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Rag Joint vs. U-Joint

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jeem, May 31, 2012.

  1. Canuck
    Joined: Jan 4, 2002
    Posts: 1,065


    Not being a automotive engineer and cheep as well, decided that a OEM solution was the best way to go to connect the steering box to the column. We also have a fairley strict safety inspection to go through here before a car can be put on the road so wanted to make sure it would pass. With a nailhead in a Model A didn't have a lot of room either.

    Picked a intermediate shaft with two U-joints, a vibration coupling and a bit of a slide as well. Out of a van so should have plenty of strength in a little Model A.


    GM Astro Van. In the stock application those U-joints go through some crazy angles. The one thing I noticed After I bought it was the slight misalignment of the two U-joints.

  2. S_Mazza
    Joined: Apr 27, 2011
    Posts: 363


    I would think that steering U-joints started right about the same time as the first tilt column. According to sources I found, the tilt wheel was invented about 1900 by Edward James Lobdell. First mainstream use may have been in 1963 GM high-end cars.
  3. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    Kinda depends on your version of "traditional"! I happen to be on eof the few that accepts seventies resto rods as traditional cars, as I know the O/P Jeem does too.

    Go back about ten years further and you are back into F-1/100 box with a one piece column territory. Remember, rag joints with few exceptions really didn't become the common deal until as Jimmy stated earlier people realized that the streering shaft was a spear aimed right at the drivers chest. This was about '67 or so, 'bout the same time daul chamber master cylinders made the scene for the same "safety" reason.
  4. I believe that GM started using the "rag joints" on their steering columns in 1959 in everything. I don't know about the other manufacturers. That type of a joint is as old as cars. They were used on the drive axles of the front drive Indy cars of the 20's and 30's, also on driveshafts of early cars.

    My sarcastic point was, it is traditional to use wrecking yard parts to build a hot rod. In the last 30 years, or so, people have leaned more and more to the catalogs for their parts, often of lesser quality than the OEM parts. You are used to seeing the catalog parts that make up so many of the cars at the large car "shows"

    The rag joint, as used in OEM steering applications, is fine for the cars that are within the scope of this forum. And were used within the timeframe of our guidelines. They are totally safe and effective when installed as the OEMs did.

  5. niceguyede
    Joined: Jan 19, 2009
    Posts: 633

    from dallas

    nooo man...that's a toothpic.
  6. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    You know, I read your post a couple of days ago and it's something that has been burning in the back of my head since. Short of said truck or possibly a full sized car, you have no idea how opposite to this opinion I actually am. That's about the only two vehicles I can think of that I WOULD put up with a power steering unit in, much less a solid versus rag type joint.

    Three things I HATE in any vehicle - power steering, power brakes, and an automatic trans. All isolate me from the car and road, and make me feel as though I'm just riding and not participating in the drive. Might as well throw small diameter, thickly padded steering wheels in the mix too. Make mine 17" or so and hard. I have in one corner of my small shop a bucket of power steering units I have removed from personal cars in years past, just 'cause they drive me nuts. And everything I build are daily drivers set up this way. You should hear the monologue of cursing when I'm forced to drive the girlfriends late model with all of the above, plus a jet cockpit array of buttons and switches! Hate, hate, hate!

    I realize I just pulled a massive tangent off the intended track here, but at least that is off my mind.
  7. drptop70ss
    Joined: May 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,167

    from NY

    Me too! Another thing I hate is toilet paper, I replaced my roll with a roll of DA stick ons 36 grit. sandpaper sheets. I am a real man! (relax its a joke)

    I was going to use a rag joint until I found that it clocked the steering shaft 90 degrees differently than the aftermarket joint at the steering column, no adjustment there so had to go with a U joint at the box as well.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  8. S_Mazza
    Joined: Apr 27, 2011
    Posts: 363


    Good point ... The rag joint AKA flex disc AKA giubo (short for "giunto Boschi", or Boschi joint), were used in the past on driveshafts and PTOs. They are still used on driveshafts in BMWs and Corvettes.
  9. falconsprint63
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,359

    from Mayberry

    watched my dad eat the wall in my rear view mirror when the rag joint on his 35 coupe failed going through the gorge between NC and VA on I 40. thankfully I wasn't orphaned that day. I won't use one.
  10. Have to ask, did it have fail safe pins on it?
  11. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,271

    from Nicasio Ca

    Hey that's pretty neat. Is it splined/what's the count?

  12. Davereeves
    Joined: Nov 10, 2009
    Posts: 53

    from Ca

    Would you have a more positive steering with a u joint on manual steering?
  13. A u-joint is generally going to give you more positive steering just because it has less give (slop?) than a rag joint.

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