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Technical Lowering Model A

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by lake_harley, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    I installed a '35 front axle, retaining the Model A spindles, and reduced the spring pack to 9 leafs (it had 11 counting the main leaf) and reversed the main leaf eyes on my '31 coupe. The main leaf was reversed using a press and the original arch was retained. Now, the tie rod is touching the oil pan on the stock 4-banger. I've thought of possible ways to gain clearance and correct the problem, but I thought I'd ask for the collective wisdom of how others have solved the issue. My guess is there's a simple way to deal with the clearance issue and many more methods that involve more work and changing than necessary.

    Thanks, in advance!

    Lynn
     
  2. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,705

    1946caddy
    Member
    from washington

    I can't visualize how it is hitting the oil pan and pictures would be nice. The usual way to make clearance for the tie rod is to heat and bend the spindle arms.
     
  3. fiftyv8
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 5,143

    fiftyv8
    Member
    from CO & WA

    Yes, pic's please.
    Ever considered using the 35 Ford front brakes & spindles as well, a little more work, but better cooling than the Model A drums...

    Once yet get to driving it, you will also find that you will need decent shocks and beware of the bump steer, it can be nasty...
     
  4. I used the '35 axle but I also used '32 spindles and didn't have any clearance issues. Unless you cut the balls off of the Model A steering arms and weld new ones to the bottom, you're going to need to heat the arms and bend them.
    75.jpg
    I also used '32 spring perches so the mechanical brake actuators lined up.
     
    Dannerr likes this.

  5. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,286

    adam401
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Heat the spindles and bend the arms down. Been done a million times. If you run the 35 mechanical brakes on the A spindle you'll need to use the same kit as you would use if you were using 40 Ford juice brakes. The kit shims the drum away from the backing plate as it will rub otherwise. You'll also have to slot the backing plate mounting holes.
    A more straight forward approach if keeping mechanical brakes is to use 32 to 34 brakes. I've done this. It works well.

    Black model a coupe in my photo albums ran. 32 axle, model A spindles, 32 to 34 perch bolts, model A actuators and 32 backing plates and drums. All bolt together like factory and work awesome. Like stopping from 80 mph on the highway awesome.
     
    Dannerr likes this.
  6. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    Here are a few photos. They might be difficult to decipher since I didn't jack the car up to get better camera angles, and it's a fendered car. FWIW, the photos were taken from the passenger side. One was with the wheels straight ahead and another of the side perspective photos was with the wheels at "left lock".

    I don't want to go to later spindles since many (most?) position the thrust (worm?) bearing between the axle boss and the lower spindle boss. Unless I have misunderstood something that would actually raise the car a small amount which is opposite of what I'm wanting to accomplish. Maybe '32 spindles are configured and mounted like A spindles but I'm thinking they have integral steering arms that might solve my problem? Trouble is I don't have any '32 spindles and don't know if the A backing plate and hubs would work with '32 spindles. My reason to stick with the A spindles if possible is covered in the next paragraph that addresses what I hope to do about brakes.

    Some may scoff, but at this point I intend to try to duplicate the conversion of the Model A brakes to hydraulic like the kit that was sold by Ansen many years ago. I've been gathering info and photos of anyone who has access to the conversions to determine if it will ultimately be do-able, but I don't think there will be any huge hurdles to overcome. I would plan to upgrade the brake drums from the stock, steel A drums to the cast iron versions that are available. Many say the mechanical Model A brakes are adequate (see Adam401's post above) to stop the car so my thought is that the hydraulic conversion wouldn't be any less effective. Later hydraulics which have been suggested might very well be easier, but I think it would be cool to duplicate what Ansen did "back in the day". That would just seem quite "traditional".

    My first thought too to solve the oil pan/tie rod clearance issue would be to bend the A steering arms down to create adequate clearance, but "joggling" the arms down would also move the pivot balls closer to the axle. When the steering is at full lock the tie rod will move closer to the crossmember as the steering arm balls move through their arc of travel, potentially causing an interference issue there instead. Cutting off, drilling and installing tie rod pivot balls pointing down, or heating and twisting the arms 180 degrees are other options I considered, but that would have the tie rod hit the wishbone.

    I'll admit I just discovered the potential clearance late yesterday afternoon and so far today have only had time to take these sub-standard photos.

    My last resort would be to change spindles, and rather than do that I would probably build some plate steering arms (similar to those sold by Speedway and others) that bolt to the lower 2 holes that attach the backing plate. I'd need to fabricate them since off-the-shelf parts for later spindles have different bolt spacing.

    I appreciate all of the comments so far, but that's what I see as my issue to be solved and what I hope to accomplish.

