  13. I would not trust brass for an item as important as a steering component.

    As for cowl steering ... no comment :D :rolleyes:
  14. If it’s used just for low speed as you say, the effort required to pull and push your front end from side to side is a lot greater at low speed. All kinds of reasoning can be used as to why it “should” be okay until shit happens, and if it does, what about the poor kids getting their ice creams that could get in the way of the shit “if” it does happen.
  15. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 8,000

    from Michigan

    Brass steering components?
    No way.
    Most pitman arms are forgings.
    Xman, Lil'Alb, Pete Eastwood and 5 others like this.
  16. fordor41
    Joined: Jul 2, 2008
    Posts: 981


    I doubt even brass era cars used brass on steering components. I's vote for steel
  17. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 31,069


    All the brass on "Brass era" cars was decorative as anything that would be chromed a few later was made of brass.
    You have to wonder what that steering arm looked like when it was on the boat before some decided that it would be cute on a car. How much was ground and polished away and if the webs where there are now holes were cut out for cuteness. To me that thing is one pothole or one speed bump from breaking at a very inopportune time.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  18. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,643

    from So Cal

    That thing is really sketchy. I agree with @junkman8888 , if you're asking the question you already know the answer.
  19. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,279


    Nope. Wrong material. Wrong design.
    Tman, The37Kid, Blues4U and 6 others like this.
  20. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,237


    I have been running a profile power gear, rebuilt by Tommy Lee, for 12 years in my 32 hiboy in my avatar. The sector shaft is splined and I use an aluminum sprint car Pittman arm with 4 tapped holes to allow a leverage adjustment if used for racing. It was meant to take the rigors of bouncing through holes in dirt tracks continually. Brass sure is pretty when polished, but as I see it, totally out of its league on a street driven car. If you are
    Serious about using the car, make sure the steering is up to the challenges and stress that street driving will cause. I don't care if it is only a few blocks to get ice cream by yourself or a cross country trip, fully loaded with a friend. Build it suitable for the worst case conditions it will encounter. If pretty is what you want, polish the sprint car Pittman arm and steering shaft, BUT, ditch the brass boat parts or build a boat and use them in the environment they were meant to be used in.
  21. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,279


    I could put that arm in my big vise, and break the eyelet off with my 24" adjustable wrench.

    Don't believe me? Try it. Then thrown the two pieces away.
    X-cpe, Tman, Jim Bouchard and 4 others like this.

  22. Or a magnet!
    c6matt and VANDENPLAS like this.
  23. c6matt
    Joined: Oct 21, 2021
    Posts: 19


    I wish I had not acknowledged the cowl steering link. The local use, although an excuse, was in reply to that.

    I was uneasy about the arm, and was planning on replacing it but decided to have the discussion here. Lots of experience here all saying what I was feeling. Its pretty, and Unsafe. I will be redoing the steering this winter.

    anyone have tips or advice on a schroeder steering box swap?

    anyone have one for sale?
    deucemac, XXL__, kadillackid and 4 others like this.
  24. c6matt
    Joined: Oct 21, 2021
    Posts: 19


    I belive you. I was speaking to the cowl steering comment, not the arm.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  25. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 4,069

    from illinois

    I could do a lot of damage to a lot of things made of iron & steel with a large vise & a 24" adjustable wrench ..:rolleyes:
    WalkerMD and VANDENPLAS like this.
  26. Hey Matt, welcome to the hamb.
    34 5W Paul, Blues4U, Joe Blow and 2 others like this.

  27. Fuck you no bike Lloyd!!!!:D

    hey Matt welcome aboard !! We’re a loving bunch here !!:p
  28. So, it sounds like a new steering arm is coming. It looks like the new arm would need to be fairly long to correctly minimize bump steer.
    Just one more thing to think about while planning this upgrade.
    Joe Blow likes this.
  29. Don't listen to him Matt, he's a prissy bitch that works on jaguars :p:rolleyes::D
  30. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,279


    Try a forged pitman arm.

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