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Steering wheel centering on a '36 1401.......


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Anyone know the trick to centering the steering wheel on a '36 1401 (Standard 8)? Shop manual says nothing.

Seems the only way to reposition the steering wheel would be to alter the distance between the knuckle joints at the ends of the drag link, thus allowing the steering wheel to be rotated to accomodate the change in distance bewteen the knuckles. However, these joints are not threaded-on, and cannot be turned in or out to vary overall drag link length.

The knuckles are held in place between a screw cap and a heavy compression spring. Are the springs correct? Would't springs in a drag link contribute to spongy steering?

Perhaps the springs are incorrect, and should be replaced with bushings or shims, which could be added or removed to move the position of the knuckles. But THAT would be a burdensome and imprecise method of adjustment.

Or, am I just missing something here??? Thanks, Bill.

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Guest palosfv3

This procedure should get you pretty close if you dont have access to alignment equipment. Park the car on a level flat surface. If you dont have access to a turntable for the front wheels, Take 4 12"x 12" sheets of 20 guage or thicker sheetmetal, grease one sheet and place it on another panel so you have a sheetmetal and grease sandwich. Place one in front of each front tire and roll the car forward onto the sandwiches stopping so the tire is centered on the plate. Check front and rear suspension to make sure everything is squared up. No cracked or weakened springs , worn bushings or other components. Take a chalk line and attach it to the frame rail behind and inside the l/rear wheel. Draw the string across the l/r wheel at the center ( 3 to 9 o'clock )and lengthen the string so you can pull it tight across the front and rear wheel at the same time at this center position. The idea of the string is to get both l/side wheels on the same parallel line . Center the steering wheel and secure it to ensure it doesnt move during the procedure, adjust the lt tie rod so the l/wheels are both in the same parallel line . You need to watch the string carefully so it is straight and it touches the front and rear edge of the rear tire without angling off. Check the steering wheel to contirm nothing has moved and everything is lined up and parallel on the left side and lock the left tie rod in place. Set the toe in on the right front tie rod and adjust to 0 . Now carefully move each tie rod adjuster the same number of flats on each side until you get to the correct toe in setting. Tighten all adjusters and you should be there. They will sometimes use this process on the race tracks during a race to get a race car that has had suspension components replaced due to damage out and on the track at some very high speeds. Dont forget to check the steering wheel to make sure it cant be moved on the shaft. If it can only one or two splines at the most.

This procedure works best on a car that has all the suspension control points equal and squared .

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