    Lynn

    2000-12-31 007 001.JPG 2000-12-31 007 002.JPG 2000-12-31 007 003.JPG 2000-12-31 007 004.JPG 2000-12-31 007 005.JPG 2000-12-31 007 006.JPG 2000-12-31 007 007.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  7. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,705

    1946caddy
    Member
    from washington

    Can you drop the oil pan and see how much clearance you have inside and then alter the front of the pan for clearance? Even if this solved your oil pan clearance problem, it looks like a good bump would cause your tie rod to make contact with your frame.
    How about flipping your tie rod upside down? Us a tapered reamer and only go half way through the spindle arm holes. You might have to use a cone shaped washer on the top.
    A new tie rod with newer style tie rod ends may get you more clearance.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  8. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    Thanks, 1946 Caddy! I've thought about, and considered just about every possible solution you mentioned, so at least that tells me that my ideas aren't completely crazy.

    Putting a "relief" in the oil pan would be simple enough, and likely one of the more simple fixes. Considering the front suspension only has about 1.5" to 2" of travel possible that wouldn't be all that big a notch to put in the pan. You're right though, it would take some checking to see how much clearance there is to any of the rotating parts or perhaps a crankshaft main cap.

    As far as the tie rod to frame interference, I don't believe that would be and issue unless I bend the steering arms down to gain oil pan clearance. Bending them down would effectively shorten the steering arms and then there might be tie rod/crossmember clearance issues during sharp turns.

    Consideration continues.......

    Lynn
     
  9. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 976

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Yep, use "32 / "34 spindles
     
  10. rustythumb
    Joined: Nov 24, 2008
    Posts: 101

    rustythumb
    Member

    how about a dropped tie rod?
     
    scrap metal 48 likes this.
  11. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    I checked the clearance needed to possibly do a notch in the oil pan but I'm sure I'd get into moving parts before it would make enough clearance.

    I suppose I will keep my eyes open for '32-'34 spindles. Is the axle the same so that the Model A hubs would work? I know the length of axle stubs vary in some years, have different seal provisions and that some have a very large base radius (Model A) so that bearings seat differently. I know I've seen info about much of what I'm asking but all the searching I've done in the last couple days hasn't revealed the info I was sure I had seen before.

    I've thought about a tie rod with a dropped center section but wondered about it swinging/moving forward and backward and if that might be a questionable thing.

    Simple solution would be fabricated steering arms like these, but made to fit the Model A spindle/backing plate bolt pattern. https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Spee...Tie-Rod-Steering-Arms-Plain-Finish,35629.html Or, perhaps I could have some water jet cut like this type (cut to be a tie rod steering arm rather than a drag link arm). https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Ford-Upper-Steering-Arm-Plain-7-3-4-Inch-Tapered,37804.html I just don't know that I'd like "the look" but I may be running out of options.

    Lynn
     
  12. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,095

    alchemy
    Member

    It's real easy to bend those existing steering arms down so the tie rod just clears the top of the wishbone. Looks like you'd gain about three inches of clearance. The shortening effect on the arms would be negligible. If you need to drop the tie rod below the wishbone you would probably shorten the arms enough that it would be noticeable.
     
    Outback likes this.
  13. Never2old
    Joined: Oct 14, 2010
    Posts: 671

    Never2old
    Member
    from so cal

    It’s called a thrust bearing because it takes the thrust of the weight of the car. The way you have installed it you have metal to metal contact and things will go bad quickly.


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  14. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    Thanks for the reply and you're right on later Fords it does go on the bottom side of the axle, but on the Model A it's in the right place. The top of the king pin provides the thrust face on the A.

    Lynn
     
  15. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,095

    alchemy
    Member

    Yes, Never2, he does have it in the right place for a Model A.

    Lake, what is your aversion to some later spindles? Any of the various 32 thru 35 spindles are cheap and will bolt right on. Note they have a big arc to their arms, and will give plenty of length to rebend them, even under the wishbone if needed.
     
  16. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    No particular aversion to changing spindles. Just hoping to use what I have if possible. If later spindles would require hubs other than the A hubs, then I'd guess I'm into changing drums and backing plates as well. Not the worst thing and certainly do-able, but that would be the end of my quest to replicate the Ansen hydraulic conversion to the A brakes. Maybe that in itself is a silly goal and not worth the effort to solve the current issue.

    I agree, later spindles, heating and bending the steering arms would indeed be a simple solution to the immediate issue.

    Opinions vary for sure, but do you think either of the two styles of steering arms, plate or flame cut, like I posted a couple posts back, would look too much out of place?

    Lynn
     
  17. Maybe '32 spindles are configured and mounted like A spindles but I'm thinking they have integral steering arms that might solve my problem? Trouble is I don't have any '32 spindles and don't know if the A backing plate and hubs would work with '32 spindles.

    Lynn...
    Yes, '32 spindles have integrated steering arms and yes, Model A backing plates and hubs will work with them. That is what I am using on mine. As I stated before, I had no clearance issues at all.
     
  18. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    Thanks, 1stGrumpy. That would make it all come together nicely with minimal changing of all the other related parts. So....who has a pair of '32 spindles to sell that are currently gathering dust under the workbench?

    Lynn
     
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  19. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    I decided, on a whim, to go to western Iowa to visit a cousin. Will be going from Southeast Missouri straight North to Southeast Iowa and then on to West Central Iowa (Dennison, IA)

    If anyone along that path has a nice pair of '32 Spindles please call my cell to see if we can meet somewhere in the next couple days. I may as well get going on this project rather than agonize over it and drag out the progress!

