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tkeiser1

'63 Riv Steering Intermediate Rod Question

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History:

The car has a severe immediate but temporary (less than a second) pull to the right on braking. I've checked the operation of the brakes, flushed the system, checked alignment, tire pressures, etc. etc. When checking the steering linkage I came across the following problem.

 

Problem:  

I noticed an unusual amount of play in the pitman arm ball stud which I couldn't eliminate due to some apparent obstruction. I removed the intermediate arm and discovered that the pitman arm ball stud had what appeared to be broken plastic sheathing. This is not present on the idler arm ball stud. Additionally, the pitman arm stud moves as a ball joint but the idler arm stud is stationary. This the first time I've taken apart any steering linkage and don't know how the intermediate rod studs are supposed to function. Can someone please explain it to me, and also advise as the the proper fix?  (Thompson type)

 

Thanks much,

Tom

Edited by tkeiser1 (see edit history)

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                The best way to check for loose steering linkage parts is to get under the car on a lift and grab one front wheel with one hand and the other

front wheel with the other hand and try to move the front wheels first both in at once and then both out at once. If you can't move the wheels in and out

in that manner, then the tie rods and idler  arm and pitman arm are OK, If you can move them in and out, look for the part that is moving and causing the tires to be able to move. Odds are very very low that the front end has anything to do with your brake pull. Most likely culprit is an internally restricted front brake hose. Other possibilities include improper adjustment of the front shoes , brake fluid on the shoes due to leaking wheel cylinders,

just plain defective shoes, or worn out beyond tolerance brake drums.

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Thanks for the tips. They will be helpful when I get the linkage back together. Any insight on the intermediate rod question?

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          On most drag links the stud is designed to move like the stud on a ball joint, but they can get too loose causing

in and out play in the steering linkage. The test I told you to do will check all the steering linkage at once for looseness.

To check the lower ball joints, jack up the front tire on the  side you are checking  till it is about 2 inches off the ground by

putting a jack under the lower control arm. After it is jacked up, have someone place a long pry bar under the tire and pry up on the

tire while you watch for up and down movement on the ball joint indicated by the stud area of the joint rising up and down in the ball 

part of the ball joint. If it is tight the ball joint is OK, although they can still fail from metal fatigue on high mileage cars. The metal fatigue

failures are the result of the vertical pin on the ball joint breaking in two. This usually only happens on vehicles with over 100K on the ball joints. 

I never run any ball joints on my cars more than 100,000 miles even if they check to be tight. To check the upper ball joint for looseness, with the

wheel jacked up off the ground by putting a jack under the lower control arm, have someone grab the top of the tire and try to move the top of the tire in and out while you watch for sideways movement in the upper ball joint. To check the control arm bushings, check to see if the rubber looks OK on the

outside edges of the bushing, and check to see if the metal threaded rod or bolts in the case of the lower bushings are centered in the bushing and not 

off to one side. You are now certified to check front ends!  On your braking pull, it is going to be a brake issue unless your radius

rod bushings are wasted on one side and the lower control arm is moving back and forth when you apply the brake.  These bushings are right out in the open and can be checked visually in 5 seconds.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)

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How do I fix the center link which I removed for inspection? The Pitman arm pin has a broken plastic sheathing preventing a tight fit on the Pitman arm. (This pin moves freely). The idler arm pin, on the other hand, has no plastic sheathing (broken off? not designed with it?) and is frozen. I checked online and a replacement is quite expensive (~$300).

 

I greatly appreciate the help on this, as I've never worked on steering linkage.

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On the braking pull . . . I'm confused by the fact that the pull is sudden, strong, but immediately disappears as the braking process continues. I was thinking of a bad wheel cylinder, but after replacing it and thoroughly flushing the system, the problem was actually more acute. I thought of the internal restriction you mentioned, but wouldn't flushing the system have either revealed a restriction or cleared it out? 

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                    What happens is that the inner sheathing inside the hose comes loose and partially plugs the passageway.

You can't tell if it  is bad by bleeding. If you have a pull, the hoses are the prime suspect. It can be other things, but try a

pair of new hoses first, if you are sure you have the front brakes adjusted properly where each side has a slight drag. In my shop

I have seen hoses cause this about a thousand times over the years. The next most likely thing is the brake shoes themselves. Third

most likely is the drums. I've never ever seen a wheel cylinder cause a pull unless it is leaking and got brake fluid on the shoes. I've been working on cars all day every day for 41 years, so you kind of figure out the odds on problems after a few decades of working on cars for a living!

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)

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On 6/9/2017 at 7:07 PM, tkeiser1 said:

On the braking pull . . . I'm confused by the fact that the pull is sudden, strong, but immediately disappears as the braking process continues. I was thinking of a bad wheel cylinder, but after replacing it and thoroughly flushing the system, the problem was actually more acute. I thought of the internal restriction you mentioned, but wouldn't flushing the system have either revealed a restriction or cleared it out? 

I would recommend tightening up the steering first and move on from there. Be sure the brake reaction rod bushings are fresh and double check to be sure the 2 bolts which attach the rod to the lower control arm are tight.

  Tom Mooney

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Thank you all for the help. The more I think about it the more I think it's the steering. Since the center link is definitely bad I'm sending that out to be rebuilt. The brake rod bushings are also bad so I'll be replacing them. Hopefully, when I get it all back together the pull will be gone. If not, then it's on to the brake line. I'll let you know what happens. 

Tom

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I'm still working on it, but there were/are all sorts of issues. I've replaced the intermediate rod and brake rod bushings. That dramatically decreased the severity of the pull due to the tightening of the steering. But the pull remained. Then I replaced three wheel cylinders and the master cylinder (still waiting on the last wheel cylinder to come in). The master cylinder was rusty and one of the wheel cylinders was unbelievably corroded (see below). My next task, after replacing the last wheel cylinder is to clear the brake line to the back brakes. There is a restriction in the line somewhere. The rear brakes don't completely release immediately and when bleeding they require a great deal of pressure (almost have to stand on the pedal). 

 

IMG_20170721_133238.jpg

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                 the restriction in your rear brakes is most likely your rear rubber brake hose....we see this all the time in my shop.

Go ahead and change all the rubber brake hoses, and be sure and convert the car to DOT5 silicone brake fluid.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)

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If you've got it apart, change all three hoses (two front, one rear).  They're less than $10 each, so it's not worth messing around with the old ones.  It's cheap insurance -- and will likely fix your problem to boot.

 

Suggestion: flush the hard lines separately (especially if you're converting to DOT5).  That is, after you remove the old hoses but before you attach the new ones. The put it all back together for the final fill and bleed.

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)

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Ka ......     ching!....the brake hoses are always the prime suspect on cars with very old brake hoses and a brake pull.

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