    Lynn
    (573) 286-3335 Cell
     
  20. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    alchemy....I replied to your PM and hope you can call me Tuesday on my cell. The number is in the PM.

    Thanks

    Lynn
     
  21. chiro
    Joined: Jun 23, 2008
    Posts: 883

    chiro
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    When I had Okie Joe of Joe's Speed Shop in OK drop my "A" axle, he suggested I use my original "A" steering arms. He had me send them to him and matched them to the drop and cut the balls off the steering arms and taper reamed the arms to accept studs that go in from the BOTTOM instead of the stock ball on top in the original Model A steering arms. Solved all clearance issues. Your cheapest way out. Works great. No bump steer. Okie Joe is a very smart and very good guy. Call him about this problem.
    Andy
     
  22. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    Thanks, Andy. I appreciate the suggestion. I've thought of that as another possibility and did some rough measurements. With the moderate drop of the '35 axle there isn't enough room for the balls to be on the underside unless I bend the arms up a bit, and that would be a pretty simple solution.

    I'm waiting to hear back about some '32 spindles but I think the stock arms re-worked as you suggest would look better than my homebuilt steering arm idea.

    Lynn
     
  23. rockman29
    Joined: Jul 2, 2006
    Posts: 82

    rockman29
    Member

    1743C892-D4F5-45AC-ADA2-2F8653AD6853.jpeg
    I have lowered two cars using 33 front axles, model A spindles, 32 perch pins, reversed eye main leaf. As 1stGRUMPY has described, I also cut the balls off the steering arms and welded them to the bottom. I heated up the steering arms and tweaked them to get the proper tie rod clearance with the wishbone, frame and pan. My apologies, I don’t have any close up photos to post. The photo is my 27 roadster on a model a frame that I recently completed. I also did this on my 1930 full gendered roadster. Both drive fine with no interference issues. I highly recommended running shocks and a steering stabilizer particularly if you drive on rough roads like we have in the northeast. Good Luck!
     
  24. Fred A
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 277

    Fred A
    Member
    from Encino, CA
    1. Upholstery

    I bet many of these solutions come from what is available locally. In the past I've suggested a kind of a Ford part that is abundant out here in LA and the response is that they are "thin on the ground". After the war (WWII) we had all kinds of aircraft industry and related surplus to work into our "hot" cars and someone out of the area would barely recognize such fasteners and components. That's why I was surprised that Lynn intended to use Model A spindles. Not very popular here but clearly can be made to work. I like the 1932-'34 spindles which work well with my brake choices while low profile kingpins and Torrington bearings cost more than the spindles. Have fun but remember that these cars are like diplomats whose screw-ups reflect on all of us. Good Luck: Fred A
     
  25. walls
    Joined: Oct 6, 2005
    Posts: 535

    walls
    Member

    I just got done putting together a similar setup.
    34 axle, 34 brakes, 32 perches, model A spindles, reversed eye, removed leaves.
    Torched and bent the spindles and still just bump the front crossmember when at full turn.
    But clear the pan.
    I ended up having to put the few leaves I took out, back in to raise about a half inch.
    Combined with a T spring in the rear w/1 leaf removed, I think I got a decent early 40s stance going.

    I’ve never seen 32spindles, but would probably try them next time if the arms are a bit longer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
  26. Use '40 spindles and lowered arms.
    Speedway has the arms.
     
  27. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,185

    lake_harley
    Member

    Well, here's the latest. I bought a pair of '32 spindles today from alchemy (really nice guy by the way). He also had a pair of '32 drums and backing plates. I'm on the return portion of a few day motorcycle ride with the saddlebags of my old '83 1100 Gold Wing filled up with parts. I hope to test fit the '32 spindles to get another perspective on what route and combination of parts will end up being the way I go.

    Thanks again to all who offered advice, information and examples of parts combos that have worked in similar applications.

    Lynn
     
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  28. chiro
    Joined: Jun 23, 2008
    Posts: 883

    chiro
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes Lynn, you are correct. I did have to heat and bend the steering arm for the drag link on the drivers side. The tie rod arms did not need to be bent and everything clears. It was a very simple thing to do and worked out perfectly on my "A".
    Andy
     
  29. 5280A2
    Joined: Sep 8, 2014
    Posts: 119

    5280A2

    Here's a picture of my A spindles on a dropped axle with the steering balls reversed. I added a piec of 3/16 steel to the "loop" left on the steering arm after the old balls were cut off to thicken the boss where the new balls were mounted up from the bottom. This modification was done at home with nothing more than a hacksaw, drill press and MIG welder. Replacement steering balls are available from all of the Model A vendors and come with a half-inch shank that's plenty long. Mine are welded on the top only. I added a washer between the spindle and the steering ball to replicate the ridge that holds the grease seal so I could use a stock Model A grease seal on the tie rod end.

    IMG_0490.jpg
     
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